When we reviewed the Altra Instinct and Intuition shoes, we tried to be clear that these aren't merely "barefoot" type shoes following a trend. Altra's products are well-thought-out pieces of footwear, designed first and foremost to mimic the shape of your foot. The fact that their minimal, wide-toed design tends to fall into that category is more of a coincidence. Their goal wasn't to promote barefoot running form. Rather, they just want to promote good running form.
That philosophy starts to come into focus a bit more now that Altra has a couple more options on the market. And that's what we're looking at today. The shoes at hand, the Provision and the Lone Peak, both begin with the same platform that Altra's so-called "core training" shoes have. They have a zero drop sole, whose height is the same from the front to the back of the shoe. They have an ultra-wide toe box designed to allow your toes to splay naturally as they hit the ground. Altra prefers the term 'foot-shaped toe box' to emphasize that the shoes aren't specific to people with wide feet - they'll fit a narrow foot securely, it's the toe area that has the extra room for splay. That being said, I DO have a wide forefoot, and I like how these shoes fit. I can't speak to how secure they would be for a narrower foot, but Altra is adamant that their wide toe box doesn't compromise fit for a narrow foot. And the shoes are still gender-specific, slightly changing the size and shape of the last, as well as the composition of the sole, to better cater to female-specific physiology. I won't pretend to have a specific insight into what makes a good female-specific shoe versus a male-specific shoe, but I can tell you that Nina had a pretty great time in the female-specific Intuition model.
The point is, these shoes at hand have the same basic design philosophy as the shoes we reviewed earlier. What makes them different is their specific focus and purpose. The Lone Peak is a trail shoe, built with a much beefier sole, a more durable last, and generally designed to take the extra abuse associated with trails. The Provision, on the other hand, is basically a stability version of Altra's original Instinct. But of course, there's more to these shoes than that simple description can convey. So let's jump in and take a closer look at these bad boys, starting with the Lone Peak.