Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trail shoes: Blurred lines between fashion and performance

Hiking footwear for many people, myself included, is a complicated issue. This post is about one of the recent choices I've made for hiking the trails close to home - Altra's The Lone Peak 2.0.

Testing out the Altra Lone Peak 2.0 on Sugarloaf Mountain
I live, work and hike in various parts of the DMV - that Megalopolitan Zone comprised of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The hiking terrain here can be described as anything from sandy in the coastal plain to spongy and root-strewn in the piedmont and downright rocky in the nearby mountains.

Rocky route to Buzzard Rock, on the South Shenandoah side of Massanutten
My hiking footwear should be able to handle the typical wet, rough and rugged terrain out along the outlier mountains and the famed Blue Ridge. The Lone Peak 2.0 did a great job for me on more than 40 miles of hikes in the month of April.

Overlooking Fort Valley from Massanutten's Buzzard Rock
I'm not saying the shoes are perfect, as there was more-rapid-than-anticipated wearing along the heal and on a few of the grippy lugs. But to be fair, I weigh in at more than 300 pounds - and that's before I add a 15 to 20-pound pack and do frequent 10 milers on some of the roughest trails - so they stand up quite well considering.

Altra Lone Peak 2.0's lugs are grippy, but not deep, so they aiight
I like them so much, I own two pair - one in black/red and the other in yellow/black. And I recommend that if you like this shoe, you buy two, too.

Soft pine needles soften the Massanutten Trail near High Peak
Besides the benefits of alternating your shoes to give them time to breathe without your foot shoved into it, you also can try out different looks on different days depending on your mood, and (as you can see from my pics) on whether you're feeling a bit "leave no trace" with your outfit or you're trying to notify hunters of your approach!