La Sportiva Jackal Review | Cushioned Trail/Mountain Running Shoes
During lock down a new pair of shoes arrived in the post from La Sportiva. It’s always exciting when a new shoe arrives and you get to slip them on to your feet for the first time. Often you know whether they will be good or not straight away, and the Jackal was a good fit. My first impression was these shoes are designed for ultra, with plenty of cushioning. The cushioning was supportive and very comfortable and with already over 100 fell and trail miles they have quickly become my go to shoe for long days out.
The toe box is wide enough to allow my toes room to splay out and I find this an important quality in a shoe. In terms of sizing I am a UK 10 but in La Sportiva I find a UK 10.5 a better fit. I would possibly go up another half size to account for swelling later on in a long ultra.
I spend a lot of time running uphill in the fells of the Lake District and one of the first things I noticed was how well balanced they were. With a rocker from mid foot to the toes, the shoes no longer felt like an ultra shoe, I could run rhythmically bouncing off my forefoot and gaining height with a smile.
So how about coming down? Ok so they are still an ultra shoe and you lose an element of proprioception and a feeling of control but this is only at the top range of your speed and on the steeper more technical descents. Maybe not a shoe I would rely on for fast and furious sky races, however for 95 % of my descending these shoes have done the business. To be fair, my 95 % is pretty fast! The grip is designed for mountain trails with and with the fells being so dry at the moment I have been able to descend down Blencathra with confidence. The rubber is one of the outstanding qualities of La Sportiva shoes and they understand how a good quality rubber creates friction on rock, leading to confidence. The rubber in these shoes is one of their more durable compounds, meaning it will last longer and makes perfect sense for a shoe designed for ultra running.
The other key factors I have noticed is durability and protection. There is a good strip of rubber around the ends of the toes, which should give you protection from when you decide to play football with a boulder. My shoes although with over a 100 miles still look like new, except maybe a bit of the last remaining bog which I have managed to find. I have yet to test them to their full range of durability but so far, so good.
Finally they just look good, which is clearly important if standing on the start line of Lakeland 100, UTMB or Hardmoors 110. I can see myself spending many hours in these shoes running around the Lake District.
This review was written by Kim Collison, a sponsored La Sportiva athlete, Northern Runner ambassador and a coach.
Check out www.kimcollison.co.uk