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Lately, I’ve been on a little quest to find the perfect hiking shoe. It’s been a bit of a challenge because I have gigantic size 13 feet that are both wide as a shovel and flat as a board. Shoe manufacturers don’t exactly cater to my kind of feet.
In the past I’ve had some success with boxy hiking shoes like the Keen Targhee. After my last pair bit the dust, I wanted to try out something a little lighter in the vein of a trail runner. After some research, I decided to try out a pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.0 (MSRP $120) due to their rave reviews–in particular from thru hikers.
Altra’s running shoes have gained an almost cult-like following due to their wide toe box design, and it’s exactly what attracted me to this shoe. I’ve had some major issues with running shoes being way too narrow in the past. Based on looks alone, I could tell these were going to be different.
The upper mesh was treated with a coating to make these shoes “waterproof.” The redesigned outsoles featured a new lug nut pattern and the promise of enhanced grip and stability.
I opted for the mid tops because I liked the idea of added ankle support. I was impressed by the extremely padded tongue that was also coated in waterproofing.
On The Trail
I tested my Lone Peaks on a 20 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail near Delaware Water Gap, PA. The conditions ranged from wet leaves to snow, ice, and stretches of rock fields that the Pennsylvania portion of the trail is infamous for.
Reminders about the importance of proper footwear are ever-present on the AT.
The comfort factor of these shoes was incredible. They are light and extremely well padded. Compared to my clunky boots of the past, I felt like I was walking on clouds.
The mesh coating did a nice job of keeping my feet dry through snow and puddles.
Unfortunately, I found the shoe’s grip did not perform in wet conditions. Trying to climb a rock face such as this, I felt like I was on roller skates. I had to carefully shimmy my way to the edge in order to make it up the incline.
Once the sky cleared and the trail dried up a bit, it was smooth sailing. The Lone Peaks made for a great day of hiking that included a nice view of Mt. Tammy from the summit of Mt. Minsi.
Altra’s Lone Peak 3.0’s really blew me away in terms of comfort and lightness. My issue was with the grip on wet rocks. Based on what I experienced, I would honestly be scared to be caught in the rain on super technical terrain wearing them. I’ll certainly be wearing these shoes on dry dirt trails, but it looks like my quest for the perfect all-condition hiking shoe will continue on.
- Wide toe box
- Extremely well-padded and comfortable
- Mid version available for ankle support
- NeoShell coating adds water protection
- Grip is extremely suspect on wet rocks
Get more information about the Lone Peak 3.0 NeoShell here on Altra’s website.