Our feet are the first point of contact with the ground and therefore take hundreds of pounds of impact upon hiking, training, and running. Especially when it comes to hiking higher miles, I choose Altra Shoes. I’ve owned 5 pairs over the past 3 years and have used every ounce of cushion and toughness each pair had to offer. The technology their style of shoe has to offer is unique for many reasons:
- A Zero Heel Drop means natural gait mechanics and myofascial flexibility throughout the posterior chain (Achilles Tendon and Calf Muscles). This is optimal for those who are looking to avoid other musculoskeletal imbalances further down the road that come from a high heel lift. Caution: progress slowly and progressively when switching from a shoe that has a heel lift to a zero drop shoe like the Altra. To avoid repetitive stress injuries like Achilles Tendinopathy.
- The Wide Toe Box space and design allows for optimal toe splay. This allows the metatarsal bones in our feet to react and form more naturally to uneven surfaces. No one enjoys cramped feet in tight shoes.
- The Durable Material ensures that regardless of the terrain you’re traveling in that the shoes will outlast most competitors in their class. Yes, they are a lighter weight trail shoe, so logging several miles in lava rock will chew them up. However, the sole is tough, traction durable, and overall a shoe that I’ve found to last 6-9 months of regular use.
I trained and hiked the 40-mile Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood using my first pair of Altra Lone Peak’s, which is their slightly heavier trail shoe.
I then purchased a pair of their waterproof version of the Lone Peak, which was very useful living near the Columbia River Gorge where most of the trails are wet and muddy.
I hiked the 32-mile Loowit Trail around Mt. St. Helens with my 3rd pair of Altra Lone Peak’s as well as to the summit of Mt. Adams.
My fourth pair was another waterproof Lone Peak version which I trained and hiked the 48-mile Three Sisters Wilderness Loop Trail after moving to Bend, Oregon. After a summer of hiking in Central Oregon that pair got shredded from the lava rock and selected my fifth pair of Lone Peaks, version 3.0 seen here:
I trained through the Winter in these and completed my first GoRuck Tough Challenge in April 2018 where they held up really well considering we did 16 miles of rucking around town on the pavement as well as trail throughout the night. This is my current pair of Altra shoes and honestly, not my favorite style out of the previous Lone Peaks. The toe box feels slightly narrower since I experienced more outer toe blisters and friction and they overall felt a bit narrower around the foot compared with previous pairs. I will, however, say the quality and versatility is still par with the what I experienced with previous versions.