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La Sportiva Bushido 2 - Women's Review

A sensitive yet protective trail runner best for technical terrain.
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Price:  $130 List | $97.50 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Sensitive, stable, perfect amount of protection, precise fit, great for technical surfaces
Cons:  Heavier, lacks cushioning, best for narrow feet
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 29, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 19
  • Foot protection - 20% 6
  • Sensitivity - 20% 9
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Stability - 15% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva Bushido II is the newest version of this tried and tested trail runner, known for its sensitivity and minimal protection that performs well over technical surfaces. It is a harder shoe with fantastic stability, making it an excellent option for tackling super nasty terrain. In this new update, La Sportiva integrates a new type of foam, which makes the shoe more responsive. The heel cup has also been redesigned to slip less (which it does), and the toe cap is reinforced for what we hope is a higher level of durability. Unfortunately, the toe box is narrower than it previously was, making it harder for toe splay. This trail runner still lives up to its reputation, offering fantastic performance for those who prefer a less cushioned and protective trail runner.


Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $97.50 at Backcountry
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$150.00 at Amazon$129.74 at Amazon
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$89.93 at REI$109.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Sensitive, stable, perfect amount of protection, precise fit, great for technical surfacesWonderful 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 Heavier, lacks cushioning, best for narrow feetLaces 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 sensitive yet protective trail runner best for 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 Bushido 2 Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 Speedcross 5 Peregrine ISO Altra Superior 4.0 - Women's
Foot Protection (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
5
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Traction (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
5
Stability (15%)
10
0
9
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
5
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
10
Specs Bushido 2 Inov-8 TerraUltra... Speedcross 5 Peregrine ISO Altra Superior 4.0...
Measured Weight 10.4 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 6 mm 0 mm 10 mm 4 mm 0 mm
Stack Height from toe to heel (mm) 8.5/14.5 9/9 10/20 18.5/22.5 21/21
Upper AirMesh, Thermal adhesive microfiber, High frequency welded ripstop Kevlar Mesh Nylon mesh, sythetic overlays IsoFit Engineered knit
Midsole 1.5 mm dual-density compressed EVA EXTERFLOW Injected EVA PWRFOAM Altra Quantic
Outsole Dual-Density FriXion XT V-Groove with Impact Brake System Graphene Grip Contragrip PWRTRAC MaxTrac/TrailClaw
Rock Plate? Yes Yes Yes None Yes
Sizes Available 36 - 43 EU 4 - 15 5 - 12 5 - 12 6 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

The newest iteration of the La Sportiva Bushido II still 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 Bushido II.
A look at the overall fit and profile of the still-awesome Bushido II.

Foot Protection


Ultimately, this shoe provides just the right amount of foot protection for most technical trails, but its far from being a super protective shoe. The midsole has a stack height of 19 mm in the heel with 13 mm in the forefoot. 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. 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 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.
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.

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

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

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

The newest iteration of this shoe offers a more protective midsole that is a little more responsive than the previous version. This is because of the newly integrated LaSpEVA foam that offers a little more protection than it previously did.

Sensitivity


While foot protection is "about right" for those who prefer a thinner shoe, 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 love and 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 cushioning is far from ample. The heel is more cushioned  offering more protection and less sensitivity in this area.
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.

Traction


The Bushido 2 still has the same outsole as it has for years. The lugs are primarily directed towards the front for good traction on the way down. 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 stomper works well for minor snow sliding fun while the lugs do well on some not-super soft surfaces.
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.

Aside from that, we tested it 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 good job  we'd love to see a more 'multi-directional' focus so going uphill doesn't slip as much.
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.

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


Stability


Welove 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 traversing over big scree and rock fields  that would otherwise throw you off your game.
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.

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 & 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 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.
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.

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

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  that does well to wrap the foot effectively.
The uppers are thin and flexible, as is the lacing system, that does well to wrap the foot effectively.

Weight


In the world of trail runners, this one is a little heavier than average. It weighs about 10.4 oz for a size nine where most trail runners fall into the range of about 9 oz.

A look at the weight of a size nine shoe. Heavier than most trail runners in this review  but still feels light on the foot. The design is streamlined and not bulky.
A look at the weight of a size nine shoe. Heavier than most trail runners in this review, but still feels light on the foot. The design is streamlined and not bulky.

Value


This fits right smack in the middle of the price for most trail running shoes. This ultra-classic has proven itself time and time again, it a fair price for its performance. After 100 miles of running, we've noticed the lugs wearing down quite a bit, but have spotted no issues with the upper. While it's not the most durable shoe, it should last you a few hundreds of miles before its time to buy a new pair. It's a perfect option for those seeking a stable, sensitive ride.

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

Conclusion


The La Sportiva Bushido II received a new update this year 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 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.
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.


Amber King