Last updated: 07-Jan-19
La Sportiva claim: “The women’s Akashas are very light (556g/pair) with a neutral and highly cushioned sole best suited to long runs in challenging terrain with stacks of protection and a roomy fit.” The name Akasha means “ether” in Sanskrit.
Steve Diederich has reviewed the La Sportiva Akashas (men’s) here.
- Midsole: Dual-injection shock absorbing MEMlex EVA
- Cushioned Platform for extra shock absorption
- Trail Rocker “Outsole Technology” for heel-to-toe rolling motion
- Deep-lug FriXion XT for grip and braking
- STB Technology for support and unencumbered underfoot flex
- ProTechTion HF reinforcements provide lightweight flexible protection
- Breathable Air Mesh uppers
- Soft slip-on slipper sock construction to avoid compression points and to provide the maximum comfort.
- Fit: Wide to give volume that is good for use during endurance competitions.
- Last: Women’s Tempo
- Drop: 6mm
- Fit: Wide
- Weight: 278g per shoe
- Price: £149
Pros: What’s good about the women’s La Sportiva Akasha Mountain running shoe
The shoes feel very comfortable to wear and they have a high level of cushioning both in the sole and around the ankle area.
Some people will love the cushioning in the soles while others will hate it. I really like it. I am also a fan of hard-soled trail shoes (such as many of the inov-8 hill running shoes) that allow you to feel the ground you are running on. However, when running longer distances or on very rugged terrain it’s great to have the addition of cushioning.
The fit of these shoes is lovely. The shoes are apparently wide fit and I have a narrow foot but they do not feel too wide and I think that it’s more about having extra volume so that when your feet get hot after lots of miles there is space for them to expand.
The shoes felt immediately comfortable to wear on the trails and I did not suffer any rubs or annoyances.
While these shoes are quite lightweight they are not “very lightweight” compared to others. The soles feel robust and a little heavier than other trail shoes.
However, these are certainly not heavy shoes and the women’s pair is 44g lighter than the men’s. I think this is worth pointing out because many women are lighter than the guys, so it is nice to think that the shoes are made to suit our generally lighter physiques.
The laces are notably good at staying tied. Quite often trainer laces come undone but these are made from a soft and stretchy fabric that allows them to be tied so they stay put. I haven’t seen this fabric used on laces before and I am impressed by it.
Running in the shoes is an excellent experience. They grip to wet and dry rocks and cope well in wet mud. The semi-deep lugs are brilliant on soft grass and they feel fine on hard-packed trails too, thanks to the cushioning in the soles.
I have been looking for a pair of trainers that will cope with a range of terrain, including some off-road and some tarmac, and I think I have finally found them. I tested them in many different terrains and they worked well in all of them.
Although the soles felt like they might be too stiff for me they actually offered quite a lot of flex when running. Again, it will be personal preference as to whether you prefer a stiffer sole.
A small loop at the back of the ankle allows you to easily pull on the shoes.
The colour range is great, too. It’s nice to have the choice of standard black as well as more feminine colours. Maybe this isn’t really important because trainers end up dirty and grey-ish anyway but it’s always nice to get a new pair of trainers in a lovely colour.
Cons: What’s not so good about the women’s La Sportiva Akasha Mountain running shoe
Some people will not like the higher levels of cushioning. If you prefer a trail shoe in which you can feel the ground as you run, these are not for you.
I also fear the cushioning might wear out quite quickly. The cushioned soles are a major benefit of the footwear but many shoes with this feature do wear out because the soles end up compressed. In contrast, shoes that have less cushioning do tend to be more durable because there is less to go wrong with them. Only time will tell with these shoes and I am hopeful they will be long-lasting.
If you have very narrow feet you might want to go down a size because it can feel like your feet are wallowing around in the high forefoot volume. I didn’t mind the extra volume but if you like a snug-fitting shoe you won’t like this Akasha design.
If you like a more cushioned trail shoe with larger volume in the forefoot for your hot and expanding feet, you will love this shoe. They are fairly lightweight and perform well over a wide range of terrain, even tarmac. At £149 they are fairly pricey but they look and feel like good quality shoes.
Other running shoes you may want to consider:
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
La Sportiva Mutant
Hoka One One Speedgoat
Inov-8 Trailtalon 275
About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.
All images Fiona Outdoors except where stated.
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