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La Sportiva Bushido II
|Price||$152.74 at Amazon|
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$107.97 at Backcountry
|$83.97 at Backcountry|
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|$154.95 at Backcountry|
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$99.95 at Amazon
|Bottom Line||These shoes offer loads of protection but little in the way of breathability||A perfectly fitting, comfortable, and very protective shoe that just begs to be worn on long run days||Unrivaled traction makes this a one-stop shop for mountain athletes and off-trail runners||While less agile due to the stack height, this model is excellent on all terrain except the most technical||Some more advanced runners may find this shoe overbuilt with stiffness and support, but we love the protection and comfort|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva Bushido II||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Salomon Speedcross 6||HOKA Speedgoat 5||Brooks Divide 4|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||La Sportiva Bushido II||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Salomon Speedcross 6||HOKA Speedgoat 5||Brooks Divide 4|
|Measured Weight (per shoe, size 10.5)||11.29 oz||10.64 oz||11.08 oz||10.76 oz||10.82 oz|
|Measured Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||33 mm, 24 mm||31 mm, 22 mm||33 mm, 21 mm||35 mm, 29 mm||32 mm, 23 mm|
|Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop||9 mm||9 mm||12 mm||6 mm||9 mm|
|Manufacturer Claimed Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||19 mm, 13 mm||29 mm, 21 mm||32 mm, 22 mm||Not stated||Not stated|
|Manufacturer Claimed Heel-to-Toe Drop||6 mm||8 mm||10 mm||4 mm||8 mm|
|Measured Lug Depth||4.5 mm||3.5 mm||5.5 mm||4 mm||2.5 mm|
|Measured Outsole Length||11.44 in||12.00 in||12.31 in||12.19 in||11.86 in|
|Measured Outsole Width||4.19 in||4.31 in||4.25 in||4.76 in||4.58 in|
|Upper||Air mesh, thermal adhesive microfiber, high-frequency welded ripstop overlays, TPU toe cap||Matryx Jacquard||Synthetic mesh, ripstop, TPU||Recycled engineered mesh||Mesh|
|Midsole||4mm LaSpEVA , Compression molded MEMlex, 1.5mm dual-density compressed EVA rock guard (in forefoot), TPU STB inserts||Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection||Salomon EnergyCell+ EVA||CMEVA||DNA LOFT|
|Outsole||La Sportiva FriXion XT V-Groove2||Salomon Contagrip MA||Salomon Mud Contagrip||Vibram Megagrip rubber with Traction Lug||TrailTack Rubber|
|Measured Outsole Hardness (higher number is harder)||67||61||71||70||68|
|Heel Tab Type||Finger loop||None||None||Extended heel pull||None|
|Wide Version Available?||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Sizes Available||38 - 48.5 EU||4 - 13 US||7 - 14 US||7 - 15 US||7 - 15 US|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The La Sportiva Bushido II ratchets up the sensitivity factor without sacrificing too much protection, making it an excellent choice for runners who often find themselves jogging over smooth slabs, hopping from boulder to boulder, or navigating scree fields. Like many other models in the La Sportiva line-up, the Bushido II runs narrow, keeping the heel locked solidly in place but leaving little room for swelling in the toe box. Those with narrow feet will find these shoes comfortable, stable, and plenty protective for long days on rocky ridges, making them a good alternative for a pair of the best hiking shoes.
Compared to many top-scoring shoes for long-distance trail running, the Bushido II has a lot going on up top. The uppers have a busy appearance, balancing a breathable mesh with TPU reinforcement around the sides of the toe box. This combination translates into good protection from side impacts and rocks and sticks.
Turning our attention to the bottom of the shoes, we noticed the FriXion XT V-Groove2 rubber and compressed and molded foams under the forefoot. La Sportiva claims that this shoe has a stack height of 19mm at the heel and 13mm at the toe. When we measured the shoe in our facility, we got some vastly different numbers: 33m at the heel and 24mm up front. It's worth noting that how and where stack height is measured is not standardized in any way whatsoever. Either way, this is more cushioning than previous versions of the Bushido. The midsole is adequately stiff, and while we could feel the general contours of the terrain under our feet, we didn't take much of a beating from sharp rocks.
We've used shoes with larger, deeper lugs than those on the Bushido II, but they still perform respectably on mud and loose gravel. We enjoyed them in muddy conditions since the shallow lugs provided traction, but not so much that we ended up with a pound of earth caked on each foot.
No stranger to high friction rubber, Sportiva opted to use FriXion XT-Groove2 rubber, which shines on smooth granite slabs and rock hopping while crossing streams.
Sensitivity is the strong suit of the Bushido II. Without a lot of cushioning, we could feel the contours of the trail and rapidly adapt to changing angles, roots, and rocks — we moved along blissfully over uneven terrain. A minimalist shoe might offer better sensitivity but can't provide the foot protection needed for endless miles on rugged terrain.
Since the Bushido II doesn't have a thick, cushioned platform, it feels very stable underfoot. Additionally, the narrow fit and locker heel allowed us to quickly adjust to the shoe's feel, making it more of an extension of our foot. Our lead tester pronates ever so slightly with his left foot, and the Bushido II is a good option for him since the pronation causes the cushioning on the inside edge of his running shoes to wear faster than the outside. Without a thick cushioned platform, the shoe wears more evenly, even with some pronation, causing it to feel more stable throughout the shoe's life.
Comfort and Fit
We've said it before (and we're going to say it again): comfort is subjective. If the shoe doesn't suit your foot shape, it's not going to be comfortable. The Bushido II is narrow, and it feels especially so when compared to offerings from other manufacturers that offer more voluminous lasts. The advantages of a narrow shoe are increased stability and sensitivity, but if the shoes are too narrow, they'll be restrictive as your feet swell over longer runs.
Aside from their shape, the Bushido II has a few comfort-enhancing design features. The tongue is heavily padded where it meets the ankle, and the heel collar sits low around the ankle, so you can crank down the laces without causing uncomfortable pressure around the ankle or your Achilles. Because there isn't a ton of cushioning, we recommend limiting the amount of time you run on the pavement with these shoes.
While these are no minimalist featherweights, the Bushido II are well in line with the competition weight-wise. They still feel relatively light on foot at 21.9 oz for a US 9.5, even with the extra tongue padding and TPU on the uppers.
Should You Buy the La Sportiva Bushido II?
"Bushido" refers to the Ancient Japanese Samurai honor code. They valued things like justice, courage, and mercy. We didn't see anything about stability, sensitivity, or TPU reinforced toe protection through our research, but if the Samurai needed to run long distances through the forest, the Bushido II would be a good choice. In all seriousness, these shoes are an excellent option for the dedicated trail runner who likes to mix things up with a bit of ridge scrambling, and if you have narrow feet, they're worth checking out.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
While the Bushido II is lacking somewhat in comfort, they have above average scores in almost every other metric, making them a hard shoe to beat. Another top-scoring option is the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3, which is more comfortable, stable, and protective, although a bit heavier. Thanks to its super breathable mesh upper, the Salomon Sense Ride 5 is a great option for warm climates. Any of these three would be a welcome addition to a footwear collection.