• Home
  • /
  • Hiking
  • /
  • Field Tested: Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Trail Running Shoe Review

Field Tested: Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Trail Running Shoe Review

Thru Hikers, Backpacker’s and Trail Runners will be excited to see a new version of the Altra Lone Peak on the shelves! The Altra Lone Peak 3.5! For the past 2-3 years or so I’ve been trail running and hiking wearing the Altra Lone Peak trail running shoes. These shoes have evolved over the years and as mine wear out I typically run out and buy the latest Lone Peak generation of shoes. These shoes have treated me well.  I’m a huge fan of the “zero drop” platform as well as the “footshape” toe box that Altra features in all of their footwear lineup. You can read more about Altra’s theory and how they design their shoes on their website “run better” here.


Altra keeps it simple and versions their shoes with numbers rather than silly names. My first pair of Lone Peaks were the Lone Peak 2.5’s which were great, but wore out WAY too fast. After about 200 miles the upper mesh completely fell apart.

After that, I picked up the Lone Peak 3.0’s (read that review here). Since I’ve had the Altra Lone Peak 3.0’s I’ve logged an estimated 350 miles on rugged mountain trails, as well as local groomed trail runs. These shoes have proved to be much more durable than their 2.5 version predecessor. The only drawback being that they tend to take a little while to dry out once they get soaking wet. However, after all these miles and peaks the upper material has started to fail and the midsoles have started to feel like flat tires. Typical wear, Expected at this kind of mileage… But I needed some new trail shoes.

Introducing the Lone Peak 3.5

Fresh out of the box!

So! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of fresh new Altra Lone Peak 3.5’s. The latest and greatest in the Lone Peak line up! The Lone Peak 3.5’s leverage a lot of what the 3.0’s had in their design but have added some new features and changes.

Lets check out the spec list:

  • Altra’s Recommended Uses: Trail Running, Hiking, Fastpacking, Trail Racing
  • Midsole Cushioning: Moderate
  • Stack Height: 25 mm
  • Weight: 9.7 oz. / 295 g (Mens Size 9)
  • Designed to Improve: Natural Foot Positioning, Toe Splay, Comfort
  • Platform: Fully Cushioned Zero Drop™ platform and FootShape™ toe box
  • Last: SD6-M
  • Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound™
  • Outsole: MaxTrac™ Rubber with TrailClaw™
  • Insole: 5 mm Contour Footbed
  • Upper: Quick-Dry Air Mesh
  • Other Features: Sandwiched StoneGuard™ Rock Protection next to the foot; Natural Ride System, 4-Point GatierTrap™ Technology

Design

Image from Altra’s Website

The Altra Lone Peak 3.5’s are a well built shoe. The upper is comprised of a tight knit “quick dry” mesh. On the outside of the mesh there are welded reinforced areas of durable synthetic leather material in areas where protection is desired. There is a thin stoneguard sandwiched between the midsole and the inner shoe to protect your feet from sharp rocks jabbing through the soft foam. The midsole is nice and cushy, super plush but still responsive enough to run on techy terrain in.

Of course just like all Altra shoes the Lone Peak 3.5’s inherit the “Footshape” toe box which is an amazing feature. They may look like clown shoes but they sure are comfy. This wide toe box allows your toes to splay out as they impact the ground increasing biomechanic efficiency. The other Altra exclusive feature is the Zero Drop platform… this means your forefoot and heel are on the same plane rather than your heel being up higher than your toes. This  design is supposed to reduce fatigue. However, if you’re not use to these types of shoes… It does take some getting used to!


The outsole features hard rubber hexagonal lugs mixed with softer rubber for grip on slabby rock surfaces. Altra’s signature “Gaiter trap” is back again with some changes. Instead of 2 “tie down” points in the front and back of the shoe, the Lone Peak 3.5’s get 2 more points on the inner/outer shoe to tie the gaiters down. This should help if you find yourself getting your gaiters snagged on sticks and debris.

As far as weight, on my scale the Lone Peak 3.5’s in a mens size 10.5 come in at 11.45 Ounces. These shoes fall into a “middle category” in the trail runner category. They’re not quite minimal, but they’re not quite maximal. This is a good thing in my book.

Fit

Putting them to the test!

For a while Altra’s shoe sizing was ALL OVER THE PLACE. Lucky for us, it seems like they’ve got this straightened out. My mens size 10.5’s fit just like my road running shoes. I was pleasantly surprised by how well these shoes fit! My older Altra Lone Peak 3.0’s were a little bit loose in the heel and midfoot. Sometimes this could cause me to be sloppy on technical trails resulting in a trip or slide. The Lone Peak 3.5’s address this issue with a slightly tighter, less padded, heel cup and a snugger midfoot. Despite these changes the toebox still remains plenty wide for your toes to splay out and stay comfortable.

One thing is for sure though. These shoes, much like all of Altra’s line up are for people with wider feet. If you have narrow feet you may find yourself sliding around inside these shoes. Personally, my feet border on the line of regular and wide. These Altra’s fit me like a glove!

Traction

Typical New England slab hiking. A real test for footwear traction!

These shoes share the same outsole as the previous version the Lone Peak 3.0. So I can tell you with certainty that they GRIP LIKE HELL! Granite slabs, wet rock, moss, mudd, water crossings? Just about anything I’ve thrown at them they’ve stuck to like glue. Always very impressed by the “trail claw” outsole on Altra’s Lone Peak line. This version, with the hexagons, is no exception! While running these shoes are awesome for descending and braking. I always feel in control while I wear them.

How quick do they dry out?

Getting a little wet.

Here’s a big factor for me. Dry-ability?… Is that a word? Here in the North East I find myself on wet trails frequently. Just last week I was forced to wade through waist deep water 4 or 5 times along a mountain trail due to higher than average water levels. If my shoes stay wet, I get clammy and form blisters. In the spring this means getting dreadfully cold from having wet feet. If my shoes get sopping wet it makes my movement sloppy and can lead to tripping and falling. Having quick drying shoe’s is very important to me!

That being said, the new Altra Lone Peak 3.5’s improve in this area. They’ve replaced much of the “reinforced areas” with stitching and perforated mesh pads. Altra has also cleverly included “drain holes” around the perimeter of the shoe near the sole. This should allow water to drain out rapidly after being submerged rather than waiting for them to dry out through the mesh alone.

In my limited testing the Altra Lone Peak 3.5’s have dried out very fast indeed. I’m quite pleased with all the effort Altra has put into this department! I only hope it doesn’t sacrifice in durability of the upper (more on that later).

If you’re looking for a waterproof version of the shoe. Check out the Lone Peak 3.5 Neoshell!

Looks

Doing some hill work to test the traction.

As always beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, I’ve always found the Lone Peaks quite attractive. The Mens 3.5 version comes in 4 colors: Red, Black, Blue, and Yellow. Women’s version comes in Pink, Purple, Aqua Blue, and Black. The 3.5’s look a lot like the Lone Peak 3.0’s with the exception of having new color combinations and slightly different mesh patterns.

I opted for the blue version of the Mens. It’s kind of a dark navy / steel blue mixture. I typically choose brighter colors but I really liked this color combination as it matches a lot of my gear. Along the side of the shoe is the iconic mountain graphic and Altra “A” logo. The outsole on the bottom of the shoe features a footprint in blue which has been around since the original Lone Peak. These shoes look the part.

Durability

A sore subject for a lot of the older Lone Peak shoes. Historically there have been many complaints about the Lone Peak line of shoes durability. The early 2.0 and 2.5 had a terrible issue with the upper material failing to the point of the sole separating from the upper. Altra addressed this issue with the Lone Peak 3.0 which was the burliest Lone Peak ever created. Lots of reinforced areas and less fatigue areas. They sacrificed how well the shoe dried for durability.

Now with the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 they’ve tried to strike a happy medium. Giving the customer a burly shoe that can also dry extremely fast. I applaud the effort put in here! I haven’t put nearly enough mileage on these shoes to truly judge how long they will last but my hopes are high. I am slightly concerned about the upper. There is far less reinforcement on the upper than the previous model. Time will tell! If I can hit 400 miles on them I’ll be a happy camper.

Which to Buy? Lone Peak 3.5 versus Lone Peak 3.0

Comparing the Lone Peak 3.5 (Blue) to the 3.0 (Red)

Comparing the uppers of the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 to the new 3.5

The Lone Peak 3.5 (Blue) compared to the 3.0 (Red). Both shoes share the same outsole.

The Lone Peak 3.5 (Blue) compared to the 3.0 (Red). Notice the added drainage holes on the 3.5’s

For the most part the new Lone Peak 3.5’s are nearly identical to the previous Lone Peak 3.0. You get all the greatness of the 3.0 with the addition of some bells and whistles. In my eyes there are THREE major upgrades that may sell you on the new 3.5 version. The “quick dry” mesh, enhanced drainage features, and the refined midfoot / heel fit. Along with these three upgrades you get the new 4-point “gaiter trap” and a handful of fun new colors to choose from. Both the 3.0 and 3.5’s weigh exactly the same on my scale. If price is not a factor I think it’s a no brainer to go for the new Lone Peak 3.5’s at the retail price of $119. However, if you’re looking to save a few bucks the older Lone Peak 3.0’s can currently be found for bargain pricing! Check the links below for up to date prices!


To Wrap it up.

If you’re looking for new trail shoes for hiking or running that are tough, comfortable, grip well, and dry quick I highly suggest you try on a pair of the new Altra Lone Peak 3.5’s!

Hiker, climber, father, and husband. The mountains have become a tremendous source of inspiration, physical challenge, fitness, motivation, and enrichment for me. I love the gear, and technical aspects of climbing. I also enjoy sharing this other type of lifestyle with people who haven't experienced it!

2 Comments

  • Mark

    August 16, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Hey, love the post. I recently bought a pair and really like the feel so far. I have a nerve/bone issue in one of my metatarsals on my right foot, and the wide toe box is great for it.

    Anyways, I’m pretty much totally sold on the zero-drop concept, and my question is, how can one go back to regular shoes with a heel? I’m particularly curious what altra fans do in the winter, or when they go snow shoeing. I know that you can slap some microspikes on these bad boys, but when looking for a mountaineering shoe, what does one do?

    Reply
    • mm

      Dave Dillon

      August 16, 2017 at 1:57 am

      Glad you’re enjoying the shoes Mark! Personally I wear relatively low drop “daily driver” shoes for work and stuff. When I ice climb I still wear full blown Scarpa Phantom 6000 mountaineering boots. It’s a different sport and warrants a different shoe. I don’t think anyone is making zero drop mountaineering boots just yet!

      Reply

Leave a Reply