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La Sportiva Jackal II - Women's Review

While this trail shoe is packed with highly functional features, it falls slightly short in terms of comfort
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La Sportiva Jackal II - Women's Review (The La Sportiva Jackal is a highly-equipped shoe that lacks a bit of comfort.)
The La Sportiva Jackal is a highly-equipped shoe that lacks a bit of comfort.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $165 List
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Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2024
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 20
  • Foot Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Traction - 20% 8.5
  • Sensitivity - 15% 6.5
  • Stability - 15% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 6.5
  • Weight - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The redesigned La Sportiva Jackal II is a powerhouse shoe designed for rugged mountain running. With a bit more toebox space than other La Sportiva kicks, a comfortably taped rear foot, and aggressive 5.56mm lugs, the Jackal is a high-performing trail shoe that will suit trail runners of all ability levels. While not quite as comfortable as plush trail runners, the protective, durable nature and bitey lugs of the Jackal II make it perfect for backcountry outings that include rock scrambles and nearly vertical faces.
REASONS TO BUY
Great traction
Agility-focused
Highly capable
REASONS TO AVOID
Toe cap is painful
Lacks sensitivity

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Bottom Line Despite being equipped for high mountain topography, this trail shoe isn't the most comfortableThis is our go-to recommendation for runners seeking a comfortable, well-tractioned shoe for short and long distances alikeA unisex shoe that offers superior performance across the board, boasting a protective yet sensitive ride with a grippy outsole and exceptional durabilityFeaturing an upgraded upper and a stable zero-drop design, this shoe is a dependable and comfortable trail running option, ensuring comfort even during extended runsAn affordable and functional trail shoe that is perfect for new runners, budget-conscious runners, any anyone looking to tackle moderate terrain
Rating Categories La Sportiva Jackal... Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo... Salomon S/Lab Ultra... Altra Lone Peak 8 -... Brooks Divide 4 - W...
Foot Protection (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.5
Traction (20%)
8.5
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
6.5
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Stability (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.5
7.5
Comfort and Fit (15%)
6.5
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.9
5.3
7.4
Specs La Sportiva Jackal... Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo... Salomon S/Lab Ultra... Altra Lone Peak 8 -... Brooks Divide 4 - W...
Sizes Available 5.5 - 11 US
regular
5 - 11 US
regular
4 - 14 US
regular
5.5 - 12 US
regular and wide
5 - 12 US
regular
Measured Heel Stack Height 31 mm 26 mm 27 mm 23 mm 29 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 9 mm 5 mm 8 mm 0 mm 8 mm
Rock Plate Compressed EVA No Not disclosed TPU No
Measured Lug Depth 5.6 mm 4 mm 3.5 mm 3.2 mm 3 mm
Measured Weight 7.90 oz 7.52 oz 8.05 oz 8.14 oz 7.82 oz
Upper Recycled mesh Mesh Anti-Debris mesh with sockliner Ripstop Mesh Mesh
Midsole CMEVA EVA Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection Altra EGO DNA Loft
Outsole FriXion XT 2.0 Rubber Salomon Contagrip MA MaxTrac TrailTack rubber
Heel Tab Type Finger loop None None Finger loop None

Our Analysis and Test Results

Weighing just under 8 ounces per women's size 6.5, the Jackal II is ready to tackle middle-distance mountain adventures with ease. Its 9mm drop and snug heel cup provide stability, while its Frixion® XT 2.0 outsole helps keep you stuck to the terrain beneath you.

Performance Comparision



la sportiva jackal ii for women - for great grip on moderate to rugged terrain, the jackal is a great...
For great grip on moderate to rugged terrain, the Jackal is a great option - provided that comfort isn't your top priority.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Foot Protection


The Jackal II has an embedded rock plate, a .19inch insole, and 5.56mm lugs - a stack full of features that provide great underfoot protection. The Mono-Burr mesh upper keeps feet cool on warm days and expertly deflects sand and trail debris. When it comes to water, the upper saturates rather quickly. Since the Jackal does not provide a ton of cushion, any water that gets into the shoe drains within minutes, allowing your feet to remain comfortable. The materials of the Jackal are quick to dry after being fully submerged, making this a great shoe for summer runs when you know that wet feet are inevitable. Our testers had no problems with blisters or hot spots while running through streams. The toe cap of the Jackal is incredibly functional at protecting rocks from busting up your toes. However, the interior of the Jackal is not very plush, so ramming your toes into the front of the shoe on downhills can hurt. We recommend wearing thick running socks or buying a half size up to compensate for this if the other features appeal to you.

Water drains quickly out of the Jackal II, making it a shoe that we don't mind splashing around in.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Traction


The thick and sharp-edged outsole of the La Sportiva Jackal II is the main component that makes this shoe so mountain-ready. Made of rigid and durable Frixion® XT 2.0 Rubber, this shoe excelled on every surface it was tested on. While no shoe can grip with 100% accuracy, the Jackal is a shoe that we trust on high-alpine adventures where slick granite faces abound. The exterior edge of the outsole boasts a teeth-like pattern, with multidirectional points ready to clamp down on the earth beneath your feet. The depth of the lugs prevents the Jackal from being a good crossover shoe, but if agile mountain running is what you want to do, this might be the perfect shoe for you.

la sportiva jackal ii for women - the sharp edges of the jackal's 5.56mm lugs bite down hard onto...
The sharp edges of the Jackal's 5.56mm lugs bite down hard onto trails, making this outsole one we recommend for high alpine runners.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Sensitivity


While not abundantly sensitive, the Jackal provides just enough trail information to allow your body to react as you run. With a total stack of 31mm and a 9mm drop, the forefoot shoe rides on the lower end of average compared to some of the plusher options available on the market. This provides a relative degree of underfoot sensitivity. Though the Jackal's outsole hardness ranks well within average at 66 - 69 on a 100 scale, per our in-house spec testing team, the outsole feels incredibly rigid in real-time. Our lead tester prefers a slightly more flexible outsole because of the trail information it provides. Personal preferences aside, the Jackal II is a great trail running shoe for the runner who wants to feel confident and informed about the trail beneath them while staring down the face of an incline.

la sportiva jackal ii for women - the jackal's outsole and protection don't prioritize sensitivity but...
The Jackal's outsole and protection don't prioritize sensitivity but allow you to feel some of the trail features beneath you.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


The Jackal II offers an element of agility that many shoes with traditional heel-to-toe differentials do not. The toe box of the updated Jackal is a bit wide, giving your toes space to flex and splay as they see fit during your runs. We have found that some toe box real estate can go a long way when relying on your body to create intrinsic stability. This space is coupled with a comfortably snug heel cup for strong stability. While the heel lift in the Jackal is noticeable, the shape of the heel cup encourages strong lateral stability, making this shoe one of the more capable options when it comes to technical downhills. The lacing system creates a comfortable locking sensation, adding to the Jackal's overall stability.

la sportiva jackal ii for women - the jackal offers stability for runners seeking security via a...
The Jackal offers stability for runners seeking security via a traditional fit, particularly on technical downhills.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Comfort and Fit


The Jackal II rides like an old-school trail shoe in that it contains no apparent comfort features. This shoe is all business, and it shows from the moment you slip it on your feet. With a hard-compact insole, scantily plush tongue, and rigid toe bumper, this is not a shoe we recommend for runners who want to spend full days grinding out trail mileage. The Jackal is up for the challenge if your running goals center around middle-distance speed on technical trails. Our primary gripe regarding the comfort of the redesigned Jackal revolves around its toe bumper and insufficient interior cushioning. While this shoe excels on technical downhills, the experience is marred by the abrupt impact of toes against the toe cap when attempting to moderate speed. Mile after mile, this sensation becomes uncomfortable. Even still, the Jackal is a shoe we recommend, provided that your trail runs will be single digits in length.

la sportiva jackal ii for women - the back-to-basics padding approach of the jackal makes thick socks...
The back-to-basics padding approach of the Jackal makes thick socks a comfort must when running in the Jackal.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


The women's size 6.5 Jackal tips the scales at 7.90 ounces, placing it on the heavier end among the trail shoes we've assessed. Nevertheless, thanks to its protective attributes, this weight remains manageable and doesn't impede comfort on the trails. The bulk of the Jackal's weight is concentrated in its outsole, making it suitable for rugged terrain. However, we suggest exploring lighter options if you're seeking footwear tailored for more moderate landscapes.

Beyond just measuring the Jackal's weight, we went deep to determine if this shoe is as capable as it initially seems (it is).
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Should You Buy the La Sportiva Jackal II


While the Jackal offers specific comfort attributes, it doesn't receive our universal endorsement due to its somewhat specialized comfort profile. If the Jackal's features match your trail running objectives and preferences, it's a reliable choice that will accompany you through your training journey and beyond. Despite its appealing qualities and the love we have grown to have for this shoe, we acknowledge that the Jackal may not cater to every runner's distinct comfort and terrain requirements.

la sportiva jackal ii for women - while not a top choice in terms of comfort, the jackal is ready to...
While not a top choice in terms of comfort, the Jackal is ready to tackle various terrain types with ease.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?


If a mountain-ready shoe with bitey lugs is what you're after, the Salomon Speedcross 6 has long been a favorite recommendation for rugged mountain runners. If you are looking for solid traction to boost your confidence but offer a bit more comfort, the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 is an equally capable and slightly more comfortable option to consider. The Saucony Peregrine 13 is a traditionally-shaped favorite with strong traction and a bit more well-rounded comfort.

Ally Arcuri