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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
- FriXion Red outsole sticks to everything
- Plush and protective midsole works well for long and short days
- Stable chassis works well with heavy loads
- Lacing system on the upper does not allow for customization
- Last of the Akyra is narrow and long in the forefoot