La Sportiva Helios 2.0

8.5
8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.0) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.5)/10

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Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
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La Sportiva Helios 2.0 Review Facts
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The second version of the La Sportiva Helios isn’t a very different shoe at all. In fact, La Sportiva has 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, the Helios 2.0 misses the mark in a number of 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. The Helios 2.0 will certainly please trail minimalists.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unique style with Wave Design
  • Very lightweight, one of the lightest of its kind
  • A convenient quick-lace system makes on/off really simple
  • 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)
Cons
  • Sizing problems (some may need to size up)
  • The absence of rock-plate means there's an increased potential for injuries to feet to occur
  • Lugs not as aggressive as they seem
  • Upper dries and drains water poorly
  • Performs poorly when used on loose terrain (gravel, loose pebbles, etc.)
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Viewing the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 via its side profile you'll get a look at the outsole's aggressive looking lugs. The shoe looks like it can handle some seriously tough terrain. Except, the side profile view makes the shoe look more aggressive than it really is. 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? Actually, 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 actually that deep. It's a bit of an optical illusion.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Reviewers were quite happy with the La Sportiva Helios 2.0's midsole cushioning. There's a decent amount of padding for such a lightweight minimal trail shoe. The cushion feels nice and soft underfoot. It's made of MorphoDynamic MEMlex EVA. Yeah, that's a mouthful. The midsole material not only cushions, 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.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 has been changed a bit. A new quick-lace system makes slipping the shoe on and off a breeze. A few reviewers did find that there were issues with excess lacing material since the shoe has no storage for extra laces. The upper also features an EVA AirMesh liner, it's unchanged from before and does a decent job at wicking moisture. 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 common even on short runs.

In addition, although the upper's new lacing system helps with overall fit. Quite a few wearers complained about sizing issues. Go up at least half a size with this shoe.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 got even lighter since the first version of the shoe. The women's version weighs 6.45 oz and the men's 7.7 oz. It's extremely lightweight and anyone looking for such a shoe will definitely love how low weight the Helios 2.0 is. 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.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

It's a shame but the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 isn't as breathable as it could be. The HyDrain upper is meant to drain water that might get logged in the shoe but it just doesn't do the job as intended. Most reviewers mentioned the shoe didn't ventilate very well, especially in warm weather.

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.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Despite the issues already mentioned, reviewers still found the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 quite comfortable. It has soft cushioning, a nice soft heel area, and its lightweight construction makes it a joy to run in. Minimalists are probably going to prefer this shoe more than anyone, though. 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.
Style
Style

Style

The women's frost blue version of the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 is super flashy while the men's version seems to be a little more understated. There aren't too many colors to choose from but you shouldn't be choosing your shoes for their color offerings! The style of the shoe is interesting. It looks like a heavy duty trail shoe but it's so lightweight. It's a bit deceiving, actually. 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.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 is fairly durable. It was made for the trails after all. The outsole is made of tough materials like FriXion AT but it's fairly thin. According to some reviewers, wear was noticeable within a short usage period. Others were happy with the number of miles they got in the Helios 2.0. It's true, though, that the outsole isn't fully covered. 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 breathability of the shoe.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Yeah, the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 really fails in this category. But if you're looking for a minimalist trail/mountain/climbing shoe then you'll probably expect to have little to no protection. Without a rock plate, the exposed midsole areas on the outsole leave runners vulnerable to hard debris like sharp rocks or pebbles. The outsole also happens to be pretty thin so even in covered areas there's reason to be worried about harming your feet. The upper is tougher 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.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

It's true that the shoe's VA Wave technology ensures excellent flexibility and responsiveness but that comes with a tradeoff. The wave design exposes portions of the midsole and the design doesn't really provide enough traction for running technical trails. Still, the shoe is definitely responsive. 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 really close to the ground because of the low-drop so make sure you're ready for some close contact!
Support
Support

Support

The neutral La Sportiva Helios 2.0 does have a pretty supportive base thanks to its low to the ground design. The shoe's MorphoDynamic EVA cushioning also helps to ensure a solid platform for wearers. Gone is the heel counter in the Helios 2.0. This reduces some rigidity but also decreases support in this area. Most reviewers actually liked this. Getting rid of the heel counter also means that the weight is reduced as well.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Interestingly, the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 is meant to be a mountain running shoe. It's also geared towards trail runners and the shoe could also technically be used on the roads. It's not well-suited to long trails runs, though, because of its poor protective features. Zero rock plate and exposed midsole areas offer up the potential for foot injuries. You can't exactly 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.
Price
Price

Price

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 is priced fairly at just above $100. It's a decent shoe but it does have a few problems that should be addressed. We would suggest trying out a pair before purchasing. Ensure your local running store has a solid return policy. See if they're comfortable and if they work for you. Otherwise, wait for the 3.0 and see if La Sportiva addresses some of the more pressing problems like protection, durability, and breathability.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 has a grippy FriXion AT outsole. The material provides good traction but performs poorly when it comes to loose terrain types, like gravel. The shoe just isn't great for downhill running. The lugs have remained the same in this second version. Although they appear pretty aggressive via the shoe's side profile, they're really not. Looking at the shoe's outsole it's fairly obvious 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.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 is super flexible. If you're looking for a really flexible mountain running shoe, this is your best bet. The VA Wave design increases overall flexibility (for obvious reasons). The upper provides some give as well. The shoe is basically constructed with pliability in mind. The ride is meant to be minimalist and natural and it sure delivers in this regard.
Stability
Stability

Stability

There's little stability in the La Sportiva Helios 2.0. It's a neutral shoe so there's obviously no medial post. But the Helios goes a step further. The whole shoe provides a super flexible construction. 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.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0 is a low-to-the-ground minimalist shoe. Its low 4mm drop brings wearers close to the trail. This enhances the shoe's ability to provide a natural ride.
Key Features of the La Sportiva Helios 2.0
Key Features of the La Sportiva Helios 2.0

Key Features of the La Sportiva Helios 2.0


    Quick-lace system provides easy on/off and allows for a customizable fit
    HyDrain upper is intended to offer breathability and water drainage
    EVA AirMesh liner wicks away moisture
    MorphoDynamic EVA cushioning in the midsole offers great 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
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Here's the deal, the La Sportiva Helios 2.0 isn't the best overall trail/mountain shoe out there. There are shoes that offer better protection, more cushioning, excellent drainage and ventilation, and way better traction.

So why purchase the La Sportiva Helios 2.0? 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 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.