La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX Review Facts
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX is one of the most rugged trail running shoes you can find. It’s designed from the inside and out to be able to withstand harsh conditions and unpredictable terrain. The shoe is a perfect option for trail running enthusiasts who are looking for a shoe that can handle the daily grind of trail running training. Even non-runners will find this shoe to be perfect for extended hikes and outdoor adventures. La Sportiva has really found a winner with the Ultra Raptor GTX. She shoe stacks up nicely compared to some of their other popular offerings.
The outsole may be the most important component of a trail running shoe. The perfect outsole strikes the right balance between being durable yet lightweight. For the Ultra Raptor GTX, La Sportiva has used their Frixion® XF Green compound. This type of sticky rubber is used to help improve the traction of the shoe. The stickyness of the outsole really helps to it to grip to a variety of surfaces. Runners should have no concerns about slippage across some of the most common surfaces
that runners come across. Fortunately, the outsole of the shoe also has oval-shaped lugs that do a fine job of connecting the foot to the ground while still adding even more valuable traction.
Midsole cushioning can be especially important when running on unpredictable trails. The cushioning on the Ultra Raptor GTX comes from La Sportiva’s MEMlex EVA material that is found throughout the midsole of the shoe. There is even a compressed EVA stone guard that stands in as a subtle rock plate for extra midfoot protection. The bottom of the foot will be well-protected and refreshed even after long runs or hikes on uneven terrain. The arch of the midfoot uses a Flex Transfer Shank and acts as the main component of La Sportiva’s Impact Brake System. This helps to ground the foot and help add stability when running quickly downhill.
The upper material of any trail shoe needs to be protective from the elements while still allowing some flexibility and breathability. La Sportiva has really nailed this balance with the upper of the Ultra Raptor GTX. The breathable mesh material works well to ventilate the foot. There is also a synthetic leather overlay found on the inside of the heel to add some needed friction and keep the heel from slipping, There are also some plastic overlays around the midfoot for additional support. The only downside to the upper region of the shoe is the narrow toe box. Some runners may have comfort issues with the restrictiveness of the toe box.
The weight of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX comes in at 12 oz. This certainly won’t be featured on any lists of the lightest shoes
in town but it does stack up decently to the competition. Most trail runners will prefer the added weight and protection over lightweight speed any day. For a shoe designed to be rugged and handle unpredictable conditions, the added weight is a necessity.
The AirMesh material found in the upper portion of the shoe is extremely breathable. Heavier trail running shoes have a tendency to be hot and stuffy but La Sportiva has really done a great job to allow the foot to breathe on long, sweaty runs, Whether you wear socks or not, these shoes will breathe well. Those runners with excessive foot sweat may want to try a pair of socks
to limit the moisture within the shoe.
Oxygen is able to flow in and out of the shoe quite easily thanks to the mesh material and abrasion resistant microfiber that doesn’t stifle the foot. An added bonus is the Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort liner that is found in the shoe. This gives it a bit more warmth and odor-resistance without hindering any of the breathability. The liner also helps to absorb moisture and add water resistance to the shoe. It may not be featured as one of the top waterproof shoes on the market (LINK 3) but it will keep the foot dry in moderate rain.
For any shoe that is meant for long hikes and runs in the woods, comfort needs to be a priority. The foot most be properly cushioned and supported without having too much bulk. The Ultra Raptor GTX is able to do with their injection molded MeMlex cushioning. This is found in the midsole and adds support and a noticeable bounce for each stride. The soft Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort liner also adds to the amazing comfort of the shoe. Runners and hikers alike should have no problem taking this shoe on extended treks that will stay comfortable for mile after mile.
Style can be such a subjective topic when it comes to shoes. Trail running shoes in particular are a hot topic. Even some of the highest rated trail running shoes (LINK 4) may not score high in the style department. The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX has a style all its own. The grey & green color options are understated and attractive. Runners looking for a more neutral option should be pleased. Of course these still look like trail running shoes and won’t fit nicely into more casual environments. But with these on your feet, you’ll look plenty stylish on the trails.
Trail runners put their shoes through a lot. A good trail shoe needs to be able to keep up with the demands of the trail. For the most part, The Ultra Raptor GTX is able to provide this durability. But there is an area where it certainly falls short. The cushioning found in the Injection molded MeMlex is certainly comfortable but unfortunately it also seems to sacrifice some durability. Some runners reported this cushioning to breakdown within the first 100 miles put on the shoe. Once this cushioning wears out, it certainly can cause the runner’s stride to change with a great risk of injury. While the cushioning feels great at first, it may have been wise to make it less comfortable and more durable.
Protection is one area where the Ultra Raptor GTX really shines. From all angles, the foot is very well protected in this shoe. The Gore-Tex® lining helps to protect the shoe from excessive moisture and rain. The Nylon molded flex transfer shank protects the midfoot region from dangerous terrain. Finally, the FriXion® XF with Impact Brake System™ helps to support the heel and promote a natural stride especially when running downhill. The rubber outsole helps to minimize the impact of trail running and keep the foot healthy and protected.
For a pair of rugged trail shoes, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX is a very responsive shoe. La Sportiva has jammed a lot of technology into this shoe in order to help its responsiveness. First, there is the ultra responsive cushioning provided by the Injection molded MeMlex. This gives great bounce back and energy efficiency with each stride. Also, there is the Nylon molded flex transfer shank which provides both support and responsiveness by helping protect the foot and propel it forward. Overall, this makes for a very responsive experience.
The Ultra Raptor GTX is a very supportive shoe. Again, La Sportiva has taken a technological approach to solving the support equation. The TPU transkinetic heel stabilizer helps to keep the heel grounded for a more smooth stride without excessive movement within the shoe. The HF lacing harness also adds support by securing the laces and keeping the midfoot tight and secure. Finally, the FriXion® XF also supports the foot with enhanced traction to tackle uneven terrain.
These are trail running shoes and they are designed to handle any type of terrain you can throw at them. The FriXion® XF found in the rubber outsole is covered with oval-shaped lugs to provide traction in all types of terrain. The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX can handle rain, snow, mud, and any slippery pavement that you may come across. Trail runners should have no trouble navigating soft or firm trails. Rocks, roots, and other debris should pose no problem for the rugged outsole and forgiving midfoot of the Ultra Raptor GTX.
With technical trail running shoes, you certainly get what you pay for. The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX will fall into the higher end of the running shoe price spectrum. With all of the high-end components found in the shoe, this price should come as no surprise. While there certainly can be deals had on this shoe, most serious trail runners will be happy to pay full price. Despite the slight concern of cushioning durability, the Ultra Raptor GTX is well worth its price tag. These shoes certainly won’t be found on any list of the best discounted
running shoes anytime soon, but runners should feel it’s a fair price for what they’re getting.
The traction on this shoe is truly amazing. The oval-shaped lugs found on the bottom of the outsole do a great job of digging into the ground to secure a good grip. The Frixion® XF Green compound rubber that is used for the outsole is some of the stickiest material you’ll find on a shoe. Runners will have no concerns with traction as they wear these shoes in a variety of terrains.
Typically, trail running shoes aren’t known for their flexibility. No one is going to be able to compare these shoes to one of the popular barefoot shoes
in terms of flexibility. But for a pair of rugged trail shoes, they have a fair amount of flexibility. The narrow toe box does limit this flexibility just a bit. It would be great if there was a bit more room for the toes to flex. The arch of the shoe is a bit rigid thanks to the Nylon molded flex transfer shank. This offers extra protection but it does come at the expense of flexibility.
These shoes are not designed to be dedicated stability shoes
but they do offer enough stability for most runners. This stability comes from a number of technical features found in the shoe. First, the TPU transkinetic heel stabilizer keeps the heel secure and stable in the shoe. Second, the HF lacing harness adds additional stability to the laces for a snug and secure fit. Finally, the Injection molded MeMlex adds midfoot stability with cushioning from heel to toe.
These shoes offer a 12mm drop which is pretty standard for a rugged trail running shoe. This will feel much different for any runner who is used to the popular 0 drop
shoes. But for most trail runners, the added heel height will be much appreciated. The added height allows for a little more protection and stability when clearing uneven terrain.
- Water resistant Gore-Tex® lining
- Oval-shaped lugs for extreme traction
- Ultra-breathable mesh upper
- 12 mm heel to toe drop
- Injection molded MeMlex cushioning
- Frixion® XF Green compound rubber outsole
Trail runners who are looking for a versatile all-terrain shoe will be very pleased with the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX. It offers enough cushioning from heel-to-toe to protect the foot on grueling trail runs. The oval-shaped lugs found along the bottom of the outsole will provide plenty of traction for all different types of terrain. The shoe is jam packed with technological innovations that improve the performance. The only two potential downsides of the shoe are durability and a narrow toe box for some runners. Whether you’re an experienced trail runner or just getting started, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX is a phenomenal choice.