Running Technical Trails With Abandon – La Sportiva Kaptiva Review

Hey y’all,

Philip here. I’ve recently come to own a pair of La Sportiva Kaptivas, and I’ve been running all sorts of trails in them. They’ve been one of my primary trail shoes this summer, especially on super technical trails like Deception, some stretches of Purgatory Creek in San Marcos, and Thumper. Here’s some of my thoughts, but spoiler: I’ve become really impressed with it. I’ve grown to love it as a valued part of my trail shoe rotation. Read on to learn more about it!


(A picture of my personal pair).


The La Sportiva Kaptiva is the lightweight, trainer/racer shoe of the La Sportiva line. It’s specifically designed for quicker turnover, good protection, and supreme traction on any surface. Overall I find it great for distances of sub 20 miles, and love it on the ganrliest stuff, while it may be a bit overkill for easy pathways/roads.

Things I like about the shoe:


1. It’s Quite Lightweight for the Feature Set:

When we’re talking about shoes that are made for ridiculously crazy terrain “lightweight” is a realtive term. Yet even with a rockplate, close to full outsole rubber coverage, a protective toe bumper, and an upper construction made to last until the next ice age, it’s still one of the lightest shoes in my trail rotation. I feel nimble and quick in this shoe, which is surprising considering that I’m neither nimble OR quick, and this shoe manages to walk that tightrope of being protective without being clunky.


(This Kaptiva is ready for liftoff).


2. The Traction is Superb:

La Sportiva’s rubber compounds that they put on the bottom of their trail shoes is nothing short of unbelievable. I actually feel that this rubber is stickier than Vibram Megagrip, for those of y’all that are shoe geeks and know what I’m talking about. The La Sportiva Kaptiva has an incredibly well designed outsole that sticks to all surfaces, (including wet rock) while shedding mud decently and gripping in loose terrain. You don’t have to worry about losing your footing in this shoe, and it may be this shoe’s best feature.


(The outsole is also holding up quite well considering the ridiculously rocky terrain I’ve been putting it through).

3. It’s Protective:

It has a forefoot AND a heel rockplate. I’m able to bomb down hills in this shoe, and aside from a couple of toe stubs where my toe hit the front of the shoe (while it still kept my toes protected from the rocks), I feel like I could almost close my eyes while running downhill in this shoe. This shoe is ideal for folks like me that may not like gingerly hopping from rock to rock all the way down the hill at St. Ed’s Park.


A Few Small Complaints:


1. The lack of “lace lock” Holes:

For those of y’all that know what a lace lock is, this shoe doesn’t have the two holes near to the foot that are necessary for a heel lock. Now what I’ve done is just lace the lace back through the top hole to create a modified lace lock, but this should be a simple fix and I don’t know why La Sportiva allowed an oversight like that on this shoe. Not a big deal, but a bit annoying.

2. A Bit Stiff, It Needs Breaking In:

Because this shoe is super durable and protective, it makes it a bit stiff and uncomfortable for the first few runs. Bear with it, run a little while in it and as the shoe starts to flex more, it’ll adapt to your foot and you’ll get happy miles out of it.

3. Heel Hold:

Partly because of the lack of lace lock holes, I feel like the heel hold on the back of the shoe is a little loose for my SUPER narrow heel. Try it on for yourself, because some folks have told me that it holds their heel perfectly, but it’s a little loose for me.



The La Sportiva Kaptiva is one of my favorite trail shoes of the summer, and is my shoe of choice when going into super technical terrain that requires a protective, yet precise shoe. Check it out in our store or at the links below:


Click Here for the Men’s Kaptiva

Click here for the Women’s Kaptiva


Thanks for reading!


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