Bushido II vs. Bushido
La Sportiva upgraded the Bushido to the Bushido II this season. The new shoe features a redesigned heel cup with the intention of providing better comfort and fit, an additional 3mm of EVA cushioning, and the tongue has been amended to feel softer and provide less overfoot pressure. This trail runner also sports some fun new colors. Compare the Bushido II (left) to the original Bushido (right).
As we haven't tested the new shoe yet, the review to follow still refers to last year's version.
Hands-On Review of the Bushido
The La Sportiva Bushido flaunts a low profile design that is super stable on the trail. This mountain runner is perfect for a diversity of surfaces. Sloppy, slippery, fast, technical…whatever you decide to challenge yourself with.
This shoe is a great option with fantastic traction and protection.
Looking to protect your toes? The Bushido features an impenetrable upper, rigid outsole, integrated rock plate, but limited cushioning. The toe cap is one of the hardest tested in this review, protecting from the odd stub on the trail. The mesh is breathable but keeps out the dust, dirt, sand, and mud. While the outsole is hard and the thin integrated rock plate in the midsole of the shoe provides additional protection, the cushioning does little in the forefoot to add additional protection.
The upper is breathable and impervious to trail rubble. In addition, the toe cap proves to be fairly protective.
As a result, we found our feet a little sore after runs that exceeded 20 miles. While this is more of a personal problem, just be sure to expect enhanced sensitivity and less protection in the forefoot of this shoe. In addition, the shoe can wick water, but it is by no means waterproof or water resistant.
We took these shoes on a lot of approach hikes - some involving river crossings. We found this shoe to dry quickly which providing cushion in the right place for comfort.
The sticky dual-density rubber on this outsole is hard and sticky. The lugs (4mm) are aggressive and bite down on the trail providing great traction on a variety of surfaces. They are multidirectional and provide lateral traction as well. Our only caveat is that while the rubber is sticky, they were not able to shed heavy mud as well as longer lugged shoes. In addition, because of the soft, sticky nature of the lug, it wears down on hard surfaces like pavement and in some cases can break off. In general, the outsole is built for all levels of trail technicality, but shouldn't be worn on super hard surfaces.
The outsole is sticky and aggressive loaded with multi-directional lugs that cling to surfaces in all directions.
The low profile design (4mm drop) combined with the thermoplastic urethane frame and a wider toe box keeps you feeling low to the ground. The thin uppers wrap around the foot for a precise fit while the steel shanks add lateral stability. The wider forefoot in combination with the low profile allows toe splay and better balance when maneuvering over typical trail hazards. Overall, this shoe provides an average level of stability while tackling the steep and technical terrain.
The synthetic overlap keeps the rigidity of the upper. It attaches to the lacing system, keeping your foot locked in place and providing great stability on uneven surfaces.
Comfort & Fit
The Bushido is comfortable but does not provide the most cushioned ride. In the midsole, the cushioning is minimal (which attributes to its great stability) measuring only 14.5mm at the heel and 8.5mm at the forefoot.
The uppers are thin, comfortable and wrap the foot for a precise fit.
If you are a forefoot striker and not used to a less protective shoe, you will notice the lack of cushioning over time. While it enhances sensitivity, feet might get sore, especially over rock surfaces (despite the integrated rock plate). That said, it takes a few runs before building up a callus. If you are, however, a heel striker, you may not notice the less protective ride as there is more cushioning in the heel. There are no weird constriction points around the collar of the shoe, offering enhanced comfort overall.
The heel is loaded with a little more cushion than the forefoot, making it a great option for heel strikers.
When considering fit, the toe box is a little wider with a good amount of volume from top to bottom. The heel cup is incredibly precise, keeping the foot in place on the go. In addition, while this is a neutral shoe, it does offer some level of arch support, but it's not super defined.
This fits a medium to narrow foot best. The fit is precise with arch support and a solid heel cup. No slipping up or down while conquering steep slopes.
The upper is thin and flexible, offering great breathability and wrapping around the foot comfortably. The lacing system allows for lacing in a variety of ways, while the lace eyelets are spaced far apart to provide wrap even the narrowest of feet. Overall, it fits those with a foot width that is medium to narrow. Just remember to size up on these babies!
This shoe is sensitive with fantastical protection. The cushioning is quite responsive, making you feel springy on the trail. A comfortable shoe overall with a more narrow fit.
Keep in mind that La Sportiva uses European sizing. We had to size up an entire American size to get the right size. Order a couple of different sizes then send the ones that don't fit back.
While it feels light on the trail, the integrated shanks and protective materials add weight to this midweight trail runner. For a size nine, it weighs 9.55 oz, a good lightweight design. In addition, it is fairly absorbent, takes on 3.95 oz of water in our submersion tests. While the upper does a decent job at drying quickly, we noticed that water doesn't drain easily and gets stuck in the midsole and liner of the shoe…so it's not the best option for running in the rain or across several creeks or rivers.
This shoe does absorb a little bit more when wet and drainage isn't the greatest. That said, it's still lightweight when dry!
A magical balance act occurs between foot protection and sensitivity. With only 8.5 mm of cushioning in the forefoot, you can truly get intimate with the trail. While tackling desert terrain, we encountered rocks and sand. While the integrated rock plate provides some level of protection, it doesn't completely protect from the trail sensations. As a result, you can have a true trail experience.
Given the little cushioning in the forefoot, you will feel underfoot hazards on the trail.
Given the cute design and great balance between protection and sensitive, we'd recommend it for any mountain adventure and any trail surface. Just don't wear it on the road. If you can get used to the sensitivity of the forefoot, it can take you anywhere from one to one hundred miles. Don't be afraid to use it as a light hiker or approach shoe as well.
Here we take the Bushido on a little jaunt through the arches of Moab, Utah. the upper proved to be impervious to sand doing a great job on a versatility of surfaces.
Retailing for just $130, the value is middle of the road. It sports great performance and proves to have decent durability (minus lugs potentially breaking off on hard surfaces) overall. The price is the norm for this level of performance.
This mountain runner boasts a wonderful blend of sensitivity, protection, and traction on the trail. Take it with you on any distance…it just might take your feet a little getting used to.
Whether you run dirt roads or trails, this protective and cute shoe is a great option!