La Sportiva Kaptiva
What it lacks in cushioning it far makes up for in protection, traction, and overall durability. The additional protective and durability features make this shoe a great option for quick and snappy trail runs, but it is also equipped to tackle long distances. I would recommend this shoe for runners that aren’t sidelined by difficult trails or rainy weather.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the advanced features that make the La Sportiva Kaptiva one of the toughest trail runners out there on the market.
1.5mm EVA rock-guard
STB control inserts for added stability
Stiff yet cushioned heel counter for excellent lockdown
Breathable knit upper
Tacky rubber outsole with 3.5 mm and 4.5 mm lugs
Heavier than expected
Typically, when I talk about the midsole in a pair of running shoes, it’s all about the cushioning. Some running shoes offer plush cushioning, while others provide a more springy and responsive ride. The midsole in the Kaptiva is built differently. Instead of focusing on overall comfort, La Sportiva focuses more on protection. The midsole is composed of a dense layer of EVA foam that helps protect your feet from jagged rocks and gravel while working to keep your stride supported.
The feel of the EVA midsole paid with the rock plate that measures to be 1.5 mm thick, you end up with a fairly stiff midsole. It won’t provide you the same level of plush cushioning as a traditional pair of running shoes, and you also won’t get that light energetic ride. This midsole focuses on keeping your stride nice and even on difficult trails and provides a good deal of stability as well as protection. It allows you to keep a nice and even pace on incredibly difficult trailheads.
To me, the outsole of the Kaptiva is where this shoe really shines. It is composed of a durable rubber material with flex grooves that allows for a little bit of added flexibility. While the midsole is a tad stiff, the rubber outsole is where you will generate a good deal of energy feedback and agility for a smooth gait cycle. What I also love about this outsole is that it is insanely durable. It performs just as well at mile 100 as it did at mile 1. For those that want something built to last, the outsole on the Kaptiva is certainly up for the challenge.
The outsole on this design also boasts hexagonal lugs from the toe box to the heels that are spaced wide enough to prevent rocks and twigs from becoming stuck in between. These lugs measure to be between 3.5 mm and 4.5 mm thick. The thick lugs are placed on high-impact areas on the heel, while the forefoot boasts shallow lugs for added agility and nice and easy movements.
The majority of the weight of this shoe is generated from the midsole and outsole. The upper of this design is incredibly lightweight, breathable, and fits most feet like a glove. While it’s super lightweight and minimalistic, it offers additional stability features where you need it most. This upper is divided into two different sections: the heel counter and the forefoot. The heel counter is composed of thick and stiff materials that offer additional padding to keep your heels comfortable, as well as locked in place.
The forefoot is composed of stretchy and breathable mesh that contours over the shape of your foot for a snug and secure fit. What I also love about this stretchy mesh material is that it drains incredibly well, and it will not hold onto moisture. Think of it as a wet suit for your feet. It’s not completely waterproof like a pair of hiking boots, but it does its best to drain water away from your feet so you don’t feel like you are constantly running through a swamp!
Overall, I would highly recommend this running shoe for runners that stove to find the more difficult trailheads possible. The midsole is a little on the stiff side, but the hard rock plate and compressed EVA foam provide the ultimate protection underfoot. Plus, the rubber outsole has a slightly tacky finish that grips wet and dry surfaces with ease. Whether you want to run fast or far, this is one of the best trail running shoes that is built to conquer just about anything.
If you are a fan of max cushioning, the Kaptiva may not be for you. Additionally, if you overpronate, or you are a heavy striker, the minimal cushioning may not provide you with enough support on those brutal runs. These shoes are built to provide ultimate protection from difficult trails, and supper a little bit in overall stability and comfort. Sure, they may not be the plushest and comfy running shoes out there on the market, but they will keep your feet dry and protected on really difficult and wet trails.
There are very few runners that ran into any issues with the overall fit of this shoe. This design boasts a nice and roomy toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe. When running down hills, your toes will not jam at the end of this shoe - which is a big plus for difficult trails. The stretchy upper and classic laces allow you to achieve that perfect fit that feels snug and locked down, but doesn’t squeeze the blood out of your feet!
One downside to the overall fit of this shoe is that the forefoot is rather narrow. If you have a wide foot, you may find that this shoe fits just a little too tight. The lacing system offers you a little bit of room to play with the fit of the upper, but it may take a little bit of time and tinkering to find that perfect fit. If you can, I suggest heading down to your local shoe store to give these shoes a test run before you buy them. Many found that the fit was perfect, but it’s always a good idea to give them a test before you slap down your credit card.
Will the La Sportiva Kaptiva be walking down any runways any time soon? Probably not. The style of this shoe is fairly simple and looks like your classic running shoe with a hiking boot-inspired outsole. This design has a slim silhouette that sits low on your foot for a sleek and slim profile, and it comes in a few color options as well. The mesh fabric always comes in a dark shade (that won’t show dirt on messy trails) and offers brightly colored accents on the laces and midsole.
Color accents include electric blue and yellow. The darker shades offered in this shoe will make getting them dirty when powering through tough trails sting a little less and leave them looking like new even after hundreds of miles.
This isn’t the most affordable trail running shoe out there on the market but I feel that it is well worth the investment. The use of strong and resilient materials makes this shoe something that will hold up to hundreds and hundreds of brutal miles before you notice any real wear and tear on the outsole or the upper.
Plus, the use of rigid and firm materials performs better for long-distance running and feels just as great at the end cycle of the shoe as it did at the very beginning. If you can swing the higher price point, the La Sportiva Kaptiva is worth every penny!
What I love most about this trail runner is that it is composed of strong and resilient features that turn a steep and jagged trail into a walk in the park. The durable and protective outsole really sticks to wet leaves and powers through mud, and the lightweight upper keeps things cool and dry.
If you are in the market for a great pair of durable trail running shoes that will help you conquer any trail, the La Sportiva Kaptiva is worth checking out!