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La Sportiva Akyra - Women's Review

A stable shoe built for ultra-distances and technical terrain.
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Price:  $140 List | $140.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super stable, protective, sensitive in the forefoot, traction over all surfaces, durable
Cons:  Heavy, no rock plate, rigidity isn't for everybody
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 2, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 19
  • Foot protection - 20% 9
  • Sensitivity - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 9
  • Stability - 15% 10
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 3

Our Verdict

If a stable ride is what you seek, the La Sportiva Akyra needs to be considered. While it isn't super light, its rigid construction will keep you protected on ultra-length distances, upwards that of a marathon. With ample cushioning underfoot, it has 8mm of additional cushioning in the heel, with a super bomber stability system. Unlike most shoes by La Sportiva, it offers a surprisingly wide fit with a few break-in running sessions. While it's super protective in the heel, the forefoot provides a good level of sensitivity so you can still feel the trail. We've tested these for over 500 miles, running several 50-mile races in them. They still haven't broken down, nor do they look like we've run in them for this long. This shoe is best for women who are okay with trading off a few ounces of weight for a super durable and stable trail shoe that can conquer any type of technical trail.


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Pros Super stable, protective, sensitive in the forefoot, traction over all surfaces, durableWonderful traction, balance of sensitive and protection, durable outsole and upper, unisex designExcellent traction, great balance of foot protection and sensitivity, specific fit, durable outsoleComfortable, versatile fit, great responsiveness, fantastic value, durableInexpensive, super lightweight, light cushioning, comfortable, zero-drop, wide toe box yet narrow profile
Cons Heavy, no rock plate, rigidity isn't for everybodyLaces are short and stupid, expensive, potential midsole durability issues, zero drop may not be for everybodyHigher heel is less stable, lugs wear down on pavementDoesn't shed mud well, some midsole compaction over timePotential durability issues, less aggressive outsole not meant for muddy surfaces
Bottom Line A stable shoe built for ultra-distances and technical terrain.A unisex trail runner that offers amazing all-around performance on all surfaces.An aggressive trail shoe that is built for the steepest and most technical trails out there.A superior performer that offers exceptional value on all types of terrain.A zero-drop shoe boasting lightweight cushioning and a super wide toe box.
Rating Categories La Sportiva Akyra - Women's Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 Speedcross 5 Peregrine ISO Altra Superior 4.0 - Women's
Foot Protection (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
5
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Traction (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
5
Stability (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort And Fit (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
10
Specs La Sportiva Akyra... Inov-8 TerraUltra... Speedcross 5 Peregrine ISO Altra Superior 4.0...
Measured Weight 11.6 oz 8.45 oz 10.7 oz 9.8 oz 7.9 oz
Ideal Terrain Technical trails All terrain Soft surfaces, technical terrain All terrain All terrain
Width Options Regular Regular Regular and Wide Regular and Wide Regular
Heel-to-Toe Drop 9 mm 0 mm 10 mm 4 mm 0 mm
Stack Height from toe to heel (mm) 16/25 9/9 10/20 18.5/22.5 21/21
Upper AirMesh, TPU MicroLite Skeleton Kevlar Mesh Nylon mesh, sythetic overlays IsoFit Engineered knit
Midsole MEMlex EVA EXTERFLOW Injected EVA PWRFOAM Altra Quantic
Outsole FriXion Trail Rocker2 Graphene Grip Contragrip PWRTRAC MaxTrac/TrailClaw
Rock Plate? None Yes Yes None Yes
Sizes Available 36 - 43 4 - 15 5 - 12 5 - 12 6 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Akyra is a well-built trail running shoe that showcases impressive stability and comfort for super long distances. While it is a heavier shoe, it offers amazing protection on even the most protected terrain. Its wider fit is amenable for all feet, with upper flexibility that is comfortable and breathable. Based on our experience, this durable and well-tested shoe can last you upwards of 500+ miles.

Performance Comparison


The heel cup of the Akyra by La Sportiva is super supportive with amazing stability. This is a shoe that's carried us for over 500 miles (and still counting). Its seen at least three 50-mile races and a hundred more trail miles over technical terrain.
The heel cup of the Akyra by La Sportiva is super supportive with amazing stability. This is a shoe that's carried us for over 500 miles (and still counting). Its seen at least three 50-mile races and a hundred more trail miles over technical terrain.

Foot Protection


Built like a tank, this shoe is incredibly protective. The midsole is loaded with a responsive and high-density foam called MEMlex EVA. The heel offers a bomber 25mm of cushioning with the forefoot offering 16mm. There is no rock plate embedded in the sole, but the thickness of both the outsole and midsole combined to offer all the protection you need.

The super thick cushioning underfoot is high density  adding great protection on the trail.
The super thick cushioning underfoot is high density, adding great protection on the trail.

We've raced several 50-mile races in these, with all the training in between in the mountains of the San Juans, and on the East Coast. In all these conditions, the shoe kept us well protected from underfoot trail hazards.

The super burly toe cap and mesh are also protective of unsuspecting stubs and particulates.
The super burly toe cap and mesh are also protective of unsuspecting stubs and particulates.

The toe cap is also pretty burly, offering protection from unsuspecting stubs on the trail. The upper isn't waterproof, with the mesh absorbing water easily. That said, it does breathe well, allowing it to dry out quickly. In sandy environments, your feet will stay protected through the mesh itself, as well.

This shoe also comes in a Gore-Tex version that offers even more protection from water and snow.

The ultra-stable and protective Akyra stands out for its rigid construction built with a comfortable and flexible upper. It does well on even the most technical terrain and offers amazing foot protection from all sides.
The ultra-stable and protective Akyra stands out for its rigid construction built with a comfortable and flexible upper. It does well on even the most technical terrain and offers amazing foot protection from all sides.

Sensitivity


The heel of this shoe isn't very sensitive and offers more cushioning and support on long trails. The forefoot, however, only has 16mm of cushioning. While this is sufficient for protection, this beefy shoe also has good sensitivity that allows you to detect rocks and other underfoot hazards. Another reason we love it for technical trails.

While it's protective  you can still feel quite a bit underfoot  given the lower amount of cushioning in the forefoot.
While it's protective, you can still feel quite a bit underfoot, given the lower amount of cushioning in the forefoot.

Traction


The traction on this shoe is bomber. With an aggressive outsole and deep lugs built-in varying shapes and directions, it can take on the most technical of trails. Toward the very front and back, they are hexagonal, offering a nice takeoff and landing with the flat shape that bites down.

A look at the burly lugs that offer amazing traction on the trail.
A look at the burly lugs that offer amazing traction on the trail.

The body of the outsole is outfitted with triangular lugs with several sides that stick to the trail, even with rain and snow. The lugs are deep enough to perform well through all sloppy surfaces; however, because they are so close together, they can struggle with shedding sticky mud. The outsole rubber is pretty sticky as well. We love using this shoe while traversing big dry steep slabs as the shoes hold on quite well. Overall, the traction is pretty bomber and can perform through all conditions.

Here you can see the outsole with a variety of lug shapes.
Here you can see the outsole with a variety of lug shapes.

Stability


Holy moly! What a stable trail runner. While it's not the lightest, it has many stability elements that will make you work a little less when running for miles and miles on end. The entire shoe has a stiffer construction that doesn't bend or rotate from the arch to the heel, and the heel is super stable with a wide base and rigid feel. The front of the shoe actually offers quite a wide fit, which enhances the balance on uneven terrain. The stability harness connects with the laces to fully wrap the foot when cinched down tightly, all the way from the around the heel to the front. On the trail, we trust these shoes completely. When traveling over trailless tundra, it's a top choice simply because of all these stability features that we love.

The harness seen here does a great job wrapping the body of the foot while adds to its overall stability.
The harness seen here does a great job wrapping the body of the foot while adds to its overall stability.

Comfort and Fit


While the underfoot cushioning isn't springy or airy, it is very supportive and responsive. After a few runs, you will break these shoes in. The upper is flexible enough that it provides a wonderful fit, even for those with a wide-foot.

The uppers are thin  flexible  and breathable.
The uppers are thin, flexible, and breathable.

The upper is breathable, meaning you can wear it on warm days while drying out quickly. Given the heavier nature of this shoe, it's not our first choice to wear around town or when we aren't running, but it functionally can extend to this level. Overall, a good fit is excellent for all types of feet. We also appreciate that the foot doesn't slide around when heading down super steep slopes and the like.

The additional cushioning in the heel offers great comfort for those who prefer to heel strike. It also offers a little protection for steep downhills.
The additional cushioning in the heel offers great comfort for those who prefer to heel strike. It also offers a little protection for steep downhills.

Weight


This is a heavy shoe. With so many stability and protective elements built it, it feels far from lightweight on foot. For those seeking a stable shoe for long distances, this is a great choice, despite the 11.6 ounce weight (for one size 8.5).

This trail runner is not light.
This trail runner is not light.

Value


We've run in this shoe for almost 500 miles, and they still look good. The outsole or midsole still hasn't broken down, and we've been using them on super sharp, rocky trails in good and bad weather. The price tag is about the middle of the road, and we'd say that, yes, these are of value. If weight isn't a big deal for you and you seek a protective, rigid trail shoe with a wider fit, you'll definitely see the value in these.

Enjoy everything from smooth snowy roads to the most technical of trail surfaces.
Enjoy everything from smooth snowy roads to the most technical of trail surfaces.

Conclusion


The La Sportiva Akyra is a heavier trail shoe with a rigid structure, offering wonderful stability on the trail. While it is protective, it is also sensitive. We've worn them for over 500 miles, and they are still going strong. They're a great option for longer ultra distances with their ample cushioning and smooth ride that won't make you work too hard.


Amber King