Saturday, August 23, 2014

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 - A Comparison Review

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 on the right...1.5 on the left (picture in the driveway...but both have seen extensive trail time)
The Altra Lone Peak 1.5 has been one of my daily trainers this summer.  One of the reasons for this is that it’s one of the shoes in the Altra lineup that still has the firm/moderate cushioning that I prefer.  They replaced my beloved original Instincts, as I couldn’t find them anymore, and after putting probably a ton of miles on my last pair of Instincts, I finally retired them.  So it is with some excitement and also some anxiety that I ordered a pair of the new Altra Lone Peak 2.0 for comparison.  I was excited in that I thought it might be more comfortable for longer distance.  What made me anxious was that I thought they might be as super-soft as the Instinct 2.0, which I did not like.  This review will be a comparison of the Lone Peak 1.5 and 2.0 to see how they stack up.
Lone Peak 1.5 insole laying on top of the Lone Peak 2.0 insole
The fit is about the same when comparing the two shoes.  If you look at the insoles, they have about the same footprint.  If anything, the 2.0 has a bit more space at the big toe and small toe areas. 
Lone Peak 2.0 has a softer and more padded heel collar and softer upper overall
The uppers of both shoes are different and affect the fit and feel of both shoes.  The material of the 2.0 is relatively soft and flexible as compared to the 1.5.  The overall result is that the 2.0 feels very comfortable on my foot.  That softness can feel great when running on flat, non-technical trails.  When I hit more technical trails, I find myself wanting the tighter weave of the 1.5 upper to hold the foot in place.
Altra Lone peak 2.0 - midfoot "straps" from the midfoot eyelets that go to the base of the shoe - grey part near my thumb. 
A neat feature that somewhat makes up for the looser feeling upper on the 2.0 is that the laces run through some mid-foot straps that go all the way to the footbed of the shoe.  That seems to secure the mid-foot a bit, although I had to tie my laces pretty snug to get this effect. 

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 outsole on the left, 1.5 on the right
 The outsoles of both shoes are about the same.  If anything, the 2.0 has a little bit more tread.  I prefer more of a hybrid outsole, so this isn’t really a big deal to me.  For those who really like an aggressive outsole, the 2.0 might give you a little more grip. 
Altra Lone Peak 2.0 on the bottom, 1.5 on the top - much more cushion
The new midsole is the major change in this update.  The 1.0 and 1.5 both had a more “minimal” feel but ran like a bigger shoe.  In other words, even with a relatively low stack height, I would feel comfortable running on just about any surface in those shoes.  The 2.0 not only has a higher stack height, but also has a softer feel compared to the previous version.  This will probably frustrate those who were in love with the earlier versions of the Lone Peak, but I bet it will be welcomed by most.  For me, the main downside for the change is a slight loss of agility and balance from being up higher on the softer platform.  As someone who does longer trail runs though, I can appreciate the extra cushion.  My feet felt much less fatigued after a recent 5 hour training run, and I didn’t feel like I sacrificed a lot in the way of running form.  

If you think the previous versions are the greatest shoes in the world, you might want to stock up now because the Altra lineup seems to be trending towards more cushioned shoes.  Overall though, this is a good update that I think will appeal to many people who like the zero drop, foot shaped approach but didn’t want the more minimal cushioning of the previous versions. 
Thanks for reading!

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