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Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Trail Running Shoe - Great For Softball Too!
on September 25, 2013
- Great implementation of "Zero Drop" technology.
- Rugged design and construction, without sacrificing style.
- Aggressive tread pattern provides superior traction under most conditions.
- Lacing pattern allows for comfortable fit at both toe and heel.
- Excellent fit right out of the box, e.g. "road ready."
- Pricey. But worth every penny.
- Lava-red is the only color choice. Would like a black option for every-day use as well.
- Wrap-around sole pulls away from toe guard, but superglue should fix the problem.
- Slippery on smooth, wet surfaces.
- Sizing differs from traditional shoes, by as much as ½ to 1 full size.
- Fit may feel "sloppy" at first, especially in the toe box, but is very comfortable on the trail.
- Works well with custom orthotics. May need to up-size one full size for best fit.
After years of battling chronic plantar fasciitis, both on and off the softball diamond, I finally abandoned traditional baseball/softball cleats for turf shoes. But turf shoes are made on a conventional athletic shoe last, with all of the usual biomechanical issues described in the minimalist and Zero Drop literature. I recently had great success with my first pair of zero-drop shoes for general-purpose running, e.g. the Altra Instinct 1.5, and so I explored the idea of using a zero-drop shoe on the softball diamond. After reading a number of online reviews and watching several YouTube videos, I decided that the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 just might fill the bill.
The Lone Peak offers more lateral support and better side-to-side movement than the Instinct, and the aggressive tread handled both outfield grass and infield dirt without difficulty. This shoe had excellent grip in the dew-soaked grass of early morning, and then worked just as well on the dusty base paths at noontime. In a one-day, three-game (back-to-back) tournament, I slipped only once on a muddy patch while tracking a long fly ball to the fence. I was able to run the bases very aggressively on the hard-packed infield without ANY loss of traction, and the shoes held up well to "cutting the bag" and to hard pop-up slides. They even provided good grip when "digging in" to the soft but rutted dirt in the Batter's Box. Playing the day-long tournament in the Lone Peak was comfortable too. My feet frequently hurt for several days after only one game in cleats/turf shoes, but I played all three tournament games pain-free, and my feet actually felt better than usual the next day.
A criticism of the Lone Peak 1.5 might be the lava-red color, because I heard more than one comment to the effect of, "Dude, with bright red shoes like that you'd better be fast." But the color is growing on me now that the shoes are game-tested. A black option would be nice for every-day use though, because I have started wearing the Lone Peak with just about everything in my wardrobe except for a coat-and-tie and a tuxedo. The quality and durability appear good thus far, with the exception of the wrap-around sole pulling away from the toe guard on both shoes after only several weeks. The pre-formed sole stayed in place though, and a lit bit of superglue should keep the problem from getting worse. In conclusion, the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 may have been designed with extreme trail-running enthusiasts in mind, but serious softball players can wear this shoe with confidence knowing that it will handle anything the diamond can throw at it as well.
p.s. CAUTION: I noticed a tendency to slip on smooth wet surfaces, for example the smooth-as-glass tiling around my Fitness Center's indoor pool. I suspect that the very nubby tread pattern that provides great traction in most other situations acts more like skis or skates on smooth wet surfaces. So if your outdoor conditions include any polished or glassy surfaces, then use caution when trail running, trekking, or scrambling in damp or wet weather.