My journey with La Sportiva started some years back. With nearly a dozen La Sportiva shoes in my roster, the brand feels like a reliable, old hiking companion treading alongside.
Now, the Bushido II has been my go-to trail running shoes over a rigorous three-month testing period. They’ve graced the rocky trails of the Tour du Mont Blanc and the rugged terrain of the GR20 in Corsica.
The improved cushioning offers relief on rough terrains, the aggressive outsole grips keenly against slippery rocks, and the padded tongue ensures that pressure points stay protected.
Bushido II isn’t without its flaws – the narrow fit might not cater to every foot shape, and yet its superior qualities prevail.
It’s an evolved version of the good old Sportiva Bushido, with superior traction as the game-changer.
Intrigued? Then, let’s delve deeper into my journey with the Bushido II and reveal why this trail runner by La Sportiva is indeed a worthy investment.
- FriXion® XT V-Groove2™ outsoles
- Slip-on design
- Gusseted construction
Things We Tested When We Reviewed La Sportiva Bushido II
In my testing, the La Sportiva Bushido II proved itself as a rugged shoe. Not even sharp rocks on the trail could daunt it.
Its durability is apparent through its breathable mesh uppers, which handle stretches of rocky terrain effortlessly while offering significant foot protection.
The toe cap and the rock guard around the shoe add an extra level of protection.
However, this shoe is not immune to wear and tear, as I started to notice some signs of wear on the mesh uppers after running on particularly severe off-trail routes numerous times.
When I first tried out the La Sportiva Bushido II for my trail running adventures, I was immediately impressed by the superb traction provided by the shoe’s Impact Brake System.
This unique lug pattern on the shoe’s outsole bites into rough terrain, providing excellent traction even when navigating wet rocks or steep, rugged terrain.
The durable rubber compound held up wonderfully against sharp rocks too, meaning that the shoe can handle technical terrain as well as flat trails.
There may be slight slipping in extremely wet conditions, but nothing that cannot be handled with a bit of care.
Bushido II provides excellent comfort through a combination of a wide toe box, snug heel collar and cup, and better cushioning.
The heel cup securely locks your foot in place, preventing any slip-on construction. Also, the wide toe box, a common feature in many La Sportiva shoes, offers ample room for your toes to splay naturally.
Despite these positives, I found them to offer inferior arch support compared to other shoes I’ve tested, like La Sportiva Akasha II, but this issue becomes noticeable only if you have high arches.
In terms of breathability, this trail running shoe notably stands out.
Incorporated into its design is an air mesh upper, which allows the foot an excellent degree of ventilation by expelling warm air efficiently during a trail run.
Unfortunately, I did notice a slightly elevated level of heat build-up during tests on particularly hot days.
But in average hiking conditions, these trail runners performed just as expected, with no blisters or hot spots emerging as a result of sweaty feet.
The weight of the Bushido II trail runners offers a happy medium, making it an excellent choice for choosing the best trail running shoes.
Weighing in at precise 316 grams for a men’s model, it achieves a good balance between lightweight design and robust protection.
Specifically, its substantial underfoot and toe protection is excellent without exerting pressure over time.
However, when compared to La Sportiva Wildcats and Ultra Raptors, this same shoe felt slightly heavier, which could be improved upon.
The Bushido II trail runner is not a waterproof shoe, yet its design incorporates features that offer some resistance to moisture.
Particularly, the mesh upper and overlays contribute to a quick drying time, which was appreciated during my trail runs across wet rocks and damp mountain trails.
The shoe stood up to the task well, with moisture being repelled at a decent rate. However, if you prioritize waterproofing, I recommend a pair of dedicated waterproof trail shoes.
Fit and Sizing
The Sportiva Bushido II possesses an enhanced fitting system compared to most trail running shoes. Its lacing system wraps the foot perfectly, providing a snug fit without being tight, even during long trail runs.
As a person with low-volume feet, it’s noticeable how the shoe conforms well to the contour of my feet. The toe box is spacious enough and prudently designed to leave some vertical space for the toes without compromising the precise fit.
It was a sigh of relief for my feet, as it offered sufficient room without causing any sliding inside the shoe.
Yet, it might be a good idea to go a half size bigger, especially if you have wider feet or like a more generous toe box.
In terms of support, the La Sportiva Bushido II excels remarkably.
My feet felt incredibly secure on the trail, thanks to the shoe’s STB Control construction.
This underfoot feature, a standard in La Sportiva’s arsenal, works by providing a sturdy platform that doesn’t compromise the shoe’s flexibility or sensory feedback from the terrain.
Moreover, the TPU toe cap gives an added layer of protection, which made me feel more confident when rock hopping.
Yet, on longer runs where a shoe with more cushioning would perform better, I felt the Bushido II lacked a slight bit. I noticed this, especially in areas that are prone to exerting pressure points, like the heel.
How Does it Compare with Other Products?
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II
Compared to the Ultra Raptor II, the Bushido II trail runner is noticeably more lightweight.
This difference makes Bushido II a good shoe for long distances or long runs, whilst providing extra stability on uneven terrain.
However, the slightly more expensive Ultra Raptor II ($165) has an upper advantage when it comes to cushioning. It’s equipped with a high-frequency, reinforced lacing harness, offering enhanced padding and a better fit.
On the other hand, the Bushido II focuses more on foot shielding, with its rock plate and TPU STB technology for torsion resistance.
Learn more about this product by checking our La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II review.
Altra Lone Peak 7
Retailing at $150, the Peak 7 is renowned as a great shoe for variable terrain, offering reliable traction just like our Bushido II’s, but they use different technology.
The Grip sole on the Peak 7 stands in competition with the Frixion XT V Groove sole of the Sportiva Bushido II, both providing a secure grip on slippery rocks or muddy trails.
An interesting distinction, however, lies in the shape of the trail running shoes: whilst the Lone Peak 7 has a foot-shaped toe box providing little room for your toes to relax and spread out, the Bushido II is designed to hug your foot like a second skin.
For more information, see the Altra Lone Peak 7 review.
Altra Olympus 5
Lastly, juxtaposing the $190 Altra Olympus 5 and the $155 Bushido II trail runners reveals subtle differences.
Notably, the Olympus 5 proposes a significant amount of midsole cushioning and the Vibram® MegaGrip™ outsole.
These attributes offer a plush and stable ride on variable terrains, from wet rock surfaces to muddy trails.
For those who prefer a heavily cushioned shoe, Olympus 5 reigns supreme. Bushido II, though offering decent performance, might not be as comfortable when traversing challenging terrains like Olympus 5.
Discover additional details about this product by visiting the Altra Olympus 5 review.
Where La Sportiva Bushido 2 Performs Better?
The Bushido II shines when the trail gets rough. This hiking shoe grips firm trails, navigating roots, rocks, and uneven surfaces with confident ease. The Frixion XT V-Groove soles were like magnets to scree fields and other rocky terrains, providing superior traction.
Plus, despite their robust build, they’re pretty good at backpacking and crossing dirt-laden paths. Outside edge traction is a significant feature, making it one of the best shoes for challenging turns where the loss of footing can lead to a fall.
The original Bushido was excellent, yet the Bushido II has the same size but offers an extra layer of protection and cushion, especially on the midfoot where it matters.
Where La Sportiva Bushido 2 Falls Short in Performance?
While the La Sportiva Bushido II trail shoes earn accolades on many fronts, they do not meet expectations in all aspects.
Firstly, they lose points on cushioning. Despite being touted as stable shoes that offer enhanced cushioning, I found the padding on the insole to be a bit stiff. This makes long miles on rugged ground a trifle uncomfortable.
Also, its approach to size run isn’t fully inclusive. It lacks smaller increments and, with only five European half-sizes available, individuals with wide or narrow feet sizes might need to look elsewhere.
Lastly, while these are great shoes in terms of their robust design, their Frixion XT V Groove laces don’t offer enough stickiness on these terrains compared to competitors like the Saucony Peregrines. This, indeed, could dampen confidence on the trail.
Do We Recommend It?
Its breathability, fine balance of weight, and quick-drying material won over my initial skepticism.
The La Sportiva Bushido II became my go-to stable shoe after first testing it on a long day hike in the mountains. It’s no approach shoe, but for the same price, you get much more cushioning without sacrificing protectiveness.
While not suited for conditions involving heavy snow or mud due to its more open tread design, its Frixion XT V-Groove provides sticky traction on gravel paths. Worn with the right sock, this shoe keeps you comfortable over the distance.
Other notable strengths also include its responsiveness, which felt like wearing a glove, and soft yet rigid lugs, which add an extra layer of underfoot protection.
Overall, I found the shoe adaptative and protective enough for my ventures into the backcountry without worrying about abrasion or slipping.
The Bushido 2 is known for its robust protection, breathability, balance, and capability to handle diverse terrains, but it might feel a bit heavier when compared to some Salomon models. Salomon shoes, on the other hand, are often praised for their lightness, comfort, and range of options for different types of runners.
The La Sportiva Bushido II offers a stack height of 19mm in the heel and 13mm in the forefoot. This differential gives it a suitable balance for tackling uneven terrain, offering stability and efficient shock absorption on trail runs.