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'Bushido' A Gripping Trail Shoe

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Dancing over the root-tangled singletrack, I ascend past the Garden of Giants, a rock field of boxcar-size boulders toppled from Mount Heyburn’s summit. Idaho’s Redfish Lake Creek Canyon is one of the deepest in the Sawtooths — the perfect testing ground for La Sportiva’s Bushido trail-running shoe.

Test trail

Japanese for “samurai way,” La Sportiva bills the Bushido as a neutral shoe made to move swiftly over technical terrain. It accomplishes this through sticky-rubber lugs, a protective rock plate, and TPU structures that build protection to toe-pounding obstacles encountered while cranking up the speed through the rough stuff.

The result? The Bushido rises to the higher calling of alpine running.

The Gear: La Sportiva Bushido ($125)

Available: Now

Where To Test It: Technical singletrack and shoulder season slop

Who’s It For: Aggressive runners who eat up technical terrain

First Impressions: Out of the box, the Bushido is a sexy shoe that fits like a prom dress — tight. I typically go half a size up, but I had to go one full size in the Bushido and they took some time to break in.

The Bushido shined on rough trail, though the low-volume toe box was tight on longer days. A technical specialist, they won’t be my everyday running shoe, but rather a niche pair for my weekend warrior climbing days.

Boring But Important: A TPU frame wraps under the middle of the arch, providing a cradle-like base for cranking tight turns at high speeds. The sole uses sticky rubber lugs for aggressive traction, even over wet rock.

Important Specs: 6mm drop, stacking 19mm in the heel to 13mm in the toe (over 1.5mm EVA foam). The outsole has a proprietary “Impact Brake System” sole made up of opposing tread that the company claims simultaneously increases stopping power and decreases impact force by 20%. I found it keeps you glued to the trail while ascending steep climbs and descending loose scree.

Though narrow, the TPU toe cap provides full-coverage across all the toes. This gives you lots of protection. A laminated suede “exoskeleton” wraps around the mesh in high-wear areas that I typically blow out after a few hundred miles in a shoe. I imagine I’ll outrun the sole before I run through the top mesh.

Made In: China

Awesome! The Bushido chews up rugged terrain like a beast. They run stable over the variable terrain and inspire confident footwork. They have oodles of protection for a low-volume shoe, and the gusseted tongue helps the Bushido fit like a sock.

Flaw: The shoe runs unusually small out of the box, something we’ve noticed in other La Sportiva models. This could also be attributed to its “performance” fit, but be sure to try these on or buy from a company with a good exchange policy. At 10.5 oz a shoe, they felt a little heavy and ran stiff on the hard pack trail.

Who Should Buy It: People with narrow, low volume feet who are inspired by technical terrain.

Contact Brand/More Beta: La Sportiva Bushido

— Steve Graepel is a contributor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC

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