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We’ve found the secret to happy running feet: Foot-shaped shoes.
We admit: We tend to cram our not-so-feminine man feet into high heels and inappropriately sized samples far more frequently than we should.
When we slipped those evil stepsister feet into the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 trail runners (MSRP $115) we were pleased at the absence of discomfort. Our immediate thought was, “We could get used to this.”
We follow Altra on Twitter. We like it on Facebook. We’ve interviewed its folks at trade shows, but until this past winter we’d never tried a pair of its shoes.
We get a lot of samples in the mail and they all audition for the lead role in our next race. It so happened that when these arrived, the next race was the Greenland Trail 50K. We’d had a few lukewarm auditions from other shoes but due to their light weight, comfort and ankle support, the Lone Peak 1.5’s got the starring role.
We added them to the shoes of our training line up. We logged a total of 227 running miles in these puppies, including the Greenland Trail 50K on May 4, and didn’t get one blister – race day included.
Altra’s founder, Golden Harper, gave us a high-five for remaining blister-free on race day. Though we did admit to him we have a pre-long-run ritual that involves duct tape and Vaseline.
In addition to running, we’ve used these bright orange-and-green shoes on several hikes throughout the summer. Their combination of lightness and sturdiness made them perfect for day hikes. Plus, even with the few close calls we had almost rolling our ankles, the ankle support didn’t allow that to happen.
As recovering math nerds, we like things like matrices and Altra has a matrix to explain its DNA.
“Moderate is our heritage,” Harper said, adding the company has never been a “minimal” company rather it has always focused on moderate cushioning with a zero-drop platform. Now the company presents shoes for runners that all incorporate its core DNA: foot-shaped, zero-drop and fully cushioned. All this comes in the categories of neutral, stability or trail shoes.
Our Lone Peak 1.5 is a trail shoe with moderate cushioning. The shoes include the company’s proprietary StoneGuard rock protection, TrailClaw sticky rubber outsole and a two-layer EVA midsole. It comes in at a light 8.9 ounces.
One of our favorite features was the Velcro gaiter trap in the back of the shoe to keep gaiters from falling underneath the heel.
Commendations: We’ve said before and we’ll say it again: Our wide feet make it nearly impossible to find a running shoe we can love for the long haul. But any shoe that we can put on, lace up and have our big and pinky toes feel unmolested is a winner in our book.
The quick-dry upper, abrasion-resistant mesh and minimal seams make for a shoe that doesn’t get soggy easily. We took this one a trail run in Boulder in at least 7 inches of snow and didn’t have wet feet until the very end of the run when we couldn’t avoid stepping in a puddle.
Though the Lone Peak 1.5’s were happiest on the trial they didn’t feel heavy and sluggish in the city like other trail runners do.
Now we know why people who are loyal to this brand deem themselves “Altra Maniacs.”
Complaints: Honestly? None. First time that ever happened. We’re kind of speechless.
We do, however, recommend wearing this shoe with a thicker sock. Thinner socks and trail shoes are a combination that could mean hot spots and eventually blisters.
We don’t, however, recommend them for Zumba. Sticky rubber wasn’t intended for dancing. Trust us on this.