La Sportiva is our top-selling brand in the store and for good reason—they make some of the best-performing and most durable shoes on the market for trail running.
This outdoor gear maker has been referred to as a “hidden gem” in the market, so we’re shining a spotlight on why it’s one of our favorites.
A little history…
- Founded in 1928 by Narciso Delladio (in photo) in Ziano, Val di Fiemme, Italy
- Started by manufacturing boots & clogs for farmers & lumberjacks
- Provided WWII soldiers with mountaineering boots
- After the war, pioneered products for the nearby mountains
“Narciso wanted to be outstanding among the other shoe repairmen at the time. He changed shoes so people could enjoy the mountains—even though no one had time to enjoy the mountains then. He had a vision and could see change coming that no one else saw.” – Giulia Delladio
La Sportiva is still a family-run business with Narciso’s grandson, Lorenzo (above, center), at the helm. Lorenzo’s daughter, Giulia (right) is in line to be the next president and CEO after her father retires; she currently heads up the strategic marketing and product design functions.
The company employs 300 workers and supports more than 140 families via its manufacturing facilities. They produce over 220,000 shoes per year across all of its sports specialties.
- Overall brand focus: Highly technical, excellence in mountain sport
- Ethos: “Products that let you go where you dream to go, do what you dream to do and live how you want to live.”
- Products: Footwear; Apparel for skiing, hiking & running; Skis
- Family motto: Lavorare di piú! (Work harder!)
OK. You’re all caught up. Now onto why we are obsessed with this family and their company that has grown into a sought-after outdoor gear powerhouse. (North Face even tried to buy them once!)
Mountain Running is a registered word by La Sportiva and is part of our philosophy, but we got there thanks to North America. We have always shaved off grams of weight and made our mountain boots shorter. We understood that we were moving towards lightweight and our research and development department had this specific objective. – Lorenzo Delladio
La Sportiva entered the mountain running market as a result of demand from the North American market. They now offer 16 different models of running shoes and are favored by legions of runners tackling everything from the vertical kilometer to ultra-long mountain races. They’ve taken to heart a sport that drives many of us to seek adventure and ensured that the gear doesn’t fail on the way to meeting our goals. In recent years they’ve entered the sport of ski mountaineering (skimo) as the next evolution of their support for outdoor adventures.
While we don’t have a lot of call for the waterproof Gore-Tex winter trainers for icy conditions here in Texas, La Sportiva’s shoes are some of the best for taking on the shoe-grinding rocks of southwestern trails.
(That’s La Sportiva brand ambassador Kelly Halpin putting some miles in up at Jackson Hole. ⬇️)
On the shoe wall this
spring, in both men and women’s European sizing, we’re featuring:
- New: Helios III – We are excited to welcome back the Helio! A lightweight trail shoe, great for road, easy trails, bootcamps and gym work. (bottom left)
- Kaptiva – For speed work and shorter distance races, this is one of their lighter shoes in the line. We had this on the wall last year, so no updates other than a new color. Fits snug, it’s low profile and has a stone guard in the midsole from heel to toe. (not pictured)
- New: Lycan 2 – Rare from Sportiva, this is is a pretty significant update. The new Lycan will have a much better outsole with a lug, wider fit, more breathable and will work medium to longer distance races. We have a hunch it may be a great candidate for Obstacle Course Racing, but it will need to be tested. (bottom right)
- New: Jackal – Replacing our beloved Akasha, the Jackal will be a combination of the Unika midsole (think fun and bouncy) and the Akasha fit. Built for long distance running, Pam is pretty stoked to start logging some miles in these soon. (top left)
- Mutant – This work horse is built for high mileage days on rocky/uneven terrain. Described as “aggressive” and “burly”, we have yet to find something the Mutant can’t handle. A great, sticky rubber outsole for traction, wrap-around tongue that doesn’t slip, and lacing system that keeps it all tight. No updates here and for the guys, sorry no new colors. (not pictured)
- Bushido 2 – Overall, one of the top shoes in the store, this technology built into the Bushido makes this one of the best trail shoes, EVER. Perfect for rocky trail runs up to the marathon distance, hikes and even some light bouldering. The shoe fits snug. We saw this updated last year with a few small tweaks: 1mm more cushioning, a softer heel cup and a seamless, more breathable upper. (top right)
With a reputation for excellence and innovation, La Sportiva has grown from the dream of one person into a company that supports the dreams of many. They continue to drive the technical mountain running shoe and the performance of outdoor gear makers forward while maintaining their close-knight family and community ties, and we’re all for it.
For more info