Altra is a top manufacturer of athletic shoes. Two of their most popular shoes for runners are the Superior and the Lone Peak. Which of these shoes is better for the average runner, and how do you pick?
|Feature||Flexible||Natural Feel||Rough Terrain|
Our Best Pick
|#2. Lone Peak|
#1. Altra Superior
Altra Superior is one of the signature footwear models from Altra. It utilizes the FootShape design for the toe box, which is unique to Altra and allows you to spread your toes in natural ways. This means that the Superior is great for individuals with wide feet, particularly if you find that the toe boxes of the average shoe tend to pinch.
The shoe also incorporates Zero Drop technology. This is a platform that eliminates a heel drop entirely, allowing the level of cushioning to remain the same from the heel to the toe. If you find that the heel drop of a shoe often leaves you unbalanced, you’ll appreciate the balancing of this.
The Superior’s design is made to be lightweight, allowing you to run for longer distances without becoming fatigued. At the same time, the sole of the shoe strongly grips the ground and offers good traction to spring off. This is because the design incorporates a TrailClaw cleat, which is located in the back of the sole and acts like a brake to keep your feet from slipping.
Another interesting aspect of the Superior is that it has a relatively low stack height. Your foot is just 21 millimeters away from the ground. If you’re a runner who likes to feel like you’re running barefoot, but you want the protection that running shoes offer, these are the shoes for you.
One important note is that the natural feel means that the shoes aren’t super comfortable over rough terrain. If you’re running over rocky or uneven paths, you’ll feel every abnormal bit of debris against your foot. With that said, there’s a StoneGuard that you can insert into the shoes to protect and cushion against rough terrain.
All in all, this is a flexible shoe that can easily conform to the shape of your foot. The cushioning and fabric are thin enough that you get a natural barefoot feel with the protection of a shoe. If you do need more protection under your foot, though, another shoe might be a better option.
#2. Lone Peak
The Lone Peak is another one of the top offerings from Altra. When compared to the Superior’s light cushioning, the Lone Peak has significantly more cushioning for your foot. However, the amount of cushioning is considered to be about average when compared to other running shoes on the market.
The model weighs 8.7 ounces, which isn’t quite as light as some running shoes but is still significantly lightweight. The midsole incorporates two layers of EVA foam and A-Bound foam. This allows the feet to be more cushioned and protected against rough terrains.
The stack height of this shoe is about an inch. This is around the same level of cushioning that you’d get with the Superior if you were using the StoneGuard. In fact, much about these shoes is just like the Superior but with a built-in StoneGuard. The extra cushioning means that your feet are less likely to be injured by pebbles and other debris.
The upper mesh of the Lone Peak shoe is also highly durable and breathable. The material is engineered to stand up to consistent use while still remaining flexible and versatile. One potential drawback, though, is that the soles don’t have as much traction as some other running shoes on the market.
These shoes are both high-quality offerings from Altra that are meant for serious runners from all walks of life. Much of the construction is the same, particularly with the mesh upper. The biggest differences happen because of the cushioning.
The Superior shoes are designed to feel like you’re running basically barefoot. As such, you’ll feel differences in terrain texture below your feet. Some runners prefer this, but it can cause a problem if you’re running across gravel or pebbles or other rough terrain.
Because the Superior has very little cushioning, it’s also extremely lightweight, rendering it a great shoe for long distance runners. The shoe also has a great deal of flexibility and conforms to the shape of a person’s foot. There’s no heel drop whatsoever, which can help some runners to feel a little more balanced in their stride.
The Superior also has excellent traction. Not only can you feel the ground beneath your feet, but there’s a built-in cleat on the back of the sole called the TrailClaw. As soon as your heel hits the ground, the TrailClaw acts like a brake, keeping your foot from sliding and providing you more leverage.
By contrast, the Lone Peak has more padding. Your feet are further off the ground, and you’re less likely to feel the rough terrain. The dual foam midsole cushions your stride without acting like an energy sink. Though the Lone Peak is a little heavier because of this foam, it’s still very lightweight for a running shoe.
The Lone Peak doesn’t have quite the same level of traction as the Superior, though. If stability is a huge deal for you, then the Superior is the better option.
Both of these shoes are ideal offerings from Altra. The right one for you mainly depends on what kind of cushioning you prefer. If you like to have a more barefoot feel and be able to sense the ground under your foot, then the Superior is the shoe for you. But if you want your foot to be given more protection and comfort, the Lone Peak is ideal.