La Sportiva Helios 2.0 Reviewed for Quality
The second version of the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 isn’t a very different shoe at all. That was only introduced a few tweaks to the Helios 2.0. A new quick-lace system makes the shoe very easy to slip on and off. A bit of extra padding in the midsole is another welcome addition. Unfortunately, Helios 2.0 misses the mark in several areas. The shoe is marketed as a quick drying trail shoe, but numerous reviewers complained that this was not true. The outsole also performs poorly on some terrain. The shoe also has poor protective features considering it’s billed as a dedicated mountain running shoe. Where it shines is in terms of its lightweight and its ability to provide the wearer with a close-to-the-ground ride that feels very natural.
Keep reading our in-depth La Sportiva Helios 2.0 review to find out if it is worth the investment.
Unique style with Wave Design
A convenient quick-lace system
Soft, comfortable cushioning even at such a low weight
An extremely flexible shoe that provides a natural ride
Great ground-feel (could also be a negative)
Sizing problems (some may need to size up)
Absence of rock-plate
Lugs not as aggressive as they seem
Upper dries and drains water poorly
Performs poorly when used on loose terrain (gravel, loose pebbles, etc.)
The outsole is made up of FriXion AT material which is a grippy component meant to handle various terrains. The shoe does grip surfaces well but isn't great when used on surfaces with loose rocks or gravel. Okay, but the shoe looks like it has some pretty aggressive lugs! Are they just for show? That wavy-looking construction is the shoe's VA Wave technology.
It enhances flexibility and improves the shoe's overall responsiveness. If you take a look underfoot, the outsole's lugs aren't that deep. It's a bit of an optical illusion.
The midsole material not only cushions, but it also provides stability for the wearer. In this second version of the La Sportiva Helios, the shoe gets a bit more cushioning added to its midsole.
La Sportiva markets the Helios 2.0 as a super quick-drying shoe thanks to its HyDrain upper, but the shoe fails to live up to this reputation. A lot of reviewers complained that the shoe didn't drain well and water build up was familiar even on short runs.
Also, although the upper's new lacing system helps with the overall fit, quite a few wearers complained about sizing issues. Go up at least half a size with this shoe.
The reduction in weight is likely thanks to the removal of the heel counter. Its disappearance increases the shoes flexible construction and shaves off some weight.
Overlays have been added to the Helios 2.0 to prevent tearing that was occurring in the previous version. It solves the upper's durability problem but it also negatively affects the shoe's breathability.
Unless you're already very used to running with minimal cushioning, the Helios 2.0 may take some getting used to. It will be tough to go long on technical trails in this shoe if you're not already well-acquainted with minimal footwear.
It's a bit deceiving. Some wearers did mention that they found themselves wearing the Helios 2.0 outside of running since it's so easy to keep the shoe on post-run because of its lightweight construction. Other than the frost blue hue, it looks fairly neutral, too.
The exposed midsole sections likely have the potential to degrade quicker than the rest of the sole. Thankfully, the upper has been bumped up a notch in terms of durability. New overlays were added to help resist tearing. These new overlays may explain the reduction in the breathability of the shoe.
The outsole also happens to be pretty thin so even in covered areas there's the reason to be worried about harming your feet. The upper is more robust this time around thanks to the added overlays, so the potential for tearing is reduced. But the upper fails to ventilate as well as it should and increases the chances of overheating.
Reviewers enjoyed the natural ride they got in the Helios 2.0, and the wave design helps to contribute to that kind of feel. Runners will feel close to the ground because of the low-drop so make sure you're ready for some close contact!
Read also about minimal drop running shoes.
It reduces some rigidity but also decreases support in this area. Most reviewers liked this. Getting rid of the heel counter also means that the weight is reduced as well.
Zero rock plate and exposed midsole areas offer up the potential for foot injuries. You can't precisely bound down rocky terrain without a care if you're worried about piercing your foot on sharp rocks. Reviewers found the Helios 2.0 was better suited for short trail runs and was a good option for uphill climbs. The shoe performs pretty bad on loose terrain, though.
Otherwise, wait for the 3.0 and see if La Sportiva addresses some of the more pressing problems like protection, durability, and breathability.
Although they appear pretty aggressive via the shoe's side profile, they're not. Looking at the shoe's outsole, it's fairly evident that the lugs are pretty flat. It's a bit surprising considering this is a mountain running shoe. The VA Wave design might contribute to the shoe's poor grip abilities, and some reviewers have mentioned that they'd just as soon see this design feature done away with.
The lightweight shoe moves entirely with the wearer. A few reviewers mentioned that this made wearing the shoe very comfortable. For some, the lack of stability might be a big problem, though. Tackling rough terrain requires a bit of precision footing, but it's not enjoyable to always be staring at the ground beneath you.
In the La Sportiva Helios 2.0, you almost have to since you're no doubt going to experience a bit of instability as your foot lands. For some, the minimal stability may make for a comfortable ride, but for some, the overly flexible design may prove to be more problematic than anything else.
- HyDrain upper is intended to offer breathability and water drainage
- EVA AirMesh liner wicks away moisture
- MorphoDynamic EVA cushioning in the midsole provides excellent padding and stability
- FriXion AT outsole is composed of a grippy material that works on a variety of terrains
- VA Wave tech present in outsole enhances flexibility and improves responsiveness
If you're a minimalist runner looking for a lightweight shoe for the trails or mountains, there are few options available that compare in terms of weight. The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 provides excellent ground-feel and a natural ride. If you don't mind the lack of protection and virtually zero stability, then this shoe is a definite contender.