The Specs first:
Lone Peak 1.5 (Womens);
Weight: 8.9 oz
Stack Height: 22 mm
Midsole: Two-Layer; EVA/ AltraBound
Lacing Structure: Asymmectical
Outsole: Sticky Rubber, TrailClaw
Platform: Like all Altra shoes they are a Zero drop
Features: StoneGaurd, Vegan Friendly, Sandwiched Rock Protection, Gaitor Velcro on heel, Rudder, Foot shaped design specifically for women
The Superior (Womens)
Weight: 6.9 oz, (though I have seen slightly more on other reviews..but they were reviewing the men’s shoes and may make a difference in weight)
Stack Height: 12mm
Midsole: Removable StoneGaurd, Two-Layer EVA / A-Bound™
Lacing Structure: Aysummetrical
Outsole: Sticky Checker Trail Outsole
Platform: Zero drop
Features: Trail Rudder, Foot shaped design specifically for women
The Lone Peak 1.5s have been my go to shoe, for just about everything trail related for the past 6 months. I actually ran Pinhoti 100 in them after only really wearing them a week or two before the race. The Two Layer EVA really protected my feet, no bumps, no bruises, the soles of my feet actually felt great, and I did not get a SINGLE black toe nail!
The Sticky Rubber TrailClaw™ took on every type of terrain that Pinhoti threw me. The zero drop and correct anatomical foot shape also helped my footing. I can’t remember the last time I twisted my ankle in these shoes, even while running very steep down hill in Mout Mitchell last month. I even had a woman I ran past ask what shoes I was wearing that were clearly comfortable enough to bomb down hill, while she was picking her way through the rock field miserably. I paused, and proudly told her, “Altra Lone Peaks!”
Both shoes feature a TrailRudder™. It is meant to help in downhill running on scree or loose dirt trails.
I haven’t noticed them one way or the other, except when my fingers are too cold, or I am lazy, stepping on the TrailRudder™ helps take the shoe off easily.
The asymmetrical shoe lacing system keeps my feet locked in with no sliding around, however the laces are quite long, and when they get wet, if I haven’t double knotted them very tightly, they have come undone. The wide toe box feels great for me, however, I have heard from others (who are used to very narrow shoes) that it takes a little while to get used to all the room, but once they get used to the room, they hate getting their feet back into narrower toe boxes.
The Superior is newer to me. I have run in them for about 3 weeks. I find that they are noticeably more flexible on the trail, and they feel fast hopping over and around roots and rocks. The toe gaurd is not as substantial as the Lone Peak 1.5, but the toe box shape is such that the few times I have kicked rocks I’m protected enough that I don’t feel it. The Checkered outsole felt a bit more slippery in ice or sloppy mud than the Sticky Rubber TrailClaw.™
If you have sensitive or bony sole’s of your feet, I did feel some small sharp rocks underfoot, though it was more of an awareness, rather than a pain. These are not barefoot shoes, they are cushioned enough for just about any surface. I actually really like the Superiors for when I run a mix of road and trail. They ride really nicely on the road, not clunky like some other trail shoes I have tried out on pavement in the past.
I did like the laces better, they are a softer material and have not come untied at all. The uppers are a more open weave and while the Lone Peak 1.5 has a very cushioned tongue, the Superior’s have a thin but soft tongue. Both tongues are attached to the shoe on either side keeping dirt and small stones from sneaking in through the laces. I have not worn a gaitor with the Lone Peak 1.5s in any races. Both uppers are comfortable, I haven’t felt any rubbing, not even around the ankle where some stiffer trail shoes have bloodied me in the past.
Overall, the lighter-faster feeling Superior is quickly becoming a favorite of mine for fast trail workouts and shorter distances. I like the free and flexible feeling they give my legs and feet. They make my proprioception feel very natural and unhindered, more like a barefoot shoe, while providing more protection. I would say they Altra’s version of a barefoot shoe, but with more protection and padding.
The Lone Peak’s will remain my ultra shoe of choice. They continue to keep my feet happy no matter how long my run is; 50k to 100 miles. These are more than a barefoot shoe, but still much more flexible than a NB Leadville or La Sportiva C-lite, you can still feel the trail, but the Lone Peak 1.5 offers a step up in protection from the Superior, without becoming too much of a shoe and blunting all trail feel.