La Sportiva Bushido II Review

La Sportiva is an Italian brand that makes products for using in the Mountain. Whether your passion is Walking, Running or Climbing they have products for you. It is no surprise that they their running shoes all have a mountain influence. The Bushido II is designed for use on high mountain trail above the tree line. Rocky single tracks where you need feel for the ground to be light on your feet but, also require some protection from the protruding rocks. There isn’t a lot of this type of running in the UK so you would think that the Bushido II wouldn’t be a popular shoe for UK runners. The attributes of the shoe make it perfect for single track or technical terrain lower down the mountain.

Being an Italian brand La Sportiva is generally narrow with a low volume. The Bushido is no exception. So, these shoes won’t suit runners with wide or high volume feet. Those with with narrower more volume feet will enjoy a very locked down secure fit. The upper is made of an air mesh with a web of microfiber overlays that vary in density and flexibility. This pulls the upper around the foot so that even on broken and rough terrain or while running on a steep camber there is very little chance of your foot turning inside the shoe. So, you have maximum traction and feel at all times.

The tongue is made of a lightly padded rubbery material. It is tailored to fit around the front of your ankle and adds to the snug feeling fit of the shoes. The heel cup has a thermos plastic cup in it but, this only comes half way up the heel. So, when you are running up very steep climbs on your forefoot the heel cup doesn’t dig into your heel or Achilles. The heel fit has a very snug and slid feel about it.

The toe box isn’t a pointed as it looks and despite the locked in feel I did find that my toes had some room to move. The pointed look of the toe box is due to the TPU toe cap. This offers some protection from rocks and scree. It is softer and more flexible than the toe bumper on the La Sportiva Mutant and doesn’t reduce the height at the end of the toe box.

The La Sportiva Bushido II weights in at 298 grams for a Men’s UK 8. The stack height is 19mm/13mm giving it a heel to forefoot drop of 6mm. The midsole is a firm highly responsive dual compound. This gives the shoe a good amount of underfoot protection and makes it agile and stable. There is an EVA rockguard in the forefoot to protect the foot further from thorns or sharp stones. Torsional stability TPU control inserts at the side of the shoe cradle the midfoot and forefoot and are visible on the medial and lateral side of the shoes. These are very affective at supplying an extra layer of stability when running on loose scree or rough ground.

The outsole is La Sportiva’s friction red cross. This is designed to give a balance of cushioning, grip and durability. The lug depth is only 3.5 mm so these aren’t shoes designed for use in deep mud. They do provide really good traction on wet rock as well as wet greasy tracks. I have used these shoes a lot on paths that run next to a river. The path is covered in roots which are wet and slippy a lot of time. The traction is good enough for me to skip around and over them with the odd step onto the wet wood without hitting the floor. The cushioning is good enough for short distances on the tarmac but, really these shoes are best used on mixed trail. Single track paths over the moors they are great for. They are an ideal summer trail shoe when you are running on the less hard packed tracks. They have enough cushioning for the bridleways in my view but, they are much more fun on the single track through the woods or down by the river.

If you aren’t wanting a shoe that offers pillow like cushioning then I think that the cushioning and underfoot protection is good enough to run quite a distance. I have enjoyed long runs over 3 hours or so in these shoes without issue.

La Sportiva shoes use thickish materials to make them more abrasion proof and generally more durable. This does make them slower to dry then other trail shoes made with light thin mesh uppers.

I find the sizing of all La Sportiva shoes a bit on the small side. La Sportiva make shoes in every Euro half size so there are more sizes than UK sizes. So, for example you have a UK 7.5 and a UK 7.5 +. I am a UK 11 in Inov-8, VJ, Altra or Topo. A UK 11.5 in Hoka or New Balance. I ran in the La Sportiva Bushido II in a UK 11.5 +.

In summary I can now see why the La Sportiva Bushido ll is such a popular trail shoe.

Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle

Other Considerations
Saucony Peregrine: Slightly lower drop at 4mm. noticeably less cushioned but, more traction in the mud.

VJ Maxx: There is a little more bounce in the midsole of the Maxx. It feels less solid and stable. More of a light agile feel. The grip is similar as is the fit. Here is our review:

Inov-8 Roclite 290: Stiffer. The fit is not quite as tailored. Longer lugs give more traction in the mud but, doesn’t ride as smoothly on drier surfaces. Not as cushioned. Here is our review:

NVii Terra TT: Softer feel to the cushioning at the heel. Better traction in the mud and a lot more flexible. Here is our review:

Scott Kinabalu RC: The eRide rocker help increase cadence and keep you running with a more upright style. These are a faster feeling shoe. Here is our review:

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