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A fantastic shoe for mountain running. It has a very comfortable snug-fitting upper, a well-cushioned midsole and a super-tough outsole offering great grip. If you are venturing on to some harsh terrain, consider the Akyra.
I’m not prone to excitement but when I opened the box, I genuinely said, “wow”, out loud! The La Sportiva Akyra GTX look like they’ve been carved out of granite.
La Sportiva are not a mass market brand. Celebrating their 90th anniversary this year, their products are categorised as Mountain Running products, so expect high levels of quality and technical features. Prices are never cheap but that’s due to the quality of the materials and fairly low production volumes mean that they’re more expensive to produce, that said, if you are about to embark on a mountain running adventure, you’d better have the right equipment.
These shoes are tough. They’re designed for, as La Sportiva put it, Ultra Trails, Ultra Marathons and winter training sessions.
Not living near any mountains, we took them out on hard stony paths, sand paths including some sand-dunes and through a lot of mud. Luckily, it had also snowed so we had a couple of runs over 8k in them off-road but tracks of fresh snow.
They are designed to be snug and they really are. You don’t want these slipping around from side to side when on tough terrain and they won’t. I’ve got long skinny feet, size US13, so this means that the bigger the shoe, the wider it gets making a lot of shoes unsuitable. Even on my feet, these felt snug. I think they’ll feel great for most people but if you’ve really wide feet, you might struggle… They have a number of upper layers and you can feel it. They feel comfortable and your immediate thought is that you’ll be protected in the Akyra.
Looking at the granite-like midsole, I thought they’ve be hard but they’re really not. You want them to be on the firm side in order to tackle the terrain and I guess I’d put them in that category but they’re not overly firm. They gave really good cushioning across some bigish stones and given the snug and locked-down fit you get. I always felt confident that I wasn’t going to sprain an ankle for example, even at a 9mm heel to toe drop which makes them perfect for the longer runs they’re designed for.
The build quality is just great. A web of welded overlays support the upper but it’s the thick plastic patterned material which runs from the midsole up to the rear of the shoe on both sides that draws the eye. There to protect the shoe from abrasions, it really reinforces the rearfoot section of the shoe adding to that secure feeling.
Despite being the most funky looking part of this shoe, it is perhaps the most uninteresting. It’s an EVA foam that feels good underfoot and offers great protective cushioning. However, the technology get more interesting on the outsole.
The upper is made up of three layers and is seamless so they feel really good when you slide your feet in to them. They feature a Trail Cage structure which is just visible under the water-repellent and abrasion resistant outer mesh covering. The structured material is designed to support but move naturally with the foot. Despite being multi-layered, the mesh was breathable and its tight knit will protect against getting through.
The welded overlay runs across the length of the shoe to add protection and support. The upper also features a rubber-like toe bumper for more protection on rocky terrain.
The tongue is well-padded and features a nice suede feeling material on the top; a nice design feature. The laces pull through tough material eyelets making it impossible to overtighten in one particular area and you cannot feel the laces at all through that thick tongue.
The heel collar is thickly padded and adds to that snug and locked down feeling. That said, my foot did slip a little in the heel area.
La Sportiva’s website says - The outsole has been developed by the La Sportiva R&D department and uses the grippy FriXion XT with Impact Brake System and an exclusive design with Trail Rocker technology to facilitate “external heel –internal toe” motion while running.
That’s right, it does and it all works brilliantly. The rocker action isn’t noticeable in the heel but it really is in the forefoot. These shoes have been shaped to help you roll forward and you would certainly benefit from this especially when running uphill.
The midfoot section is solid so will protect you against rocks but this does mean flexibility isn’t great. I think that would be more of an issue if it wasn’t for the rocker sole helping you transition through to toe-off.
The luggy grip is exceptional. The mud didn’t clog up in the sole at all and it was better than anything I’ve ever worn on snow. There’s a hexagonal design in the heel and at the toe and a neat looking ‘space invaders’ (yes, I’m old enough to remember that game) design to the rest of the sole. A row of these lugs are turned around in the opposite direction to the others on the outside of the foot and act as a braking system to give you grip when running downhill.
It will come as no suprise if you’ve read the review that I really liked this shoe. It is very well-made and has some great design features that work. La Sportiva are really the mountain running experts so if you are considering a big event somewhere harsh, consider these shoes. I have given them a 9 because they are so good at what they are designed to do. If you want a shoe for general trail running then you do not need a shoe that goes to this extreme. There are plenty of cheaper and more flexible shoes that will be a great job.
As an aside, I was thinking of how you might find some additional uses for them. They’d be perfect as a summer hiking shoe if you were venturing down and up the Grand Canyon for example. Great job, La Sportiva.
Injection Shock Absorbing MEMlex is a full length EVA midsole engineered for enhanced cushioning.
FriXion XT is a full length versatile sticky compound designed for technical and rocky terrain.
Trail Rocker sole system promotes a rolling heel to toe motion for a smooth ride on the trails.
Impact Brake System is a lugged system designed to lessen impact forces and increase uphill/downhill traction.
Air Mesh covers the upper to keep feet cool and ventilated.
TPU MicroLite Skeleton inspired from origami extends around the upper, providing increased stability and a secure fit
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|Weight||13.4oz. / 379g|
|Off Road Use|