La Sportiva Bushido Review Facts
Bushido is a Japanese collective term for the codes of honor and ideals that dictated the samurai way of life. Just like knights in Europe had to abide by a certain code of ethics, a samurai also had to abide by certain principles. And much like its namesake, the La Sportiva Bushido shares the valor and discipline of a warrior. This is a shoe that’s designed to battle the toughest terrain, and it accomplishes this honorably. Named Editor’s Choice from Trail Runner, this mid- to lightweight low profile stability shoe offers a perfect blend of responsiveness and comfort. With a good amount of protection, the traction the Bushido offers is perfect for technical terrains, daily running, or long distance runs.
Outfitted with aggressive lugs, the Bushido’s outsole is made of FriXion XT, a sticky compound that offers great grip on a variety of terrains, while its Impact Break System delivers reliable traction when ascending or descending inclinations. Made for the trail, its underfoot feel provides runners with an excellent amount of responsiveness while still offering protection from the harsher elements that can be found in nature. A stability shoe without the usual TPU insert, its platform still offers a great amount of balance, even when traversing uneven topography. Versatility is also Bushido’s strength, as it can be used for speed, long distance, or on the trail. The sock-like fit of the upper and lockdown feel after lace-up provides the runner with a great amount of security throughout a ride. Nimble on the trail and made for long-distance and everyday running, the La Sportiva Bushido is a stability trail shoe that performs with tenacity and grace.
The outsole of the Bushido is made from FriXion rubber, a specialized type of rubber from La Sportiva that is characterized by its sticky grip qualities. This material covers most of the outsole, except for high-wear areas, which are covered with carbon rubber. Runners will also find enlarged lugs that are strategically placed for maximum traction. The lugs work congruently as part of the IBS (Impact Brake System) and are angled in a way that improves braking power and gripping.
The midsole of the Bushido is a full-length piece of black foam called the Memlex, which is La Sportiva’s proprietary compression-molded EVA,
which provides durable, responsive cushioning. Located on the forefoot is a Rock Protection plate that both protects the foot against hazards that can be found on the trail and aids runners who prefer a stiffer forefoot for a strong takeoff. In addition, a TPU frame serves as the platform for additional stability.
The upper of the Bushido’s midsole combines several materials like Air Mesh and thermal adhesive microfiber. It implements STB Control construction, which strategically uses synthetic overlays for a more secure and comfortable fit. The upper also has added reinforcements made from suede and plastic encasings for an extra bit of protection. There is also a TPU toe cap that’s both flexible and tough.
The men’s Bushido weighs 10.5 ounces/298 grams and the women’s version weighs 9.1 ounces/258 grams. This is meant to be a light to a midweight technical trainer
. La Sportiva aimed to construct a shoe that combines aggressive sturdiness while maintaining a low profile and low weight
. In its essence, the Bushido wants runners to feel protected without feeling like they're dragging cement blocks on their feet.
By their very nature, technical trainers must focus more on protective features than overall breathability. Most trail shoes don’t offer very good breathability for this very reason. After all, what good is the use of a cool breeze on your feet if the shoe is not going to protect you against a harmful piece of debris? The ventilation in a technical trainer will be much less than what’s found with a regular running shoe. That said, air circulation on the Bushido will mostly be focused on the upper forefoot of the shoe that’s covered with mesh, while the rest of the upper is covered with protective overlays.
The Bushido’s comfort level will vary from runner to runner: while some runners will find that it’s comfortable enough, others may find that it doesn't meet their cushioning needs. The Bushido is not marketed as a cushioning
shoe and its level of cushioning is best described as ‘moderate.’ It does feature a sock-like fit that many users will appreciate for its feeling of security. It also has a soft pliable tongue that's covered with a good amount of padding.
The Bushido comes in three color combinations for both men and women. The men’s color choices are yellow/black, gray/green with yellow trim, and Flame--a black upper with orange trim. The options for women are Ice blue/gray, grey/yellow, and Fjord which features a turquoise blue-like color with yellow trim. The bold La Sportiva lettering is imprinted on the sides. Even though there are only a few choices, La Sportiva does well with the aesthetics of the shoe by selecting vibrant color combinations that remain in tune with its outdoor spirit.
La Sportiva has constructed a shoe for its aggressive protective qualities. Made of high-quality durable materials that can withstand the toughest terrain, the Bushido is like an armored vehicle, an encasing of protection to be found from all sides and running through every element of the shoe, ensuring a resilient trail running shoe that the runner can depend on for many miles to come.
Without a doubt, the Bushido offers more than enough protection. It has a TPU toe cap in the front that extends wider than most toe caps by covering the entire toe area. The TPU shank ensures stability
so that your foot is locked in place. The combination of thick lugs and IBS system provides runners with superior traction to keep them steady and confident as they traverse nasty terrain. All in all, this shoe has you covered--literally--when it comes to protection.
When running on regular terrain, responsiveness is that “bounce-back” effect you get after your foot hits the ground. Because technical trails aren’t flat or steady, a technical trainer must offer a different level of responsiveness. In the case of the Bushido, its excellent traction grapples and grips ever-changing, unpredictable terrain so there’s a consistent response with each and every step.
If you’re running through leaves, branches, rocks, and so on, the Bushido’s flexible traction
makes it possible for you to continue at a steady pace without fear of having to slow down due to a perceived hazard. Since responsiveness relies more on a gripping mechanism than a bounce-back effect, the Bushido excels in this department.
The Bushido’s support system is markedly different than most support systems on a standard running shoe. While a standard shoe usually has a centralized support system, by way of a midsole platform located above the outsole, the Bushido features lateral support through a TPU shank enclosure on its sides. By utilizing lateral support, the Bushido is able to maintain a low profile as well as a low drop. The TPU shank enclosure makes it possible for the foot to stay stable and remain locked in place without the need of adding extra layers to the top. However, a low profile lateral stability shoe also means that cushioning will be restricted to a degree.
In laymen's terms, “technical terrain” is basically the end of the easy path on a trail pathway
. It’s where the going gets tough: roots, rocks, branches, slippery rocks, logs, you name it. Add a few uphill and downhill inclines and you get a general idea. Having been made specifically with this terrain in mind, the Bushido is a master of the technical terrain, and it lives to tackle these difficult trails.
No serious trail shoe is going to be considered “bargain-priced,” but the Bushido is fairly priced considering its wealth of protective and stability features and unique capabilities. There isn’t much competition for a shoe of this caliber because you are essentially getting a pair of small--but very capable--hiking boots that are light enough to run in, and you can’t say that about most hiking boots. In that regard, the Bushido is a one of a kind shoe that can be found for a price much more moderate than many other comparable trail runners.
You can ignore every other paragraph in this review and just read this one to understand what the La Sportiva Bushido is all about: in one word, TRACTION. The tough rubber outsole, the Impact Brake System (IBS), and the sticky gripping abilities translate into a superior off-road running shoe. The IBS system performs impressively going downhill
as it grips the trail while keeping the runner grounded and safe from stumbling.
The Bushido has a heavy armament of protective features reminiscent of the armor plating on a samurai warrior. Flexibility and armored plating don’t exactly go hand in hand, so don’t expect an especially malleable shoe. The Bushido does offer a portion size controlled amount of flexibility in its upper front thanks to the mesh material. Keep in mind that if you’re running through very tough terrain
you’re going to be excessively dependent on protection rather than flexibility. However, the Bushido’s lack of flexibility is only noticeable on flatter surfaces.
The Bushido features STB Control which ensures that the foot is snug, stable, and secure throughout a run on the most uneven terrain. It’s important to note that the TPU shank is a wide frame on the side that runs around the foot to maintain its stability. This prevents your foot safe from swaying side to side or doing any form of twisting that can cause serious injury. Essentially, the TPU shank is the central stability component and is what makes the Bushido specifically a stability shoe
. In addition, the TPU shank is encased by strong plastic layering to protect against perforations.
The heel height measures 19 mm and the forefoot height measures 13 mm. The resulting drop differential is 6 mm. Measurements are the same for both men and women’s editions. The Bushido’s low drop
means that you will not be prone to heel striking. In fact, the low drop and the sticky traction is likely to ensure a more stable midfoot strike.
• Low profile technical trail runner
• Highly durable with an aggressive traction
• Designed for the most rugged technical terrain
• Impact Brake System (IBS) offers exceptional traction, including downhill
• Compression Molded MEMIex mid-sole for extra cushioning.
• TPU shank keeps foot stable, secure, and protected
• FriXion XT outsole for added traction
• STB Control construction for a secure and comfortable fit
If you think about an off-road vehicle like a Jeep, especially an older model like those used during World War II, you’ll realize that these are some of the hardiest vehicles ever made. T They weren’t there to look pretty or be luxury vehicles: they were there to get through the muck and chaos of war again and again.
The Bushido is like the Jeep of shoes. It’s going to get you through whatever debris Mother Nature
throws at a runner so long as one can sacrifice a little bit of plush comfort along the way. On the other hand, if you have a more at-ease approach to your runs, or simply demand greater levels of comfort, then the La Sportiva Bushido will fall short. But those who tread on technical trails and look to push themselves to the limit will find the Bushido a stellar companion on these treks.
A low-profile stability trail runner that offers superior protection against the grime and hazards that are found on difficult trails, the Bushido is a trail shoe that runners can depend on in a clutch and deliver them safely to their destination.