Friday, May 01, 2020

La Sportiva Jackal Multi Tester Review

La Sportiva Jackal ($140)

Stats

Estimated Weight: 10.7 oz / 304 g men’s US9/42   Sample: 10.7 oz / 304 g men’s US9/42 (301 /309), 11oz / 312g men’s US 10

Stack Height: 25mm heel / 19mm heel

Available now. $140


Introduction

Sam: The Jackal is designed to open things up in fit and soften the ride without compromising La Sportiva’s legendary support and protection. The upper is on a slightly wider last than normal for the brand with the midsole  a dual density compressed EVA with Infinitoo PU (polyurethane) inserts to provide more cushion while maintaining the stability and protection provided by the a full length hardened EVA dual density 1.5mm  rock plate. The lugs are 3mm in height with an aggressive multi directional profile intended for smooth long runs on more moderate terrain while having plenty of grip for more technical terrain.


Pros:

Canice/Jeff/Ryan: Aggressive lugs and sticky rubber equal great traction and a ton of grip. I also like the cushion and protection you get from the midsole. And as you would expect from La Sportiva, they handle anything you throw at them.

Sam: 

Finally a Sportiva with more forgiving cushion and more generous fit. 

On smoother terrain the extended rock plate (mid foot to front) also acts as a subtle smooth flowing propulsion plate.

Great ground feel and agility with plenty of protection and cushion

John: Traction, protection, stability on unpredictable footing

Ryan:  Upper provides great lockdown and lateral stability


Cons:

Canice/Jeff/Ryan: The shoe runs ridiculously short (½ size to a full size) and has a reinforced toe guard that in the sense of protection is good, but when the shoe already fits short makes for a hard edge against your toes which is not cool.

Jeff:  Heel instability, thin harsh laces, lack of flexibility

Sam/Ryan: The very front and rear of the Jackal needs work: the achilles collar is too vertical and lightly padded leading to some irritation, the toe bumper is firm and rigid leading to occasional discomfort, even properly sized.

John: Stiff, feels more like a hiking shoe rather than a trail running shoe

Tester Profiles

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost everyday.

A hopeless soccer career led Ryan Eiler to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.

Ryan decided to forego his Wall Street job to be a gear junkie, and is currently the fledgling entrepreneur behind his company, Bridger Helmets.  Most days, you'll find him loping along the Charles River in Boston.  Of all the places he's run, Central Park NYC and the New Hampshire coast top his list.

Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons.

Jeff V. runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.



First Impressions and Fit

Canice: These shoes fit very short and you must size up ½ to a full size. In my case I am usually good sizing up a ½ size with La Sportiva but with the Jackal I would go a full size. La Sportiva markets the Jackal as having a “Comfortable, wide fit designed for ultra-marathons” but in truth compared most shoes in the market, these fit a traditional medium width foot. So if you have a medium or a narrow foot, then yes, you’ll find these to be comfortable and if we’re comparing these to other La Sportiva shoes, then yes, they fit wider, but compared to the other shoes in the market that say they fit wide or we know to fit wide, these do not.


Canice: The La Sportiva Jackal is incredibly comfortable and holds my foot securely in place. It has a low volume fit and with my high arch/instep feet, I’m pushing up into the laces quite a bit but I’m comfortable and secure in the shoe. 


Jeff V:  I too was struck by the sizing here.  La Sportiva has traditionally been tricky to size correctly, but over the past few years I have found my normal size 10 to be perfect in all summer models, though I do tend to size up to a 10.5 in their Gore Tex Winter shoes because the Gore Tex wrap tends to tighter the upper some and to leave a bit of room for a thicker sock.  The Jackal however to me feels as though it is a full size too small, with my toes jammed solidly against the front of the shoe.  I was eventually able to obtain a size 10.5+ (Euro 44) and that helped a lot.  For my normal daily ~90 minute runs on technical terrain, I think this is perfect for me, but if I were looking to run longer days, I would likely size up a full size to an 11.


Sam: I sized up a half a size as usual in Sportiva and fit is fine at that size with clearly more forefoot volume and width than say the Bushido 2. The extensive thin midfoot overlays over the dense but pliable sandwich mesh upper provide a very secure fit that is in no way suffocating as some Sportiva can be. That was standing around. On the run I found the rear achilles collar too vertical and lightly padded leading to some irritation on one foot with the toe bumper overly rigid and over built.


John: This is one of the first newer models of a La Sportiva shoe I have tested. I am familiar with their older generation shoes and the Jackal reminds me of a heavier, more built out version of the Crosslite. In my perspective, both have a more fast hiking feel and ride, with the Jackal being most oriented toward a trail run shoe spectrum.

Ryan:  I did a triple-take at the size label on the inside of the shoe, as I usually wear a 9.5, and the size 10 I tried was still too small.  But for me, this is forgivable, since they’re converting from EU to US size  (A quick Googling of shoe size conversions results in very inconsistent data -- for a US9.5, I saw conversions anywhere from EU 42 to EU 43.5).  I agree with Canice, that this will fit a medium-width foot perfectly fine.  Lockdown feels great, as you’d expect from a trail shoe, and the midsole felt firm but comfortable.  The ‘black/poppy’ color I used won’t turn heads, but a properly used trail shoe won’t be clean for long, anyway.


Upper

Canice: You will find the shoe to be breathable, and in classic La Sportiva fashion, built to be durable. The uppers have a lot of overlays which add to the durability. I also love the gusseted tongue as it really keeps debris out of the shoe and though a small thing, the Jackal has a nice grab loop on the heel which is good at aiding getting your shoe on and is really great at letting you attach the shoe via a carabiner to your gear.


Canice: The Jackal’s eyelets are secure and the shoe has nice soft flat laces which are very comfortable. You’ll find a TPU toe guard to protect you from those devilish tree roots and rocks as well as a substantially reinforced heel that handles tight technical running with ease.

Jeff V:  The upper of the Jackal is superb and provides an excellent combination of breathability and protection, with very durable overlays, reinforcement, a solid toe bumper and continuous wrap around rand for added protection and a little bit of water resistance.


The heel collar is relatively low with minimal, but has adequate padding.

I really like the booty style tongue which eases step in, increases comfort and security.  


Heel hold and midfoot hold are excellent and the width of the toe box seems to be good, though with the fit being so far off, it is somewhat difficult to assess.


The laces are soft and have a little bit of stretch to them, however I find them to be a bit thin and experience some rope burn on the back of my knuckles when tightening, but they do stay tied very well.


Upper security is very good and secure when running on steep technical terrain.

Sam: The guys have described the upper well. What strikes me about this upper is the combination of a soft thin and pliable mesh material with extensive and well matched overlays to wrap the foot securely but without undue constriction and with plenty of ventilation.

The molded and gusseted tongue is particularly fine with just enough padding while at the same time wrapping over the foot to bring the upper together. It is assymetrical at the top to protect the tendon.  

The very front and rear of the Jackal needs work.  The achilles collar is too vertical and is in fact angled forward and too lightly padded leading to some irritation, something very unusual for me. I advise a padded sock without too much rear grip.

The toe bumper is firm and rigid, curling over the toes  reminding of an approach shoe leading to occasional toe jamming discomfort even properly sized.

Ryan:  The upper is pliable, but not stretchy, which can be attributed to the rubberized overlays covering most of the sides and back of the shoe.  I’m a fan of how the mesh atop the toe box and on the sides of the shoe still allows it to breathe and conform to your foot.  Proportionally, the Jackal is well balanced, and it should fit the majority of feet very well (provided you get the sizing right).


However, I strongly agree with Sam’s comments about the toe bumper, as well as the tab against the achilles.  The toe box is heavy duty, and caused some discomfort on my big toe, while the prominent, stiff collar at the back rubbed against my achilles -- especially when running downhill.  That said, the toe box offers ample protection, and reduced my use of profanity while running on rocky terrain.


The laces aren’t reminiscent of industrial cable ties, as you find on some trail shoes.  They’re soft, comfortable, and have a reliable tie-down.  A gusseted tongue is a nice design for this type of shoe, which prevents it from creeping around during aggressive running.  It’s cut nicely to avoid interfering when running uphill, and is moderately padded for a bit of added protection and comfort.


John: Like Jeff, I really appreciate the breathable yet durably constructed upper. I will add that it drains water fairly well even with all of the overlays. Against the skin, the Jackal’s upper is soft and comfortable. If it weren’t for some of the sewn seams inside the shoe, I would even wear the Jackal without socks. I’m a sucker for a strong toe guard, probably because I have a tendency to kick rocks and roots when fatigued. The Jackals give a lot of protection up front. The integrated tongue is soft and padded, which helps with the comfortable and snug fit.


Midsole

Canice: the midsole of the Jackal is a dual density compressed EVA with inserts of Infinitoo polyurethane which combined with a 1.5mm dual density rock guard protect your feet from the sharpest of rocks and debris. 


Canice: The midsole has a dense but springy feel to it which is good and allows you to travel any distance you like.


Sam: The midsole has a great balance of firmer, stable cushion moderated from any harshness in feel by the softer PU inserts. The black areas are slightly firmer than the red. Not exactly a bouncy feel but a more comfortable, more cushioned than one is used to in Sportiva with the exception of the all PU soft and somewhat mushy Unika that went too far in that direction. I found them quite agile with just enough feel but wish for a bit more forefoot stack cushion while protection is adequate there.


Jeff V:  I find the midsole to be well cushioned and protective enough for long distances and adequate for rocky, technical, mountain terrain as would be expected for La Sportiva.  Cushioning is firm, though not overly so.  While not the fastest and most responsive shoe, I feel as though they are adequate for fast running.


Ryan:  I went out of my way to test out the ‘rock guard’, and I’ll attest that it works well.  I’m in agreement with the sentiment of the others on midsole performance, in that it does a lot of things well, and doesn’t really give you a reason to knock it.  Although it’s fun to run in some of the new, hyper-caffeinated road shoe midsoles these days, I don’t want that in a trail shoe.  In that spirit, the Jackal delivers a well behaved sandwich of foam, which will suit nearly everyone.  I found it to be very stable, yet well cushioned and having relatively low inertia for a trail shoe.


John: Not to sound like a broken record, but the midsole is firm though seemingly has more cushion than other La Sportiva shoes. I didn’t find the cushion plush, responsive, or bouncy, but as has been mentioned above it does provide good stability upon impact. I appreciated the stability and firmness when descending steep and technical terrain. It absorbs shock and keeps the foot stable when navigating rocky, unstable downhills.


Outsole

Canice: The “FriXion” outsole has 3mm lugs and are very sticky and provide lots of traction and a secure feeling when running wet and muddy conditions and extending out to a flat rock ahead of you. You can go for it and not worry if there will be enough grip.

Jeff V:  The lugs, while not the deepest in the La Sportiva line up, are sharp and aggressive and provide excellent versatility over a wide variety of surfaces.  Traction is excellent on any trail I have run, off trail, steep loose dirt and duff, snow, dirty ice, OK in mud and the rubber compound grips amazingly well on rock and wet rock.


Ryan:  The grip is fantastic without feeling overly aggressive, and the depth of the lugs is just right, in my opinion.  They handled super well on rocky, rooty, and wet trails near Boston, and even on the pavement to/from the trail, the outsole didn’t feel too much like ‘trail rubber’.  The squarish shape of the lugs seemed to assist stopping power as well.


John: Great traction and security in all types of terrain. I ran these on rocky trail, slushy spring snow, ice, gravel pack trail, and mud. The traction performed exceptionally well in all conditions. The traction excelled on the most technical terrain with lots of exposed rocky surfaces. As I mentioned in the midsole section, the shoe performs well descending steep technical terrain and the other reason for that is the outstanding traction and protection in the outsole.


Sam: I prefer a lower 3-4 mm outsole lug profile in most shoes so that smoother trail running and some roads are not hampered by the lugs. The Jackal fits the bill and the profile is aggressive enough yet with large enough lug contact areas that I never had any traction issues on rougher terrain while on smoother terrain they rolled along. 

Speaking of rolling the 1.5 mm dual density full length rock and stability plate, the salmon colored insert seen above provided some mild propulsive feel on smoother terrain and includes some front flex grooves, ending near the front of the shoe for some characteristic La Sportiva front climbing flex. I do think the plate and midsole/outsole could be a touch more flexible overall. 


Ride

Canice: If you’re running in the mountains over rough terrain you’ll love the ride of the Jackal. It’s firm enough to absorb the impact from sharp rocks yet has a comfortable bounce to it which puts a smile on your face while running. La Sportiva states they’re focused on Mountain Running and these shoes live up to that promise.


Jeff V:  The ride is reasonably responsive and comfortable and I see this to be more of a purposeful mountain shoe more than a plush all day trail cruiser.  


Ryan:  The Jackal’s an all-around, versatile performer, and a pleasure to have underfoot while blasting down rugged trails.  This is as close to the feel of a road shoe as I’ve ever experienced in a legitimate trail shoe.  It manages to smooth out even the gnarliest rocky surfaces, without letting the underfoot protection totally spoil the dynamics of the ride.  There’s a noticeable amount of cushion, but not so much as to make you feel totally disconnected from the trail.


Sam: I agree with Ryan that the ride is connected to the trail, and especially smoother trails with obstacles, but not overly technical ones for me, and without being overly punishing as Sportiva can sometimes be. There is a nice sensation of a sense of rolling along without being isolated from what is underfoot. This I think is due to the PU inserts taking the edge off with the rock protection effective if making the shoe a bit stiff. As such they also run quite well on the road.


John: I found the Jackal’s ride to be more appropriate for faster movement in the mountains, but not trail running. More to the point, the shoe feels firm and stiff and definitely not fast and bouncy; I enjoyed it most on steep and rocky trails. As Canice says above, the firmness absorbs impact on rough terrain and I found the stiffness to be ideal on descents and off camber traverses. 


Conclusions and Recommendations

Canice: The La Sportiva Jackal is my new favorite La Sportiva running shoe. They are very much a mountain shoe and are fun to run and can handle anything you throw at them. Be sure to try these on before buying them as you need to check the length, but once you get that dialed in you’ll love the shoe.

Canice: 8.5/10


RIDE

FIT

VALUE

STYLE

Traction

Rock Protection

Overall Score

Percentage of Total

30%

30%

10%

5%

15%

10%

 

Score

9

6.5

9

9

10

9.5

8.5


Jeff V:  The Jackal is best suited to mid distance running or long day excursions on just about any terrain and especially on rocky, technical mountain terrain.  I appreciate the secure upper, protective midsole and superb traction.  I do find them to be a bit tippy at times, particularly at the heel on rocky, unpredictable terrain which sometimes catches me off guard.  The midsole, while appropriately firm for rocky mountain terrain, is a bit too firm in my opinion for ultra distance cruising and would look for a shoe that offers more forgiving and plush cushioning.  If ordering online (most likely you are now given the pandemic), size up and be certain whomever you order from has a good exchange policy just in case.  Size up at least a half size, if not a full size if you prefer a bit more wiggle room.  Sizing issues aside, I would highly recommend!

Jeff V:  8.3/10

My biggest gripe here is fit, otherwise I have no complaints.


Ryan:  I can see myself wearing these on anything from a jog along the canal path, all the way up to a mountainous ultra race.  They make the typical tradeoffs of road versus trail shoes much less dramatic, and manage to be comfortable, yet appropriate for running over exposed root and rock.  For those who value the extra toe and underfoot protection of a trail shoe, and who prefer a normal width and neutral ride, these are certainly worth your attention (again: provided you find your proper size!).  I’d be surprised if these didn’t become a favorite among serious trail runners.

Ryan Score: 8:05/10

RIDE

FIT

VALUE

STYLE

Traction

Rock Protection

Overall Score

30%

30%

10%

5%

15%

10%

 

9

6

8

7

10

9

8.05

Takes a hit for fit, otherwise a very impressive trail shoe.


John: If you are looking to add a shoe that excels when moving fast across technical mountain terrain, the Jackal is perfect. The shoe is comfortable, feels secure and stable when running across varied terrain, is firm in a good way, and requires little break-in out of the box. This is my go-to shoe for speedy Colorado 14er excursions and other landmark objectives like Pfeifferhorn in Utah or navigating those rock fields on Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Mt. Washington. 

John’s Score: 8.4/10 

Ride: 9 (fun mountain shoe with stable and firm ride)

Fit: 7 (buyer beware, try these on before you purchase so you know the right fit)

Value: 8 (somewhat unidimensional in my opinion, but still a great mountain purposed shoe)

Style: 7 (I really wish La Sportiva would go flashy) 

Traction: 10 (high performing, enough said)

Rock Protection: 9.5 (toe protection, firm cushioning, and durable upper)


Sam: I have run in a number of La Sportiva over the years and they have been resolutely “mountain” focused with a narrow fit, a firm very supportive midsole and always great traction. Here Sportiva widens the fit (but with issues for me at the achilles collar and the overbuilt toe bumper), softens the ride enough with the Infinitoo PU inserts, maintains great rock protection while providing a smoother terrain focused slightly propulsive plate, and makes the outsole truly all terrain. Yes, it will still remind of a La Sportiva in its secure hold, stability, and trail feel but offers a more versatile, maybe more relaxed and forgivingly cushioned option in the line.

Sam’s Score: 8.5/10

Ride: 8.5 (30%) Fit: 7.5 (30%) Value: 8.5 (10%) Style: 9 (5%) Traction: 9.5 (15%) Rock Protection: 9.5(10%)


Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


La Sportiva Bushido 2 (RTR Review)  

Jeff: Very close in weight, the Jackal offers a bit more cushion underfoot, but Bushido 2 is a little bit more adept in technical terrain with better fit and security.

Sam: The Bushido is more traditional Sportiva with a very blocky very stable rear to midfoot of and as Jeff says Bushido has more technical terrain ability. I prefer the smoother more cushioned and versatile ride of the Jackal which doesn’t compromise on the La Sportiva core mountain attributes much if at all


La Sportiva Kaptiva  (RTR Review)  

Jeff: The Kaptiva is a little lighter with a more narrow last/outsole, is not quite as stable, but has better fit than the Jackal.


Salomon Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review

Jeff:  SR3 has more forgiving cushion, is more stable and its fit can’t be beat, whereas the Jackal fit can be a challenge and the laces are very thin.  Jackal has slightly better traction, but SR3 is still very good.

John: The Sense Ride 3 is more of a trail runner compared to the Jackal more mountain focus. In terms of ride, the SR3 is more responsive and has a better roll from heel-to-toe. As Jeff says, the Jackal’s traction slightly edges out the SR3, but both are well suited for navigating most technical and messy situations on or off trail.

Sam: The Sense Ride 3 has clearly more cushion particularly at the forefoot and also clearly more rebound and vibration reduction of a dense sort from the Optivibe midsole. It’s upper is lower volume for sure, super secure and has no toe bumper or achilles collar issues for me. It is a longer distance shoe than Jackal due to its cushion but one I find a bit dull and disconnected from terrain in comparison to the Jackal, 


Adidas Terrex Two BOA (RTR Review

Sam: The Terrex Two BOA pulls off a roomy yet secure upper incredibly well but for a bit of heel looseness. And with the BOA released no need for recovery shoes after a long run, unlike Jackal! Softer cushioned yet decently protective without a rock plate, more flowy over terrain it is more comfortable and more versatile leaning slightly towards more mellow terrain than the Jackal 

Jeff:  Agreed with Sam above and will add that I was able to dial in Terrex 2 Boa over time with break in and learned technique.  I also find the adidas to be more stable and conforming to the terrain underfoot than the Jackal while providing better cushioning.  Jackal however is a bit more secure and has superior traction.


La Sportiva Lycan  (RTR Review

Jeff: The Lycan is much lighter, fast and agile, but can at times feel limited by the low profile tread.  Though the same stack height, the Lycan feels more plush and forgiving and would be my pick for longer distances over moderate terrain.  Lycan runs true to size vs the small sized Jackal.  Jackal is better protected, has better traction and is more appropriate for rougher terrain.


Salomon XA Alpine Pro (RTR Review)   

Jeff: The Alpine Pro has superior fit/upper with comparable protection, slightly better traction due to climbing zone for scrambling.

John: The Alpine Pro has a very similar ride and rugged terrain purpose as the Jackal. The Alpine Pro’s upper is more breathable and drains better. Similar to Jeff, the Alpine Pro offers an additional dimension of versatility with the climbing zone on the toe outsole for scrambling.

Sam: The Alpine Pro is a superior shoe for the most technical terrain with an incredible upper. It is not quite as versatile as the Jackal for smoother, hard packed terrain. 


Saucony Peregrine 10 (RTR Review)   

Jeff: The Peregrine 10 has a better fitting upper, but not as much cushion.  While the Peregrine 10 has more aggressive lugs, better for snow, mud and loose terrain, the Jackal has more versatile tread and more sticky rubber. 

John: Jeff summarizes the differences well and I would add that the Jackal’s upper and toe guard are more durably constructed, which provides better protection to on-trail elements.

Sam: I concur with Jeff and John’s assessment of the Peregrine 10 although I would trade the Peregrine’s toe guard for the Jackal’s overbuilt one as it concentrates adequately dense protection across the front and doesn’t wrap a harder shell additionally over the toes, which I think the Jackal’s unnecessarily does.


Hoka One One Speedgoat 4  (RTR Review)

Jeff:  The Speedgoat is better cushioned, lighter, more responsive, more stable, has equal traction and overall a  better fit.


Salomon Speedcross 4 

Ryan:  The Jackal provides much better stability and lockdown, through more extensive lamination on the upper.  I also prefer the better traction and plugged-in feel of the Jackal, although the Speedcross is definitely more comfortable in the heel due to its more generous padding.  Fit is similar, but the higher drop in the Crossfit is apparent.  Size 10 in the Speedcross probably translates to a 10.5 in the Jackal.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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20 comments:

Morgan said...

While not a criticism more of a feedback you had four reviewers for this shoe which is great but for the Nike Wildhorse 6 which was a massive overhaul from a major player we had one reviewer which was informative! The good thing about RTR is the multi reviews it gives a more balanced review Although this might not always be possible? But thanks and keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

I would like to hear about a comparison with the Akasha, apart from weight differences they sound quite similar ?

Unknown said...

Sorry, forgotten in the first place...and the Jackal has only 7 gr. on the Kaptiva in US 10 ? Looks much heavier, just thinking...Akasha is 343 gr. in my US10

Jeff Valliere said...

Morgan, thanks for the feedback. Whenever possible, we try for multi tester, but often it comes down to availability of the shoe, sizing, how many pairs our sources can afford at what is often very early and pre-release timing.

Unknown, the Akasha is very different, much softer and flexible, comparable traction and upper with a little bit of stretch with good balance of accommodating comfort and security, where the Jackal is more stiff and firm cushion, refined/modern upper.

IainGrant said...

I’ve been looking forward to this review after purchasing the Jackal at the beginning of April!

After 13 pairs of Akasha in the household and them being the go-to race shoe for me and my wife I was hoping for a lighter, more nimble Akasha with the same grip and comfort. To be honest thought I find the Jackal a disappointment.

Heel counter - too high, too stiff, irritates the Achilles (same for my wife and me)
Narrowness in the heel causes stability issues, exaggerates heel rub above
Dull ride, absorbs impact from rocks well but flat feeling on single-track or pavement
Weight on my scales is similar to Akasha and un-noticeable when running
No wider than the Akasha in the forefoot
Less flexible in the forefoot than the Akasha with the rock-plate

Interestingly I do not find size an issue; they are consistent with La Sportiva and Salomon for me.

Overall, less cushioned, less stable, no lighter, less of an "Ultra" feeling shoe than the Akasha. Not a replacement or alternative for either of us.

I’m not sure where it fits in the La Sportiva stable either. Ultras = Akasha, Technical = Bushido II, Door to trail = Lycan II, Skyrace = Kaptiva/VK/Helios. Jackal is too heavy for short and fast, not enough cushion for ultras so I’m not really sure how I’ll use it…

FWIW I’ve spent time manually breaking down the heel counter which has improved it somewhat (not that you should have to but I am loathe to not use a shoe!)

Unknown said...

Thanks Jeff and especially Iain, that helps a lot...as I already own the Scarpa Spin Ultra, which is in my opinion the little sister of the Akasha, I will mit try this Show...Akasha for long outings, Spin Ultra for the more technical stuff...Thx

IainGrant said...

Glad to be of help :)

Now, if they take the tongue of the Jackal, some of the newer more breathable materials, lockdown design from the midfoot, add that to the midsole and sole of the Akaasha... I think you would drop ~30g and have a shoe that absorbed less water and breathed better but with the same cushioning and stability. Now that would be some shoe!

Unknown said...

The Akasha is a great shoe, so the idea of a lighter, more streamlined version was very promising, unfortunately the Jackal seems not to be this shoe...maybe I try the Sense Ride 3, this sounds what I'm looking dir, great review as Always, thx RTR

Anonymous said...

Would you mind giving a comparison to the Cascadia 14? Thank you!

John said...

Thanks for the review. I've been waiting to read about these.

I have worn several pairs of Akasha's since 2016 and the were one of the most versatile mountain shoes and one of my favorites, and was hoping these would be a worthy successor, but I guess not.

I was told that the Akasha's are discontinued. Can anyone confirm that?

Regarding the sizing, I'm very confused as you said to size down. All of my pairs of Akasha's were 47 ⅓, and when I tried on the Jackal's in the store, I only needed a 45, which corresponds roughly to what I wear in other shoes - 12 or 12.5

Drew Coughlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew Coughlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew Coughlin said...

My own thoughts & La Sportiva's reply posted on their YouTube video introduction to the Jackal (https://youtu.be/rko-H2CCRw0). TL:DR, could be an awesome shoe if they fix the heel collar ... also, La Sportiva welcomes good feedback.

"The Good:
Amazing midsole combination of compressed EVA and embedded 'Infinitoo' polyurethane foam dampen shock while giving just the right amount of rebound and cushion and allow surprisingly good ground feel for a 29 mm / 22 mm stack height (4 mm Ortholite insole included) and 7 mm offset. The dual compound, dual patterned outsole lugs and 1.5 mm rock guard worked extremely well on ascents and descents. The outsole even felt fine on the pavement.

The Bad:
The upper is flawed in at least two ways which is both frustrating and surprising because it was adapted from the Kaptiva upper which did not have these issues and because La Sportiva should have caught and corrected these problems before mass production.

Flaw 1: The overly stiff, inadequately padded ankle / heel collar is too high so it rubs on both the lateral side and the heel. This is so bad that both of my Achilles contact points developed blisters less than 5 miles into my first run as did the lower lateral side of my left ankle. I've never experienced this in any other trail or road shoe. It is possible the collar material may soften over time but I'm not looking forward to suffering while waiting for that to happen.

Flaw 2: The tongue is integrated into a bootie construction but it is too loosely structured with no mid-tongue through holes in the tongue for the laces to hold it in place. This would be fine but it does not work as it did in the Kaptiva because the tongue is too short and the material is too loose at the base of the tongue so the laces eventually ride up and over the top of the tongue - especially if you lace them all the way up through the top lace lock eyelets. The Kaptiva did not have lace lock eyelets but it did have a much higher tongue that was just as soft and caused no issues. Some people complained about heel slippage in the Kaptiva so I suspect that drove some of the design thinking in the Jackal's variation of the upper and addition of heel lock eyelets - too bad those changes were poorly implemented.

Conclusion:
I've purchased many pairs of the La Sportiva Akasha and completed several ultra marathons in them. This shoe could have been a perfect successor to that discontinued model had these issues been identified and corrected. As much as I wish it were otherwise, I can't recommend these shoes at this time unless your ankles are freakishly shaped or you are a masochist. I will be returning mine but will purchase them in a future model if La Sportiva fixes these critical flaws."

La Sportiva's reply:
"Thanks for writing and commenting in a concise and constructive way! we like to hear both the good and bad for what people find in our shoes in order to learn and improve. Just for your information, The Akasha has not been discontinued and will be still available."

John said...

@Drew

It's interesting that La Sportiva would say the Akasha isn't discontinued. It's not available on their North American website, only on their European website, which means you can't order it if you live in North America, which is what a local running store told me as they used to carry it - they can't get them anymore.

Perhaps you can pass this on to La Sportiva if you are in contact with them.

John Tribbia said...

subscribed

Jeroen V said...

Great review,
I bouht these shoes myself and did a 50 mile run with 2500+ ascent( small hils in the flemish ardennenes) with them out of the box. ( +-11 hours of running)
+: great ride, stiffnnes/cushioning was perfect without a break in period ( I have a pair of Inov8 roclite 275 those are stiff); Traction was ok ( dry conditions, some off trail in the forest and non technical trails and pavement);Traction in mud no idea I would prefer these shoes in dry conditions. I have not noticed any problems with the toe guard at all.
The black and yellow look rather splendid

- :As reported there is friction on the heel and I developed blisters on both sides despite preventive taping ( towards the end of my run), I had the same problem with the Ultra Raptor...
The tongue could be a little longer I developed some irritation on the top of my feet ( but then again after 10 hours of running)

Overall: I love these shoes, I'd try putting on more tape on my feet to prevent friction on the heel counter but overall I like thes shoes very much.

Jeroen V said...

And about sizing. The la sportiva guys (Italians..)have a strange conversion for US sizes.
I normally have EU size 41-42, or US 8-8.5 ( in Adidas, nike,new balance, Inov8, saucony, Brooks...)
In la Sportiva I have a EU 42 which corresponds to a US 9. I noticed on my Ultra raptor that those are the same numbers.

rms said...

I just received my normal 47.5/13.5 in lasportiva (13 in all other brands), and yeah I’m hitting the end of the shoe on my larger foot, and will have to return them. Size 48 is nowhere to be found it appears. Those with a foot with more toe-splay like mine should go up a full metric size. I’m resisting the senseride3 as I find the sensepro4 uninspiring and also with fit issues (overly long yet tight across the metatarsals), but either the SR3 or possibly Evospeedgoat (which is overpriced and banned from discounts). Not sure which yet. Wildhorse4/5 is still the best ultra shoe I have, but I want a slightly cushier forefoot.

Stelios said...

Hello there. I am puzzled by the sizing here.
Do they run short compared to other La Sportivas or not? For example, in regards to Bushido I or Bushido II (used both), should I size up half to a complete size? Or do you think I can get away with the same size as Bushido II?

Thank you,
Stelios

rms said...

Stelios: The answer is yes, they run short compared to other LaSp. I've owned various Helios models, and Bushido2, wearing 47.5 in all of these, and the Jackal is .5 short, I'd need a 48 at least, which I don't think exists. Sent them back :(