Altra Lone Peak 8 Review

Everyone’s favorite trail runner is back again with a new update. Altra Lone Peaks are consistently the most popular shoe on the Appalachian Trail, and a common sight on every other long distance trail in North America. If you’re not a convert already, this review will explore some of the reasons the Lone Peaks are so popular, before moving onto the differences between last year’s edition and the 8s.

close up of altras on paper map background

Altra Lone Peak 8 At a Glance

MSRP: $140
Weight (Pair): 18.3 oz women’s | 21.4 oz men’s
Cushioning: Moderate
Heel-Toe Drop: 0mm

Men’s Lone Peak here

Circumstances of Review

I used the Lone Peak 8s on hikes, backpacks, and runs in sloppy spring conditions. I’ve put over 10,000 miles on various versions of Lone Peaks since 2016.

Intended Use

The Lone Peaks are designed for trail running, hiking, and thru-hiking.

hiker mid-step showing tread on altra lone peak 8

MaxTrac Outsole: ok in mud, meh on ice and wet rock.

Altra Lone Peak 8 Features

Zero drop: Most shoes raise your heel above your toes, creating a “drop” of several millimeters. Zero drop shoes are flat, with no difference between the height of your heel and toes. This is supposed to help strengthen leg and feet muscles, and promote a more natural foot position. There’s been a good amount of debate about the subject: personally I don’t feel much different when switching between zero drop and regular shoes. However, some hikers swear by zero drop shoes, and consider this the main reason to buy Lone Peaks.

Wide Toe Box: The real reason I love Lone Peaks is the shape of the shoe, not zero drop. Extra room in the front of the shoe gives room for your toes to spread out- especially helpful when your feet swell in the first few days of a thru-hike, or during hotter weather. Lone Peaks are often recommended as a cure for blisters on long trails because there’s so much space for your feet.

Gaiter trap: I always thru-hike with gaiters. The Lone Peaks come with a velcro tab on the back which is designed to grab the velcro on the inside of running gaiters. If your shoes don’t come with this, you have to mess around with superglue to try and attach velcro to your shoe (and it invariably falls off mid thru-hike). I appreciate Altra adding this small touch to cater to gaiter users.

MaxTrac Outsole: The Maxtrac outsole isn’t updated too much from the 7s. It continues to provide fairly average grip. The lug pattern and outsole is fine for most trail hiking, and is OK on wet leaves and mud. I do find myself taking extra time on wet rocks and ice, since I don’t always trust the grip.

close up of altra lon peak 8 with green gaiter

Gaiter trap is fantastic if you wear gaiters

What’s changed between the Lone Peak 7 and the Lone Peak 8?

The short answer is not much. It actually took a close inspection to determine that Altra had sent me the 8s rather than the 7s. This is great: the 7s have been the best version of the Lone Peaks for a long time, and it’s good that Altra didn’t mess too much with a winning combination.

I found the sizing to be the same between the 7s and the 8s. No need to size up or down if you’ve already found your perfect Lone Peak sizing.

purple and orange altra lone peak 7 next to blue and light pink altra lone peak 8 on top of paper trail map

8s (dark blue/pink) vs 7s (Purple and orange)

Altra claims that the ripstop mesh upper has been updated, but the differences are minuscule. This is good: I abused my 7s on 160km of completely off trail bushwhacking last summer, and the main failure point was where the mesh upper met the foam cushioning on the side of the shoe, rather than the mesh itself ripping. I’m glad I’ll be able to trust the 8s under similar trail conditions this summer.

My one big complaint with the 7s was that they were challenging to put on, especially when frozen or when my feet were swollen. The 8s solve this problem with a redesigned loop on the heel. It’s still not perfect, but it’s a lot better than the 7s. The gaiter trap is also larger- although there was no issue with the size of the velcro on the 7s, so this just adds a tiny amount of unnecessary weight.


purple and orange altra lone peak 7 next to blue and light pink altra lone peak 8 on top of paper trail map

The biggest change is the redesigned rear of the shoe

Lone Peak 8 Pros

Wide Toe Box: This review touched on this earlier, but the wide toe box is 100 percent the reason I buy Altras. Lone Peaks are some of the most comfortable trail runners I’ve ever used. I have far fewer blisters and other foot problems as a result of the foot shape. It’s hard to switch to any other trail runner because they just aren’t as comfortable as Altras.

Ripstop Mesh Upper: The ripstop mesh upper keeps getting better and better on the Lone Peaks. It’s getting harder and harder to shred the tops of your shoes, even on crazy off-trail bushwhacking routes. Everyone’s shoes will wear out differently based on different gait patterns, but I find that my Lone Peaks now fail where the upper attaches to the sole- the upper itself can handle almost anything I throw at it.

Quick Dry: Lone Peaks dry quickly even under cold or wet conditions. I’m never worried about having to dry my shoes even on trails with multiple river crossings. The roomy toe box means I don’t get blisters even when my feet are wet. Wet feet are never pleasant, but it’s a bit more bearable in Lone Peaks.

hiker wearing green gaiters and altra lone peak 8s at leafy campsite with lake in background and orange tent and dog

Easier to put on than the 7s

Lone Peak 8 Cons

Durability: Lone Peaks are not as durable as boots, or even some other trail runners. It’s annoying to have to replace them multiple times during even a shorter thru-hike. While they have improved greatly since the first versions which only lasted a few hundred miles (and the awful 6s where I went through an incredible 3 pairs in just 800 miles), there’s still room for improvement.

Get Wet Fast: Sure, Lone Peaks dry fast. But sometimes these shoes feel like they actually try to absorb water. I walked about 400 meters between my tent and the car in melty snow this spring in the 8s, and got to enjoy wet feet for the entire ride home. Embracing wet feet is part of some thru-hikes (Great Divide Trail north of Jasper, I’m talking about you), but it would be nice if I didn’t get wet feet the instant I look at a puddle.

hiker mid-step on snowy road

Wet snow means wet feet

Adjustment Period: Altra recommends taking up to three weeks to adjust to “Balanced Cushioning” (their term for zero drop), gradually increasing the amount you wear your shoes. This doesn’t work for thru-hikers who switch to this style on trail, since no one is carrying two pairs of shoes.

While I had no problems switching to Altras at mile 600 of the PCT without an adjustment period, your mileage may vary. Worry about adjusting to zero drop may put off some hikers from switching to Lone Peaks mid-hike.

close up of hiker's feet balancing on rocks


The Altra Lone Peak 8 is a solid version of everyone’s favorite trail runner. If you liked the 7s, you’ll like these. I’ll continue to use the 8s on my thru-hike this summer.  I’ll probably even buy a couple extra pairs to stockpile in case the 9s aren’t as good.

Shop the Women’s Altra Lone Peak 8

Shop the Men’s Altra Lone Peak 8

Comparable Shoes

Topo Ultraventure Men’s | Women’s

MSRP: $150
Heel-Toe Drop: 5mm
Weight (Pair): 20.8 oz men’s | 16.6 oz women’s

HOKA Speedgoat 5 Men’s Women’s

MSRP: $155
Heel-Toe Drop: 4mm
Weight (Pair): 20.6 oz men’s | 17 oz women’s

The Altra Lone Peak 8 was donated for purpose of review.

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