The Lone Peak NeoShell is a little heavier (11.9oz) than the non-waterproof shoe (10.6oz), but don’t let weight fool you. The NeoShell is not heavy and in fact, moves very well considering a few other key features that might make this shoe appear clunky…let me explain.
This shoe is probably wider than anything you have ever worn in your life. I say this because the first time you put them on, you will wonder if you are wearing some sort of flipper. However, with that said, let me give you some of the low down on this super wide and yet super agile trail shoe:
First Impression: I took these shoes out of the box and like every pair of shoes that arrives here, I get a little giddy and must immediately try them on. I love the color (mine are the same as the pictures), I don’t like the laces (more on that later) and the toe box seemed like it was for people with 9 toes on each foot. Even though I love Altra shoes, these seemed a little odd at first. But we all know, you can’t judge a shoe by its toe box, right?
The Fit: Upon putting the shoes on, I immediately noticed how comfortable they were, especially for my toes. I have wide feet anyway so this feature was very welcome. The laces are flat, not round, and no matter what I did to attempt to remedy the situation, the laces are difficult to tighten and then loosen. This is the only negative thing I can find with these shoes.
First Run: I intentionally planned a very short fun run with a couple of friends to test the shoes out (and show them off). Everyone agreed the toe box was huge but we also talked about how that could really be a good thing. Off I went on a short, 4 mile, part paved, part trail, fun run. From the word GO, these shoes were comfortable. There appeared to be no break in period, which is simply amazing. With the exception of a little heel sloppiness (which is easily corrected with a simple lacing technique), the shoes were a success.
Second Run: Typically, I like to provide a new pair of shoes a proper break in period before really hammering them. These shoes felt different from the start so I set off on a 10 mile (mostly single track) trail run. I had to run on pavement for the first mile to get to where I wanted to be. The shoes were remarkably comfy on asphalt and had no trouble in loose sanding gravel along the way. The trail I chose was not technical, which allowed me to really concentrate on feel, fit and function and the Altras were a blast. Not too heavy, great traction in light snow, mud and dirt and extremely comfortable.
Third Run: I have a set of trails I like to run that separates the boys from the men when it comes to trail shoes. There are just as many rocky spots as there is dirt, and the rocks require focus (or you’re going down). Good trail shoes can handle the diverse and constantly changing footing and the Lone Peak’s are more than capable. After a solid 12 miles of brutal rocky trails, I was ready for 12 more.
Final thoughts: Going back to the zero drop platform conversation, if you are already there and are looking for a worthy trail shoe, look no further. If you have thought about transitioning to zero drop, work your way down there properly (check out this article from Altra) and then go buy these shoes.