Because of reoccurring knee issues, I tested the waters plenty of times searching for a shoe that did not exacerbate or worsen the injuries I have sustained from years of racing hard on trails and unforgiving asphalt.
So, when I started running in Asics Gel-Nimbus 12 four years ago, I thought that this was the shoe that would be the answer to most of my running woes. However, when the opportunity to test drive Altra came knocking on my door, I jumped with excitement to be given a chance to run in these highly acclaimed shoes.
It has been a few months since I started running in the Altra Lone Peaks. I have nothing but wonderful things to say for its performance and comfort. Initially, I was bewildered by the design.
At first glance, it appeared quite unconventional. It has a wide toe box and a little rubber lip that sticks out at the heel (this feature acts as a 'trail rudder'). The overall feel of the shoe is light and very comfortable. I attribute the comfort to the wide toe box which allows you to spread your toes upon landing.
A little background on my physical condition during the past few months: I was recovering from a broken arm which put my triathlon career at a screeching halt at the beginning of the year. This meant plenty of recovery swims, bikes and runs.
After having one side of my body dominate over the other, I started to develop a significant imbalance in my running stride which translated into excruciating knee pain. It was with an open mind and a desperate heart that Altra has become a blessing in disguise.
During the months of recovery, I re-entered racing by cutting out running and focusing solely on Aquabikes (swimming following by biking). I developed a stronger sense for my weaknesses by strength training with Pilates paired with longer/easier-paced endurance runs through trails and packed dirt. This rebuilt my overall balance, core strength and confidence.
The Altra Lone Peaks are undeniably the best trail shoes I have ever used. I remember during a trail run mentioning my friend that my feet felt like they were 'flying' off the ground because the shoes actually corrected my running stride with its zero-drop sole.
This run took place during a point in my rehabilitation when I could not even swing my arms to assist with balance and forward-thrust. Instead, I surprisingly found my running stance to be more upright with a manageable quick, light turnover rate.
The past two months have been transformational since I am now able to run again. I use the Altra Lone Peaks even during transition runs. During brick workouts, my calves and hip flexors have been strengthened ever since I have used Altra and I am able to maintain an aggressive running stride right off the bike which is crucial in competitive triathlon racing.
Last Sunday, I ran 16 miles during which I maintained a 8:10/mi pace for the first 12 miles until I slowed down to pace my friend during his race. All those miles were run on asphalt. No pain. In fact, I managed a two-hour bike ride afterwards.
I highly recommend Altra for:
- Recreational runners who do not want to develop running injuries
- Runners who have experienced back, hip, knee and ankle issues in the past
- Road and trail runners (both recreational and competitive)
- Duathletes and Triathletes
I am fortunate to have been introduced to Altra trail running shoes. Next year (2013), I will race Eagleman 70.3 in June which will be my first attempt to qualify for the triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. I will be wearing Altra for the run.
Check out the preliminary conclusions on my personal blog: Altra Zero Drop - Testing the Shoes.
Visit Altra Zero Drop on Facebook and Twitter as well.
|About the author: Dianne San Luis is a triathlete and entrepreneur from Philadelphia. When she's not running (per se), she runs her business. She also enjoys art, food and adventure. Say hi to her on Twitter.|
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