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La Sportiva Prodigio Review

If you've been waiting for La Sportiva to make an ultra-running model that doesn't lose technical performance, this is the model for you
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La Sportiva Prodigio Review (We had some issues with the ankle collar on the Prodigio but if it works for you we'd highly recommend it for its...)
We had some issues with the ankle collar on the Prodigio but if it works for you we'd highly recommend it for its performance cushioning.
Credit: Matthew Richardson
Price:  $155 List
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Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2024
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 19
  • Foot Protection - 25% 7.6
  • Traction - 20% 7.6
  • Sensitivity - 15% 6.8
  • Stability - 15% 7.7
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 4.5
  • Weight - 10% 7.3

Our Verdict

We've often felt what was missing from the La Sportiva lineup was a shoe that offered running performance and comfort over long races. The Prodgio fills that gap, offering energy propulsion that we haven't seen from La Sportiva before while still maintaining their excellent technical performance. We had some issues with the upper digging into our ankles, but if this model works for you, we'd highly recommend it. The foam is an excellent blend of stiffness and cushioning, which works for everything from shorter 50km to 100 milers.
REASONS TO BUY
Energy transfer
Foothold
Stability at speed
REASONS TO AVOID
Ankle chaffing
Denser cushioning than some may like

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Bottom Line Offering great technical performance and all-day comfort with excellent energy transferA perfectly fitting, comfortable, and very protective shoe that just begs to be worn on long run daysUnrivaled traction makes this a one-stop shop for mountain athletes and off-trail runnersWith great responsiveness without feeling harsh, this model is our favorite for long runs that are focused and fastSome more advanced runners may find this shoe overbuilt with stiffness and support, but we love the protection and comfort
Rating Categories La Sportiva Prodigio Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Salomon Speedcross 6 HOKA Torrent 3 Brooks Divide 4
Foot Protection (25%)
7.6
9.0
7.3
7.8
7.9
Traction (20%)
7.6
7.5
10.0
7.5
4.8
Sensitivity (15%)
6.8
6.0
6.0
4.8
3.4
Stability (15%)
7.7
9.0
5.0
7.4
9.0
Comfort and Fit (15%)
4.5
9.0
9.0
8.4
7.8
Weight (10%)
7.3
6.4
5.8
7.8
6.1
Specs La Sportiva Prodigio Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Salomon Speedcross 6 HOKA Torrent 3 Brooks Divide 4
Sizes Available 6 - 15.5 US
regular
4 - 13 US
regular
7 - 14 US
regular and wide
7 - 15 US
regular
7 - 15 US
regular
Measured Heel Stack Height 35 mm 31 mm 33 mm 28 mm 32 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 7 mm 9 mm 12 mm 6 mm 9 mm
Rock Plate No Not disclosed No No No
Measured Lug Depth 3 mm 3.5 mm 5.5 mm 4 mm 2.5 mm
Measured Weight 10. 30 oz. 10.64 oz 11.08 oz 9.60 oz 10.82 oz
Upper High-tenacity engineered knit / Cushioned tongue / Nylon mid-foot cage & forefoot reinforcements / Thermo formed toe cap / Recycled laces Matryx Jacquard Synthetic, textile Mesh Mesh
Midsole 2.4mm LaSpEVA / Compression Molded XFlow™ Super Foam / PU Coated FlowFilm™ Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection Salomon EnergyCell+ EVA EVA DNA LOFT
Outsole Bi-Compound FriXion® XT 2.0 / FLEX Inserts / 4mm Laspo™ Lugs Salomon Contagrip MA Salomon Mud Contagrip Rubber TrailTack Rubber
Heel Tab Type None None None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

We've tested many La Sportiva models over the years, and their performance on technical terrain has remained superior in most cases. Lacking from their lineup has been a model that matched this technical performance with excellent run ability on longer events and races. There have been better options on the market for pure running on less technical trails. The Prodigio has filled this gap and excels on hard trails or cruising on easy single track. It's by far the most propulsive model we've tested by La Sportiva and should be an easy choice for fans of the brand or those looking to put in some long miles. We had some issues with fit, especially around the ankles, but if it works for you, we think it's one of the best all-around options in our lineup.

Performance Comparison


la sportiva prodigio - with technical performance and great energy transfer the la sportiva...
With technical performance and great energy transfer the La Sportiva Prodigio could be the model for you.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Foot Protection


To most, the cushioning on the Prodigio will feel quite firm, leading to great foot protection. This dense foam reduces little impacts that come through on softer models, and the stack is high enough that we didn't find ourselves hitting our toes. Over time, the foam will soften, and the lack of a rock plate or carbon plate will make them more forgiving once you get some miles in them. We prefer higher foot protection as it generally means the foams are a bit more snappy and energizing. There is a careful balance, however, and never does the Prodigio feel overly rigid or solid, and we never felt like it was overly protective, leading to fatigue. The upper is more minimal, but the collar is ridged, and the welded areas are thick enough to take abuse. It did surprisingly well in sand as long as it's not coming through the collar. The outside upper knit is more porous but is backed by the tongue mesh, which blocks most sand from reaching our sock.

la sportiva prodigio
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Traction


This feels like the most directional La Sportiva model we've tested, and the lug design is meant for running. Large lugs allow for great surface area contact, and the flat surfaces lead to a great trail feel. We imagine their split design saves weight without reducing the sensation of connectedness on singletrack. The red label rubber prioritizes both durability and grip and leads to confidence in a variety of weather conditions and surfaces. Due to its directional nature, you won't feel quite as solid when cornering or changing directions quickly. We'd recommend this model for everything but the most technical off-trail terrain.

la sportiva prodigio
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Sensitivity


One tradeoff we found with the high energy transfer was a subtle lack of sensitivity. While not detrimental, the shoe does feel stiffer than some of its competitors. The model felt well grounded but lacked an obvious ground-feel sensation. This helps it be more protective and comfortable for big days, but you do lose some agility on the most technical terrain. We don't feel strongly about this lack of sensitivity as the shoe isn't trying to be super minimal. If you are wanting a more connected feeling to the trail, we'd opt for something with slightly less stack.

la sportiva prodigio - there is a great blend of stiffness without feeling overly rigid...
There is a great blend of stiffness without feeling overly rigid, this works great on a wide range of terrain difficulties.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Stability


While not overly rigid, the Prodigio offers a stable ride that supports your ankles, knees, and hips. This is a product of the firmer foam, rubber, and directional nature, which has good support throughout the width of the shoe. If you're after luxurious cushioning, this probably isn't the model for you, but if you're used to more technical designs, this probably will feel like a comfortable model without feeling dull. If you're planning on running lots of off-camber terrain, you may opt for something a little softer, especially since the stack is 34mm. If your foot strikes are flat with one another, you should feel confident in the model on a variety of surfaces. This isn't to say the model can't tackle technical terrain, but if your all-day adventures call for sidehilling, scrambling, or talus and scree, we'd opt for something more suited for off-trail adventures.

la sportiva prodigio - the dense foam on the prodigio creates a stable platform that offers...
The dense foam on the Prodigio creates a stable platform that offers support through the ankles, knees, and hips.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Comfort and Fit


The out-of-the-box fit is amazing and extremely comfortable. Mostly static materials are used on the upper, which reduces movement and provides a locked-in fit feel. Unfortunately, this design led to some fit issues, especially around our ankle bone. The rigid fins of the upper lacing system dug into the front of our ankle bones anytime we'd get off camber. Since this area has no compression or stretch, the zone painfully dug into our skin from the start of our testing. This wasn't something that we needed to adjust to let our skin toughen up. No amount of tape or avoidance measures would have prevented the suffering that our runs turned into while testing this model. This wasn't instantly noticeable on flat ground, and if you test the model on the roads, you may or may not notice this issue. If possible, we'd recommend testing the shoe on some off-camber terrain before fully committing to the model.

Not every shoe is going to work for every foot. Luckily, we've had some good feedback from other users who said this is a non-issue. It's our feet that don't mesh well with this design. We were able to test this model with some Luko tape, but it's not something we'd want to worry about for every run. From what we can tell, this issue is a make-or-break for our suggestion. If this shoe fits your feet, we highly recommend it; if not, we'd recommend choosing another model.

We had issues with the thin upper fins digging into our ankle bones, this was a deal breaker on technical terrain as off-camber terrain progressed the issue.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Weight


At 10.30oz per shoe, the Prodigio is far from ultralight, but it does compensate for having excellent energy transfer and stability. This shoe felt snappier and more lively than some of the lighter competition. For long trail days and ultra races, going too light can come back to bite you. For runnable races from 30ks to 100 milers, we think the Prodigio fits in a perfect weight class that feels lively when you're feeling good but also protects when the miles get slower and the fatigue starts to set in.

The weight of the Prodigio creates an easy stride never feeling heavy or dull, this is one of the best cushioned models in our test group and it led to fast confident running.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Should You Buy the La Sportiva Prodigio?


We tried two different sizes of the Prodigio to get the best fit and a size that wouldn't hurt our ankles. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, so this could also be a deal breaker for you. If this shoe works with your ankles, we'd highly recommend it.

What Other Men's Running Shoes Should You Consider?


If you're like us and the Prodigio is giving you ankle problems, the most similar shoes in our lineup would be the Hoka Torrent 3, which feels similarly stiff and directional, or the La Sportiva Karacal, which is a bit softer but shares in the fit and comfort of the Prodigio.

Give the La Sportiva Prodigio a test, if it fits your foot we bet you'll be happy with the purchase!
Credit: Matthew Richardson


Matthew Richardson