10 Best La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes Reviewed

La Sportiva trail running shoes are some of the best trainers for rocky and uneven terrain. By utilizing waterproof materials for the upper, and a host of stabilization features, these trainers can tame any treacherous mountain trail with ease. La Sportiva got their start making supportive shoes for lumberjacks and farmers in the late 1920s, and translated those supportive and versatile features into some of the very best trail running shoes currently on the market.

Whether you need something for long distances or for high speeds, La Sportiva has you covered. In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of our very favorite La Sportiva trail running shoes that are able to keep up with wherever your adventures take you!

Standout Picks

Mutant
La Sportiva Mutant backcountry trail running shoes are a modern-looking trail running shoe that offers great cushioning and protection for your feet while offering enough air to keep them cool and dry. The outsole has been specifically designed to stick to everything, a major bonus for sticky and rocky terrain, and we love the shoe's durability too.
La Men's Bushido II Running Shoe
What we like most about the Bushido 2 is that is is a great neutral running shoe that isn’t too heavy, and still provides runners with unmatched support and traction. It boasts a lower profile than many of the other designs in the La Sportiva lineup and boasts features that provide a good deal of energy return, even on rocky trails.
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Crossover 2.0 GTX
They may look more like Marty McFly's sneakers than something the average trail runner might wear, but the La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX are extremely robust and the high ankle supports offer additional protection as well as stability. The lacing system is beautifully simple, and the best feature of all is the grip zone, specifically designed to help you negotiate snowy and icy conditions.
Akyra
There's so much to love about the Akyra. Its air mesh offers great ventilation and its built-in shock absorbers are a real benefit to those who run on unforgiving surfaces or have to jump every now again (a common issue for mountain runners). The impact brake system further reduces the impact of any collision or hard landing.
Ultra Raptor
Colorful, cutting-edge vegan-friendly... the Ultra Raptor is perfectly attuned to 21st-century life. And La Sportiva's high-class synthetic solution means the shoes feel amazing against your skin while keeping all that dirt, rainwater, and other nasty stuff. The Vibram Sole, which provides you with an amazing grip while running on trails and rough terrain, makes this a rugged as well as an eye-catching product.
Wildcat 2.0 GTX
La Sportiva Wildcat 2.0 GTX trail running shoes are a major improvement on the first generation. The synthetic fabric and one-piece molded harness make for a seriously sleek design and the waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex membrane is great when you're slogging away in tougher running environments. An aggressive outsole gives you great protection and real traction in rocky terrain.
Akasha
La Sportiva Akasha trail running shoes are one of the most beautiful options on the market. They feature a great combination of colors in a modern, sleek design. They are made of fabric and leather and well as amazing traction, as well as great comfort and support.
Helios SR
Designed to be abrasion-resistant and breathable, with leading-edge sweat-wicking properties, the Helios SR is great for those who love running or scaling rocky terrain. The shoes are packed with something called MorphoDynamic midsole technology, which keeps the shoes rigid and offers great edging capability, meaning they're effective for climbing as well as running.
Primer Low GTX
If, like us, you're a bit of a techno-geek, you'll be drooling over these babies. Nano-cell protection, Gore-Tex surround technology... yep, we agree, the Primer Low GTX is a pretty cool pair of shows. Trail runners love nothing more than escaping from the hustle and bustle of modern life and going back to nature, but hey, there's nothing wrong with a bit of futuristic gadgetry innovation.
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La Sportiva Helios III
Looking for something that is a little more versatile? What we love most about Helios 3 is that it is designed for both trail and road running. It boasts a sleek design that won’t weigh you down and is also packed with stability features that really grip the trail ahead. If speed and versatility are important to you, keep reading!
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Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

If they aren't comfortable, you simply won't want to wear them.

La Sportiva focuses on quality over quantity. The company’s tradition and heritage are what make it one of the most respected names in trail running shoes. They use high-quality materials that work to protect your foot but are flexible enough to provide a full range of motion as you train.

According to previous users, we found that La Sportiva has the highest customer satisfaction rate when it comes to comfortable toe boxes. From their mountain climbing shoes to their standard trail runners, testers reported the perfect combination of freedom and fit when it came to their toes. Given La Sportiva can test its products right in the heart of the Italian mountain ranges, it’s hardly surprising the quality is so consistent.

Stability

Stability is also important when you are choosing the right pair of running shoes.

When running on uneven trails, it is important to select a sneaker that it allows you to maintain your balance while still protecting your joints. There are a few key features that make these trainers stand out from the pack.

Many of the designs selected have a toe box that is slightly wider than other designs out there on the market. A wide toe box allows your feet to naturally splay the way they would if you were barefoot. This natural motion helps you stay even on your feet when the road ahead is rocky.

It is important to note that many of these designs on our list also boast as a narrow fit that may not be ideal for some. A tight and narrow fit may seem uncomfortable, but it helps to promote lockdown. When your trainers shift around on your foot as you run, you are more prone to rolling an ankle.

Durability

La Sportiva sneakers are built to hold up to hundreds of miles of travels together before breaking down.

The last thing that you want to worry about when you are out on a trail run is the integrity of your footwear. Users of this brand have counted on their outdoor footwear for generations. Their trail runners are built to last and have been tested in the harshest of conditions. This ensures that when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, you will have trail runners that you can count on to last as long as you do.

One of the best things about this brand is its lasting durability. All styles in this lineup all host a style of Vibram outsoles which is known for being one of the more reliable outsoles on the market. Vibram is a brand of rubber that is designed specifically for trails or slick surfaces. The tacky exterior texture really grips the ground under your feet, and it is ideal for running on slick surfaces, such as trails covered in a layer of wet leaves.

Breathability

No one likes running with hot, sweaty feet.

When we look at shoes we always look at breathability because it helps your feet stay cool and dry. Breathability and ventilation are important, especially during the warmer months, because it prevents blisters and chafing from occurring. Many trail shoes are a little less breathable because they need to be more durable--but that doesn't mean they need to sacrifice all breathability.

We won't sugar-coat it- these aren't the most breathable trainers out there on the market. The high stability design and protective features on the upper keep water and dirt from penetrating your socks. However, this protective barrier also works to trap hot air inside of the shoe. Some of the more versatile designs, however, come equipped with mesh vents along the top and sides that work to move hot air up and away from your feet.

Value

Value is much more than just the price tag.

For some users, it’s very important to find shoes that won’t ruin their budget. Trail running shoes are those type of shoes that tend to be much more expensive than road running shoes. They’re made of much more durable materials, they have also many additional features to provide a better grip and shock absorption.

As far as price is concerned, the more serious trail runners clock in at a fairly high price point. However, this doesn't mean that they aren't an excellent value. The more expensive trail runners are reinforced with materials that allow them to hold up quite well, even after hundreds of miles. If you can swing it, the more expensive options are often the better value.

If you are working on a budget, the hybrid trail/road designs often come in at a price point that is more approachable. Keep in mind, however, that the more affordable designs are a little less durable, and aren't ideal for really rough trails or soggy weather conditions.

Our Favorite La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes

1. Mutant

Mutant
Amazon Link

La Sportiva Mutant backcountry trail running shoes are a modern-looking trail running shoe that offers great cushioning and protection for your feet while offering enough air to keep them cool and dry. The outsole has been specifically designed to stick to everything, a major bonus for sticky and rocky terrain, and we love the shoe's durability too.

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These Mutants will provide you with top-quality cushioning for the terrains you have to conquer. They are perfect for harsher environments that other less durable shoes just can't handle. They will also provide you with amazing stability giving you the perfect platform to tackle those arduous and unpredictable routes.

These are very durable running shoes that will last you for a long, long time before they break down. The materials used are high quality and you'll really enjoy the reinforcement inside the shoe.

Perhaps the best aspect of the Mutant is its low price. They are seriously cheap considering the quality you provide. We challenge you to find a better bargain anywhere in the athletic shoe market

2. Bushido 2.0

Where to buy
Amazon Link
La Men's Bushido II Running Shoe
Amazon Link

What we like most about the Bushido 2 is that is is a great neutral running shoe that isn’t too heavy, and still provides runners with unmatched support and traction. It boasts a lower profile than many of the other designs in the La Sportiva lineup and boasts features that provide a good deal of energy return, even on rocky trails.

Read more

Our favorite feature of this design is the design of the outsole lugs. The deep lugs that spill over to the outside of the foot help to grip uneven trails for an added level of stability. The FriXion XT V-Groove2 outsole boasts a tacky finish that is able to really grip slick surfaces, such as trails covered in wet leaves.

The structured upper is composed of AirMesh with a thermoplastic film. The AirMesh material helps to lift hot air up and away from your foot for a lightweight and comfortable fit, and the thermoplastic film keeps water and rain out. Users love that this upper fits like a glove, and promote unmatched lockdown so it won’t shift around on your foot.

Key improvements in the Bushido 2 include changes in the tongue as well as the heel for a fit that really cradles your foot. If you want to shave a few seconds off of your trail time, this lighter and streamlined design is made for speed. Plus, the robust outsole lugs makes you more steady on your feet.

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3. Crossover 2.0 GTX

Crossover 2.0 GTX
Amazon Link

They may look more like Marty McFly's sneakers than something the average trail runner might wear, but the La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX are extremely robust and the high ankle supports offer additional protection as well as stability. The lacing system is beautifully simple, and the best feature of all is the grip zone, specifically designed to help you negotiate snowy and icy conditions.

Read more

The Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX offers amazing comfort thanks to its sturdy design, which grasps your feet just right. The shoes also offer great stability because of an outsole full of lugs that offer you a great grip.

These are very durable running shoes. The polyester mesh may look lightweight but it really does the job - and then does it again, and again.

While there are cheaper La Sportiva trail running shoe models out there but it really depends what sort of trail running you enjoy. If you look getting out there and slogging through the snow and ice, trust us - you'll love these.

4. Akyra

Akyra
Amazon Link

There's so much to love about the Akyra. Its air mesh offers great ventilation and its built-in shock absorbers are a real benefit to those who run on unforgiving surfaces or have to jump every now again (a common issue for mountain runners). The impact brake system further reduces the impact of any collision or hard landing.

Read more

This is one of the most protective shoes on our list. As we've said above, the Akyra coms with shock absorbers and an impact brake system, so you won't suffer from any sudden impacts. There's more cushioning in these shoes than in a penthouse suite at the Ritz; they're as comfortable as a trail runner gets, without being overly heavy.

Users said that the shoes worked great on every kind of terrain--but we reckon they're particularly good for mountain runners, giving the cushioning and impact absorption system which come as standard.

These may be a bit pricier than some other shoes you'll find but they're pretty durable and offer great value for money over the long-term.

5. Ultra Raptor

Ultra Raptor
Amazon Link

Colorful, cutting-edge vegan-friendly... the Ultra Raptor is perfectly attuned to 21st-century life. And La Sportiva's high-class synthetic solution means the shoes feel amazing against your skin while keeping all that dirt, rainwater, and other nasty stuff. The Vibram Sole, which provides you with an amazing grip while running on trails and rough terrain, makes this a rugged as well as an eye-catching product.

Read more

The ankle supports are designed to offer additional protection, managing your twists and turns and enhancing that locked-in feel which makes La Sportiva's shoes so popular. The softer materials are gentle on your feet, and the super-stable soles are the icing on the cake. The Ultra Raptor is a durable running shoe that will last you for hundreds, if not thousands of miles.

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor mountain running shoes aren't cheap, but like most products, in this range, the quality more than compensates.

6. Wildcat 2.0 GTX

Wildcat 2.0 GTX
Amazon Link

La Sportiva Wildcat 2.0 GTX trail running shoes are a major improvement on the first generation. The synthetic fabric and one-piece molded harness make for a seriously sleek design and the waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex membrane is great when you're slogging away in tougher running environments. An aggressive outsole gives you great protection and real traction in rocky terrain.

Read more

The synthetic materials provide a lovely feel and the lacing system grips your foot just right. These shows will offer you amazing stability with their unique outsole. They will last you a long time, and all the materials used are high-quality.

Ok, these babies are a bit pricey. But hey, you gotta pay for quality, right?

7. Akasha

Akasha
Amazon Link

La Sportiva Akasha trail running shoes are one of the most beautiful options on the market. They feature a great combination of colors in a modern, sleek design. They are made of fabric and leather and well as amazing traction, as well as great comfort and support.

Read more

These offer you great comfort and stability from La Sportiva's high-cushioned sole. The soft Frixion XT rubber outsole is designed to keep a suction-like grip even when things get really wet. These shoes are very durable and will last you for hundreds of miles. Also, the quality of the materials is great.

There aren't usually complaints about the cost of these shoes even considering their relatively steep price. The reason may be because of their beautiful design, or the STB technology that provides you with great comfort, or just the overall quality that they provide.

8. Helios SR

Helios SR
Amazon Link

Designed to be abrasion-resistant and breathable, with leading-edge sweat-wicking properties, the Helios SR is great for those who love running or scaling rocky terrain. The shoes are packed with something called MorphoDynamic midsole technology, which keeps the shoes rigid and offers great edging capability, meaning they're effective for climbing as well as running.

Read more

Ask any fell or mountain runner what they look for in their shoes and they'll probably all tell you the same answer: stability and rigidity. The Helios SR offers these qualities and the design offers genuine comfort, ensuring your feet won't suffer too much damage as you push yourself up that hill. These are very durable running shoes, as they need to be. The materials used are high quality and users love the abrasion-resistant properties.

Yep, these cost quite a bit. That's the only real downside we can see, to be honest. But given how long they'll last, they're certainly not a bad investment.

9. Primer Low GTX

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Primer Low GTX
Amazon Link

If, like us, you're a bit of a techno-geek, you'll be drooling over these babies. Nano-cell protection, Gore-Tex surround technology... yep, we agree, the Primer Low GTX is a pretty cool pair of shows. Trail runners love nothing more than escaping from the hustle and bustle of modern life and going back to nature, but hey, there's nothing wrong with a bit of futuristic gadgetry innovation.

Read more

These are really comfortable and great for your favorite technical trails. They will give you the support and stability you need. Read the reviews online and you'll see that these bad boys are durable. Like, really durable. They'll stand up to the toughest terrain you can put them through and come out the other side.

This is the one real negative we can find. The Primer Low GTX is an expensive pair of shoes. Right at the top of the price bracket. If it weren't for the price we'd probably have ranked it higher. Given the cost, we'd recommend you only go for a pair of Primer Lows if you're really into your trail running. If you're a budding athlete or a committed amateur, you won't find a better pair of shoes on the market.

Amazon Link

10. Helios 3.0

Where to buy
Amazon Link
La Sportiva Helios III
Amazon Link

Looking for something that is a little more versatile? What we love most about Helios 3 is that it is designed for both trail and road running. It boasts a sleek design that won’t weigh you down and is also packed with stability features that really grip the trail ahead. If speed and versatility are important to you, keep reading!

Read more

The most notable feature of the Helios 3 is that it weighs in at just 6 ounces. Not only is this design one of the lightest trail runners in the La Sportiva lineup, but it is one of the lightest trail runners currently out there on the market! The outsole boasts a wave pattern that really grips the trails, but the lugs are shallow enough to take out on the sidewalks to the gym as well.

The upper is composed of a blend of ripstop nylon and Mono-burr mesh that is incredibly lightweight as well as breathable. The tongue is slightly padded (an improvement from previous iterations of the Helios sneaker) and spans the entire width of your foot to help keep rock and water out as you run.

If you are in the market for something lightweight and versatile, you can’t go wrong with the Helios 3. We love that it is designed to take on the trails or the sidewalks, and boasts lightweight features to keep you quick on your feet as well as protected. It may cost a bit more than some of the other designs in the La Sportiva lineup, but we feel that it is worth every penny.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. La Sportiva, La Sportiva, Manufacturer Site
  2. Active, Active, Health Website

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.