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La Sportiva Bushido 2 - Women's Review

A sensitive yet protective trail runner best for technical terrain, with a little less cushioning in the forefoot
La Sportiva Bushido 2 - Women's
Photo: La Sportiva
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Price:  $130 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Sensitive, stable, precise fit, great for technical surfaces
Cons:  Heavier, lacks cushioning, best for narrow feet
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2021
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 17
  • Foot Protection - 25% 6
  • Traction - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 15% 9
  • Stability - 15% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8
  • Weight - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva Bushido II is the most current version of this tried and tested trail runner, known for its sensitivity and minimal protection that performs well over technical surfaces. It is a rigid shoe with fantastic stability, making it an excellent option for tackling super nasty terrain. In the last update, La Sportiva integrated a new type of foam in the midsole, which is more energetic and responsive. The heel cup has been redesigned to slip less (which it does), and the toe cap is reinforced. Unfortunately, the toe box is a little more narrow than we'd like. This trail runner still lives up to its reputation, however, offering fantastic performance for those who prefer a less cushioned and protective trail runner.

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Pros Sensitive, stable, precise fit, great for technical surfacesSuperior comfort, light on foot, protective cushioning, stable architecture, breathable upperLight, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stableProtective, comfortable, wider toe box, excellent beefy traction for soft surfaces, huge valueSticky traction, protective, rainbow design is fun, great value, all surface capabilities
Cons Heavier, lacks cushioning, best for narrow feetLace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankleNarrow fit, runs small, rigid construction takes time to break-inNot ideal for roads, huge sizingLess stable than most, harder midsole is less comfortable, narrower fit
Bottom Line A sensitive yet protective trail runner best for technical terrain, with a little less cushioning in the forefootOur favorite shoe offers a well-balanced ride with one of the stickiest and most confidence-inspiring outsoles we've ever seenStable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alikeA great all-around trail shoe with high value that's superb traction on soft surfacesThis rainbow contender has the ability to tackle all kinds of trail with excellent protection and sticky traction
Rating Categories La Sportiva Bushido 2 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Dynafit Feline SL -... Salomon Supercross... Merrell Antora 2
Foot Protection (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (15%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (10%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs La Sportiva Bushido 2 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Dynafit Feline SL -... Salomon Supercross... Merrell Antora 2
Measured Weight (per shoe, size 9) 10.4 oz 9.8 oz 9.8 oz 10.5 oz 9.6 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop 6 mm 8.6 mm 8 mm 10 mm 8.5 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 19 mm, 13 mm 26.8 mm, 18.2 mm Not disclosed 29.3 mm, 19.3 mm 28.5 mm, 20 mm
Upper AirMesh, Thermal adhesive microfiber, High frequency welded ripstop Textile/synthetic Mesh, continuous nylon Continuous ripstop nylon Mesh and TPU
Midsole 1.5 mm dual-density compressed EVA Energy Cell, polyurethane foam Feline SL midsole EVA Foam EVA
Outsole Dual-Density FriXion XT V-Groove with Impact Brake System Rubber Sticky Pomoco Outer Contragrip TD Vibram TC5+ rubber sole
Rock Plate? Yes Not disclosed Not disclosed N/A Yes
Wide Version Available? No No No No Yes
Sizes Available 36 - 43 EU 4 - 13 5 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Bushido II boasts stand-out sensitivity that offers just the right amount of protection. This low-profile shoe has minimal yet responsive cushioning that'll keep you plugging away the miles. It's great for technical trails, and with some calluses, can perform on long trail runs.

Performance Comparison


A look at the overall fit and profile of the still-awesome La...
A look at the overall fit and profile of the still-awesome La Sportiva Bushido II.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Foot Protection


Ultimately, this shoe provides just the right amount of foot protection for most technical trails, but it's far from being a super protective shoe. The midsole has a stack height of 19mm in the heel with 13mm in the forefoot, with an integrated rock plate. If you're a midfoot striker, like our main tester, you'll find your feet getting sore from taking impacts after running over sharp rocks. Heel strikers can expect more protection. While the integrated rock plate does a good job at dispersing these direct impacts, you can still feel sharp rocks underfoot, which adds to sensitivity but takes away from protection.

Testing over loose rocks and scree really helps us determine which...
Testing over loose rocks and scree really helps us determine which shoe is the most protective. While this one does integrate a rock plate with minimal cushioning, it's a little less protective than it looks.
Photo: Edward Kemper

The toe cap in this iteration seems to be about the same as the previous, offering a harder and rubberized collar of protection from toe stubs. The rubber isn't super hard, so enough impact won't ultimately be completely protected.

The toe cap is burly which prevents from stubbed toes. It also does...
The toe cap is burly which prevents from stubbed toes. It also does well (with its rigidity) to easily kick steps into snow slopes.
Photo: Edward Kemper

The overlay offers fantastic breathability and does a great job of keeping out trail debris like sand, small sticks, and the like. Overall, foot protection is a little less than average, which might be perfect for those who appreciate an intimate trail experience.

A look at the breathable mesh that does a decent job drying quickly...
A look at the breathable mesh that does a decent job drying quickly on the run.
Photo: Amber King

The newest iteration of this shoe offers a more protective midsole that is a little more responsive than the previous version, thanks to the newly integrated LaSpEVA foam.

Traction


The Bushido II has the same outsole as the previous version. The lugs are directed towards the front for good traction on downhills. However, we'd love to see a more multi-directional design as we noticed our foot slipping out on slippery and steep terrain.

Testing traction on a small snow patch in early Spring. The heel...
Testing traction on a small snow patch in early Spring. The heel stomper works well for minor snow sliding fun while the lugs do well on some not-super soft surfaces.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Aside from that, we tested this shoe on dirt roads, hard-packed trails, over kitty litter, and snowy surfaces. In all these conditions, the outsole does a great job of grabbing and sticking to the surface.

A look at the outsole and the lugs patterns. While the lugs do a...
A look at the outsole and the lugs patterns. While the lugs do a good job, we'd love to see a more 'multi-directional' focus so going uphill doesn't slip as much.
Photo: Amber King

The shoe itself is pretty rigid, which makes it easy to kick in a snow step for enhanced stability on technical surfaces.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Sensitivity


Foot protection is "about right" for those who prefer a thinner shoe, and sensitivity is ample. You can really feel where your toes are placed, which ultimately helps you keep your balance and stand upright. While this is a technical shoe, it offers an immense amount of sensitivity that we appreciate. This shoe can take a beating for many miles, but you might find that you can have to condition your feet to get used to the impact.

The mid and front foot offer HUGE amounts of sensitivity as the...
The mid and front foot offer HUGE amounts of sensitivity as the cushioning is far from ample. The heel is more cushioned, offering more protection and less sensitivity in this area.
Photo: Amber King

Stability


We love the stability of this shoe. It has a harder construction surrounding the midsole and outsole with integrated shanks in the heel. The outsole is fairly flexible back and forth but doesn't offer much lateral torsion, keeping your foot straight on the trail.

While it is a rigid shoe, it offers some level of flexibility for...
While it is a rigid shoe, it offers some level of flexibility for traversing over big scree and rock fields, that would otherwise throw you off your game.
Photo: Edward Kemper

The stack height isn't very high, which aids in providing better stability as well. The forefoot offers a little more room than most trail runners but isn't as wide as it once was in the previous iteration. This hasn't changed the stability but is an important construction consideration.

Comfort and Fit


The compression foam in the midsole is harder and quite responsive, offering a pop to your running stride. It's not seriously cushioned and is not the most comfortable trail runner out there. The fit is specific, though, which we love. Our narrow-footed runners prefer this shoe, but it also works for those with wide feet as the upper is soft and flexible.

The heel cup is awesome! It seems to fit most of our testers well...
The heel cup is awesome! It seems to fit most of our testers well and offers a fair amount of rigidity that leads to better overall stability. We also like the extra cushion in the heel for a more responsive take-off.
Photo: Amber King

The lacing system integrates a TPU overlay that completely wraps the foot for the right amount of tightness and precision.

A look at the bomber TPU harness keeps your foot locked down...even...
A look at the bomber TPU harness keeps your foot locked down...even when tackling super steep slopes.
Photo: Amber King

The arch has some support, and the heel cup fits nice and tight. There is no "extra" material inside the shoe, providing lots of room for a versatile fit. We recommend the fit of this shoe, but can't say it's the plushest or the most cushioned.

The uppers are thin and flexible, as is the lacing system, helping...
The uppers are thin and flexible, as is the lacing system, helping to wrap the foot effectively.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


In the world of trail runners, this one is a little heavier than average. It weighs about 10.3 oz for a size 9 where most trail runners fall into the range of about 9 oz.

A look at the weight of a size 9 shoe. Heavier than most trail...
A look at the weight of a size 9 shoe. Heavier than most trail runners in this review, it still feels light on the foot. The design is streamlined and not bulky.
Photo: Amber King

Value


The Bushido II fits right smack in the middle compared to most trail running shoes. This ultra-classic has proven itself time and time again as a fair price for its performance. After 400 miles of running, the lugs have worn down quite a bit and the outsole is starting to finally pack out. Still, it's pretty durable overall, minus the lugs beginning to wear down after just 100 miles on buffed and rocky trails. It's of value if you seek a 6mm drop shoe that offers a stable and sensitive ride.

Running in the mountains is a great place for this shoe. It offers...
Running in the mountains is a great place for this shoe. It offers stability and support when running up or down super steep trails.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Conclusion


The La Sportiva Bushido II received a new update that makes it a more responsive but more narrow trail running shoe. It still has the same construction that optimizes a fine balance between protection and sensitivity. It's not a great shoe for those who need ample cushioning, but best for those who appreciate an intimate and stable experience on the trail. Take it to the tops of mountains, on zoomy track, and everywhere in between.

This trail runner rocks for all sorts of surfaces. It's quick to dry...
This trail runner rocks for all sorts of surfaces. It's quick to dry and offers fantastic sensitivity. If you're not needing a huge amount of protection, but appreciate a more rigid yet sensitive, this is a great choice.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Amber King