Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The AltraPedestrian Project Rebooted: Installment zero1.5

The AltraPedestrian Project, Rebooted: 
Installment zero1.5

photo by Takao Suzukiby Ras

     In the reggae dancehall scene it's common for a singer to have the band or DJ play the first few bars of a song and start to sing, then call, "Pull up!" At that point the band or DJ stops the music (the DJ manually spinning the record backwards with his finger), returns to the very beginning of the song, and starts again from the top. This is called a Pull Up or a Wheel Up. So if you imagine the AltraPedestrian Project being a reggae riddim, this is me calling to the DJ, "Wheel up and Come Again, My Lord!"
photo by Ras
Classic Lone Peak 1.0 on the left, updated Lone Peak 1.5 on the right.

     My original plan was to track the life of my newest pair of Altra Lone Peaks and document all the mileage I put on them, taking photographs along the way to show how they are faring. (See The AltraPedestrian Project, Installment zero1) But Altra threw a monkey wrench in my plans when they sent me a pair of the new, updated Lone Peak 1.5s when I only had a little over 350 miles on my new pair of classic 1.0s. Now, admittedly, a lot of shoe manufacturers recommend replacing their shoes when you get near the 400 mile mark. Really? Every 4 races I need new shoes? Every few OKTs I need new shoes? Every other month I need new shoes? I don't think so, and, apparently, neither does Altra.

photo by Ras

     But, alas, I am fickle and love shiny new things. And the new Lone Peak 1.5s are VERY lovable, especially if you already had a thing for the original 1.0s. The upgrades are few enough that the shoe is still recognizable both in appearance and feel, but substantial enough that the difference between the 1.0 and 1.5 is noticeable, and that one can easily develop a preference for the 1.5s. And the 1.5s seem to run a little bit larger than the classics, which to me, a size 14, feels truer to size.

photo by Ras

     In appearance alone many differences are immediately obvious. The new color scheme is red on red for the men's, rather tame compared to the safety orange and lime green of the women's 1.5. It retains it's throwback styling, yet manages to look up to date, while avoiding the Cabbage Patch Kid vibe the 1.0 occasionally evoked. Graphics and gusseting are both pared back a bit, giving the 1.5 a slightly lighter and more nimble feel. And noticeably missing from the heel is the homage to the Tarahumara (Raramuri) People, "Run on the Earth and with the Earth."

Kathy in the new Women's Lone Peak 1.5 by Altra Zerodrop

     However there are three new things on the heel. A tab of nylon webbing has been added to help pull the shoe on, although I can't recall having actually used it. The Z trademark and "Zero Drop" text as well as an Altra logo all stand out day and night in reflective bright white. And the new integrated velcro gaiter anchor is a cool innovation. Altra gaiters are rumored to be available later this year. And ever present is the mysterious trail rudder. I have to admit that I'm fond of this ineffable piece of outsole physiognomy, despite having no idea of its function.
photo by Ras

     Another distinctive feature kept in tact on the Lone Peak 1.5 is the footprint design on the outsole. When I get comments on this during races it reassures me that my form is decent. At least, I know I am lifting my heels high enough for people behind me to see the bottoms of my feet. I enjoy how easy it is to spot this design, not only on the feet of runners ahead of me in lemming lines, but in prints on the trail as well. I always know when there are Altra's about. 

photo by Ras

     As of these photos, the classic 1.0 had run the Badger Mountain Challenge 100 miler, Lumberjack Endurance Runs 100 miler, the Spokane River Run 50k, 126 miles in the Grand Canyon, and 10 training miles for a total of 367 miles. The new Lone Peak 1.5's had run the Sun Mountain 50 miler, the Pigtails Challenge 200 miler, and 24 miles of training runs for a grand total of 274 miles. I would characterize the 1.5 as still being a little bit stiff, not completely broken in. And that's as it should be. The Lone Peak is designed to be a shoe for 100 mile races, so 300 or 400 miles should far from do them in.

photo by Ras

     The wear on the inside of the heel cup shown on the Classic Lone Peaks (above left) is not uncommon, as attested to by numerous Lone Peak runners. Both pairs of my 1.0 have shown this wear, but have never caused me any sort of irritation or blistering or chafing. As can be seen in the photo above, the new liner material shows none of this wear. The upper is also made from a softer and more flexible material for a slightly more comfortable fit.

     So that's my initial impression of the Lone Peak 1.5s. I've only got 274 miles on them so far (although the plan is to add another 100 + this Sattaday), so I'm still just getting to know the updated model, but so far we're getting along just fine. All of the updates are purposeful and well thought out and seem to be functional improvements. But the character of a beloved shoe remains in tact.

1 comment:

  1. I own a pair of Funky Gaiters that attach at the heel with velcro - so that velcro patch would be idea for them (they attach at the front with a hook on the laces). I'm guessing Altra gaiters will attach similarly.

    I always find my self crazy-gluing velcro patches to me trail shoes (which pull-off regularly) so having one built in would save me some hassle!