Altra Lone Peak 7: Tested Review

The zero-drop pioneer’s latest update makes this venerable classic burlier than ever.

Heather Balogh Rochfort|Published February 21, 2023

12 reviews with an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars
The Altra Lone Peak 7 splayed on the ground, covered in dirt from the trail

I live in a Colorado mountain town, so world-class trail running can be easier to come by than it would be in other parts of the country. One of my favorite locales, Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area, sits about five minutes from my front door and boasts everything from technical, rocky terrain to smooth-and-flowy singletrack (with a side of mountain lion during pre-dawn hours).

With such easy access to the outdoors, trails are my jam. It's no big thing to snag 1,000 vertical feet before breakfast and still get our daughter to preschool by 8 am. However, that beautiful red singletrack turns snowy and icy in the winter, and my trail-shoe testing time morphs into a game of Wheel of Fortune. So, when the new Altra Lone Peak 7 arrived at my door in early November just as the seasonal snow began to fly, I crossed my fingers and hoped for mega durability and sticky-as-glue traction to keep my butt off the ground and out of the snow.

Launched in December 2022, the Lone Peak 7s are the latest version of Altra's best-selling shoe. The brand debuted what they're calling FootShape™ fits on a number of models last year, slimming down the classic profile with a slightly narrower forefoot and heel to appeal to a mainstream audience. But Altra loyalists have nothing to fear with the Lone Peak: They still have the same Original FootShape™—with its signature roomy toe box and wide forefoot—that they launched with 12 years ago.

Still, there are some high-quality updates. Whereas the Lone Peak 6 (launched in early 2022) emphasized cutting weight, the Lone Peak 7 doubles down on durability and bomber traction. With slick and mucky trails on my horizon, I decided to see if they could withstand a Rocky Mountain winter.

RunnerHeather Balogh Rochfort
Years running15
Average miles-per-week10-15 post-injury, and working on building back up
Preferred race distance50K
Preferred terrainTrail—the more technical the better

An Upper Built for Adventure

Fans of the Lone Peak have always known them to be hardwearing kicks. There is a reason why trail enthusiasts consider them one of the most popular shoes for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers! But durability typically comes with a weight penalty, so it's fascinating to see Altra manage to both slim down the upper while fortifying the shoe with a longer-lasting design—and with only a 1 oz increase in weight.

Instead of all the stitched-down overlays, the Lone Peak 7 has a "stitchless" upper with no-sew TPU overlays. This means the non-mesh portion of the patterning is heat adhered, almost like a patch. Does this lack of stitching slash a ton of weight? Not really, or at least not enough for me to notice while cruising up Red Hill during my lunch break. But cutting out the seams also eliminates any potential failure points, adding to the shoe's durability. Plus, the streamlined aesthetics makes these sneakers look downright sleek—and that's not something I've said about the Lone Peak before.

The rest of the fit feels like a classic Lone Peak. The heel still has a bit more space than other running shoes, but Altra did tighten it up by adding an external heel counter that cradles the heel in a slightly snugger hug. It's not a massive change, and folks who love the Lone Peak may not notice. But for me, this small tweak meant more confidence on the trails because I wasn't worried about slipping around in my shoe. The laces also seem shorter, which is a good thing in my book.

Take note: The new pastel colors are snazzy, but they get thrashed. I covered my light-tan pair with mud in the first 15 minutes.

Comfort on the Go

I'm not big on breaking in shoes. With today's synthetic materials, I don't think it's necessary, so it was no surprise that the Lone Peak 7 felt great on my first run, a short-but-intense two-miler with 1,000 feet of gain in the first mile. The cushioning on the tongue and heel was just enough to eliminate hot spots. Since the Lone Peak has the same Original Footshape mentioned above, they still have that extra-roomy fit. I needed to snug up the laces a fair bit to lock my foot down, but that is no different than past versions of the shoe.

Underfoot is where it gets confusing for me. The Lone Peak is sturdy and reliable—Altra has maintained the same minimal-to-moderate cushioning and protection that comes from its 25 mm stack height and firm EGO midsole foam. If you're an Altra loyalist who has loved the past underfoot feel, you'll love this new version too—because nothing has changed. But in an era where other footwear brands are diving into more responsive and energetic technologies in the midsole, I wonder if Altra will ever break from tradition.

Finding Traction

Color me impressed. Honestly, it's not an entirely fair test for the outsole to hit the hills when they're covered in snow and ice, and I'll admit that I mentally waffled about leaving my ice cleats at home. Thankfully, I live at 6,200 feet in the banana belt of the region where dry trails can still be found all winter. As soon as I put foot to dirt, the Lone Peak's improved traction caught my attention.

Not only does Altra use a new MaxTrac rubber compound designed to grip better on wet surfaces, but they also redesigned the lug pattern with additional lugs. It sounds minimal, but I noticed the difference almost immediately—especially on damp, technical terrain where I really didn't want to slip. The upper section of my daily route cruises over some sandstone slabs dusted in snow and a solid vertical drop on both sides. I didn't feel as sure-footed as a billy goat (because I'm a 40-year-old woman who really doesn't want an injury), but the grip on the snowy terrain gave me more courage than in the past. While I didn't have any complaints about the outsole on the previous version, I don't think I could go back to them after experiencing this new outsole. It's grippy and confident, which makes my adventures as a clumsy runner a heckuva lot more fun.

Bottom Line: Who Are They For?

Ultimately, if you are already one of the Altra superfans who lives and dies by the Lone Peak, you'll be thrilled with the all-around positive updates in the Lone Peak 7. Potential converts can expect a zero-drop trail shoe with a wider toe box that accommodates toe splay and swelling during long-distance runs. (A note about zero-drop shoes: If you're new to them, make sure to give yourself time to adjust before going on long or fast runs, as the low profile will place additional load on your calves and achilles.) The upgraded outsole increases the shoe's grip on slick surfaces, but those with narrow feet may find the fit too sloppy on technical terrain.

Overall, this is my favorite version of the Lone Peak yet. They're worth the financial investment to upgrade if you're wearing a previous model.