The hunt for the perfect hiking boot has been a long and expensive one for me. My sizeable feet range from 14-15 wide. I actually have to order things like flip flops online from places with names like Big Shoe Store. I always get excited when I see a new interesting boot and the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Mid Mesh certainly fits the bill. The toe box of the shoe is actually shaped more like a foot. The other thing that sold me was the zero drop angle of the shoe. If I run in normal shoes I get shin splints and the zero drop helps mitigate that issue. Running is still something you should only do to save your life, certainly not something you should do for fun.
This article is from a couple years back. We’re running it again now ‘cuz we’ve got some more boot/shoe reviews inbound.
Comfortable Toe Box
The first thing that was noticeable when wearing these boots was the toe box. As I said I normally wear a wide and usually have to jump to a 15 wide to get the room for my toes. I got a 14 (they only come in one width) and it fit like a glove. No more will my malformed small toe be forced to be stepped on by the next toe from ill-fitting boots. They felt like sneakers and required no break-in. I walked 10km in these just to see how they would feel and not a single hot spot was noticed. The wide toes were a nice touch when climbing steep embankments giving my toes some extra traction.
I decided that I did in fact need to go for a run as fitness tests typically involve it (hazard of the job I suppose). The zero-drop angle was quite comfortable combined with the padded insole. I am one of those people who actually liked the Five Finger shoes. I just wish they had more padding so this shoe really fit the bill.
Gaiter Traps – Not Just for Water
The mesh design of the mid-height boot allows my sweaty feet to stay comfortable and dry. I will say the gaiter traps on mesh boots struck me as an odd feature though. The only reason I could see this is if you were wearing snake gaiters. If that’s the case, I think I would be going for a slightly thicker footwear choice. These boots do have waterproof cousins though so if that is what you require I would go in that direction. I came to later find out the gaiters these were designed for were not for water or vermin but something ultra-distance runners must get really annoyed by… small rocks falling in your shoe. This was an issue that always plagued me and something I never realized there was a fix for.
No Insoles Needed
Typically when I buy a pair of shoes I end up replacing the insoles with something like Superfeet (if you don’t have these insoles in your combat boots you’re wrong). I have yet to feel this is needed as the overall comfort of the Altra Lone Peak Mid Mesh 3.5 is certainly up to snuff. Even with a pack on, my feet have been happy. Reading around, the Ultra Marathoners typically want the next level of cushion offered by Altra. However, they all really like the Lone Peak 3.5’s.
Buy your blasters, blaster parts, and ammunition at dealer cost.
Our favorite addition to this year’s version of the Altra Lone Peak is the color choices. We currently own the grey and red version. However, I think that the sand color and black just might have to come home with me at some point. It has now been many months of daily wear and these boots show no signs of giving up. The only damage to them is my own fault as an ember landed on them while I was working on a review.
I wore these shoes for the entirety of the SHOT Show and for anyone who has had the pleasure of going, good footwear really makes a difference between hating-your-life vs. comfort. If you have wide feet or just want a bit more room for your toes then you need to look at the Altra shoes. If a mid-cut is not your thing you can get the Lone Peak 3.5 Mid Mesh in a sneaker cut also.
As you can see by the pictures above I did end up getting the tan version after finally getting something wrong enough in my grey ones to warrant an upgrade. Despite the blood and the burn my grey pair finally failed when the grab handle at the rear of the shoe came off and ripped the top of the shoe. They should have box-stitched the webbing but I should have also slipped them on less without undoing the laces. I still wear them. However, it was time for a new pair. Speaking of new pairs they have an updated version the Lone Peak 4. Hopefully, I can secure a pair of the 4’s in my size soon. It is hard to go back to normal shoes after wearing these for so long.
See more Breach Bang Clear articles written by Ryan Houtekamer.