LaSportiva Akasha

I’ve used Brookes Ghost, New Balance Leadville 1210 and even Nike Lunars (when I first started) to run various ultras in the last 5 years but for 2015 and 2016 I made the switch to Hokas.

Specially Hoka Rapa Nui Tr2 and I owned 2 pairs putting circa 1500 culmulative miles into them.

But I wanted a change as I was noticing blisters starting to form on my little toes, caused by them being squashed in.  Even switching to Injinji socks did not prevent it.

And that’s where LaSportiva came in.  Most of the running I do is classed as ‘technical’ trail I.e rocks and roots.

I had the opportunity to try a pair of Raptors out at a training weekend that was extremely wet.  I loved the safe feeling they gave me over rocks and that they drained easily.  The amount of room at the toe box was good too. The only thing missing was the plushness I had become accustomed to with my hokas.

So with this in mind, I bought a pair of Akashas.

Presented as a neutral highly cushioned mountain running shoe with lots of protection and a roomy fit, I’ve got to say that my experience validates this.

I’ve used them on many smaller training runs but also a 26miler on hard trail and a 42 miler on rocky trail with multiple ascents and descents.

Things I love about these shoes:

  • The fit is roomy and never feels tight or restrictive.
  • The tongue is well cushioned and protects the top of the foot.
  • Plenty of protection underfoot and the toe/heel areas.  How the sole dissipates the force of sharp rocks I do not know but it does.
  • They drain quickly.  I ran through several streams and within seconds all squelchiness had gone.
  • Grip is fab, whether it’s wet rock, loose rubble or hard smooth trails.  For both ascent and descents.

Things I’m less enthused about:

  • The colours available……
  • The laces need tightening after a while.   Not sure if it’s the padded tongue or the stretch in the lace but after a few miles if you don’t tighten them then they may feel sloppy.
  • The heel cup is solid and I’ve noticed my heels are more sore after running in them than in Hoka.  Some photos suggest this could be that I’m heel striking so whether this is my form or altered style due to stiffness of heel cup remains to be seen.

LaSportiva put the Akashas in the ‘varied terrain’ and ‘protection/cushioned’ segment of their range and it feels right having used them enough now to form a view.

The build and materials are good too. No signs of damage on the soles or uppers after s couple of hundred miles of rocky terrain.

So all in all, I rate these shoes quite highly and look forward to using them more in the hills.

Looks: 3/5

Cost: 4/5

Protection: 5/5

Comfort: 5/5

Grip: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

My shoes, my feet on the West Highland Way

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