Sunday, November 20, 2022

La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX Multi Tester Review: Hard to Beat for Anything Winter and Unpredictable!

Article by Jeff Valliere, John Tribbia, and Jana Herzgova

La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX ($235)


Introduction

Jeff V:  La Sportiva shoes have long been my favorite for winter running. They are known and proven for really protective, durable, waterproof Gore Tex uppers, built in gaiters and best in class traction.  

The lugs are deep with a grabby lug design and the rubber is sticky, providing great traction on just about every surface except of course hard packed ice.  For more icy conditions, you can buy the Blizzard GTX (RTR Review) with built in studs, or add La Sportiva hobnails to any of these (I added a set of hobnails to my Blizzards for even more traction on steep, icy trails).  


The Cyklon Cross GTX is the newest addition to their progression of capable winter shoes, building off of the Cyklon (RTR Review) released last year with its similar midsole, outsole and BOA Fit System but no external GTX gaiter.  The Cyklon Cross GTX features a very well refined Gore outer shell and tall gaiter.  Then of course,  there is also the easy to use and secure BOA  closure system carried over from the regular Cyklon.


Pros:

Jeff V:  Security with the easy to use BOA Fit System, waterproof upper with built in gaiter, overall protection in every way, traction, reasonable weight, quick/agile/competent on rough terrain and bad conditions, easy on/off

John: The BOA and over-foot wrap provides a great fit, feels secure, and is incredibly easy to use. Built in gaiter is waterproof and provides excellent protection and warmth for cold days. Capable shoe for technical and snowy flat runs.

Jana: Overall, well designed winter beast: outstanding traction, protection, warmth



Cons:

Jeff V:  A bit pricey at $235, but will concede that you certainly get your money’s worth in performance, quality and longevity.  The price is also not out of line when compared to comparable shoes.

John: Price. Would also love to have a better zipper cover (like a velcro strap) to prevent icing over.

Jana: I don’t find the price here too high, or on a negative side, considering how well it is designed and crafted. The only downside I found is that the gaiter may not stretch around the ankle / above ankle area well enough for women with wider ankles. I don’t have that issue, however for some it may become an irritation.



Stats

 Sample Weight: US men’s 10.5 - 12.25 oz  / 346 g

8mm drop

Available now $235


First Impressions, Fit and Upper


Jeff V:  I got a sneak preview (in an email) last Spring and it was love at first sight.  I get out for a mountain run above Boulder just about every day of the year, no matter the weather or conditions and in fact, look forward to testing myself and my gear in bad conditions.  


The Cyklon Cross GTX is perfectly suited to the task of tackling snowy mountain trails.  The Cross GTX looks sturdy and well built, with a nice tall gaiter, easy to use BOA system and deep 7mm  lugs.  In photos, they look more like boots, but am impressed with how streamlined and relatively light they are.


The fit is in line with other La Sportiva shoes, which I would say is typically on the small side, so I would suggest going up a half size as I do, wearing a 10.5 vs. my normal 10, in part to accommodate for the fact that I wear a mid weight wool sock.  If you want more room or wear a thicker sock, maybe even consider going up a full half size.  

Foothold and security are incredible, as the BOA dials fit amazingly well, quick, snug and are easy to adjust.  I will add here that some winter run shoes, particularly the Blizzard are a bit of a wrestling match to slide your foot into, so I appreciate the zip up gaiter and fairly normal step in procedure of the Cyklon Cross GTX.  

Additionally, the BOA really adds to the ease as one does not have to awkwardly tie laces with a built in gaiter in the way, and even better, not having to untie frozen laces after a run.

The upper is made of a 3D scuff-resistant, anti-drag mesh with a Microfibre all-round band with scuff-resistant coating and a TPU toe cap.  The Gore-Tex lining is nice and flexible, keeping my feet warm and dry through snow, puddles and slush.  I have run in temps down into the upper teens and never once thought about my feet.  I suspect I would be just fine in even lower temps, maybe down to zero, at least for my daily 1-2 hour runs.


The durability and protection of the upper is outstanding, as I can bash around in any sort of terrain and feel invincible.  

John: Out of the box, the Cyklon Cross GTX looks ready for the elements. It is a well-built and high quality shoe that seems to have all of the features that will ensure it performs in harsh conditions. It looks sturdy, well built and purpose driven and has a high quality feel. 


I love the shoe’s sleek profile and eye-catching details. It has a full gaiter that covers up above the ankle to the mid/low shin. 

The BOA system holds the foot in place really well and, as in the Cyklon, it pulls the laces and upper over the foot as opposed to cinching the upper together from the middle. I normally wear a 42.5, but I requested a 43 since I wanted a bit more room for thicker socks. I’m glad I did, because it is a near perfect fit even without thick socks.  


Jana: - Outstanding traction, protection, warmth - this is a well designed off-road training and competition shoe for harsh winter elements. When I saw a preview of this new addition to the well executed LaSportiva’s Blizzard GTX - and a substantial upgrade from LaSportiva Crossover GTX - I was very excited to test this model. It delivered as expected, and on all levels.


Foothold and security are amazing. The BOA system locks the heel in well, and the overall ride feels stable. 

Durability of the upper is outstanding, even when wearing Kathoola microspikes and snowshoes. 

The inner toe box lining is seamless, delivering no hotspots/blisters while wearing thick socks. I have semi-wide feet and usually go for male versions of shoes due to women's shoes being on a more narrow side, however I am very pleased with the width of this women's model. It is not on the wide side like Topo or Altra shoes, however I find Cyklon Cross wide enough for a thick sock, or a double thin socks system. I have covered 90 miles in them so far, and had zero hotspots/ blisters issues. 

The “Easy-in” system makes getting into the shoe quick and easy. The water-repellent gaiter stretches around well, and the zipper worked for me even when I had snow/ice built on the gaiter surface from marching through a deep frozen snow. 

The gaiter is also reflective (heel part), excellent detail when running on short daylight winter days.


LaSportiva shoes tend to run a little bit smaller, so I highly recommend to size up, especially when planning on using a double sock system. 


The only downside I found about this model is that when the gaiter is zipped up all the way, it can be a little bit narrow for those with wider ankles / above ankle area.


Midsole

Jeff V:  The EVA-injected shock-absorbing and dual-density midsole, with stabilizer insert is similar, if not the same as best I can tell to the Cyklon.  While not a light, springy, responsive, plush foam (which it is not meant to be), it is predictably firm and well adapted to giving a solid and protective ride on rough terrain.  I find the midsole to be welcome for the intended purpose.  It also handles cold temperatures well, not becoming hard and stiff, retaining its performance properties.


John: Jeff’s assessment is spot-on - the midsole is a lot like the Cyklon (if not identical) and gives ample cushion, protection, and some bounce for such a heavy shoe. The shoes perform well on downhills and at fast paces in a stable and predictable fashion. 


I wouldn’t say the shoe is plush, responsive, or bouncy, but I found it cushioned enough to enjoy a flatter long run on fresh snow on the less technical trails. All said, and the midsole feels exceptionally stable upon impact and there is some cushion thanks to the Ortholite insoles and the big lugs of the outsole.


Jana: Jeff’s  and John’s description above is spot-on with mine. In comparison to LaSportiva Blizzard GTX, I find Cyklon Cross more cushioned and a little bit more on the bouncy side, yet delivering a stable ride. 


Outsole

Jeff V:  The outsole is made of optimum grip FriXion® White, as was the Cyklon’s.  

This outsole has remarkably deep 7mm lugs with an effective design/pattern/spacing that provide remarkable grip on any terrain, surface, condition. It is one of the best out there.  

The lugs are also designed to accommodate La Sportiva hobnails, which I will likely add as soon as the trails ice up a bit more.  Hobnails are easy to screw in, never fall out and stay sharp over time, providing the highest level of grip on steep, icy trails.  

John: La Sportiva never seems to miss on their outsoles. The FriXion® white rubber outsole mix offers excellent grip underfoot in all adverse conditions and is quite versatile.  I have run in the Cyklon Cross GTX on snowy trails and roads, wet rock, dry trails, loose off trail, and slush + mud and they have yet to have  me second guess my footing. I was very confident on all surfaces and found that traction devices will work well with the shoe construct as well. The Black Diamond Distance Spike fits perfectly over if need be without any dysfunction.

Jana: When it comes to traction on technical / mountain terrain, I have yet to find a La Sportiva shoe that does not deliver. Well spaced out 7mm lugs are hard to beat, delivering ultra-grippy feel. As Jeff mentioned above, the outsole is designed to fit AT Grip studs (LaSportiva Blizzard GTX has them embedded in the outsole already), increasing grip on snowy or icy terrain. I found no flaws here.



Ride

Jeff V:  No surprises here, as the Cyklon Cross GTX is meant for rugged, technical mountain trails, the ride is predictably stable, firm, protective and suitable for the terrain.


John: This isn’t a particularly plush, smooth, or an upbeat and lively ride, but that’s not what you’re paying for in this shoe. The Cyklon Cross GTX is protective and predictable. I really enjoyed how it performed on all types of terrain, especially steep and technical. 


Jana: As I mentioned previously, this is a stable, grippy, and comfortable shoe to run in. I ran it at -2F / -17C, wearing only a single thin layer of wool socks, and my feet and toes stayed warm, and dry the entire time. The seamless lining of the inner toe box adds to the already comfortable feel. Traction is outstanding,


Conclusions and Recommendations


Jeff V:  I have nothing but good things to say about the Cyklon Cross GTX. It has become my de facto choice for winter running on steep mountain trails when the conditions are snowy, wet or it is just cold out and I want the added warmth/protection of the Gore upper.  


Performance, quality, security, traction, stability and protection are all top class. La Sportiva is at the pinnacle of all mountain competency and the Cyklon Cross GTX demonstrates that expectation.  I would highly recommend the Cyklon Cross GTX to anyone who runs trails in winter no matter the conditions.

Jeff V’s Score:  9.6/10 😊😊😊😊😊


Ride: 9.5 - while not plush, is excellent for intended use

Fit: 9.5 - would be nice to have a smidge more room in the forefoot without compromising security

Value: 9.5 - $235 is a lot, but I am confident that these will last a long time and performance is outstanding

Style: 10 - I think they look pretty amazing in a classic La Sportiva sort of way

Traction:  10 - Best in class


John: The Cyklon Cross GTX comes at a steep price of $235 and it is worth every dollar for what you get in this shoe. I have finally found the one shoe I will go to if the weather turns cold, nasty and conditions are anything but predictable. Snow-covered mountains? No problem. A quick scramble up technical terrain? Easy. A snow packed adventure around the neighborhood? Why, of course why not too! 


With best-in-class traction, a comfortable and adjustable fit, and a well protecting waterproof + warm upper, this is a shoe for running in the extremes Yet I also found it to be comfortable and responsive enough to enjoy on the more casual cruises around the neighborhood after a huge snow storm. The BOA fit system is easy to use and provides an incredibly secure fit.

John’s Score:  9.6/10 😊😊😊😊😊


Ride: 9.5 - stable, predictable, and just what is needed for harsh conditions

Fit: 9.5 - I would order a half size up on the EU sizing scale

Value: 9.5 - for $235, you get what you pay for: a “mountaineering” trail shoe

Style: 10 - sleek and stylish

Traction: 10 - The FriXion® White is best-in-class

Jana: Cyklon Cross GTX is a must have for those who love to run in the winter season, and for dealing with the harsh elements thrown at them. 


Comfortable, warm, breathable - yet waterproof and with a stable ride… it is a yet another really well designed and executed model from La Sportiva. The “Easy-in” system makes it quick and easy to put the shoe on and take it off, with a stretchy gaiter preventing all debris / snow from getting inside. I am very pleased with this model.

Jana’s Score: 9.6/10 

😊😊😊😊😊


Ride: 9.5 - stable, comfortable feel

Value: 9.5 - you get what you pay for

Fit: 9.5 - runs just a slightly smaller - size up

Traction: 10 - the best in class

Style: 10 - eye catching, bold


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


La Sportiva Cyklon (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Similar, if not the same outsole and midsole, however the Gore wrap and built in gaiter of the Cross GTX version give the shoe an entirely different vibe and a more premium feel.  Of course designed for different purposes and conditions, I am much more impressed with the Cross GTX for its intended purpose.


John: both are designed for high alpine and technical use. The Cross GTX is more protective and feels more secure on my foot - maybe it is the added gaiter or getting a half size larger shoe. Regardless, these are complementary for seasonal use - GTX in the winter and Cyklon for summer. I’d probably use the GTX for shoulder season if encountering mixed conditions and mud. 


La Sportiva Blizzard (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  At about the same price, the Blizzard has similar intent and performance and I like that it has built in spikes.  That said, the Cyklon Cross GTX is much easier to get into with the zip gaiter and BOA vs.the tight slipper like design of the Blizzard (with laces and lace garage).  I also find the Cyklon Cross GTX to be a touch warmer and more protective.

Jana: The only thing I can add to Jeff’s comment above is that from my experience wearing Blizzard GTX is that the  gaiter tend to get stretched out after 200+ miles around my ankle, allowing the snow / debris to get inside of the shoe (fixable with additional knee high / mid calf height gaiters). I don’t find much of a difference in traction between Blizzard and Cyklon Cross, however Blizzard isslightly more stable on icy surface due to its pre studded outsole. 


Hoka Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX has a lighter, faster, more responsive feel, with plusher and more foam underfoot, so better for longer distances on harder surfaces.  While the mid height of the shoe is welcome, it is not effective at keeping snow out like a ankle hugging built in gaiter as the Cyklon has and does a remarkable job of gathering snow, forming them into hard snowballs and hurting the ankle, so adding an ankle gaiter when in snow is a must.  The Speedgoat is warmer, somewhat because of the upper, but I also think the thicker midsole and composition wards off cold from beneath.  The Speedgoat is also $50 less, so a good value with its longevity amazing.


Salomon SnowSpike CSWP (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The SnowSpike has an excellent fit and is quite warm, though quite a bit heavier (more than 2oz when comparing SnowSpike in size 10 to Cyklon in 10.5).  The SnowSpike has aggressive traction with built in studs, deep lugs and performs very well in the snow.  Cushioning is great, but I will say that kind of like the Speedcross (very similar stack/design), the SnowSpike has a very blocky heel that feels high and tippy in technical terrain.  Best for hiking/slower running on less technical snowy trails, where the Cyklon can handle any terrain at any speed.


Adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  A premium shoe at $15 more at $250, the Tech Pro has a similar design and intent: full zippered gaiter, water resistant upper, easy step in, and a BOA closure.  The Tech Pro is 3 oz. heavier in my size 10.5, The fit is very roomy in comparison (welcome for casual jaunts, or thicker socks on cold days, but not for high performance) and traction it is not nearly as good as the Cyklon.


John: The BOA system on the Cyklon wraps over the foot while on the Terrex it pulls the two sides of the upper together. I personally prefer the Cyklon’s design and found it to be more secure. The Terrex has a water resistant overlay that zips up above the ankle and the Cyklon has a Gore Tex waterproof upper. Thus, in colder conditions, the Cyklon is a warmer shoe. The Terrex is heavier (by 3 oz / 85g or so) and yet it has a more lively ride from its Boost midsole and geometry. On the other hand,the Cyklon is more structured and efficient through steep technical terrain. I really like the velcro strap of the Terrex and wish the La Sportiva had something more protective to prevent its zipper from icing over. 


The La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX is available at our partners below


La Sportiva

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

CampSaver

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better.  He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors.  Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years.  He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.


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 every day.


Jana took up running in 2016 after a back injury. Prior to that she was a speed skater, but due to back pain and doctor's recommendation, she transitioned into running. Since then, starting with shorter ultra distance races she quickly evolved into an avid long distance and unsupported mountain runner. She also loves to take on challenges/races in arctic and subarctic climates, mainly in unsupported and semi-self supported style. She runs about 100 miles per week: 40 miles on road and 60 miles trail mostly at high elevations. She currently lives in Utah/Wyoming.


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5 comments:

Antoine said...

Thank you so much for this great review.
My winter running shoes are the La Sportival Uragano GTX.
I find them excellent but I admit I van not run more than 2 hours with them because the fit is very narrow in front.
I would love to have an overall comparison and in the fit in particular.
Cheers, Antoine.

Jeff Valliere said...

Antoine, the Uragano are among my favorites! I wish they still made them, as mine are getting pretty beat, certainly one of the shoes I have put the most miles on. I would say fit is comparable. Do you size up? I size up a half size, but could easily see going up a full size for longer outings where you want more room or even thicker sock (I just run in these a few hours at a time at the most and value precision fit for these day to day runs).

Antoine said...

Thank you for the answer, Jeff.
Yes, the Uragano GTX are great. I have sized up half size in US, which is probably not enough as you say.
These Cyklon Cross GTX are appealing but in fact looks like not so different (purpose, weight, fit, sole). I have the feeling both models are a legacy of the Mutant series...
According to you what are the key differences? The BOA of course, but maybe also the midsole?
Again, your valuable reviews and discussions are much much appreciated!
Greetings from Switzerland, where snow is late...
Antoine.

Jeff Valliere said...

I would say the biggest difference is that the Cyklon Cross GTX is widely available for purchase and the Uragano is discontinued. As far as the midsole, the Cyklon is dual density and I don't think the Uragano is, but honestly performance is very similar. Lugs slightly different in design, but comparably effective. I do think the Frixion White has better wet and especially better wet rock/slab traction, even better dry rock traction than the Frixion AT of the Uragano. Just compared side by side, the Uragano, I practically need a shoe horn to get in, so makes me appreciate the ease of the Cyklon. Once in, fit is pretty close with the Cyklon being a touch more precise even. Cyklon is a little lighter and has a more streamlined, nimble feel, all thinks that made the Uragano a hit for me, but Cyklon does it even better. Consider sizing up a full size and I think you would be good. Let me know what you decide.

Antoine said...

That's what I call a thorough comparison. Thank you.
What you write tends to confirm that Cyklon Cross GTX is a nice evolution of an already excellent shoe, but certainly not a completely different one.
For my intended purpose, snow running, I will probably opt for the Uragano, because I can find it at half price (a discount of ~120 Eur/USD/CHF!) I will follow your advice and go for a full US size up.
Thank you so much for your help (and for the great content Jon this website in general!!!)
Antoine.