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I’ve had the La Sportiva BUSHIDO trail / mountain running shoes for a while now. They are one of the best running shoe of its type I’ve used and my 2015 trail recommendation.
The main things that won it for me were the very high-grip soles, protective rubber toe, supportive heel and the breathability of the upper. They are technically-functional, comfy and perform well (for me) and my running style.
Luckily I took the images before getting the Bushido shoes seriously used in some proper running action! From an aesthetic point of view I like the looks. I’m not quite sure why as I’m normally a monochromatic spots shoe buyer and these are obviously not monochromatic. Maybe they go with my plethora of red tops? I have a penchant for all things sporty-red. That must be it.
These babies weight 248g which is quite a bit more than a normal pair of road shoes (and still fairly light for a shoe of its type).
Mostly it’s accounted for by extra support, protection and durability..
Let’s first take a look at the soles. I won’t go into any of the manufacturer-technical names, you only need to know what the shoe will do for you. The black part of the sole is EXTREMELY grippy. To the point where if you were wearing it on a wooden floor in a house it would feel a bit weird. It grips. So when you are going over a rock or a tree root there’s a much reduced chance of slipping and injury.
Whilst puncturing of the sole is unlikely, the sole is strong enough to stop sharper stones from aggravating the soles of your feet – certainly more appropriate than a pair of vibrams on an especially rocky day! Indeed the ‘rock plate’ is hidden away from sight to protect the ball of the feet.
I’m almost up to 50 miles in these and there is little sign of wear on the sole (Photo below is in unused condition).
Here’s a closer look at the toe. Again it’s about protection – a sensible trade-off between protection and weight. There are no steel toe-caps here but rather a much better compromise, between protection and weight, for foot safety.
The heel needs protection from ankle twists. You can’t really see that from the image but suffice to say there is a very good level of ankle support.A neat feature on the Bushido is the additional lining which joins the tongue to the shoe upper (the white gusseted tongue at the centre of the photo). This restricts smaller stones from getting inside the shoe. Also shown are the now-standard two holes for the laces on each side where a bit of lace-threading jiggery-pokery can better secure the not you will eventually tie. This is the way to go for trail lacing IMHO; my usual elastic laces for road shoes give a much too loose fit for more ‘dangerous’ off-road stuff. You need a snug fit, I prefer a fairly tight fit whilst being conscious of some degree of foot swelling during use.
You can see the upper mesh a bit more in this shot. It’s actually VERY similar to that in my Mizuno Waveriders (maybe even the same). So these shoes are well ventilated and great for non-winter use. Whilst the top is pretty much NOT waterproof, the sides will keep the water out for a while longer than your road shoes would.
Outdoor Test Bed
Test Conditions: The ‘only’ harder runs I’ve done in these have been medium-grade forest-trails and off-trails. Plenty of rocks, roots and nasty little holes to catch my foot in. So I’ve not run up steeper fells or mountains. However I would imagine that they would be pretty good there too.
The area around the heel and ankles I have personally found in the past with most trail-type shoes to cause initial rubbing on the skin. I attribute this to a more rigid and supportive cup to the rear of these kind of shoes. I had no problems this time but mainly because of learning my lesson in the past – the lesson being that I need to wear these shoes at first for multiple short periods before going on a 10-mile run. Judiciously placed plasters may also help.
I’m very positive about these shoes and overall am highly satisfied. My only concern is that the sole might wear quickly but as I said above there are no signs of that at all so far. Fit is always an issue, these fit me well but they might not be great for you. With a road shoe we are often advised to get a half size or full size bigger than normal and then you are pretty much covered for any vagaries in your foot morphology. With a trail shoe and the kind of terrain you are going to be running on you need to be MUCH more picky. You NEED a good fit. La Sportiva have an extensive range. If the Bushido shoes are not right for you, I’m sure you can find another model that is.
Manufacturer product page:
Here’s the official video from La Sportiva
Here’s a video review from trailrunnerbuddy if you are into that sot of thing.
And another from saltmarsh running
Some technical details:
- WEIGHT: 8.8 oz/ 248 g
- FIT: Performance
- UPPER: AirMesh/ Thermal Adhesive Microfiber/ High Frequency Welded Ripstop/ TPU Toe Cap
- LINING: Mesh/ Highly breathable lateral mesh inserts/ Stretch AirMesh Tongue
- MIDSOLE: Compression Molded MEMlex/ 1.5mm Dual-Density compressed EVA Rock-Guard in forefoot/ TPU Shank
- DROP (MM): Heel: 19mm / Toe: 13mm / Drop: 6mm
- CUSHIONING: Midsole 32A
- SOLE: Dual-Density FriXion® XT V-Groove™ with Impact Brake System™
- SIZES: 36-43 (half sizes)
- COLOR: Grey/Yellow, Coral/Malibu Blue or Ice Blue/Grey
- ITEM NUMBER: 26L