ALTRA Lone Peak 3.5 | My 2017-2018 Hiking Season’s Trail Shoes

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Photo Credit: ALTRA 

My Trail Shoes | The Lone Peak Series

In the ever constant pursuit to find the right shoe for my hiking adventures, I decided to start hiking in a low-top non waterproof trail-runners.

My reasoning…, As my pack has gotten lighter and lighter…the odds of having a mechanical foot/ankle injury have decreased respectively. I’ve found my feet are going to be wet either way whether it was from sweating in a waterproof shoe or getting wet from the elements or environment in a non waterproof shoe. At least the non waterproof trail-runners allow for drying.

Additionally, over the years I have discovered my need for a softer foot bed that was more responsive to the trail conditions than that of boots or high-top trail-runners.

And finally my last reason was simply the trail runners are just lighter and reducing weight makes for a more enjoyable trail experience.

The Lone Peak 3.0s convinced me…LPs are the trail-shoes for me!

My Altra History | An Ideal “Trail Fit” For Me

Early on, I felt the patented “FootShape” toe box shoe was an ideal “trail fit” for me, making sense to accommodate my wide forefeet and nasty “trail-swell.”

As far as the “Zero-drop” sole platform, this was something new to me. I did study the Zero-drop and felt the principles behind it were solid. So I purchased a pair of Altra’s Lone Peak 2.5s.

ALTRA’s Shoe Technology EXPLAINED

Immediately, I found they were extremely comfortable and could appreciate the forefoot room during stressed gait mechanics.

On The Trail With The Lone Peak 2.5s | A Lot Of Sliding Going On

In my attempt of hiking in the LP 2.5s, the lack of medial-lateral support led to my feet sliding all around in the properly tied shoe.

From the reviews I researched, this issue presented as to the reason why most trail-runners and hikers alike would “blow-out” the sides of their shoes.

So I retired them to being just my ultra comfortable casual walking around shoes and still wear them frequently to this day.

The Lone Peak 3.0 Solution | Satisfied My Needs

Altra, after getting feedback from outdoors enthusiast, decided to attempt a fix for those “blow-outs.”

Adding medial-lateral supports, and a few other features resulted in drastically changing the game in regard to controlling the foot while in the shoe.

After trying a pair of the new LP 3.0s on and experiencing the fix, I knew it was time for me to purchase them and get back on the trail.  These fixes satisfied my needs that the LP 2.5s couldn’t fulfill…”medial-lateral support.”

After a few runs & short hikes in the LP 3.0s, I was so impressed with comfort and transitional support , I pitched the benefits to my father-in-law and he got a pair for a multi-day GSMNP-AT October hike we had planned.

I even sold a pair to a gentleman in a local outfitters after discussing the benefits of the Altra design….you’re welcome Birmingham Mountain High Outfitters.  I can’t help myself, I enjoy selling!

2016-2017 Hiking Season | Blisterless 

The LP 3.0s performed admirably well all throughout my 2016-2017 hiking season resulting in the first hiking season to go “blisterless!”

My feet and legs both felt great when we would roll into camp after a typical 15-20 mile day. Another benefit I noticed, my foot & leg fatigue factor were way less from previous seasons.

In November of the 2016 hiking season, my good hiking buddy Chris “Daddy’$Money” Russell and I hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail between Standing Bear Hostel to Hot Springs, North Carolina in two days.

On the second day of the hike, we left Groundhog Creek Shelter traveling north over Max Patch and on to Hot Springs, North Carolina…just to get a burger at Spring Creek Tavern.  The math of that mileage was 26.2 miles (both of our highest one day total mileage)!

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To my elation, after 26.2 miles…, my feet were fine! The only thing I can say otherwise was that my feet and great toes felt kinda of tingly. That’s the best way I can explain it!  HECK…it was 26.2 miles…of course your body is going to feel kinda tingly.

We jokingly refer to that hike as “The Hot Springs Marathon” hike… I’ll remind you…just to get a burger! Hikers’ hunger is real!

A few months later, a few of us met up with Benny Braden ( Benny “Plug-It-In” Braden ) to hike with him for his record-breaking concluding twenty mile #FastestGSMNP900miler hike over Mount Leconte in trail-rivers-soaked conditions; sometimes in knee-deep stream crossings. I can attest to no foot problems for that twenty mile wet day hike.

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The LP 3.0s Retirement From The Trail | HELLO New Lone Peak 3.5s

The newest edition LP 3.5s were released to the public as of July 2017 and I battled the thought of hiking another season in my LP 3.5s.

Those thoughts took me back to 2016 where I warred within myself to wear a pair of nearly expired trail shoes for the last 40 or so miles of the Georgia AT.

I did wear the expired trail shoes and… well a picture is worth a 1000 words…!

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This memory helped me to make up my mind and while I feel confident the LP 3.0s would probably handle another 100 miles; the thought of my feet getting beat up like in 2016, loomed vividly in my mind.

Plus, this hiking season I would be tackling not only more of the AT, but ninety miles abroad in the Nepali Himalayan mountain range trails.

The Search For A Good Deal | Success

Being a long term Prime member, I initiated my search on Amazon; immediately finding a pair of Black LP 3.5s …for $109! (Shocker huh…”BLACK!” All of my gear is black…Hello, my name is Johnny Cash…how do you do? haha…)

Seeing how the LP 3.5s had only been out for 2 months, I quickly spring to action purchasing them.

After a day, I wanted to look at the details and specs of the shoes again on Amazon only to find that they were back at the regular price of $120!

Needless to say, I was glad I had made the decision to purchase when I did…!

The Initial Fit | Feeling Familiar

Upon receiving my new size 12 Altra LP 3.5s, I unboxed and tried them on.

I had decided to get a full size up from my normal size 11.

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Putting them on and walking around in my house, that familiar “Zero-Drop” was very pronounced compared to my last season’s LP 3.0s.

I had 200+ miles on my LP 3.0s and after putting the new LP 3.5s on, I knew I had made the correct decision to get a new pair of Lone Peaks for this year’s hiking season.

I didn’t know my LP 3.0s’ soles were as compressed as they were…

Other Upgrades and Offerings | LP 3.0s vs The LP 3.5s

The moderately cushioned 9 ounce LP 3.5s were updated and improved with quick dry drainage holes to encourage shoe drying after getting wet, a 4-point gaiter system as oppose the 2-point offerrings on LP 3.0s to keep dirt and rocks out, and an upgraded mesh upper for enhanced durability.

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Of course they kept the sandwiched stone-guard rock plate next to the foot for protection from stones and roots while on the trail.

I feel the the new LP 3.5s have a sleeker profile than the LP 3.0s.

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Additionally, you can see the heel projects more forward to aid in securely gripping the heel when ascending on inclines and the shoe tongue is shorter.

A top view also shows some changes to the lacing eyelet supports which I believe would be beneficial in ALTRA’s continued mantra of not compressing or causing a squeeze response to the metatarsals  (which can cause mid-foot pain if too tight) during the tightening down of laces when needed.

 

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When Are We Going Hiking | These LP 3.5s Need Some Earth On Them

Seeing how my LP 3.0s were out of  box ready to go (no break in period for me), I am looking extremely forward to getting some earth on these new LP 3.5s simply because I need to get out into the backcountry!

As of right now, there are already solid hiking plans for a weekend 38+ miler on Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail, a 40+ miler in the GSMNP,  a 90+ miler in Nepal, and a 55+ miler SOBO into Damascus for the 2018 Trail Days…

I’m excited about this year’s hiking season as I have expanded my hiking network with more new friends of hiking-like minds.

Additionally,  I hope to hike more in the GSMNP, tagging along with Benny Braden as he tries to break his own #FastestGSMNP900miler record when I can.

These LP 3.5s are going to hopefully see a lot of trail this year.

So stay tuned and look for more good trail tales to come…!

See you on the trail,

JBEN

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5 Comments

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  1. Clarence Benefield August 26, 2017 — 1:15 pm

    That was pretty good Jeff.

    Like

  2. Great write up! As you know I am just trying out the older 3.0’s that you are moving away from… for $59 I couldn’t pass them up! I seems that they have vastly improved the Lone Peaks since the 1’s were out… although I would still like to see them go to Vibram outsoles. Anyway, I like mine so far (about to go for another run in them) but still haven’t decided 100% that they will be what I stick with. Only time will tell that… but for the moment they seem promising! 👍

    ~Stick~

    Like

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