La Sportiva is committed to trail running–so much so that they have built their program around “Mountain Running,” which they have also trademarked. Their involvement in trail racing is second-to-none as evidenced by the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. With a variety of trail running shoes suitable for casual trail running/hiking to dedicated race-day treads, La Sportiva has you covered. Up for review is the sleek Crosslite trail runners. Lets dig in.
About the La Sportiva Crosslite
The Crosslite provides amazing traction and cushioning with its well-spaced sticky rubber lugs that deform upon impact to reduce impact force. Awarded the Runner’s World Best Buy award for 2008, the Crosslite provides an excellent lightweight snug fit with its integral external scree guard that locks down the upper and the nimble flexible midsole provides excellent cushion and response for those tricky foot dabbing sequences on the trail. Great for medium to long distances and for runners that prefer a more deconstructed shoe with great traction.
More Crosslite features:
- Last: Racing Lite
- Construction: Slip Lasted Stobel
- Upper: AirMesh/ UreTech/ TPU overlay
- Lining: Mesh (back half and tongue only)
- Midsole: Dual-density MEMIex/ TrailShock with Nylon molded shank/ High-tensile composite Rock Guard
- Outsole: AT/ Impact Brake System™ V-Groove™
- Weight: Stated 12.35 oz (my 44’s weigh 11.9 oz each)
- MSRP: $90
La Sportiva Crosslite Review
Upon first inspection, the Crosslite looks unlike any shoe I’ve got in the closet. The low profile and extended scree guard really make for a streamlined look. Flipping them over, the treads really impress. Without making a single step onto the trails, I had no worries about the quality of traction the Crosslite’s would provide.
Lacing them up, these shoes feel like slippers. The uppers conform to every part of my feet and cradle them well with a single pull of the laces. The scree guard does block your ability to cinch the laces down any farther than the 2nd loop, but the metal o-rings and thin nylon laces pull very consistently from top-to-bottom. Should you need to replace the laces, re-lacing these could be a chore, but hopefully that doesn’t ever happen.
While the Crosslite’s have a low profile feel and look a lot like racing flats (but with monster treads), they definitely have more cushion and support than your typical race shoe. As a result, they are a little heavier than some race-specific trail running shoes, but you’d never notice that on the trail. They feel super light and offer a smooth and efficient stride. Let me re-state the obvious… the traction provided by the Crosslites is unparalleled. Without question, these offer the most tenacious traction of any trail shoe I’ve ever worn. They sound like track spikes on the trail as each tread digs into the dirt.
With all that traction, I really felt faster on the trails as every step was met with solid traction in all conditions. The traction alone makes these shoes winners, but the whole package continues to impress in many ways.
To beat the dead horse here… the outsoles are superb (did I make that point already?). In concert with the grippy outsoles, the midsole is more like a race car with great support but not a ton of cushioning. Luckily, the large lugs offer a little bit of extra cushion so you don’t have too harsh of a ride. I replaced the standard insoles with Superfeet Green insoles with good luck (and for good luck). The entire package worked very well and my flat feet were happy in these on some rough terrain with the only caveat being long-distance downhills when the balls of my feet took a beating over time.
Overall stability is there and foot protection is really good with only the sharpest of rocks being felt in the forefoot. The uppers provide excellent breathability and comfort in both high (85 degrees) and low (45 degrees) temperatures. You’re getting a very impressive trail-specific package with the Crosslites.
- Track shoe-like traction
- Very breathable
- Excellent race-worthy shoe
- Scree-guard keeps loose dirt out
- Super-efficient and fast
- Large lugs can catch on rocks or roots if you get lazy
- A few lugs tended to crack or chunk slightly on rocky terrain… will post updates on their longevity
- I’d hate to have to re-lace these
The Bottom Line: La Sportiva Crosslite Trail Runners
It’s hard to overstate the obvious, but the traction provided by the Crosslites is absolutely amazing. Up and down–nothing beats the speed and efficiency provided by these lugs. The entire shoe fits like a slipper and breathes extremely well. These are a great option for raceday or long-distance, hard-core running where traction and speed is key.
Buy Now: La Sportiva at Backcountry.com