If there is one thing I have always appreciated about Altra shoes, it is that you recognize them immediately, regardless of whether the brand name is more or less exposed. This for me will always be an added value: it means that they follow a definite philosophy and that the idea of the brand is not affected by any fashion wave.
Altra Lone Peak 7 is obviously no different: the generous toebox and Balanced Cushioning are two key elements that we are unlikely to ever lose, and the way I see it, it’s just right. Let’s start by saying that this shoe naturally succeeds the Lone Peak 6. We have no revolutions but small changes and refinements that make it cleaner in shape and slightly more stable and protective.
In the past, I had never run in a shoe with a Balanced Cushioning platform that places the heel and forefoot on the same level from the ground. I had tried them, walked and run a little bit, but I never really run in them. With these, on the other hand, I had the opportunity to do all the necessary testing for over a month. The good news is that-unlike a street shoe-the transition is not that long or even that difficult. In fact, not surprisingly, we talk about Balanced Cushioning, which positions the heel and forefoot at the same level from the ground. This helps to have optimal alignment, improves running form and encourages a low impact landing. All it took for me was an initial settling in to get in tune with the shoe. This is because the drop is almost completely irrelevant while climbing, and in general in trail running the support is so heterogeneous and varied-often creative to say the least-that you can’t spot the difference.
Let’s start with the sole. The grip is just right and precise, not exaggerated but still such that you can run without worry. The tread pattern is almost unchanged from the previous model, which is also excellent on soft and muddy terrain. Here the real novelty is the addition of two opposing inserts (inner on the toe and outer on the heel) with a particularly aggressive design that should improve grip in direction changes. Finally, they keep the small wing that protrudes from the heel whose purpose is to help balance on particularly challenging slopes: even if this were not the case, however, I really like it and it makes the line of the shoe more streamlined than it really is. The upper has been slightly revised and cleaned up gaining elegance and minimalism.
Overall, the Lone Peak 7 has a slightly vintage allure-partly because of the color choices-that inspires confidence and durability.
Drainage holes are gone from the toe-box, which, however, has been reinforced and covered with a significantly more waterproof membrane than the previous one. On the heel we notice a rigid polymer insert that is meant to improve its stability: it is hard to say if and how much it makes a difference from the previous model, but there is still work to be done on the final result. Much appreciated, however, is the pad placed above the tongue just below the lacing point, providing comfort even with very tight laces.
The midsole remains almost entirely unchanged, retaining the proprietary EGO foam already seen and proven in previous iterations.
Let’s hit the road
Altra Lone Peak 7 is a comfortable shoe. It is from the moment you slip it on your feet, even before you lace it up: you feel comfortable. It is not so obvious, far from it. I have worn dozens of shoes that needed several miles of settling in before they fit my foot (and vice versa). This comfort makes them particularly suitable for medium-length tracks (50-80 km). Despite having a moderately aggressive sole, I appreciated them more on runnable ups and downs, where the generosity of the forefoot makes a difference, than in major uphill or downhill situations. If in fact they have a great grip on the climb, they lack stability on technical slopes; quite a bit of work still need to be done on this side. The challenge I see ahead is to solve this small weakness without distorting the shape and essence of the shoe.
Altra Lone Peak 7 is available to the public at the Altra online store from yesterday, January 17, 2023, just in time for the start of the training season, with a list price of 160€ (10€ more than the previous model).