La Sportiva Akyra - Women's Review
Cons: Heavy, no rock plate, rigidity isn't for everybody
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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