La Sportiva makes some of the best trail shoes available today. I’m clearly a fan, as you can see by my reviews on the Ultra Raptor, Mutant, Crossover 2.0, and Akasha. New to the La Sportiva lineup this year is the Akyra. The Akyra blends a few elements from the Akasha and Ultra Raptor, but stands on it’s own as a unique performer in the lineup. I know this is billed as a trail running shoe, but few times have I worn a trail runner that felt this much like a designated hiking shoe. In this preview, I’m going to cover the Akyra from top to bottom, and provide my initial impressions.
**The Akyra will be hard to come by initially as they are being launched as an REI exclusive in the US.**
Fit and Feel:
I purchased a size 47 (13) in the Akyra, which is my standard size for La Sportiva. I’m usually a size 12.5 (46.5), but feel I need to size up for La Sportiva trail shoes. The Akyra feels just a tad bit long for a 47, and I may have been able to get away with ordering my standard size 12.5 (46.5). Other than that, the Akyra fits very well from the heel to the midfoot. The image below shows all of La Sportiva’s trail shoes plotted on a graph with volume for the Y-axis and cushion for the X-axis. I’d have to disagree with the plotting of the Akyra in regards to volume, as I feel the Akyra has more internal volume than the Akasha in the same size 47. The Akasha feels a tad more snug for my foot.
As I mentioned above, the toe box on the Akyra is a tad long. The Akyra fits a little more like the Ultra Raptor up front than the Akasha. Still, the toebox is plenty comfortable and provides ample space to keep my toes disturbance free. The heel on the Akyra fits snug and secure without any slip or wobble, but is a little tall for a trail runner.
The upper on the Akyra has a lot going on. This is my only major concern on the Akyra, as the upper is built like a lightweight hiking shoe. The durability and protection provided by this upper will be second to none, but I look forward to seeing how it breathes and drains.
The top layer of the Akyra upper is a MicroLite Skeleton overlay with a stretch AirMesh layer underneath. On top of that is a TrailCage midfoot wrap to hold the midfoot and provide lateral stability. Surprising, the Akyra upper feels like, flexible, and pretty breathable after my first few wears. I’m looking forward to trying these out in the hotter summer months.
The Akyra upper has a gusseted tongue with laces that place no pressure on the top of the foot. The tongue is a little thick, but provides a great deal of comfort.
The midsole of the Akyra is injected EVA with what La Sportiva is calling and origami design. The Akyra is listed at 25mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot for a 9mm drop. For reference, the Akasha has 26mm in the heel and 20mm in the forefoot for a 6mm drop. I prefer the 6mm drop of the Akasha, but the 9mm doesn’t feel too steep with the Akyra. After an initial few wears, I’m a huge fan of the Akyra midsole, as it feels a little more plush and forgiving when compared to the higher stack height midsole of the Akasha. The Akyra midsole is much closer to the Ultra Raptor. There is no rockplate on the Akyra, which is something I was hoping to see. Time will tell if this is an issue on rockier trails.
As I mentioned in the intro, the Akya feels like it was built to be a hiking shoe. What gives the Akyra this feeling is the extended TPU counter that runs from the heel into the forefoot. This TPU counter gives the Akyra a great deal of lateral stability and overall support.
The outsole on the Akyra uses La Sportiva’s tried and true FriXion Red compound with a brand new lug pattern. FriXion Red is a dual compound outsole that uses sticky rubber where you need it and a higher abrasion rubber in areas that see more abuse. The Akasha also uses FriXion Red. These FriXion outsoles are what bring me back to La Sportiva shoes time and time again. The combination of grip, traction and durability is second to none.
The new outsole pattern on the Akyra is very innovative. The high wear areas on the heel and toe use hexagon shaped lugs, and the rest of the shoe uses phallic chevrons. The lugs offer a ton of surface area which provides great traction much like the Akasha. The lugs are also widely spaced and very deep to help provide grip on a multitude of surfaces, while also being able to shed mud and clay.
The Akyra is an exciting new addition to the La Sportiva trail lineup. Slotting in between the Akasha and Ultra Raptor, the Akyra provides a functional blend of cushioning and stability. So far, I’m really liking the midsole and outsole of the Akyra. The upper has so far proven to be more breathable than I initially thought it would be. With triple digit temperatures surely to come in the months ahead, I will get a chance to test my initially assumptions in due time. Until then, I’ll continue to log miles on these bomb-proof trail shoes.