Last updated: 20-Aug-18
La Sportiva Mutants (men and women) are advertised as, “very stable and versatile mountain running shoe ideal for mountain running, sky races, and off-road trails on different types of terrain” and from my testing of them I found that they lived up to that billing.
As a more novice runner, security and comfort are probably my two biggest asks, so I was interested to see if they would give me that as I tried them out on some tricky descents.
Features and materials
- Upper: Single breathable, abrasion resistant mesh + integrated gaiter
- Lining: Non skid mesh
- Midsole: Injected MEMlex EVA with stabilizer
- Footbed: Ortholite Mountain Running Ergonomic 4mm
- Sole: FriXion XF ultra grippy
- Tongue: SpyralTongue™
- Lacing: FusionGate™
- Drop:10 mm
- Sizes:36 – 43 (including half sizes)
- Weight:600 g (pair, size 38)
PROS: What’s good about the La Sportiva Mutants
First off and most importantly for me is that any trainers I wear are comfortable and these were. I liked the way the tongue was secured and the lacing worked over my foot. Once they were on, there was no slipping and I didn’t need to stop at any point to readjust slackened laces.
They fit well right across the foot and I found the toe box wide enough – although I would not say I had lots of extra room in there if my feet were to swell.
I did find them to be stable and my foot was definitely supported and with zero blisters even after plenty of time on my legs.
The 10mm drop worked well for me and helped my foot alignment.
I used them in three very different types of terrain (well they did say versatile!): muddy woodland in the UK, the Atlas Mountains, steep, slippery and with lots of scree and the Agafay desert which is sand and rock.
They were great in the mud and woodlands. I was pounding downhill in the dark, keeping my feet high to avoid tripping over roots and did not slip at all. I felt a great deal of confidence in them. They also took me over netting without getting caught which was a plus.
In the mountains, the conditions were drier but they maintained their stickiness. The Atlas trails have a lot of hard-packed earth, covered in tiny pebbles which act like ball bearings and make most descenders pretty nervous. I found that they had a good grip on the whole, excellent on the rocks, but with a little bit of slide on the packed surfaces.
They are not designed for sand, but since I was going out to the desert I took them along for a spin. I found that all the things that made them great in the hills and the forests mitigated against them and my feet got a bit stuck.
CONS: What’s not so good about the La Sportiva Mutants
My feet did get wet almost immediately when I was in wet conditions. One puddle and it was all over for me. The water did get out of the shoe though, so it didn’t prove too much of an issue.
You have to push to get your foot in the shoe initially, it is not just a quick bash in, but there is a pull loop on the heel which helps and once in you do feel very secure.
I found that the lugs wore down, although in fairness a lot of my running was done on very hard surfaces.
I am concerned that if my feet were to swell, I would have problems in the toe box.
A really nice shoe that fits well, is comfortable and latches you on to the surface of the trail. I didn’t find that I was jarred on the harder surfaces and I also found that they didn’t retain too much mud and debris. I would definitely pack these for any trip where I was running on mountain trails or in wet and slippery conditions.
Others shoes you may want to consider:
Merrell All Out Crush Light and Brooks Cascadia 11
inov-8 Trail Talon 250
Sketchers Go Run Ultra Trail 3
All images unless stated: Alice Morrison.
About the writer: Alice is a slow runner – definitely to the novice end of the spectrum. She spends most of her time in Marrakech so does her daily runs in mainly dry conditions but the mountains offer scope for very technical work and lots of wet and snow in the winter.
Have you used the Lasportiva Mutant shoes? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.
Not a member yet? Sign up here to be part of the RunUltra community and share tips and stories with thousands of fellow runners around the world.
We are a professional review site and our reviewers receive free products for testing from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are by the reviewer’s name shown.
We use affiliate links in some of our reviews and articles. This means that if you purchase an item through one of these links we will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through our links but the income will help us to keep bringing you our free training guides, reviews and other content to enjoy. Thank you in advance for your support.