Since moving to the Lone Peak line as my 3 season hiking and backpacking shoe of choice in 2014, I’ve followed along as the shoe has matured across various versions as I’ve worn out each pair along the way. Now that it’s 2020, the latest version is all the way up to the 4.5 model that is quite different from very early versions of the Lone Peak, but very similar to more recent versions like the Lone Peak 4.0.
In fact, the new Altra Lone Peak 4.5 is so similar that after wearing out my version 4 shoes, I immediately took the Lone Peak 4.5 on a 5 day, almost entirely offtrail (unless we’re counting elk trails) backpacking trip with no break in and without even trying them on before heading out the door. Normally, this isn’t suggested with a new shoe, but with my previous experience hiking in the Lone Peak and knowing I’m always a size 12.5 in Altra shoes, it turned out great. The shoe (so long as you get the right size) is immediately comfortable with plenty of space for the toes and the shoe is light (13 ounces per shoe measured in my size men’s 12.5), so it doesn’t weigh down your feet. The rockplate and moderate level of cushioning (25mm stack height) in the shoe is sufficient protection for your feet even offtrail with a 30lb pack, and the outsole offers sufficient traction in varied conditions. Like all Altra shoes the shoe has zero heel to toe drop.
For backpacking, and while I normally do not take camp shoes no matter what, the Lone Peak is the only shoe I’ve ever worn that didn’t have me partially wishing for a camp shoe at the end of a long day. The shoes will also dry reasonably quickly after an accidental or intentional splash through a stream crossing due to the breathability built into the shoe, and the mesh that offers this breathability is pretty tough – and in fact has been holding up even after some talus travel where I did completely expect the shoes to rip or at least show significant signs of abrasion.
With the Lone Peak 4.5 it’s just been more of the same that we’ve come to expect from the Lone Peak line – although with the most recent versions the “trail rudder” that Altra has used in the past has returned – which is just a small protrusion of the outsole beyond the heel of the shoe that is said to offer more control and traction on downhills. While I haven’t found this to make much of a difference on descents, it does seem like it adds an opportunity for the outsole to separate from the midsole at some point. Not that this has happened, but I do think with shoes sometimes simpler is better. I don’t use gaiters with low shoes, but if you do the Lone Peak has gaiter attachment points on the heel and toe of the shoe.
Overall the Lone Peak 4.5 is unremarkably great – it’s just more of the same nice blend of light weight, decent durability, traction, protection, and comfort (even right out of the box) that we’ve come to expect from the continually refined Lone Peak lineup.
A pair of Lone Peak 4.5 shoes retail for around $120, but can be found on sale. You can find them here at Amazon.com, at Backountry.com, and here at REI. For our review on the waterproof RSM version of the Lone Peak, see this magazine review. You can find my review of the waterproof mid-height boot here. Altra also has a mesh version of the Lone Peak in a mid-height boot (all of the last 3 models are currently on the 4.0 model) – you can check out the Lone Peak Mesh Mids here.