La Sportiva Lycan

8.0
8.0 score
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La Sportiva Lycan Review Facts
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Having been in business since the late 1920s, Italian-based La Sportiva is a go-to brand for many when it comes to outdoor gear. From clothing and footwear to backpacks and poles, it fully prepares athletes for all types of terrains and climates. Their trail running shoes have become more popular in recent years due to their durable wear and extremely agile performance. Their new Lycan model fits both of these characteristics, thanks to a Rock-Guard designed outsole and breathable mesh upper. When paired with an injection-molded EVA foam midsole and an abrasion-resistant coating, the shoe becomes incredibly sturdy, responsive, and comfortable. Though some improvements could definitely be made, most reviewers say that they feel completely at ease in this model.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Highly durable

-Lightweight and agile

-Surprisingly flexible

-Breathable wear

-Supportive cushioning

-Incredible traction

Cons

-Inconsistent stability

-Might fit smaller than average

-Not meant for loose surfaces

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

La Sportiva's trademarked FriXion AT 2.0 material was used to construct the Lycan's highly durable outsole. Made from an environmentally-friendly compound, it's specially engineered to resist the wear and tear that would develop after constant use on uneven technical trails. This material is formed into a Rock-Ground design, which was created especially for use on hard, rocky terrains. The brand's Impact Brake System is also present in the form of multi-directional lugs, enabling the runner to stop more easily and securely. Though reviewers are generally happy with how it performs, they do note that its design makes it more challenging to wear on mud and loose surfaces.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

While most athletic wear brands have begun to develop their own custom midsole technology for their running shoes, in order to give them a more unique fit, La Sportiva relies on injection-molded EVA foam for their Lycan model. This feature's construction process enables it to be more responsive while still providing substantial underfoot cushioning. What makes this one stand out more is the inclusion of a flex point within the forefoot, which provides a more effortless toe-off. It also permits more agile and natural movements when running across more challenging terrains. Finally, an Ortholite Mountain sockliner is set in place for not only greater cushioning but also added shock absorption.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Reviewers attribute the Lycan's lightweight and flexible wear to its airy mesh upper, which also proves to be surprisingly durable. The use of microfiber reinforcements and a special abrasion-resistant coating further strengthen its long-lasting wear. A TPU toe cap is fixed in to protect the runner against various trailing hazards such as rocks, roots, or other types of debris. And a low-profile padded heel collar works to keep the foot in place while providing comfortable support.
Weight
Weight

Weight

According to multiple online listings and reviews, the Lycan is surprisingly lightweight for a trail-running model. Men's sizes average out at 9.5 oz., while women's models round out at just under 8 oz. Most trailing shoes weigh more than this, as they typically come with added protection and stability features. However, in the Lycan's case. these parts are specially engineered to give the runner a light, agile and very flexible wear.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Even with its durable and protective nature, the Lycan has still shown itself to extremely breathable. Its airy mesh upper is most exposed along the forefoot and sides, allowing better targeting of hotspots where they most occur. This results in the runner feeling cooler and dryer even as they run across long-distance trails. Even better, its construction keeps dirt and other trail debris out of the foot chamber. All of this combined eliminates the worry of foot odor, blisters, and possible irritations.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Its many features enable the Lycan to provide the runner with an incredibly comfortable wear. Its design permits a great deal of toe room, which is especially pleasing to wide-footed runners. The injection-molded EVA foam midsole keeps the foot cushioned even during long-distance runs, and its responsive nature greatly reduces the amount of pain and fatigue the runner feels at the end. Both of these qualities are enhanced further by the Ortholite Mountain sockliner. Of course, this shoe wouldn't feel nearly as comfortable without its breathable and flexible mesh upper. Hotspots and excessive sweating are eliminated as the padded collar and gusseted tongue give the ankle some supportive cushioning.
Style
Style

Style

The Lycan is very similar in design to some of La Sportiva's other trail running models, assuring buyers that it's just as fit for harsh terrains. The dual color scheme of its outsole greatly resembles a camouflage pattern. The design of its thick, geometric midsole unit is not only appealing but also gives runners an idea of how much support and protection they'll receive. Its upper, complete with stitched-on overlays, is constructed to follow the shape of the foot while still permitting plenty of toe room. Though both men's and women's sizes get very few colorways, reviewers are still quite satisfied with what's offered. Men can choose between black/tropic blue and carbon/apple green, while women can pick purple/plum or stone blue/jade green.
Durability
Durability

Durability

All good trail running shoes are required to be extremely durable, and the Lycan definitely doesn't disappoint in this area. Its outsole is made from the brand's FriXion AT 2.0 compound, which is engineered to hold up to regular use on technical trails. The mesh upper is already made to resist wear and tear, but the addition of microfiber reinforcements and an abrasion-resistant coating further enable it to withstand rugged environments. Though studies have shown that injection-molded EVA foam does tend to wear down over time, reviewers haven't reported any major problems with this shoe's midsole unit.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Like all good trail running shoes, the Lycan provides the runner with an adequate amount of protection against many common trail hazards. The durable nature of its FriXion AT 2.0 outsole, complete with a Rock-Guard design, shields the rest of the shoe from potential damage while offering a secure run across hard, uneven terrains. Its injection-molded EVA foam midsole and Ortholite Mountain sockliner work together to absorb impact and prevent the likelihood of chronic pain. And its breathable mesh upper features an abrasion-resistant coating and TPU toe cap to safeguard against rocks and other hazardous debris. There is room for improvement, however, as some reviewers have criticized the Lycan for not featuring a rock plate, which would safeguard the underfoot from jagged surfaces. Others state that its wide fit gives it less stability, and its tread pattern does not function as well on loose surfaces.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Most reviewers found the Lycan to be a very responsive shoe. Its EVA foam midsole is created by injecting the material into a smaller mold, allowing it to expand greatly once it's been taken out. This gives it greater bounce-back as well as a higher level of shock absorption. It even comes with a specialized Ortholite Mountain sockliner, which has its own impact absorbing properties. Both of these features together keep the runner completely cushioned and supported as they run across mountainous terrains.
Support
Support

Support

The Lycan proves to be a very supportive shoe when the runner is wearing their correct size. Its injection-molded EVA foam midsole keeps the foot properly cushioned even on long distance runs across technical trails. Though its air mesh upper gives a great deal of flexibility, its microfiber reinforcements are integrated into the shoe's lacing system to give the top of the foot the ideal amount of support. And a low-profile padded collar takes on the dual task of supporting the ankle and preventing any accidental removals. These only work, however, when wearing the right fit, which can be difficult for some when it comes to a wide shoe such as this one.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Both reviews and product descriptions indicate that the Lycan is designed specifically for use on hard, rocky terrains. Its short, multi-directional gripping lugs equip the shoe for runs across technical, mountainous trails and dirt roads. Some reviews also indicate that it can even transition onto paved roads without feeling clunky. Though it can perform in may rugged environments, it's not intended for loose surfaces such as gravel, mud, or even snow. And while there's no indication of how well it functions on wet surfaces, its lack of proper drainage means runners should avoid deeps puddles and streams.
Price
Price

Price

Considering its level of traction and long-lasting yet flexible wear, the Lycan is actually priced quite reasonably. Across outlets such as Running Warehouse, Zappos, and La Sportiva's own website, it runs for only $115. This is just a bit less than the average price range of $120 to $125, and a lot more affordable than most of the brand's other models. Its high levels of durability and supportive comfort make this shoe even more of a bargain for heavy-duty trail runners. Of course, those who are still in need of a lower price can always look through Amazon or eBay.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Complete with a Rock-Ground design that features short, multi-directional gripping lugs, the Lycan gives the runner superior traction when traveling across rocky terrains. It easily grasps onto jagged, mountainous trails and dirt roads, and can even transition onto paved road surfaces without much difficulty. That said, many reviews point out that this model is not meant for loose surfaces or for running across mud, streams, or puddles. Furthermore, there is no indication of how well it performs on wet ground.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Not many trail running shoes on the market provide a flexible wear, due to the fact that they focus more on durability and protection. However, the Lycan completely changes this with its incredibly pliable wear. This is thanks mostly to its breathable mesh upper, along with the microfiber reinforcements that maintain its shape. And the injection-molded EVA foam midsole follows the runner's every movement while still being able to spring right back into place.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Reviews seem to be mixed when it comes to the Lycan's level of stability. When runners are wearing their correct size and using this model on the recommended terrains, they feel perfectly secure and at ease. The outsole's Rock-Guard design provides a firm grip on hard, rocky surfaces and dirt roads. Its midsole's responsive nature steadies the runner and enables them to keep going even for long distances. The upper's durable reinforcements are integrated into its lacing system to keep the foot locked in place. And the low-profile padded heel collar further prevents wobbling. Of course, many of these qualities are lost when this shoe fits too wide. Unnecessary movements can't be controlled, and runners can easily lose their balance when traveling across mud, snow, or gravel.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Most trail running shoes have a low heel-to-toe drop height in order to provide the runner with greater balance and control over their movements. With a heel height of 18mm and a toe height of 12mm, the Lycan's 6mm drop definitely follows this standard. Most running shoes come equipped with a 10mm drop height, which offers plenty of heel cushioning without impeding too much on the wearer's natural gait cycle. But this model enables the wearer to securely take on a number of rocky terrains while still making sure that the heel, along with the rest of the foot, stays properly supported.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-FriXion AT 2.0 outsole with Rock-Ground design
-Impact Brake System technology
-Injection-molded EVA foam midsole
-Ortholite Mountain Sockliner
-Airy mesh upper with microfiber reinforcements
-Abrasion-resistant coating
-Wider fit for extra toe room
-6mm heel-to-toe drop height
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

As stated before, there are a few areas where La Sportiva's Lycan trail running shoe could improve. Its fit and overall design could lessen stability for some runners, indicating that it should be made available in other width options. And its outsole is created mainly for runs across hard and rocky terrains, making it unfit for runs through mud or other types of loose surfaces. All that said, reviewers are extremely impressed with how well this model manages to balance durability and comfortable agility. With an outsole that holds up perfectly against mountainous terrains and a mesh upper that provides unrestricted airflow and speed, runners feel both secure and unrestricted as they take on miles of technical trails. If La Sportiva pays close attention to the critiques that they get, they could definitely have another successful line of trail running shoes in the works.