Shoe Review: ALTRA Mont Blanc











PREMIUM PREMIUM PREMIUM. The newest member of the Altra family, the Mont Blanc, has literally sold out everywhere with demand outrunning supply. But don’t worry. Altra has heard the call and is returning this month in August with plenty of new sets available.

And just why has it been such a success?

Well, I’ll tell you one thing. The Mont Blanc shoe is Altra’s offering to the ultra gods after they heard ‘the people’ calling for a product that could go the extra mile against the toughest terrain.

And they’ve come up with their most premium long distance trail running shoe yet.

Clearly inspired by the UTMB, the biggest feature (and star of the show) for the Mont Blancs is the EGO™max midsole – foam that provides a light and luxurious performance with added bounce and durability. Essentially, it’s a blend of cushioning compounds, and there’s no other way to describe how the shoe feels other than two thumbs up and crying out ‘Yeah, baby!’.

At first glance, the Mont Blancs scream Altra – they feature the same undercarriage foot shape toe box, are a balanced 30mm zero drop front and rear geometry, and are very recognisable in their design. Their fit to the wider foot is impeccable, with runners getting their own personal security guard of snugness within the forefoot and midfoot, and plenty of room for toes to swell up and breathe.

Altra markets their shoes three ways – Original FootShape™ Fit (the roomiest design), Standard FootShape™ Fit (the middle of the bunch), and Slim FootShape™ Fit (their slimmest option but still with plenty of toe room). It’s a trademark to have the wider toebox combined in a specific and unique-to-brand FootShape™ Fit so that the majority of runners can experience the shoe. It’s a big reason why Altra has become one of the fastest growing footwear brands globally – a brand that allows people to run more naturally but still with the benefits of superior, high-tech and modern cushioning.

The Mont Blancs are classified in the Standard category, but as someone who took to the Altra Lone Peak 6 shoes recently (which are of Original FootShape™ Fit), I could immediately tell the difference in ‘fit’. When I run, I tend to wear a thick sock brand, and have done so for over six years…never having a problem with testing or trialling shoes those exact socks. In the Mont Blancs, however, there was a necessity to source a slightly thinner sock so my foot wouldn’t feel strangulated.

But that was an easy fix, swapping out socks, and I happily took the Mont Blancs with me for training runs as well as the Lighthorse Ultra 3hr event, where I bonded with two other runners who were wearing the exact same pair in the exact same colour – “Don’t you just love these?!” were the words coming out of our mouths as we idolised over the funky Coral Black colour scheme.

One of the most impressive features with the Mont Blancs is the insane tread on the outsole. Think premium track wheels on the best 4WD vehicle, and that’s what you get with the grip these babies give you. Other than the sexy, sleek design, it’s one of my favourite parts of this shoe. The innovative sole technology of the Vibram® Litebase rubber is an uncompromised piece of material, giving superior grip and traction, and there’s plenty of lug spacing to tackle the terrain too. The Mont Blanc gave me confidence on the dry trail, and on days when the ground became slippery and wet, it still performed very well across a range of surfaces.

A more interesting component I found, however, is that the tongue is lightly padded, made from a very thin stretchy nylon. I believe it may have been designed this way to strip the upper down to make it as lightweight as possible. It’s still a gusseted tongue though, to reduce debris getting inside. Not many people may notice, but take a look at this – Altra have printed the latitude and longitude of Mont Blanc on the tongue. There’s no function in that, but it made me smile when I got online to check the coordinates. It’s definitely a charming personal touch.

With regards to other elements of the Mont Blanc, the only things that didn’t quite work in my favour where the lace lock and the heel collar. The lace lock holes sit further up the shoe than what I’m used to, so the technique meant the heel collar, which is made of the same material as the tongue and sits high up, felt loose and rubbed against my skin. I solved the issue by trialling a higher sock rather than my usual ankle length ones, but the heel lock still provided me with a slighter more lose feel than I’m used to.

Overall, the Mont Blanc is a precision Altra shoe that doesn’t sacrifice its signature features. Incredibly impressive in technology and design, I can completely see why it’s one of the most popular trail running shoes on the market. Definitely a fit for anyone who has a wide foot, who loves technical trail, and who can use and abuse these shoes as much as possible.


GREAT FOR: Ultra distances on technical terrain, preferably dry ground
NOT SO GREAT FOR: Road and cycle paths (you want to use these babies on trail as much as possible)
TEST CONDITIONS: Limestone, boardwalk and asphalt
TESTER: Kate Dzienis
TESTER MECHANICS: Severe overpronator with wide feet, usually running in 8mm drop shoes.


RRP: $319.95 AUD / $349.95 NZD
CONDITIONS: Shoes provided for testing by Altra

Shoe Review: ALTRA Lone Peak 6










SO I HEAR FROM HARDCORE ALTRA USERS that once you go Altra, you never ever go back. And quite frankly, after putting on a pair of these babies in the form of Lone Peak 6, I can absolutely understand and attest to the fandom that comes with having them.

Firstly, I’m just going to say that the zero drop on these is unbelievable. For someone who usually runs in an 8mm drop shoe, I was taken aback by the comfortability in a shoe that allows you to feel like you’re almost running barefoot, and I love how despite all its high-tech features, the Lone Peak 6 feels incredibly minimalistic on my feet – meaning there’s enough cushioning to soften the blow of trail terrain while at the same time I’m left feeling closer to Mother Earth and all of her nuances.

I have quickly come to realise that the Lone Peak 6 allow me to absorb the impact of running, and its wider toe box helps with that. After having children, it’s widely known that pregnancy can indeed increase a woman’s foot size – in my case, my change to foot shape has been permanent and I’ve needed a much wider shoe in recent years. The Lone Peak 6’s wider-than-other-shoes’ toe box is abundant, and 100% accommodates swelling toes and improves pain/reduces the occurrence associated with blisters and bunions. The wide toe box also allowed for my big toe to stay positioned straight, making me feel more stable along the compact limestone I usually run along. Stretching my toes at the end of my run in these was an absolute delight, and I didn’t feel a need to take them off once I got in the car.

These are a high performance trail shoe, very much as versatile as a running shoe can get, and they conform to the natural movements of your feet. The air mesh remains the same as previous versions, so wet and muddy conditions won’t weigh you down due to updated drain ports that improve the flow of excess water. And random debris won’t find its way into your socks because of – and this is the best ‘oh-my’ moment ever – a Velcro attachment on the back heel where you can attach a pair of gaitors! To not have to race to the shops for Velcro, cut each piece up and stick them to the back of your shoe is one of the best ideas to date. Because who has time for that?

Onto the tech specs of the Lone Peak 6, and it’s worth noting that MaxTrac outsole technology is utilised – a combination of grip, traction and durability to tackle more terrain. Basically, it’s the multi-directional lug pattern on the bottom of the shoe that allows incredibly outrageous grip. That being said, the Lone Peak 6 also features StoneGuard™ tech, which offers protection from rocks and branches underfoot. So whilst you may feel you’re running barefoot, you won’t get the cuts and bruises that come with it.

What’s more is that I can’t talk about all these tech features without mentioning the shoe’s EGO™ midsole, known as the ‘holy grail’ of running shoe cushioning and offering a fast and springy, yet comfortable and soft run response. It’s a technology that caters to the elite runner for its speed and to the recreational runner due to softness underfoot. This midsole, along with the wide toe box, is Altra’s distinctive design, one that is highly engineered and built for performance.

The Lone Peak name in itself, for cult followers, is an iconic name and known to tackle most conditions and distances along with a stylish look. I wore the Lone Peak 6 shoes not only for training runs, but for my recent entry at Herdy’s Frontyard Ultra, which saw a combination of bike path, crushed limestone trails and grass. It got to a point where the shoe almost became an extension of my own body, and I forgot they were even on – isn’t that what we want all of our shoes to feel like?

The Lone Peak 6 comes in navy light blue, black green, and white green for women while men can choose from black/gray, orange, and maroon colours. The only real difference between the Lone Peak 6 and its predecessor, the Lone Peak 5, is that there are three additional lace eyelets in the midfoot to lockdown the shoe better, they are only a fraction lighter in weight, and there is a slight variation from the shape of the upper, with less material for a decrease in ‘baggy’ appearance.

Overall, Altra’s Lone Peak 6 trail shoe is perfect for mixed terrain conditions, and performs exceptionally for those who are new to zero drop running. It’s definitely a workhorse runner, and Altra has done incredibly well to maintain the shoe’s adaptability as well as retain its notoriety as one of the best trail shoes on the market.


GREAT FOR: All terrains and weather conditions. This is a high performance shoe made for all levels of running
NOT SO GREAT FOR: Long stints on concrete paving. With this being a trail shoe, it’s best to let it perform where it excels – on the trails
TEST CONDITIONS: Flat, single track on dry crushed limestone, grass, cycle path
TESTER: Kate Dzienis
TESTER MECHANICS: Severe overpronator with wide feet, usually running in 8mm drop shoes.


RRP: $249 AUD / $279 NZD
CONDITIONS: Shoes provided for testing by Altra