The Lycan 2.0 is a classic no-frills La Sportiva mountain running shoe. With an aggressive outsole, firm midsole, and bombproof upper, this shoe is made for the toughest of trails.
I reviewed the original Lycan two years ago, and my general consensus was that it was a great shoe let down by a weak outsole. For the Lycan 2.0, La Sportiva has added the outsole from my beloved LS Mutants for a much more functional and performance oriented tread. The upper and midsole remain virtually untouched, making for a mountain ready shoe from top to bottom. I’ve been testing the Lycan 2.0s on mountain trails and ridge routes over the past few months, and will share my thoughts in this review.
Sizing and Weight
I normally wear a size 11.5 US shoe, but wear a full size up to 12.5 for La Sportiva. This puts me in between their 46 and 46.5. I find the 46.5 to be the perfect fit for the Lycan 2.0, as the 46 was too short. For reference, I wear a 46.5 for the Jackal, Bushido II and for the original Lycan 1.0.
My size 46.5 Lycan 2.0 weighs in at 12.57oz (356.4g), which is almost the exact same weight as the Jackal. This is pretty light when you consider the amount of cushion underfoot, the burly upper, and the aggressive full-coverage outsole.
Fit and Build
The upper on the La Sportiva Jackal is built for rugged terrain with a stitched synthetic overlay that starts at the heel and wraps all the way onto the TPU toe cap. The rest of the toebox, tongue, and heel use an open mesh. This burly upper has proven very durable and provides great protection from sharp rocks. The downside is that the shoe does not drain water and can take some time to dry. The Lycan 2.0 can also run a little hot in temps over 85° F, but as a mountain shoe this has not been much of an issue.
The overlay midfoot wrap of the Lycan 2.0 hugs my instep and provides amazing lateral support. The wrap keeps my foot secure and in place on off-camber trails and steep ridge routes. The midfoot instep is a tad narrow like most La Sportiva shoes, but fits my foot well.
The heel on the Lycan 2.0 has a fairly rigid heel counter and fits a little wider than most La Sportiva shoes. The heel still fits very snugly, without any slip at toe-off or lateral wiggle. The heel is also very comfortable and well cushioned, which is a lot more than I was able to say about the Jackal.
The tongue on Lycan 2.0 is thick and very well padded, it also has adequate length unlike the Kaptiva and Jackal. The tongue is not gusseted, which allows small rocks and sand to find their way into the shoe at times.
The lacing on the Lycan 2.0 uses fabric eyelets that really lock-in a secure fit. There is a double grommet at the top of the Lycan 2.0 for my preferred heel-lock lace technique. This is a nice improvement on the Lycan 1.0 which only had one grommet at the top.
The toebox on the Lycan 2.0 looks a little pointy, but actually has anatomical fit when worn. The Lycan 2.0 feels very similar to the Bushido II, but with a little more volume. The Lycan 2.0 fits very comfortably on long days without any sloppiness on techinical trails. The TPU toe guard up front is solid, and will protect against just about anything I slam into.
The midsole of the Lycan 2.0 is made with firm injection molded EVA and provides a stable and responsive ride. Built on a 6mm drop platform, this shoe has 28mm of foam in the heel and 22mm of foam in the forefoot. The Lycan is not a flexible shoe, but does provide a nice flex at toe-off. The thick and firm midsole has moderate torsional rigidity, which makes the Lycan 2.0 a great option for technical trails and days with a pack.
The Lycan 2.0 isn’t as firm as the Kaptiva, but isn’t as soft as the Bushido II. The ride is perfect for my use, which is mixed running and hiking on mountain trails. I could see the Lycan 2.0 as a nice fire road runner if you like a stable ride, but might feel a bit harsh if you prefer the cushion of an Altra of Hoka.
There is no rockplate on the Lycan 2.0, but the firm midsole and tall outsole lugs provide protection agaist all but the sharpest of rocks.
The outsole of the Lycan 2.0 is the star of the show for me and is the main reason I find this shoe to be so much more useful than the original Lycan. In an industry that is always obsessed with the new, I love that La Sportiva decided to go with something proven. Back in 2016, I reviewed the La Sportiva Mutant, which went on to become one of my favorite trail shoes of all time. A huge part of my love for the Mutant was the super aggressive outsole. La Sportiva has added the Mutant’s outsole to the Lycan 2.0, but has switched up the compound from FriXion Green to the less sticky, but more durable FriXion Blue. As much as I loved the sticky and aggressive outsole of the Mutant, the rubber wore down a little too quickly. The FriXion blue on the Lycan 2.0 grips into just about any surface and provides great traction on all but the smoothest and slickest of surfaces.
I’ve been wearing the Lycan 2.0 on steep and sandy ridge routes, shoulder season snow, and rocky off-camber trails. I’ve been very happy with the performance of this outsole, and have only felt slippage on smooth granite and wet rock. For everything else, this shoe bites in and doesn’t let go.
The Lycan 2.0 is a firm, but runnable trail shoe with an aggressive outsole and a burly upper. This shoe is also a pretty good deal at $120. If you’re looking for a tough shoe that provides a stable ride and will keep you on your feet, the Lycan 2.0 is worth a very close look.