The Lone Peak by Altra has quickly become a trail favorite for thru-hikers, section hikers and weekend warriors, and it's easy to see why. The shoe has a lot to offer with some of its key features being a neutral (Zero Drop) platform and a generous foot shape toe box. I never had much luck with the Lone Peak shoes in the past due to a poor fit. After trying on a pair of the Lone Peak 4.0s and finding them to work better than previous generations, I decided to purchase a pair and test them out on my solo and group guided backpacking trips for 2019.
This led to also getting a pair of the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 RSM Mid for winter trips (pictured above) and thus eventually converting me to the Zero Drop club.
Last month Altra released an updated Lone Peak 4.5 to their line up. The shoe looks fairly similar to the previous generation, but there are subtle differences both in the design and the feel. This blog post will go over the two shoes side by side and discuss these differences and similarities. I've also put together a video going over the two which can be found here.
The Lone Peak 4.5 costs $120 and weighs 10.5 oz per shoe (my pair weighs 10.75 oz on my scale). At the time of this blog post, the shoe comes in a fantastic assortment of colors for this generation which are: Lime/Red (pictured above), Black, Olive/Willow, Carbon and Gray/Orange.
The Lone Peak 4.0 originally cost $120, but can most likely be found on sale as the shoe phases out to make room for the newer 4.5. The shoe weighs 10.5 oz and I found it to be accurate on my scale. Colors offered for the 4.0 are Blue, Grey/Orange (though the orange looks more like a bright red), Green, Black/Red and Gray/Yellow.
Both shoes feature the Trail Claw and Maxtrac which provides great traction on varying terrain, reliable grip and a durable outsole. Both feel solid underfoot to me and I appreciate the natural feel the shoe provides with the Zero Drop as I take each step. The foot-strike and push off are smoother. Your results may differ based on your biomechanics.
I put a pair of the Lone Peak 4.0s through the wringer during 2019 and logged in 544 miles (exact mileage, I record my trips with a GPS watch and field notes) with them in locations including Mount Washington and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the North Country Trail in Pennsylvania for the Allegheny 100, the Appalachian Trail and the New England Trail. The shoe performed well in everything I experienced and has now become my daily footwear until the last of the tread wears out.
The mid-sole on both shoes uses a dual layer EVA with A-Bound and a built in StoneGuard rock plate. The cushion is moderate and the overall stack height of the shoe is 25mm. One issue I had with the 4.0 was a less than moderate cushion after 120 miles in the shoe. The EVA had unfortunately packed out and left the shoe feeling more minimal, though it still felt comfortable enough for me to use.
The combination of the mid-sole and rock plate work really well and provide a generous amount of comfort on packed trails and hard surfaces without adding top-heaviness or taking away from feeling the ground beneath you.
The insoles provided in both shoes are slightly different. In the image above, you'll notice the 4.5 (right) is slightly narrower in the mid-foot and the toe compared to the 4.0 (left). The new shoe does feel a little more narrow overall, but I still find it to be comfortable with my D width foot. In fact, it feels a little more snug and secure for my low volume foot compared to the 4.0. Though the foot shaped toe box has also been trimmed, I still find it to be roomy enough to avoid any contact or compression that can result in blisters.
The 4.5 features more drain ports than the 4.0 (this design could be due to the insoles discussed below). I haven't had the chance to put this part of the updated design to the test yet, but I found it to be a nice feature with the 4.0.
Weather can be unpredictable sometimes and hiking in the pouring rain can quickly become a part of any trip. On multiple trips throughout 2019, I experienced heavy downpours and hiking through flooded sections of trail. The ports on the shoe helped in allowing the Lone Peak 4.0 to dry quicker than other shoes I've worn in the past. It forced water out of the shoe with each step while hiking through flooded areas and it offered increased ventilation along with the excellent air permeable mesh outer on the shoe during oppressively humid or wet days on the trail.
The insole for the 4.5 also feels a little stiffer to me personally. This adds to the tweaked mid-sole formula in the 4.5 which offers a more resilient feel underfoot. The 5mm thicknwas of the insole in the 4.0 remains the same with this updated shoe.
On the 4.0 the insole and mid-sole EVA felt a little softer and more cushioned, almost like I was wearing a slipper. I prefer this feel to the stiffer 4.5 at the moment, but time and mileage will tell if that changes. There was also a brief adjustment period for me with change in the underfoot of the 4.5.
Lastly with the insoles, the 4.5 (left) is now solid compared to the porous insole of the 4.0 (right). This slight change in the insole can also be a part of the design choices made in relation to the drain areas on each shoe.
The upper on the 4.5 has been trimmed down which allows for more flexibility. The tongue on the 4.5 also has a stitched strip with a series of loops, allowing for a more secure and customized fit (see below). The strip also features an athlete id tag with a few boxes to check off successful summit attempts. A more refined lacing system also adds to a personalized fit with multiple eyelets. The 4.0 provides a different lacing system and less wiggle room for a precise fit.
The Lone Peak 4.5 still allows for the 2-point Altra trail gaiter or Dirty Girl gaiters, but will not accept a 4-point gaiter system as the Lone Peak 4.0 shoe did. This might be a drawback for some, but I personally use the Altra 2 point gaiter and Dirty Girl gaiters so I haven’t found this to be an issue.
The 4.5 keeps the velcro gaiter trap whichon the heel of the shoe. I am a big fan of the strapless gaiter anchor system on the Lone Peak shoe over my experience with under strap systems, which tend to fail quickly due to abrasions and reduce ground contact underfoot. The surrounding area on the heel of the new iteration is now reinforced while losing the stitching and mesh fabric that was found on the 4.0.
One other issue I had with my Lone Peak 4.0 shoes, was the rubber toe cap began to peel prematurely. This wasn’t a major problem, just more cosmetic than anything, and some Shoe Goo made for a quick fix. For the 4.5 it looks like this has been addressed and reinforced.
I cannot attest to the long term durability and comfort of this shoe yet as it has only been out for a month so far, and I have 26 miles in the shoe. I am hopeful upon my first impressions and the longevity I experienced with the 4.0. With multiple backpacking trips planned with groups and some solo pursuits on the calendar too, I’m looking forward to putting more mileage on this shoe to see how it holds up to the 4.0 and to offer a follow up long term review. At the moment, I find I still prefer the 4.0 overall.
Own the Lone Peak 4.5 or a previous Lone Peak shoe? What has been your experience?
Have a question about the 4.5, 4.0 or the 4.0 Mid RSM? Leave a comment.