Last updated: 20-Aug-18
By James Eacott
Earlier this year I reviewed the Lone Peak 3.0 shoe and, on the whole, I liked it. I felt it would be good over longer ultras upwards of 50 miles due to the plush ride, but that the lack of proprioceptive feedback might hamper runners on more technical trails.
I have actually continued to use the 3.0 for long, low intensity sessions and the shoe has grown on me, so it was with anticipation that I received the next edition – the 3.5 – to see how it stacked up.
- Designed for trail running, fast packing and racing
- Midsole: Midsole: EVA with A-Bound Top Layer
- Upper: Quick-dry mesh
- Outsole: MaxTrac Rubber with TrailClaw
- Insole: 5mm contoured footbed
- Weight: 255g
- Drop: 0mm
- Stack height: 25mm
- Gaiter track hooks
- Price: £92
If you’re an observant type, you’ll notice the remarkable resemblance to the features of the 3.0. No, I haven’t just copied and pasted them from the older version (save for the 20g lesser weight) and I’m scratching my head as to why Altra would create such an apparently similar shoe.
My first impression was the same as when I was greeted by the 3.0. With its large toe box, it is big. It is Hoka big. Still, I’ve grown to enjoy the 3.0 and have learnt to accept the platypus-look as part and parcel of running comfy.
As we know, the trademark of an Altra shoe is the wide toe box. If this is your first pair, it can take a little while for your toes to enjoy their new-found freedom. They may feel too large, but stick with it and your feet will probably thank you. I’ve found Altra’s sizing is ‘correct’ ie you don’t need to size up or down.
The zero drop encourages a mid-foot strike so those with a heavy heel contact may struggle with them. If a heel strike works for you, then I wouldn’t necessarily change it, but I’d look for another shoe.
However, for those looking to gradually convert to a fore/mid-foot strike, this shoe has a place. Unlike many shoes, the cushioning is equal through the length of the sole and does not taper towards the toe, so it provides a gentle transition into a new style of running.
Pros – what’s good about the Altra Lone Peak 3.5
The cushioning really is excellent. More so than a lot of the Hoka range, the stack height of 25mm throughout the entire sole means you do get good cushion through the entire ground-strike.
These shoes actually arrived on my ‘long run’ day and, rather than do a shorter run (as would be advisable in a new pair of kicks) I felt so comfy in my living room that I hit the treadmill for a 90-minute run with some marathon-paced efforts. I was really pleased with them. A couple of blisters between the toes, but I suppose that is a side-effect of having more wiggle room. That said, the ride was plush and extremely comfortable.
After a few weeks of running on all sorts of terrain, it’s obvious the whole upper has increased durability. This is pleasing to see as it was after a couple of months in the 3.0 shoe that stitches began to fray.
At this time of year, I predominantly run either hard-packed, road or treadmill and I love that the 3.5 is at home on them all. It is a solid jack-of-all-trades. Altra do have shoes for ‘daily training’ and ‘road racing’ should you wish to get a specialist for that.
The grip on hard packed trails was good though I only managed to test them in dry conditions. I can’t comment on the shoe’s performance on the wetter stuff, but the tread is near identical to the 3.0 and it didn’t hold up that well on slippery stuff. I used the shoe twice on more technical trails, but again found myself less confident in my foot placement. This is the same as with Hokas and probably due to subconscious lack of feeling beneath a thick sole. No shoe can cover every base and that’s ok with me.
The shoe is priced much more favourably than the 3.0.
Cons – what’s not so good about the Altra Lone Peak 3.5
The lacing system is somehow different and I found it harder to get a secure fit in the 3.5. I eventually had to pull the upper laces tight to hold my foot in place. When I didn’t do this, my foot moved too freely.
The only other slight con (presumably due to the large toe box) were some between-toes blisters in the first few runs. Nothing that some tape or a pair of Injinji socks can’t solve.
As obvious from the features, it’s a rather modest renovation of the former edition, and I have to say it doesn’t feel much different to the 3.0. The shoe offers a comfy ride and good grip on all but very technical trails and I personally like the zero drop because I’m a mid-foot striker. The price is a significant improvement and I’d see no reason to purchase the 3.0 now.
As I said earlier, it’s a solid jack-of-all-trades, good value and will provide a comfortable ride on most surfaces.
Other running shoes you may want to consider:
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
Mizuno Wave Daichi 2
Hoke One One Arahi
Have you used the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 shoes? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.
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All images James Eacott.
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