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Hands-on Gear Review
La Sportiva Bushido Review
Cons: Hard midsole, lacks midsole cushioning, lugs wear down on hard surfaces
Bottom line: This burly mountain shoe features a fine balance of traction, stability, and sensitivity - all wrapped into a nice low profile package.
The La Sportiva Bushido is a trail beast that combines a low profile fit with great sensitivity and traction. Over the last few years, we've tested it on all possible surfaces! Logging hundreds of miles we've tested it in the mountains, deserts, and forests - through all the seasons. We've trudged through rivers and over snow. We summited mountains and ran out roads. In the end, our testers truly continue to love this shoe for its wonderful balance of protection, sensitivity, and traction.
This year the Bushido lost its title as Editors' Choice to the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX. While the race was close, the inov-8 won because of its exceptional traction and protective features. Like the Bushido, it has a rock plate inlaid into the midsole, but it boasts a thicker midsole and a Gore-Tex overlay. While the lugs on the Bushido are deep and grippy, they wear down easily and don't stick as well to slick surfaces. That said, it has much better sensitivity and offers much better stability on technical terrain. In addition, this shoe is a little wider than the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX, making it a better fit for those with medium to narrow feet. Overall, the Bushido is a great choice for those looking for impressive mountain shoe. It dries quickly when wet while providing great traction, stability, and sensitivity on the trail. Take it with you on your next trail race or big adventure into the backcountry.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Bushido flaunts a low profile design, super stable construction, and fantastic traction. Built for mountain running, this shoe is perfect for any trail surface from zoomy singletrack to super technical scree fields.
Protected tootsies? You bet! The rigid outsole and midsole rock plate, more rigid than the Saucony Peregrine 7 - Women's, protects your foot from sharp rocks. The toe cap is one of the hardest tested, meaning you are well protected from unexpected stubs. The mesh also does a fantastic job at keeping out sand, fine dirt, and mud. While the overlay is not waterproof like the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX, it still does okay while crossing rivers. We noticed that it is not water resistant by any means, but it does dry out quickly.
In comparison to other contenders like the Peregrine 7 and Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's, this shoe does not boast much in the way of foam in the midsole. As a result, it is a little less protective in that regard. However, the trade-off is wonderful sensitivity. Overall this shoe scored a solid eight of ten in this metric for its above average foot protection, however, it's not exemplary.
The traction on this shoe is amazing. The lugs are made up of an insanely sticky rubber that sticks to tough surfaces. Not only that, but they are multi-directional and deep. That said, unlike the inov-8, the lugs did not do a great job on super slick surfaces like wet rocks. In addition, because the lugs are only 4 mm deep, they do not do a great job on super soft surfaces like mud or snow, like the Salming Elements and Salomon Speedcross 4. We also learned that they aren't very versatile nor durable on hard surfaces. Because of the soft, sticky nature of the lug, it wears down on hard surfaces. In general the outsole lacks versatility and is meant specifically for the trail. It will do well everywhere else - from easy single track to steep and grueling trails in the mountains.
Feeling almost as stable as the Salming Elements, we weren't worried about turning ankles. The low profile design (4 mm drop) combined with the thermoplastic urethane frame keeps you feeling low to the ground. The tight and light uppers wrap around the foot, while the lacing systems allow creative ways to adjust your shoe. We also appreciated the steel shanks integrated into the midsole that made it more rigid and thus more stable. If you're in the market for one of the most stable shoes over all terrain, be sure to try out the Bushidos!
Comfort & Fit
Even though this shoe offers exceptional stability and protection, it is definitely not the most comfortable out there. The cushioning in the midsole is minimal (which attributes to its great stability) measuring only 14.5 mm. This is the lowest of all the shoes tested. In addition on the trail, you truly can feel everything. Even though the rock plate provides good protection, we noticed our toes getting tender faster than other contenders like the Peregrine 7 or inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX. That said, this shoe does sport great overall breathability and dries quickly. As a result, it scored an average score in the comfort category.
The fit of this shoe is a little more narrow than the Peregrine 7 but not as narrow as the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX. Many of our testers liked the fit as it provided some arch support as well, but not as much as the Merrell Agility Peak Flex - Women's. The toe box is also wide enough to accommodate some foot swelling over long distances. The heel cup fits tightly and we did not notice any odd constrictions or pinches in the fabric. Our only recommendation is to size up a half or even full size. They are a small fit!
Keep in mind that La Sportiva uses European sizing. It actually took us two rounds of ordering and sending the shoes back to get the size right. We also found they ran small. If you're ordering online, order a couple pairs that you think might fit, and send back the ones that didn't.
This shoe feels nice and light on your foot and isn't bogged down with additional and unnecessary materials on the upper. Weighing in at 10.75 oz, this shoe felt a little heavier than the rest. This may be attributed to the integration of the steel shanks that provide better stability. In addition, this shoe is fairly absorbent, taking in roughly 4.55 oz of water and taking about five hours to air dry. That said, on the trail during water crossings, this shoe dried fairly quickly and did not saturate immediately - making it a good shoe for all surfaces. That said, we wouldn't recommend it if you're planning on running through a full-blown rainstorm.
If you're looking for a lighter shoe with similar protective elements, be sure to check out the New Balance Leadville Trail v3 - Women's or the Nike Terra Kiger 4 - Women's. If you're looking for a little less in protection but a lower weight, take a gander at the Salming Elements.
A magical balance between foot protection and sensitivity exists in the Bushido. The super low profile and only 14.5 mm of cushioning allow you to feel and navigate the trail with ease. Aside from the ultra-sensitive and less protective Salming Element, this is one of the most sensitive shoes tested.
Given the La Sportiva Bushido's cute design, fantastic protection, and great traction, this is a wonderful trail shoe built for the mountains. We'd recommend it for any trail surface. Take it with you on anything from your next three miler to your next 50 miler. But make sure you get used to the lack of cushioning first and avoid it for use on roads.
With a price tag of only $130, this shoe is a great value. This price is the norm for most high performing trail shoes, and this is one of our top contenders. That said, after years of testing we noted some basic wear and tear - primarily on the lugs and uppers. This shoe is typically less durable than others and we've even noticed lugs breaking off in rocky conditions. However, that was after ~200 hundred miles had been logged. If you want a shoe that is truly the best value, be sure to look at the Saucony Peregrine 7 instead (our Best Buy award winner).
The La Sportiva Bushido is a highly protective low profile shoe that boasts stability and sensitivity over all surfaces. Take it with you on your next trail race or on a long backcountry adventure. Just be sure to avoid using it on super rocky or pavement surfaces.
— Amber King
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