Altra recently released the newest version of their immensely popular hiking shoe: The Altra Lone Peak 7. And they made some changes this time around. Changes a lot of people don’t seem to like. But are they really all that different? I put my feet in a pair of the Lone Peak 6 and 7 to try to figure that out.
Because, not sure if you’re aware–you will be if you’ve beer around here long–but I’m a big fan of Altra Lone Peak shoes for hiking and backpacking. Just check out our review of the Lone Peak 5 or the Lone Peak Hiker. Big fan. I like the zero drop, the minimalist footbed and lack of too much cushioning, that they’re flexible and lightweight…I could go on.
But I won’t. ‘Cause this isn’t a review, it’s a comparison.
See, When I noticed the new version of my fave backpacking shoe dropped, I headed straight to the comments where I was very surprised to see a fair amount of people railing on the new design, complaining about how awful they are, how much they’ve change since the 6, how the quality has gone down, you name it.
So naturally, I had to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. So I asked Altra to send me a pair of the 6 and the 7 so I could test them side by side and see for myself what all the fuss was about. And whether or not any of that fuss is actually worth it.
So let’s compare, shall we?
Altra Lone Peak 6 vs Altra Lone Peak 7: The Devil is in the Details
Let’s start by breaking down what’s technically different between these shoes using info straight from the horse’s mouth (Altra).
The Lone Peak 7 features an upgraded MaxTrac compound on the sole that is more durable and offers more traction in wet conditions than the previous iteration of MaxTrac (which is on the 6). An updated outsole design features a new lug pattern, but still maintains the brand’s signature Trail Claw design.
The Lone Peak 7 also sports an updated external TPU Heel Clip that allows for a more supportive fit in the heel while not forcing your foot in any single direction. So it still allows the foot and shoe to adapt to the terrain.
The new upper is also a diversion from stitched-down PU overlays on the Lone Peak 6. The Lone Peak 7 instead have a lower profile no-sew TPU overlay for a more streamlined look. The lacing structure is basically the same, but the material used for the uppers (the fabric part of the shoe) is a bit different. It does feel slightly less high quality, perhaps, but it’s marginal at best.
As for weight, both the 6 and the 7 are comparable. The 7 is about .5 ounces heavier, which is negligible. Both shoes are built on the original footshape, the soles feel similarly flexible, and the stack height is exactly the same (25 mm). And yes, both are zero drop.
So why don’t people like them?
Altra Lone Peak 6 vs Altra Lone Peak 7: The Comparison
Let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?
I started out by testing both shoes side-by-side. Like, LITERALLY side-by-side. As in, I left the house with the Lone Peak 6 on one foot, the 7 on the other, and walked around, hit the trail, all to see if I could tell the difference.
I gotta say, at the risk of putting conclusions to close to the top of this article, I’m not really sure what the haters are complaining about. THAT SAID! The more I wore both pairs the more I could tell that there ARE a few subtle differences.
Honestly, a lot of negative reviews we saw were incredibly superficial and had to do with color options. *Sigh* Look, not every new iteration of a shoe is gonna be in a colors you love, OK? Get over yourself. Send an email to the company, let them know if you’d like to see more neutrals or whatever, but if you don’t like the color, buy another shoe this time around. The Lone Peak 7 is actually available in one more color than the 6, so you still have plenty of options, and, frankly, I like ’em.
I also like how the new design looks. It’s smoother and more streamlined than the 6 and requires less materials like yard and thick overlays. I think it looks more modern.
The new material on the 7 does look and feel a bit different. It’s maybe just a smidge stiffer and more prone to creasing than in the older model, but I don’t think that’s going to affect performance in the long run. But time will tell.
I do see what reviewers are saying, though, that the material feels a bit lower in quality.
Fit and Feel
But more importantly than the look of the shoes is the fit and feel.
An honestly, when I took them outside, while I thought the 6 was more barefoot and flexible when I first tried it on, I think that was just because they feel just a smidge more cushiony and the uppers feel a bit softer and more flexible.
But after I started hiking, the new 7 felt like it might be more flexible. By which I mean, the foam and minimal cushioning felt like it moved with my foot more, offering a slightly more barefoot-style feel.
But even when I switched the shoes back and forth, on and off my feet, I couldn’t tell a major difference. Yes, they feel slightly different, but I think that’s mostly just because of the materials that make up the upper: the 6 feels slightly softer and like the sole may be just a smidge less dense. But the differences are minimal at best.
Another thing other wearers complained about was the width of the new 7, that it was somehow narrower. But as far as I can tell they’re exactly the same. Same footbed shape, same exterior width, the same. The only thing I can think of is that, once again, the new upper material makes them feel like they’re narrower right out of the box. And to be fair, the inside feel of the shoes is different. I will say the Lone Peak 6 feel softer and more flexible.
I do appreciate the stickier sole on the 7. It makes slick rock scrambles easier and helps with traction on smooth surfaces. But both soles felt perfectly stable on soft ground, so the differences there may be marginal at best.
Further testing will be needed to see if the new 7 is at least as durable as older versions. Though I will say, in the past, my Lone Peaks have peeled and come apart at the toe caps and the updated design may have taken care of that issue. Time will tell.
Overall, I like the new design. Aside from the looks and a lot of new materials–from the foam footbed to the rubber sole to the uppers–the main difference does seem to be with the feel of the shoe when wearing it.
And I can sorta see how die-hard Altra fans might notice a difference and not love it right off the bat. But really, they’re only marginally different. I really don’t see what everybody was getting all complain-y about.
That said, I’ll keep you posted as to how the new Altra Lone Peak 7 performs in the long run.
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Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. alishamcdarris.com