La Sportiva has updated the much loved Bushido with a new upper and an additional 4mm of cushion in the midsole. The La Sportiva II still has the precise fit, stable ride, and grippy traction of its predecessor, but is now better suited for longer days on the trail. I’ve been wearing the Bushido II since its release a few months ago, and will share my thoughts in this review.
Size, Weight, and Fit
I’m wearing the Bushido II in a size 46.5 that comes in at 12.68oz (360g) per shoe. This size 46.5 is a half size down from the 47 I wore in the original Bushido. For reference on other La Sportiva shoes, I wear a 47 on the Akasha and Mutant, and a 46.5 in the Lycan and Kaptiva.
The Bushido II keeps the narrow and snug fit in the heel that the original had. The heel has a sturdy internal counter with an external wrap for added support. The secure heel lockdown makes the Bushido II my go-to shoe for any technical trails or days when I’m carrying a heavy load. Just like the original Bushido, this shoe keeps my heel locked down during all trail conditions without any slippage or wiggle.
The midfoot on the Bushido II is secure and stable just like the heel. The TPU overlay that starts at the arch of the outsole, wraps all the way up in one piece to the laces. This allows the upper of the Bushido II to hug my midfoot and prevent any unwanted side-to-side movement on steep and off-kilter terrain. The original Bushido had this same fit in the midfoot, but the materials used on the Bushido II are much more comfortable and seamless.
The toebox on the Bushido II has been widened a bit, but keeps the low volume fit of the original Bushido. The slightly wider last makes the Bushido a better trail running shoe and my top choice for longer hikes. The first Bushido could feel a little cramped up front when my feet would swell. Not so with the Bushido II.
The upper on the Bushido II is built using an air mesh that is very similar to the original Bushido. Where the Bushido II has really improved is with the overlays on top of this air mesh. La Sportiva is using a comfortable TPU wrap through the midfoot and a thinner overlay on the forefoot. The forefoot rand of the original is gone, but the burly toe cap remains.
The Bushido II also has a new tongue design with a stretch gusset and padding to keep the laces from making pressure points.
I was a huge fan of the upper on the original Bushido, but the Bushido II takes my love to a new level. These shoes breathe well, drain and dry quickly, and offer a lot of lightweight protection for tough trails. Best of all, the toe box has been widened and the overall fit just seems improved.
The La Sportiva Bushido II is built on a 6mm drop midsole with 28mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot. The 22mm in the forefoot is 4mm more than the original Bushido had. This extra cushioning is instantly noticeable and makes the Bushido II a much better shoe on hardpack trails.
The midsole of the Bushido II is made from a compression molded EVA for a stable and responsive ride. To those coming from softer shoes like Hoka or Altra, you’ll find the Bushido a little harsh at first. For those that want a stable and supportive shoe for rough trails, you’ll feel right at home.
The Bushido II has a 1.5mm compressed EVA rockplate in the forefoot, and TPU stabilizer wings that run from the arch to the heel. The midsole has a firm heel, flexibility at toe off, and is torsionally rigid through the arch.
The firm and stable midsole of the Bushido II is what makes this shoe my top choice when carrying a heavy pack (or child). With loads exceeding 35lbs, this shoe keeps me grounded and secure. The additional cushion in the forefoot also makes this shoe a great choice when I’m trail running on technical trails and need a locked down shoe to keep me on my feet.
The Bushido II keeps the same outsole pattern as the original. La Sportiva calls this pattern FriXion XT Groove 2. This outsole provides full coverage and has a sticky rubber on the inside with a more durable rubber around the edges.
The lug pattern and compound combination is perfect for rocky terrain and hardpack trails. The shallow lugs struggle for purchase on softer trails, but that is their only shortcoming. I’ve tested these on hardpack dirt, gravel, granite slabs, and talus fields, and they never seem to fail me.
The La Sportiva Bushido II is the perfect update to the original Bushido, with welcome revisions being made to the upper and midsole. The wider toebox and additional cushion in the midsole makes this a do-everything shoe for hikers and trail runners. At $130, the Bushido II is very competitively priced, and it’s durability makes it a high value pick.
The Kaptiva is a brand new trail shoe from La Sportiva. I’ve been wearing the Kaptiva for a few months and will have a review ready shortly. The Kaptiva has the same stable ride as the Bushido II, but is a much better trail runner.
If you like the stable ride of the Bushido II, but would like a little more cushion underfoot, the Akasha is a great option. This has been one of my favorite shoes over the past few years and is still worth a look in my opinion.