Review: Altra Lone Peak + Provision
article & images by Nick Salazar
Oct 4, 2012  hits 84,360

Altra's lineup has expanded to include a stability trainer (the Provision) as well as a nice beefy trail shoe (the Lone Peak).

When we reviewed the Altra Instinct and Intuition shoes, we tried to be clear that these aren't merely "barefoot" type shoes following a trend. Altra's products are well-thought-out pieces of footwear, designed first and foremost to mimic the shape of your foot. The fact that their minimal, wide-toed design tends to fall into that category is more of a coincidence. Their goal wasn't to promote barefoot running form. Rather, they just want to promote good running form.

That philosophy starts to come into focus a bit more now that Altra has a couple more options on the market. And that's what we're looking at today. The shoes at hand, the Provision and the Lone Peak, both begin with the same platform that Altra's so-called "core training" shoes have. They have a zero drop sole, whose height is the same from the front to the back of the shoe. They have an ultra-wide toe box designed to allow your toes to splay naturally as they hit the ground. Altra prefers the term 'foot-shaped toe box' to emphasize that the shoes aren't specific to people with wide feet - they'll fit a narrow foot securely, it's the toe area that has the extra room for splay. That being said, I DO have a wide forefoot, and I like how these shoes fit. I can't speak to how secure they would be for a narrower foot, but Altra is adamant that their wide toe box doesn't compromise fit for a narrow foot. And the shoes are still gender-specific, slightly changing the size and shape of the last, as well as the composition of the sole, to better cater to female-specific physiology. I won't pretend to have a specific insight into what makes a good female-specific shoe versus a male-specific shoe, but I can tell you that Nina had a pretty great time in the female-specific Intuition model.

The point is, these shoes at hand have the same basic design philosophy as the shoes we reviewed earlier. What makes them different is their specific focus and purpose. The Lone Peak is a trail shoe, built with a much beefier sole, a more durable last, and generally designed to take the extra abuse associated with trails. The Provision, on the other hand, is basically a stability version of Altra's original Instinct. But of course, there's more to these shoes than that simple description can convey. So let's jump in and take a closer look at these bad boys, starting with the Lone Peak.

Tags » altra,  barefoot,  shoes
  • The Lone Peak: the trail version of Altra's Zero Drop philosophy.
  • The Lone Peak has a nice beefy sole ready to tackle tough terrain.
  • The Lone Peak's outsole doubles as an artistic flourish - it's shaped like a mountain range.
  • The Trail Rudder completes the Lone Peak - there's no doubt where this shoe was meant to be worn.
  • The stiffer off road footbed adds some stability needed on hairy trails.
  • The Altra Probivision is a stability trainer that can easily be converted into a nearly neutral shoe.
  • The Provision is almost identical to the Instinct trainer, but has a couple extra stability features, and extra room for an insert or orthotic.
  • The Altra Provision was great to run in, though I didn't find a need for the Stability Wedge, which is easily removed.
  • Like all of Altra's footwear, the Provision's forefoot is nice and wide, to allow your toes to splay naturally when contacting the ground.
  • The Provision's included Stability Wedge adds a measure of firmness to the shoe, and also a few mm of varus tilt.
  • As you can see, the inner edge of the Stability Wedge is much thicher than the outer edge. This is where the varus tilt comes in.
  • Zero drop means the shoe's cushion has the same thickness all the way through the heel.
  • The Provision (left) is virtually identical to the original Instinct (right) except for the stability features.
  • I'm using Flatliner laces, in the alternate lacing pattern that Altra recommends. It's very comfortable, and the elastic Flatliner laces turn the shoe into a slip on.
  • The full Altra lineup offers a zero drop solution for any kind of runner.
  • Altra has also released a new version of the Instinct, and calls it the Instinct 1.5 - it features some awesome new colors, a different forefoot honeycomb last, and a heel loop. It should be obvious, but I approve of the deep fire orange color.
  • I used to complain that Altra didn't have any bold color schemes on their shoes, but the Instinct 1.5 has silenced me on that one.
  • The new Instinct rides pretty much identically to the old one, and looks great doing it.
  • The new Provision (left) and Instinct 1.5 (right). Altra is making some absolutely awesome footwear, and I'm running in the brand full time. The only drawback is the delicate transition period required to truly adapt and appreciate the shoes.

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