If you are a runner you know that there is no single piece of gear more important then your shoes. We spend the most time researching, testing, and trying to find the perfect shoe. Everyone is different and some shoes work better then others. My latest endeavor was to try a pair of La Sportiva Bushidos. I had heard positive feedback from different sources.
La Sportiva has been in the industry creating mountain running shoes for some time. They are also very popular amongst the climbing, mountaineering, and skiing crowds. La Sportiva currently produces eight different models of mountain running shoes, with multiple having a GTX option (waterproofing layer).
Use- The La Sportiva Bushido is an aggressive mountain running shoe designed for confidence inspiring traction. The shoe has a 6mm heel to toe drop. The Bushido weighs around 10.5 ounces and is packed with features. The sole is designed with some of their stickiest rubbers creating a gripping shoe on wet or slick terrain. Substantial lugs allow the runner to dig deep into the terrain and have solid footing when ascending or descending. The upper design is breathable and incorporates a few supportive features. The first of those being a stiff heel cup. The heel has very little give but is protected by padding where the heel cup meets your foot. Additionally the arch is molded out of a hard plastic material providing protection from rocks, while also supporting the arch. The heel of the shoe is narrow and expands out towards the toes, creating for a wider then normal toe box.
I took these shoes out a handful of times, but could not get the right fit. Coming from a less supportive shoe the heel cup and arch support was a welcome relieve. Although the toe box of the Bushido was generous I still found it to be too constricting for my foot. After a handful of short runs blisters would develop on my toes. At times my feet felt as though they were in a pair of climbing shoes rather then runners. Additionally the stiffness of the heel cup did not allow me to secure my heel. Especially while moving uphill, my heel would slip and cause blisters. I attempted multiple methods of lacing trying to secure the heel, but was unsuccessful. The place this shoe really shines is on the outside. The combination of the sticky rubber and lugging pattern provided some of the best traction I have tried. Over both wet rock and slick surfaces the shoe gripped. There was never an instance with my run where I felt as though I would slip. The high level of traction also encouraged a faster descent. Although the upper felt snug against my foot, the breathability was appreciated in the heat. At the front of the shoe there is a hard to cap that protected my foot from bruising when accidentally kicking rocks. The laces kept a solid knot and there was never a need to readjust on the fly (except when attempting to lock the heel in).
Final Thoughts- Trying not to sound too harsh, this shoe didn't work for me. I prefer a shoe with a wider toe box then what the Bushido provided. Due to my foot shape I was unable to lock my heel in place and this caused a lot of frustration with blisters. The deep lugs and use of sticky rubber creates a shoe that is ready for slick rock, wet trails and those off trail excursions. I would have no hesitation bombing down a rocky trail with these shoes. La Sportiva has a made a solid and aggressive shoe that has the potential to be a favorite among many runners. Unfortunately I was not one of those, so my quest continues.
*These shoes were purchased through my place of employment.