Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Footwear Reviews

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra

The Akyra is the newest trail running shoe from La Sportiva. With a burly upper, plush 9mm drop midsole, and an aggressive and grippy outsole, there is a lot to love about the Akyra. I wrote a preview post for the Akyra after a few outings with the shoe. Now that I've logged a few more outings, I'll be adding additional thoughts in this full review.

The Akyra is the newest trail running shoe from La Sportiva. With a burly upper, plush 9mm drop midsole, and an aggressive and grippy outsole, there is a lot to love about the Akyra. I wrote a preview post for the Akyra after a few outings with the shoe. Now that I’ve logged a few more outings, I’ll be adding additional thoughts in this full review.

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Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running


Fit and Feel:

The Akyra blends a few elements from the Akasha and Ultra Raptor, but stands on it’s own as a unique performer in the La Sportiva trail shoe lineup. I know the Akyra 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. At 16.4oz for a size 13, the Akyra packs the heft of a hiking shoe as well.

I received 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 a tad bit long when compared to the size 47 in the La Sportiva Mutant and Akasha. I tried on a size 46.5, but my toes were too cramped in the forefoot area.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Akyra Toebox

I’m going to cover the many things that I love about the Akyra in the rest of this review, but wanted to start out with my main complaint. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get the shoe to feel “dialed-in” with the fit. The main culprit is that the upper lacing system only has five eyelets, and no dual eyelet at the top for a ‘lace-locking’ technique. If I laced the Akyras loose enough to make my forefoot comfortable, my heel would slip while hiking uphill. If I laced the Akyra tightly to lock down my heel, my forefoot felt squeezed and unable to splay. No matter how hard I tried, the lacing tension always found a way to even out and be uniform from top to bottom. Things were either too loose or too tight. This is really a shame, as the rest of the Akyra upper was stellar. The only fix for this is to swap out the stock laces for bubble laces or something similar.

If you have a narrow foot, this probably won’t be an issue for you. I have a narrow heel and wide forefoot, so being able to lace a shoe around the shape of my foot is critical. I was able to complete a 13 mile hike with around 6000ft of elevation gain in the Akyra without any foot problems, but the level of comfort throughout the upper just never felt right to me. Again, with a narrow foot, your miles may vary. On a positive note, the heel of the Akyra didn’t cause any hot spots or skin issues when the laces were left loose.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Akyra Lacing

The heel of the Akyra is precise and holds my foot well when the laces are tight. The height of the heel cup is pretty high, but the cutouts are deep, which fits my foot nicely. The Akyra is pretty wide through the midfoot, allowing my foot plenty of space. The toebox is pretty narrow though, and the only part of this upper that doesn’t fit my foot well. I’d love to see the next version of the Akyra come out with a wider toebox, and a completely revamped lacing system.

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.

La Sportiva Akyra Gear Review Preview Photos
La Sportiva Lineup

Upper:

The upper on the Akyra has a lot going on. This was my only major concern on the Akyra after my first few wears, as the upper is built like a lightweight hiking shoe. I’m happy to say that even in 90 degree heat, the Akyra’s breathe quite well. They also dried rather quickly after trudging through snowmelt and slush.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Uppers In Slush

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. Despite the heft up the upper, it feels quite flexible and breathable on the foot. The durability has proven to be top notch in the short time that I’ve been testing the Akyra. I’ve dragged them through talus, scree, snow, and mud, with hardly any signs of wear to be seen. The Akyra has a gusseted tongue that does a great job of keeping out dirt and debris. The toe guard works very well on the Akyra, protecting my toes from direct hits.

La Sportiva Akyra Gear Review Preview Photos
Upper Construction
Other than the fit issues caused by the upper design, the Akyra fits my foot very well from the heel to the midfoot (provided I have the correct lacing).
Akyra Upper

Despite the fit issues I mentioned above, the security and stability of the Akyra upper is quite nice. I’ve attacked some pretty loose and steep routes without any stability issues or unwanted foot movement. Before hitting stretches of trail like this, I would tighten the laces, and then loosen them for the buffed out stretches of my hike.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Heading Up

Midsole:

The midsole of the Akyra is injected EVA with what La Sportiva is calling an ‘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. The Akyra midsole feels pretty similar to the midsole of the Ultra Raptor, with a little more width for stability.

There is no rockplate in the Akyra midsole, which is something that had initially concerned me. I’ve stomped all over talus and scree fields with reckless abandon and my feet never felt a thing. These midsoles offer some serious protection and stability, without much ground feel. I really like the density of the EVA on the Akyra and would love to see the Akasha move to the same compound. The Akyra has an “all-day” midsole that is perfect for long hikes on the trail.

As I mentioned in the intro, the Akrya 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. I do a lot of hikes with my son in his Osprey Poco carrier. The total pack weight is usually around 40lbs. The Akyra handles a heavy pack flawlessly, with all of the stability and support of a shoe like the Salomon XA Pro 3D.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Midsole

Outsole:

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.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Akyra Outsole
La Sportiva Akyra Gear Review Preview Photos
FriXion Red

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. 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 snow.

I’ve used the Akyra on a wide variety of trial surfaces and have yet to find one that the Akyra outsole doesn’t perform well on. Even in ice and snow, the Akyra kept me firmly planted to the trail. When the ice gets compact, the Akyra handled very well with my Kahtoola microspikes.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Outsole in Snow

Closing Thoughts:

The Akyra is worthy addition to the La Sportiva trail lineup, slotting in between the Akasha and Ultra Raptor. With a blend of cushioning and stability, there’s a lot to like in the performance of the Akyra. The major drawback to the Akyra is the lacing system on the upper, which didn’t allow me to get the fit I desired. This is one of those shoes that can be an A+ performer, provided it fits your foot. I hope that La Sportiva widens the toebox and adds a few more lace eyelets on the next version of this shoe.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on REI

Akyra Likes:

  • FriXion Red outsole sticks to everything
  • Plush and protective midsole works well for long and short days
  • Stable chassis works well with heavy loads

Akyra Dislikes:

  • Lacing system on the upper does not allow for customization
  • Last of the Akyra is narrow and long in the forefoot
Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Hiking Running
Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra

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.

15 comments on “Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra

  1. Thanks for the review! Every since I got my leg crushed I’ve had a horrible time with shoes fitting and not causing more pain due to design. My orthopedist recommended Oboz Firebrands. They have been my go to shoe for the last 3 years.
    Just 2 weeks ago I seen the AKYRA’s, thought these look comfortable. Man was I right!! These feel as if they were made special for me. I literally feel as if I’m walking on a sponge mat no matter what terrain I’m on. Like the Oboz the lateral support is like a book in a running/ hiking shoe format. Since I’ve started wearing the AKYRA I’ve not wanted to walk barefoot even around the house! Lol my wife is a nurse and seeing how these shoes have helped me, we just bought her a pair to work in. She LOVES them!

    • I’m glad to hear the Akyra is working out for you. I’m sure it’s tough to find the right footwear after having your leg crushed.

  2. Pingback: Gear Review: La Sportiva Wildcat - Trail to Peak

  3. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and your gear reviews. I’m looking for a shoe for day-hikes (not runs), carrying anywhere between 5 and 20 pounds in a backpack, on trails that are very, very rocky, uneven, and with lots of tree roots. I’m partial to low-cut light-weight shoes rather than boots. I’ve recently been using Topo Athletic Terraventure trail runners for these hikes, but they’re definitely too wide for my narrow feet, and my feet get really sore from all the rocks and uneven ground underfoot, and also from banging the front and sides of my feet into rocks and roots. So, I’m looking for a shoe that is narrower and has better protection from rocks underfoot and also better toe protection and protection along the sides of the shoe. I’m considering the La Sportiva Wildcat, La Sportiva Ultra Raptor, La Sportiva Akyra, and the La Sportiva TX3 (since I read online that some people like to use approach shoes for rocky terrain rather than trail runners). I believe you’ve tried out the first three of the shoes I mentioned. Have you also tried out the TX3? If each of the shoes I mentioned fit your foot equally well, which shoe would you choose for the use I described, and why? Would you rank for me the four shoes I mentioned from greatest to least protection from rocks underfoot? Also, do you have experience with the La Sportiva TKR GTX boot? If so, what did you think of it? I have a strong preference for low-cut shoes, but I may take a look at that boot as well. Thanks again Drew!
    Paul

    • The closest LS shoe to what you’re looking for is the Bushido. I’ve been wearing the Bushido a lot this summer and love it. The Wildcat is a great shoe, but without a stone guard in the forefoot, you might feel the pounding on rocky trails. The Ultra Raptor and Akyra are similar, but I prefer the Akyra. It has a better fit in the toebox and can handle long days on any terrain. I just started testing the TX3, and so far I’m a fan. It’s too soon to give solid feedback though. I don’t have any experience with boots.

      If all the shoes fit equally well, the Bushido would be my choice for stability and protection with a firm midsole. The Akyra has a higher heel drop and more midsole cushion, but also handles rocky trails very well. The Ultra Raptor is a little too narrow in the toebox for me and the outsole gets shredded by rocky trails. If the Topo Terraventure was too wide for you, you might not have much luck with the TX3.

  4. Thanks for your quick and detailed response, Drew. Right now I’ve got a pair of the Bushidos, Ultra Raptors, Wildcats, and Akyras at home to try out around the house. I feel the ground more through the Bushidos, it seems, than through the other three LS models mentioned. Is that because it has less midsole cushioning than the others? Can a shoe be ground-sensitive like the Bushido seems to be and yet very protective over rocks of varying shapes and sizes and degrees of sharpness, so that you’re feet won’t be so hurt by them? Is there a way to tell at home how protective a shoe will be underfoot (without taking the shoes out on the trail)?
    Like you, I’m struggling to get the right fit with the laces on the Akyra. I can’t seem to get my heel secure without making the laces feel uncomfortably tight on the top of my arches.
    I really like the fit of the Ultra Raptors, but it seems like the back of my heel rubs against that plastic overlay that covers the inside of the heel. It causes a squeaky noise when I walk and makes me wonder if that’s going to be a place where I might get a blister. It feels like my heel is really secure in the Ultra Raptor, but it seems there’s some rubbing against that overlay. Have you had any trouble in that spot with your Ultra Raptors?
    Thus far, my favorites are the Ultra Raptors and the Bushidos. I wish I could take them both out to the trail to test them out. But since I can’t do that and still get a refund on the shoes, I’m finding your experience incredibly helpful. So thank you, Drew!
    I look forward to your review of the TX3s.

    • The Bushidos are very firm and responsive, but offer a lot of underfoot protection. The ride is harsh on asphalt and fire roads, but right at home on more technical stuff. The protection is provided by the stiff midsole and forefoot rockplate. The protection in the Ultra Raptor is provided by thicker cushion and a compressed eva insert in the forefoot. It’s a preference thing really. My favorite LS mountain runner is the Akasha for this reason. They offer the perfect combination of cushion, protection, and comfort. My second favorite is the Mutant. They’re great for grip and traction on loose trails, but have virtually no protection underfoot. As you can tell, I’m a big La Sportiva fan! They’re all like specialized tools that I use for different jobs.

      • Hi Drew! Thanks for mentioning the Akasha. I want to try that shoe out too. Are there any other trail running shoes you’d recommend I try out given my narrow feet, and my intended use (day-hikes of 4-8 miles carrying between 5 and 20 pounds in a backpack over particularly uneven, rocky trails)?

      • For day hikes of 4-8 miles, a lot of shoes will work. I find my feet don’t really start to swell and wear down until I hit around 12-15 miles. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a shoe. There are so many options these days, that recommendations are tough. Some like max cushion, other like it minimal. The same for fit, lug depth, materials, etc.

      • Have you tried out the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2? I was told by Hoka that that is their most rugged trail running shoe? I found it particularly comfortable and they really fit my foot shape and size, but I can imagine the rocky trails I hike on shredding them particularly fast, and I don’t know how stable they’ll feel over uneven, rocky terrain. Any thoughts?

      • I tried the Speedgoat 2. The shoe was way too narrow in the toebox. So much so, that I sent them back and didn’t bother with a review. If you have a narrow and low volume foot, the fit might work. I’m also not a fan of soft midsoles with high stack heights. Too much movement on my ankles. Your miles may vary.

  5. Hi Drew,
    I really loved fit and feel of the Ultra Raptor and the Akasha, so I took them both out to a trail to hike. As I hiked up a steep incline, I noticed a lot of pain in my heel because of the contact it made with the heel of the shoe. It wasn’t that my heel was slipping in and out, causing friction. My heel felt very locked into the shoe. And it wasn’t caused by the shoe’s being too short in length since the fit seemed perfect. It was just that the heel of my foot felt like it was being pressed up against the hardness of the heel of the shoe. This has happened to me before with a pair of hiking shoes. I was thinking perhaps the heel pain I experienced was caused by the hardness and rigidity of a shoe’s heel, but I went to REI and tried some trail runners and hiking shoes that had much more flexible and soft heels. I used REI’s in-store climbing rock and walked up it several times to get the feeling of what it’d be like to wear these shoes while hiking up a steep incline. Even with more flexible and softer heeled shoes, I was noticing some of that same heel pain when going up a steep incline. The only shoe that I didn’t experience this pain with was the Salomon XA Pro 3D, whose heel seems even harder and more rigid than the two La Sportiva shoes I tried out. And it didn’t seem to have more padding in the back of the heel than these two shoes. So now I’m thinking the heel discomfort isn’t caused by a shoe’s hardness or rigidity in the heel, or a lack of heel padding, but perhaps by the lack of fit between the shape of my heel and the heel shape of the shoe. Have you experienced any kind of heel pain similar to what I’ve described in shoes while hiking up steep inclines? Do you know what causes it? Thanks for taking the time to help me out.

    • It could be a few things, and/or a combination of factors. First, most trail shoes have a heel counter. That’s the term for the rigid material that gives the heel it’s structure on a shoe’s upper. The heel counter keeps your foot from sliding around, but can also cause discomfort if the fit isn’t right. A lot depends on the shape of your heel.

      A shoes midsole flexibility can also impact the way your heel moves in a shoe. Stiff shoes tend to make my heels move around because the rest of my foot can’t move. Flexible midsoles tend to allow my heel to stay in place. Again, your miles may vary based on foot shape.

      I’ve never had any issues with my heel in shoes, so I can’t provide any personal anecdotes. I do find that socks make a big difference. I prefer thicker merino wool socks, even in warm weather.

  6. Hi Drew,
    Since I’m having such a hard time finding a shoe that works for me, I was thinking of buying several pairs of the shoe I finally decide to get, in case the shoe company discontinues or changes that particular model. If I did that, I’d be storing these pairs for a long time. Do trail runners have a shelf-life, so that they disintegrate (whether in the materials or the glues that hold the materials together) if stored too long? If so, do you know about how long their shelf-life is, and are there things you can do to prolong their life? Thanks!

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