La Sportiva Kaptiva Review Facts
The Kaptiva is the newest member of the La Sportiva family, that’s made with mountain racing in mind. The Kaptiva features a high-quality build, smart use of materials, and a weight that puts it straight into the ultra-lightweight category in terms of trail running shoes. The sleek design tones down the volume and makes the absolute most of the sock-like upper construction and the exoskeleton that surrounds the mesh so as to provide support, stability, comfort, all while keeping the shoe as efficient as possible. With the full-length rock guard, the Impact Brake System, and a toe guard, the Kaptiva has all you need for your trail running protection. The only thing lacking on this summer trail running shoe is the waterproof upper; other than that, this is a great option for all neutral runners who enjoy the mountains.
The outsole of the La Sportiva Kaptiva sure packs a punch, with the use of the FriXion XF 2.0 rubber compound that is extremely sticky and dons prominent and aggressive lugs that vary from 4-5mm in depth so as to enable the sole to adjust better to various terrains. The outsole also features the Impact Brake System and flex grooves that are deepest in the forefoot area and provide a dynamic, flexible and smooth running experience. In the forefoot and rearfoot area is the 1.5mm EVA rock-guard which has extensive protective properties and provides much-needed cushioning without losing the ground feel.
The midsole of this lightweight trail running shoe features the resilient Compressed Molded MEMlex and a TPU stabilizer, which is a pure-plastic shaft that offers additional support and structure to the foot, without getting in the way of your natural stride. On top of the midsole unit of the Kaptiva is the 4mm Ortholite Insole that provides softness and cushioning
and increases the overall comfort of the shoe, without making it feel too supple and mushy, given that it’s meant to endure long runs on technical trails.
The upper of the La Sportiva Kaptiva is a perfect blend of structure, protection, and breathability that also succeeds at maintaining a slim and sleek look. The Sock-like compression build of the upper, combined with debossed flex lines and slip-resistant nylon mesh lining hugs your foot in the best possible way, giving it freedom of movement, while the exoskeleton made of thermo-adhesive overlays provides stability and structure. The technology-packed upper also features an internal dirt-guard which prevents debris from entering the shoe box. The one-piece knit wraparound tongue guarantees that no slippage or twisting will occur during your run, and adheres to the foot without an issue. The lacing system is traditional.
You could say that the La Sportiva Kaptiva fills in the empty space in the company’s lineup that was yearning for a high-quality lightweight trail shoe. The shoe weighs bellow 10oz, or 9.1oz/260 grams for the men’s half-pair and 7.0oz/225g for women’s to be exact. This positions the Kaptiva in the ultra-lightweight category in the trail running shoe niche, and it would even be considered a lightweight
road running shoe. Given the fact that the shoe boasts plenty of rubber on the outsole, along with the full-length rock plate, the weight of it is nothing short of impressive, and it’s primarily thanks to the sleek and modern upper.
The modern, knit material and a sock-like construction of the upper are a good start to even better shoe ventilation, and the La Sportiva Kaptiva does not disappoint. While the thermo-adhesive overlays seem like they could affect the overall breathability
, the shoe still has plenty of open-mesh areas, especially in the vamp. Additionally, the clean structure of the upper prevents the forming of hot spots and blisters, which increases comfort and encourages better performance.
Not surprisingly, the slip-on construction of the shoe not only allows for a snug fit but a comfortable one as well. The knit fabric distributes the pressure on the foot evenly, providing a supporting, yet unrestricted experience. The fit of the shoe is medium and the slip-resistant nylon mesh lining the Kaptiva has is stretchy and ensures a tight grip on the foot. This trail running shoe doesn’t have an unnecessary volume that would cause wiggling of the foot inside the shoe box. The 4mm Ortholite
Insole also adds to the overall comfort of the Kaptiva, and the padded collar won’t irritate your ankles or Achilles, providing comfort for the entirety of the run.
If it wasn’t for the robust, aggressive look of the outsole, the La Sportiva Kaptiva would look just like a regular road running shoe, considering how sleek the upper looks. However, the prominent outsole lugs, as well as the accentuated midsole color, give off the unmistakable trail running look to the entire shoe. The Kaptiva comes in several colorways that range from combinations featuring a monotone upper and a vibrant sole, all the way to the exact opposite – an accentuated upper with a low-key sole. The back of the collar, sole, and the laces feature are the same color, which brings a dash of uniformity and modernity to the look. All in all, this is a good-looking trail shoe that can even be worn out and about, without looking like it doesn’t belong on the concrete.
The compound rubber used in the construction of the outsole, along with the 5mm lugs and the fact that the midsole is fairly protected by the outsole, indicates that the longevity of the La Sportiva Kaptiva will be above average, at least. The upper is equally as promising, with the use of high-quality mesh along with the thermo-adhesive overlays and a toe guard
that will make it pretty hard to tear or damage the upper.
The great thing about the sleek-looking upper of the La Sportiva Kaptiva is the fact that it doesn’t lack protective properties. Starting with the toe guard that will protect your toes from stray rocks and pebbles that may fall on your foot, to the internal dirt-guard that will prevent debris and small rocks from entering the shoe box, the upper is fully equipped to protect your feet on the trail. The sole features a dual-density full-length 1.5mm EVA rock-guard that not only protects the foot from the sharp and/or objects on the trail but also gives some extra cushion to the sole, without dampening the ground feel too much. However, the one thing to keep in mind is that this is a summer
trail shoe, meaning that it won’t protect you from winter-related elements such as snow and heavy rain. Another thing worth noting is that the upper isn’t waterproof or water-resistant, so if you’re looking for a shoe that is, the Kaptiva won’t tick the right boxes.
La Sportiva Kaptiva does feature a firmer sole, as most trail shoes do, but the responsiveness of trail shoes isn’t as high up in the priority list as it is with regular running shoes. This is due to the fact that more often than not, you need a shoe that can tackle technical terrain that doesn’t allow you to develop that much speed – for which you’d need a lot of responsiveness. However, the firmer midsole, paired with the flexible forefoot, will offer some energy-return that will most likely satisfy your trail running needs.
La Sportiva Kaptiva is a neutral
trail running shoe made for people who don’t require any additional arch support. This group includes about 50% of all runners and people with normal, medium-high and high arches are considered to not have the need for arch support. You could try to put your customized orthotic insole for extra arch support, but given the fact that this is a low-top shoe, this could lead to decreased stability on the trail. As far as the lateral support goes, the exoskeleton that the overlays form offers a lot of it, keeping your foot secured, especially in the midfoot area. The collar is moderately padded so as to provide mild support to the Achilles to prevent injuries and discomfort on long runs.
La Sportiva Kaptiva is a trail running shoe meant to take on medium to long distance races, as well as mountain running due to its lightweight
nature. The rugged lugs and the resilient outsole are great for tackling various terrains, be the terrain loose or rocky. This is one of many La Sportiva trail running shoes that is a high performer in the mountains, so if skyraces are your cup of tea, you’ll be more than satisfied with the Kaptiva.
La Sportiva Kaptiva isn’t as cheap as some other trail shoes
on the market; however, given that this is a niche shoe that is bound to have avid fans of the mountain-running lifestyle in general, the price is not that high for the quality you’re getting. There are regular trainers, basketball and racing shoes that cost much more than what the Kaptiva is priced at, so if you’re after a lightweight trail racing shoe, you probably won’t mind paying over a C-note to get exactly what you’re after.
The FriXion XF outsole and those bold lugs provide just the kind of traction one would expect from such an aggressive-looking outsole. The chances of experiencing any sort of slipping in the La Sportiva
Kaptiva are close to zero. Not only that but the Impact Brake System lugs, which vary in height, grip especially well on loose terrain, rocks, roots, as well as dirt, due to their different levels of inclination and slightly irregular shape.
The Flex Grooves on the sole are aimed at creating a smooth running experience with smooth heel-to-toe transitions, without making the sole too flexible and too soft. The flex grooves, especially the ones in the forefoot, beneath the ball of the foot, are great for allowing the shoe to adapt to any kind of terrain and making your ride comfortable, no matter what’s beneath your feet. However, this shoe isn’t made to twist, bend and flex upwards like crazy – those tricks are reserved for road racing shoes. The Kaptiva will offer just the right amount of flexibility, both in the sole and in the upper, without any kind of destabilization due to excessive flexibility
While the La Sportiva Kaptiva definitely isn’t a stability shoe
, the sock-like construction of the upper, along with the exoskeleton, provide just enough lateral stability that a trail running shoe needs in order to provide a confident and stable ride. In the sole of the shoe, you’ll find a TPU stabilizer aimed at providing torsional stability and balancing your stride, regardless of the terrain beneath the foot.
The total stack height of the La Sportiva Kaptiva is on the lower side of the spectrum, with the heel and toe stack height measuring 18mm and 12mm, respectively. Given the fact the 18mm is often the toe stack height for most road running shoes, the intention of the company to allow the runner to feel the surface he’s running on is apparent. The 6mm drop
the Kaptiva features is a good choice, since both heel strikers and midfoot strikers alike will find it suitable for their natural gait cycles, and even a forefoot strikers won’t find that the heel is getting in the way too much.
● FriXion XF 2.0 rubber outsole
● 4-5mm lugs
● Impact Brake System
● Compressed Molded MEMlex midsole
● 4mm Ortholite Insole
● TPU stabilizer
● Sock-like compression upper
● Sleek look
● Good price if you intend on using the shoe often
● Great traction
● Trail racing shoe
● 6mm drop
La Sportiva Kaptiva is a new member of the trail running shoe family the brand is known for. One of the best aspects about this shoe is its incredible lightweight that will have most runners at least interested, if not downright excited to try it out. Made with mountain runners in mind, the Kaptiva is made with resilient, high-quality materials and features a full-length rock-guard, which a lot of trail runners will greatly appreciate. The traction the lugs are offering is amazing and won’t have issues with tackling almost any kind of terrain, and the exoskeleton and the TPU stabilizer in the midfoot will provide sufficient stability and support to satisfy most runners. The price point, although unreasonably high for people who only go to a trail
once every couple of months, is perfect for those who made mountain running their lifestyle.