The Altra Lone Peak 4 Low RSM is billed as an AWS or All-Weather Shoe ready for RSM or Rain, Snow or Mud. It’s a mid-weight trail shoe with an aggressive, mud-shedding tread pattern and features a 100% waterproof/breathable upper which is a rarity in trail shoes until just recently. They can also be worn for hiking and are the little brother of the Altra Lone Peak Mid which we reviewed previously here.
Altra's Lone Peak 4 Low RSM Shoes are waterproof yet breathable and ready for anything.
Altra’s approach to running shoes is based on the theory that stacked cushioned heels on classic running shoes lead to common runners’ injuries in-part due to encouraging a heel-strike gait. The “zero-drop” approach that Altra uses creates a natural stride that doesn’t tip the runner forward with a higher heel and lower toe which encourages a more natural mid-foot strike.
Altra's Fit4Her technology caters to the specific form of the female foot, which has a narrower heel and midfoot, a higher instep, a longer arch and unique metatarsal spacing. Altra’s Fit4Her takes all of this into account and creates a better fitting shoe for women instead of putting all runners in essentially men’s shoes.
Altra’s FootShape toe box shape allows runner’s toes and metatarsals the space they need to spread out naturally and provide a gait which flows with much less restriction of natural movement. This enhances stability and creates a powerful toe-off form to maximize running performance. Traditional running shoes usual have tapering toe boxes which compress the toes and metatarsals or long foot bones that are critical to normal foot movement. This unnatural compression squeezes the toes out of their natural position which increases the risk of blisters and plantar fasciitis in the short term and over time, more serious foot complications of bunions, hammertoes and plantar fasciitis. These long-term problems can require prolonged recovery and even surgery to correct.
The Lone Peak series is a well-established trail shoe with an aggressive tread pattern and flexible midsole. They are on the less-cushioned side compared to the Altra Olympus, but offer more than adequate cushion for even larger runners on medium runs. Runners who desire a less-cushioned shoe will find them appropriate for longer outings.
The upper is made of eVent, a 100% waterproof and breathable fabric, which is a welcomed feature in the Pacific Northwest where I tested these shoes. The Lone Peak 4 RSM features a reinforced toe cap, modernized mountain design (logo) on the upper and 4-Point GaiterTrap technology which allows the Lone Peak to work seamlessly with a pair of gaiters to help keep the mud and debris out of them.
The updated gnarly MaxTrac, multi-directional outsole features accentuated TrailClaw for optimum grip and traction where you need it most. The price of $150US, while not cheap, for a waterproof trail shoe, is within the range of its competition. If you are looking for a slightly less expensive trail running shoe then consider Altra's Superior 4 Shoes which we reviewed over here.
Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound with StoneGuard
Outsole: MaxTrac Rubber with TrailClaw
Upper: eVent Fabrics, Waterproof and breathable.
I’ve been a trail runner for 15 years and prefer the maximalist shoes like the Altra Olympus 3 and Hoka Stinson ATR. Additionally, I recently tweaked my back so was a little nervous about testing these more minimalist trail shoes (at least more minimalist compared to my normal max cushioned shoes). The Lone Peaks were tested over several weeks in the Seattle area at Cougar and Tiger mountains for up to 3 hour runs as well as in the Spokane area on the multitude of drier, rockier terrain this area offers.
95% of the trails I ran were single track and included standing water, mud, sand, and dry rocky terrain. I am bigger-framed than most runners, so again was concerned these shoes wouldn’t provide me enough cushion, especially over the longer runs. Additionally I stand at my job, sometimes for 3-4 hours at a go and tested these shoes for comfort in this realm as well. As usual, I wore the shoes to the farmer’s market and for general day to day walking. This may not be an issue for you, so choose wisely. If you are looking for a max-cushioned trail ride, look to Altra’s Olympus series or Hoka’s wide variety of super-cushioned shoes.
The Lone Peaks were exceptionally comfortable from the moment I put them on. Usually it takes a few runs to get used to a new shoe, not so with these. As a fan and avid user of the Altra Olympus, I was already used to the wider toe box, but I often found later in runs when muscle fatigue was more of an issue, I would occasionally catch the toe on rocks or branches, I never experienced this with the Lone Peaks. Additionally they feel extremely nimble, almost like and extension of one’s feet. Sprinting through a rocky section of trail or zipping around roots and obstacles was no match, the Lone Peaks are confidence instilling and stable. A common complaint with minimalist shoes are rock bruises and lack of protection. These shoes solve for these issues and are a great combination of tread, cushion and protection. Add the waterproofing and this is a very versatile trail running shoe. If one were to add a pair of gaiters, this would be a fantastic combination for wet weather trail running. Altra puts GaiterTrap velcro on the back of their shoes allowing simple easy addition of gaiters.
As for cushioning, I found the Lone Peaks to be adequate for 3-6 mile or 5-10 kilometer runs, especially on softer trails. The tread pattern is quite possibly the best I’ve ever tested for shedding mud and debris. Having run several ultras in shoes that struggle to shed mud, this is a very key ingredient for a trail shoe, especially one billed as all-weather.
Running in water and mud, my feet were never wet and this is key if you suffer from cold feet. Personally I run hot, so this wasn’t an issue for me. However, once a running shoe is soaked, the universally become heavy and increased risk of blisters and hot spots. The Lone Peaks offer a great solution to this common issue of running trails in rain and snow. Again, using a pair of low shoe gaiters would definitely add to the “waterproofness”. Altra offers several men’s and women’s options for running specific gaiters.
See above in review.
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