Light, Fast & Free: 2014 Summer Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

La Sportiva Bushido

La Sportiva Bushido, $125

9.1 oz. (men’s), 8.0oz. (women’s)

19 mm (heel), 13 mm forefoot

Category: LIGHTWEIGHT MINIMALIST /MOUNTAIN MARAUDER

Fit: Contrary to the legacy of most La Sportiva shoes, the Bushido has a roomy, generous fit from heel to toe.

Feel: Two words: structure and protection. There is a lot of protective material in this shoe (which our testers appreciated), but the overall feel of the shoe is burly. However, even with a very firm toe box reinforcement, a plastic wrap around the medial and lateral sidewalls and a reinforced heel area, the shoe is relatively light and flexible.

Ride: If you’re looking for a protective ride, this mountain masher eats up the gnarliest terrain with ease. For all of the support, structure and protective material built into this shoe, they still manage to offer a smooth and natural foot movement on rugged terrain. (They tend to feel overbuilt on smooth dirt trails and pavement.) The deep knobby lugs offer reliable grippy traction on wet and dry surfaces and the full-length protective plate offers great poke-through protection, but foot-to-ground proprioception is a bit muffled compared to some other shoes. It’s light enough to be a racing shoe for very technical mountain courses, but our testers enjoyed it most as a rugged trail exploration trainer. “It’s light and fast like a lot of Sportiva shoes, but this one definitely have a lot more protection built into the mix,” said one wear-tester.

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