Article by Jeff Valliere
La Sportiva Bushido II GTX ($160)
The Bushido and Bushido II have long been a hit as a competent, protective, all mountain, above treeline, off trail, any conditions ripper. Not necessarily the lightest or fastest shoe, the Bushido has been a favorite of mine when the going gets very rough as one of the more protective, reliable and stable shoes. The addition of a Gore Tex Invisible Fit liner only adds to the shoe’s all mountain competency/all season versatility with only a very minor weight penalty.
Pros: Superb traction in varied conditions, particularly excelling on rock, slab and wet, Locked in and precise upper for 100% confidence in any circumstance, Stability, Protection, Durability, Water resistance.
Cons: Weight, would be nice to have a built in gaiter.
Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's.
Estimated Weight: 11.5 oz / 326g men’s US 9
Sample: 12.1 oz/ 342g men’s US 10
Midsole Stack Height: 19mm heel / 13mm forefoot, 6mm drop
Available Now, $160
First Impressions and Fit
No real surprises here, as the GTX version is essentially the same shoe as the regular Bushido II from the ground up, with a different (and very classic) La Sportiva colorway and of course the Gore Tex Invisible Fit liner. Fit is just about the same, however the GTX due to the Gore liner makes the shoe feel a bit more snug in the midfoot and forefoot.
I would highly recommend sizing up a half size to provide a little extra room for a thicker sock and a slight bit of air space to stay a little warmer. My test pair is a size 10 and works OK with a mid thickness wool sock, but definitely feels a bit confined and would prefer a 10.5 for that little bit of extra space.
The upper (as described by La Sportiva) is comprised of an AirMesh / Thermal adhesive microfiber / High frequency welded ripstop, with a TPU toe cap, TPU Exo - Skeleton and Padded Tongue, almost identical in look, performance and feel to the regular Bushido II. Of course the big difference here is the addition of the Gore-Tex Invisible Fit liner for that high level of water resistance.
The TPU toe bumper is very well protected, a thick reinforced rubberized material that protects, as well as withstands a lot of scuffing and abrasion.
The tongue is thickly padded, an ergonomic design that is notably comfortable protects well from any lace bite.
The heel counter is sturdy and very secure, well structured and protective.
Collar height is on the low side and padding is moderate to minimal, yet still very comfortable.
The instep has also been reinforced, perfect for scruffing through scree and talus.
Fit is on the snug side, true to size in my size 10, but this shoe is very low volume and slim fitting, ideal for technical terrain and rock hopping. No matter what the terrain, no matter how fast I am moving or how steep or off camber, this upper has my foot locked down such that I am completely confident with no excess movement or flex. As I mentioned earlier though, the Gore Tex Invisible fit liner makes the Bushido II GTX ever so slightly more snug and would strongly advise to size up a half size.
I have run the Bushido II GTX through a good bit of sloppy slush and fresh deep snow and my feet remained completely dry, though with the low nature of the heel collar, it is imperative to wear a gaiter to keep snow, slush and water from creeping in around the ankle.
The midsole is dual density with Compression Molded MEMIex the full length of the shoe and with a softer LaSpEVA insert which appears to be concentrated in the forefoot. The Bushido also has a bit of flex up front, giving them strong uphill performance. As with many La Sportiva shoes, there is a compressed EVA rock guard, which unlike plastic plates, allows for good flexibility.
The mid foot and rear has a rigid black TPU STB frame under the arch with pieces extending to the rear.
The stability in rough terrain is very good, though the rigid nature of the shoe can be somewhat of a liability on smoother terrain. I found the midsole to be appropriate for the intended rough terrain use providing plenty of stable, not overly harsh, but still firm cushion. The cushioning is not what I typically prefer for harder, smooth terrain or at faster paces like road or extended hard surfaced downhills, but its combination of a relatively shock free performance and stability is vert confidence inspiring on rough terrain. While not the most responsive shoe (part of that is due to the weight), the Bushido II feels quick through very technical and rough terrain because of all the aforementioned attributes.
The Dual Density FriXion XT V-Groove2 with Impact Brake System is among the best, if not the best overall tread for versatility and gravity defying traction on slabby rock, both dry and wet. La Sportiva is well known for their climbing shoes and they do a great job at transferring that climbing knowledge into making a sticky and secure outsole, very reminiscent of an approach shoe, though much more runnable of course.
In addition to gecko-like grip on slabby rock, wet or dry, the moderate height lugs are shaped, angled and positioned as such to provide very good grip on a wide variety of surfaces, be it snow, mud, loose dirt and off trail.
Durability is excellent, with just a touch of wear where I toe off, but otherwise is above average.
Firm! The ride is overall firm, but when pushed in technical terrain, rock hopping and all mountain, off trail, above treeline as intended, the firm ride aids in a very stable, predictable and protective ride.
Conclusions and Recommendations
If you are a fan of the Bushido II and have longed for a GTX version, your time has come! These are ideal for wet or snowy runs where you want the ultimate protection, traction, stability and technical performance. For true winter conditions, I’ll likely continue to defer to the La Sportiva Blizzard GTX, but for less wintery and just wet days, or summer runs/hikes where I know it will be wet, I will for sure have the Bushido II GTX at the ready.
Jeff’s Score: 9.5/10
Ride: 9.5, Fit: 9, Value: 9, Style: 10, Traction: 10, Rock Protection: 10
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
La Sportiva Bushido 2 (RTR Review)
The same exact shoe, but with a Gore Tex liner. Size up a half size for the GTX version.
La Sportiva Blizzard GTX (RTR Review)
The Blizzard has a built in gaiter, more aggressive deep lugs topped with metal studs and cushioning is a bit more plush. Blizzard is definitely better in full on winter conditions and especially if icy, but the Bushido II GTX is great if you are looking for a waterproof shoe that is a bit more minimal and especially in warmer, wet conditions.
Saucony Peregrine 11 GTX (RTR Review)
The Peregrine II GTX has very similar usability, though the Peregrine has a bit more forgiving cushion underfoot. While the Peregrine has excellent tread, the Bushido has stickier rubber that I favor on wet rock.
The Bushido II GTX is available now from La Sportiva and from our partners below.
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'
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