What I learned by slicing my Altra Lone Peak 1.5 in Half: Shoe Review + Video

photo 5

I got a new knife for Christmas which would have made things a little easier for the review of this pair of Altra Lone Peak 1.5s! I love this shoe so this one hurt a little bit. 

What’s Makes the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Stand Out?

Last Fall I ran a 50K in Moab, UT and there were three types of shoes that seemed to be on most of the competitors feet: Hoka One One Evo Stinson, Brooks Cascadia and Altra Lone Peak 1.5. All three of these are in my rotation so that may be part of why I noticed so many of them (like when you buy a silver car and then realize that everyone has one) but the Altras are pretty hard to miss because of the following:

  1. They look different: I think they look pretty cool. I like the bold colors, simple lines and clean design.
  2. Zero Drop: This gives them a low, close to the ground profile that is unique and functional.
  3. Wide Toe Box: Although their Zero Drop technology is key to their marketing, I think the wide toe box is emerging as an even more important differntiator for them.

The claimed wide toe box is really what drove me to cut my shoes in half. I had put quite a few miles on them and they do feel comfortable but I wanted to see if they really were that much different.

Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Versus Hoka One One Evo Stinson

Since I had already massacred the Left shoe of my beloved Evo Stinsons as noted here and here, I had no qualms about cutting the right shoe apart to compare it to the Lone Peak. Cutting the Lone Peak in half was painful as it’s definitely one of my favorite pair of running kicks but it was also fun. As I measured the shoes I began to see some interesting differences.

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I measured the forefoot at 5mm increments to get a feel for how they compared. At first the differences looked very minor but upon closer inspection the contrasts were pretty interesting.

5 Things I learned – Secrets Revealed


  1. Altra has narrower heel: Where the Hoka measured 60mm across, the Altra was 50mm. This serves Altra’s vision of creating more of foot shaped footbed and I think further enhances the appearance of the wider toe box.
  2. Hoka actually begins wider: I was frankly, a little suprised when the first two measurements at the beginning of the forefoot showed that the Hoka was actually 3-8mm wider than the Lone Peak. Although I was initially surprised by this it made more sense as I continued on.
  3. Lone Peak 1.5 is wider where it counts: Some have complained about the narrow toe-box of the Hoka and conversely, many laud the wide toe box of the Altra. I have definitely experienced both and while each fit can be a matter of preference I have experienced less blisters in the Altra. The final two measurements of the Altra show that indeed the toe box narrows significantly less than the Hoka and stays wider – up to 5mm wider toward the tip of the shoe. I didn’t measure it but I think it I were to keep marking with the ruler all the way to tip, the wider trend would hold true. This is where the magic happens for me but you can see that we’re talking about pretty subtle differences that really add up to the Lone Peak 1.5 being a comfortable shoe for me.
  4. Lone Peak 1.5 has extra “usable space” in the toe box: In the above picture you can see some measurements on the Lone Peak that note 105-110mm. This is the outside to outside width of the shoe and although I didn’t mark the Hoka, the Lone Peak was slightly larger. The “bathtub” or concave nature of the Hoka’s footbed and the way the upper is sewn to the footbed causes the toe box upper to fit pretty closely to the foot. Many shoes seem to have an upper that tends to roll inward to keep in close proximity to the toes and forefoot. The Altra’s upper in terms of how it emerges from the footbed seems to be pretty vertical or almost rolling outward. This is simply an observation on my part and it’s hard to see in the photos but I believe this plays a role in the comfort of the shoes because it doesn’t feel as constrictive around the foot and it feels like more “usable space”.
  5. Lone Peak 1.5 construction helps with comfort: The Lone Peak’s upper has a layer of cloth (white in the photo) that is pretty seamless and seems to almost act as a sock around the foot. The Hoka has some stitching (the word “Hoka”)on the cloth of the forefoot upper that provides some rigidity to the shoe but may be felt on the inside. The material used on the inside of the Lone Peak 1.5 is very soft, almost like a microfiber. Mmm, buttery soft.

Tired of reading? Here’s a video of the whole thing!

Altra Zero Drop is a brand on the rise and it’s obvious that they are forging their own path in a crowded space. I’m looking forward to more from them in 2014!

27 thoughts on “What I learned by slicing my Altra Lone Peak 1.5 in Half: Shoe Review + Video

  1. I agree that the Altra’s provide a great toe box, BUT they don’t last very long. How many miles were on your pair? I went through two pairs of the Altra Superiors with tearing of the upper right at the widest are of the shoe in under 150 miles. Not very friendly on the wallet.

  2. Great review on a great shoe! I’ve been through 3 or 4 Lone Peak 1.5’s and many many other Altra models myself. A foot shaped shoe, imagine that! :)
    And yes to Jon – definately a factory defect they take care of. Many many people have put on more than 500 miles

    • The Altra Lone Peak are foot-shaped inside, but not on the outside like the Skora – which are amazing on the road and at the office. Unfortunately Skora doesn’t make a “rocky trail” shoe yet :-(

  3. Thanks for the review. I just bought a pair of LP’s today and will be adding them to my rack. While I have other zero drop shoes, none of my other shoes have a toe box shaped like Altra – I’m anxious to put to me long runs on them and see how they fair. Sounds like a good company with a lot of promise.

  4. Thanks for the review. I just bought my first pair of LP’S today to add to my growing shoe rack. I have several 0 or low drop shoes, but none of my shoes have a toe box like the LP- the shoe feels very Newton – like to me, but the ride is softer and more natural than newton’s lugs. Altra seems like a great company with a lot of promise. I haven’t run in the Hoka’s – it’s obviously got a huge stack, but is it also a low drop? They’re a much higher price point than the altras.

  5. I have had a pair of LPs for 6 weeks now and after 20 years as a runner I rate them as the best shoe I have ever owned. The wide toe box and low profile is such a good combination and they are proving to be excellent shoes not only on the trail but also on the road after some snowfall. I can’t recommend these shoes highly enough and I enjoyed the review which highlights some of the reasons WHY they are such a good shoe.

  6. Nice review to show what’s going on inside the shoe. I’ve been running in the Lone Peak 1.5’s on the trail lately and I really like them a lot. The wide toe-box accommodates a bunion and morton’s toe on my right foot. The shoes are extremely comfortable and don’t feel heavy or bulky on my feet, even though they do while holding them. My concern is that I’ve been reading about durability issues and that they start to come apart around 150 miles. If that turns out being true it’ll be a deal breaker for me. If it’s not true then I’ve probably found my shoe for LT100 this year.

  7. just a note to Altra’s customer service, and Golden being on top of every issue…I had an issue with the Orange Instinct 1.5s (mesh tearing, big problem apparently). I had answered a review of the shoe on Amazon, and Golden jumped in and did the exact same thing, had me contact customer support for a replacement, they not only exchanged the shoe (50 miles on them at the time), they actually sent me a pair of Torins instead, as Golden had suggested I try them out. Altra has THE BEST customer service, and I am proud to own multiple shoes of theirs for all my running needs…and I’m looking forward to adding more with the new line coming in a few days…

    I love my LP 1.5s as well, obviously lol.

  8. I adore my lone peak 1.5’s. I had a lisfranc fracture several years ago that has made finding shoes that are bearable for long runs a challenge. Altra shoes are my solution. I have also had a challenge with neuromas in the past, and so far with the Altras, (going on 10 months) no problems what so ever. As far as customer service… I have a pair of Superiors that had a blowout and was anxious about calling Altra customer service. They apologized for the challenges I was experiencing and made it right as fast as they could. Could not have asked for a better experience. I am a fan and thanks for the explanation in your review.

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