Footwear Reviews Gear Reviews

Gear Preview: La Sportiva Akasha

La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview

Ever since I first tried the Ultra Raptor a few years ago, I’ve been a huge fan of La Sportiva’s trail running shoes for hiking.  The Ultra Raptor has a beefy well cushioned platform with a grippy outsole that I found perfect for the mountains here in California. My only problem with the Ultra Raptor was the narrow last and tight toe box. Last year, I put a ton of miles on the La Sportiva Mutant. The Mutant is a more nimble offering from La Sportiva, that is perfectly suited for muddy or wet environments. I wore them in dry and rocky conditions, and although I wish they had more cushioning, their comfort and fit was second to none. This year, I reviewing the La Sportiva Akasha, which is in my opinion, the perfect blend of the Ultra Raptor and the Mutant for an all around world-beater of a trail shoe.


La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
La Sportiva Akasha

Support this blog by purchasing the La Sportiva Mutant with these links on Amazon:

La Sportiva Akasha Men’s | La Sportiva Akasha Women’s


Fit And Feel:

As I mentioned before, the Akasha is the perfect combination of all the things I loved from the Ultra Raptor and Mutant. This starts by taking the fit of the Mutant and adding a more plush, padded, and comfortable upper. La Sportiva is known for having shoes that many find to be too narrow, this is not the case with the Akasha. The Akasha starts with a narrow and precise fit in the heel, but opens up to an accommodating midfoot and toebox. The midfoot wraps the arch area of my foot very nicely, allowing for a precise fit when needed or a relaxed fit when my foot begins to swell. The toebox of the Akasha is similar to the Mutant as well, and I found it very accommodating with no problems with rubbing or chaffing. It’s not wide like an Altra, but wide enough like the Nike Wildhorse 3 or NB Leadville v3.

I wear a 12.5 in almost all of my trail shoes. I wear a size 47 (13) in La Sportiva. The Akasha was no different, as a size 47 fit perfectly and very similar to the Mutant. The Akasha is a fairly light shoe considering how cushioned it is. A size 43 comes in at 10.1 oz per Running Warehouse, and my size 47 came in closer to 11oz.


Upper:

The upper of the Akasha looks absolutely beautiful. The La Sportiva colorway of black, yellow, and red is tied in very nicely on this shoe. The thing I noticed first upon unboxing the Akasha was how well protected it looked. This shoe looks like a war horse ready for battle. It starts in the rear where a TPU wrap flows from the heel and around the shoe to secure itself under the arch. This wrap is also what holds the midfoot in place. Having gotten some experience now with the Akasha, I am really starting to love the security and precision of this wrap. There are also strips of rubber on the forefoot that La Sportiva calls ProTechTion™  HF, for added burliness in the toebox area. At first, I was worried these would encumber breathing, but so far this has not been the case. We’ve had sustained 80+ degree weather here which is a pretty good test. The summer heat with temps closer to 100 will be a different test though.  The final bit of protection is the semi rigid toe bumper which I’m sure will do a great job protecting my toes when called upon.


La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Wrap From Heel To Midfoot
La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Protection On The Toes
La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Toe Box From Above

The tongue of the Akasha is gusseted, and I found it’s padding to be very comfortable. I was able to tie the laces fairly snug without any pressure points or discomfort on the top of my shoe. You can really tell the Akasha was designed and tested by ultra runners spending long days in the mountains, everything about this upper screams protection and comfort.

The materials used in the toe area look to be the most breathable. The midfoot and tongue are made of a much less porous fabric that still seam to breathe well. I haven’t had a chance to test these in really hot conditions or test test their drainability. I’ll add those tests in a full review later.


La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Padded Tongue
La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
At An Angle

Midsole:

The fit and feel of the Akasha upper was a lot like the mutant, but the midsole is like an amped of version of the Ultra Raptor. The cushion and comfort of this shoe is superb. A lot of shoe manufacturers at the moment are churning out model after model of maximally cushioned shoes. I like the idea for the most part, but have not been a fan of how mushy and unresponsive  the midsoles on most of the offerings have felt. The Akasha midsole gets it just right in my opinion. This shoe features a ton of cushioning, but in no way feels sloppy or mushy. It’s definitely not firm, but I would feel very safe taking this shoe in any mountain terrain without fear of turning an ankle or losing my footing.

The Akasha midsole is built on a 6mm drop platform with “Dual-Injection Shock Absorbing MEMIex” that acts as a full length EVA midsole engineered for enhanced cushioning. The Akasha doesn’t utilize a rock plate, but with this much cushioning it’s not really needed.


La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Heel Cushioning
La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Full Midsole

Support this blog by purchasing the La Sportiva Mutant with these links on Amazon:

La Sportiva Akasha Men’s | La Sportiva Akasha Women’s


Outsole:

For the outsole of the Akasha, La Sportiva uses a full length FriXion Red XT compound. I’ve used the soft Frixion Green on a few La Sportiva shoes and loved the grip but not the durability. I’ve also used Frixion Blue which lasts a lot longer but wasn’t as grippy. This is my first shoe with Frixion Red which is a dual compound designed for maximum grip and durability. So far so good with these, as they feel as grippy as the Frixion Green, we’ll have to see on durability. They show no signs of wear thus far. La Sportiva does a great job with it’s outsoles, and I really love the lug pattern they designed for the Akasha. The chevron lugs are deep and thick across the entire sole which is great for grip and cushion. I’m sure these will also shed a ton of mud come spring time.


La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Full Outsole
La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Forefoot
La Sportiva Akasha Review Preview
Heel

Closing Thoughts:

My initial impressions of the Akasha after a few wears have been very positive. I look forward to trying these out with a heavy pack for some longer days. I’ll have a more in depth review come summertime if all goes well.


I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

11 comments on “Gear Preview: La Sportiva Akasha

  1. As always, great work!

  2. Gh

    Sent from Outlook on iOS

  3. How have they been working out so far? Thinking of these for hiking in the White Mountains of NH which are brutally rocky and up to 35 miles per day with 10-20 pound pack. Also considering the Hokas (Ultra version hiker) or Altra Olympus 2.0. Sticky sole material is a must. Fast hiking not running.

    Thanks,
    Jeff in MA

    • Hey Jeff, so far so good. I haven’t been able to put too many big days on these as I’ve been rehabbing from an ankle injury. I should be able to start racking up the miles in June. I’ll keep you posted. I’d prefer these over the Hokas and Olympus just due to the stability. I gave the ultra cushioned high stack shoes a go, but kept rolling my ankles on really rocky terrain. I’ve found that the Akasha blends a great balance of cushion and stability.

      • I presume you were rolling your ankles running vs hiking which I’d be using the Hokas for. So perhaps not such and issue?
        Have you tried the Ultra Raptors and if so how would they compare to the Akasha in support, cushion, width and impact protection underfoot, especially forefoot.

        Thanks
        Jeff in MA

      • Precisely. I’ve worn through two pair of Ultra Raptors and much prefer the Akasha. The Ultra Raptor was a great shoe, but was more narrow than I like. The heel was narrow in the midsole which caused them to break down quickly. The forefoot is very narrow but has a forgiving upper that makes it feel a bit like a slipper. The Akasha has a much better last shape. The Raptor has a compressed EVA rock guard. The Akasha has more cushioning and support overall. In my opinion, the Akasha is a much better shoe.

      • Jeff Johanson

        Great info and just the feedback I’m looking for so thanks. One more question please….sizing I’m normally an 11 in literally everything including my Pearl Izumi M2V2 trail runners. Most things I read seem to indicate LaSportiva’s run small. A size 11 would be 44.5 but perhaps I should order a 45 at least. I usually use Darn Tough socks with a thin liner for hiking. Thoughts please?

        Thanks again Jeff in MA

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • I order a half size up for La Sportiva. I’m a 12.5 in almost every trail shoe I own. I order a 13 (47) in La Sportiva. I wear Darn Tough 1/4 with light cushion with no liner. The 47 Ultra Raptor was pretty tight, the Mutant fit just right, and the Akasha fit just right with a 47 as well. The Mutant and Akasha fit similar for my foot. I’d say a 45 would be a good choice.

  4. Anonymous

    How are these wearing. I need to replace a pair of Ultra Raptors that I love. Considering these or the Bushidos.

    • They’re holding up well, but I haven’t put too many miles on them. I’ve been in the Nike Wildhorse 3 and Salomon SLAB Wings mostly. They’re a great shoe though and I’d expect great durability. There is also the La Sportiva Akyra coming out in early 2017 if you can wait that long. Otherwise, pick these up, much better than the Ultra Raptor in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: