Thursday, February 02, 2023

La Sportiva Jackal II and Jackal II BOA Multi Tester Review: 5 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Valliere and John Tribbia

LaSportiva Jackal 11 ($165) & Jackal II BOA ($185)


Jeff:  La Sportiva has improved the Jackal by improving the upper (made of eco friendly materials) to be a softer more flexible mesh, is more breathable and a bit wider in the toe box.  The Jackal 2 also has a redesigned heel for a more comfortable, secure and stable fit and is 1oz lighter.  New for 2023, La Sportiva is now offering a BOA option while  both share the same Frixion Red sticky outsole for an excellent balance of durability/grip, as well as the same midsole.  

The Jackal II is wider in fit than the BOA version with the BOA version having a more refined race fit and higher collar for technical terrain, although the BOA version is nearly an ounce heavier.  

While similar in overall appearance, the Jackal 2 has proven in our testing to be a big improvement over the previous version.


Traction, protection, stability, improved midsole cushion lighter weight upper, 1.1 oz /31g lighter shoe : John/Jeff


Narrow fitting through the midfoot (non BOA): John

Sizing runs short: John and Jeff


Official weights: 

Jackal 2 Men's 9.7oz  / g (US9)  /  Women's 8.6oz / g (US8)

Jackal 2 BOA 10.5oz / g (US9) / Women’s 9.5oz / g (US8)

Sample weights: 

Jackal 2 men’s- 9.9oz  / 282 g US10

Jackal 1: 11 oz / 312g US10

Jackal 2 BOA men’s- 11 oz / 311 g US10

Stack Height: men’s mm heel 29 / 22 mm forefoot ( 7mm drop) 

Available February 2023. 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Jeff:  Out of the box, I am very impressed with both versions of the Jackal 2, as they both feel light (lighter than the previous) in both the hand and on the foot and have a very streamlined look.  The outsole and midsole appear to be the same, but the upper is much improved.

The Jackal 2 (non BOA) now has an Eco-friendly upper with a thin and highly breathable recycled fabric that is paired with a dynamic lacing system to allow the shoe to accommodate a wide variety of foot shapes. 

Not only is the upper more pliable, flexible and breathable, but it is lighter weight with no compromises in foothold and I also  found  the upper to help a lot with overall stability.  I found the first version to be a bit tippy in technical terrain, but have no such issues with the Jackal 2.  

I was provided with a size 10.5 which fits me perfectly.  I have typically worn size 10 in most La Sportiva and 10.5 in GTX versions, but am starting to think I am just a 10.5 in this brand (I actually measure 9.75). 

Fit in the heel and midfoot are exceptionally secure and the forefoot is notably roomy, like legit width and unlike anything I have experienced in any other La Sportiva. Yet at the same time they are both secure and more stable than before.

The Jackal 2 BOA version fits the same lengthwise, but is notably more narrow for a more precise, race-like fit.  The dynamic BOA fit system features two BOA dials for quick, precise and infinitely customizable fit. Having the two dials for fine tuning fit the rear/heel and forefoot separately makes a big difference over any single dial BOA shoe I have used.


Breathability in the non BOA version is a little better than the BOA version, with a more open mesh and few overlays/wraps:

The Spiyralift tongue and collar cradle the ankle, providing increased proprioception and protection in technical terrain, The collar works like a built in gaiter to keep out rocks, dirt and other trail debris.  

While not a shoe built for snow, I have run in the Jackal 2 BOA on snowy days and the slightly more substantial upper and collar help shed snow and keep it out of your shoe (dry powdery snow in limited exposure).  

Overall I prefer the more dialed in, precise fit of the BOA version for more technical terrain, while the wider, more relaxed toe box of the non BOA version is for sure an advantage for longer runs. 

The Perform Fit wrap is directly connected to the BOA laces and provides a soft, comfortable, but snug midfoot lockdown.

John: I received the non-BOA version and agree with Jeff that the Jackal 2 feels lighter and has a much improved upper. 

Out of the box, I do think the Jackal is still designed more like a hiking shoe equipped for mountain running rather than a nimble cushy trail runner. 

Don’t get me wrong, it feels like the second iteration is positioning toward being a trail runner with more breathable uppers that drain well, a wider toe box, a more dialed heel fit for greater stability and security with the Jackal 2 bringing superb foot protection and durability that is rarely found on most trail runners. I wear a US 9 men’s typically and I would have preferred a 9.5 in the Jackal 2 because I felt like the shoe was just a bit short. Also, while the toe box is wide, I felt like the midfoot was fairly narrow but that could have also been because I needed an extra half-size in the shoe overall.


John: The Jackal 2 is designed with a full-length EVA midsole with strategically placed Infinitoo™ polyurethane inserts in the heel and forefoot, which increase the responsiveness of the midsole and help to give the shoe more stability in uneven terrain. The midsole is the same in both versions. 

The midsole is incredibly protective with a dual-density rockplate and a superbly grippy FriXion outsole that has 3 mm chevron lugs. The midsole and outsole combine to create a well-cushioned feel. Compared to the original Jackal, I feel like the second iteration is more comfortable and more responsive while still providing outstanding protection underfoot. 

Jeff:  John sums up the midsole well.  I confirmed with La Sportiva that the midsole remains unchanged, but I have noticed a bump in performance due to the lighter weight of the shoe (31g / 1.1 oz lighter in my US10), the redesigned heel counter and much improved upper which enhances stability.  

While the cushioning is still on the firm side, the newer version feels more responsive and overall the shoe is much more enjoyable to run in.


Jeff:  The Frixion outsole with 3mm lugs on the non BOA Jackal 2 is the same as the first version, with great versatility ranging from roads, to packed trails, steep rocky trails, slab, loose off trail, snow, mellow ice etc…  The rubber is sticky, yet durable.  

John: Thankfully, I received the Jackal 2 samples before snow arrived on the Colorado front range, so I was able to run in a mix of terrain, including rocky trail, snow, ice, gravel pack trail, and mud. The traction performed exceptionally well in all conditions. 

The outsole was best on the most technical terrain with lots of exposed rocky surfaces and especially on downhills.

Jeff: The Jackal 2 BOA version gets an upgraded outsole.

It features La Sportiva’s Frixion XF 2.0 white rubber (their stickiest compound).


John: For those running in the mountains over technical terrain, the Jackal 2 provides an accommodating ride - it is firm enough to absorb impact from sharp obstacles and yet cushioned enough to feel bouncy on that terrain. The improved heel counter brings more stability on up and downhill sections. As with the first Jackal version, I’m still not convinced this is a trail running shoe given the firmness , but it will definitely be one you’ll love for longer days in the mountains. 

Jeff:  John sums the ride well and while on the firm side, performance is much improved over the previous, feeling much more responsive, lively, stable and enjoyable to run in.  

Conclusions and Recommendations:

Jeff:  Both the Jackal 2 and Jackal 2 BOA are great all around trail trainers and I think would even be adept at mid distance races on all but the most extreme terrain.  Just because of the accommodating fit alone, I think the Jackal 2 (non BOA) would be the most appropriate shoe in the La Sportiva line for longer distances, though for longer distances I would still prefer a bit more cushion underfoot and softer cushioning.  

The Jackal 2 BOA, while it weighs more than an ounce more in my US 10.5, is my preferred shoe of the two, as the dual BOA fit system is implemented so incredibly well in this instance, rivaling any BOA shoe I have tested to date.  

Having such a level of secure, comfortable, customizable fit that is so quick and easy for only $20 more is a huge plus (unless that is you have a wider foot, then go with the non BOA).  I also appreciate the added grip of the Frixion White outsole and the conforming higher collar that works like a gaiter.  Either way, you cannot go wrong with either model and I highly recommend both. La Sportiva has done a great job here!

Jeff’s Score:  9.4/10 😊😊😊😊😊

Ride: 9 - still a bit firm underfoot, but that can be a plus depending on terrain

Fit: 9.5 - Fit is the best of any La Sportiva to date, with some breathing room in the non BOA version and amazing fit system in the BOA version (though size up a half size for either model).

Value: 9.5 - both are sturdy, protective and durable shoes

Style: 9.5 - I like the look of La Sportiva overall, as they scream “serious mountain shoe” and these are no exception.

Traction: 9.5 - amazing traction all around

John: The Jackal 2 is a great shoe for moving fast across technical mountain terrain and it brings better stability, a lighter construction, and improved fit compared to the v1 Jackal. I found the v2 to be secure fitting, comfortable, and especially stable when navigating technical terrain. I think the improvements over the previous version make the Jackal 2 a go-to option for faster and even more runnable efforts up mountain peaks or in fast paced run/hike excursions in the trails. 

John’s Score: 8.7/10 

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

Fit: 8 (I recommend trying these on before you purchase so you know the right fit)

Value: 8 (solid mountain purposed shoe)

Style: 7 

Traction: 10 (La Sportiva never seems to fail in this category)

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


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

La Sportiva Jackal v1 (RTR Review)

They both have the same outsole and midsole, but the improvements in fit, lighter upper, improved heel stability and 31g / 1.1 oz overall lighter weight all combine to make a more responsive shoe with a much better feel to them, more stable, more runnable in technical terrain and just a more enjoyable experience.  Add in the BOA fit system in the BOA version and improved sticky rubber outsole, La Sportiva has real winners here.

John: Agree with everything above. The improved upper is a big win for the v2, which makes the shoe feel less bulky and cuts weight to help with improved agility. 

La Sportiva Cyklon (RTR Review)

Jeff: The Cyklon weighs more and has a less lively feel and less protection underfoot, but does have deeper, more pronounced lugs for improved traction in loose terrain and snow.  I much prefer the fit of either of the new Jackal to the Cyklon with the dual BOA of the Jackal 2 BOA much better implemented than in the Cyklon

John: I feel like these two shoes have a slightly different use-case with the Cyklon being more boot like and equipped with more aggressive outsole traction for sloppy days in the mountains, and the Jackal 2 being more runnable with better protection for mountain pursuits that may encounter technical and sharp rocks underfoot. 

La Sportiva Karakal  (RTR Review)

Jeff: The Karakal has a similar ride, is similarly quick and agile, but is narrower and not as protective.

John: Overall the fit of the Jackal 2 is more conforming and secure, which provides a more stable and controlled experience.

La Sportiva Bushido II (RTR Review)  

Jeff: The Bushido II is more of a slim fit, but really especially secure with a beefy more protective upper for rocky, rugged mountain terrai.It has better traction and overall better protection.  The Bushido II is not as quick or lively, but the weapon of choice for high mountain, all mountain rough stuff.

Saucony Peregrine 13 (RTR Review

Jeff:  The Peregrine 13 has similar stats, but is softer underfoot. Overall it feels more cushy and better for longer distances.  While the Peregrine tread compound is not quite as sticky as La Sporitva’s Frixion and especially Frixion White, the lugs are deeper and more aggressive so more suitable more loose terrain, snow, and off trail.

John: Jeff’s comparison is spot-on. I would use the Jackal 2 for any high alpine and technical pursuits where there’s more rock than dirt and the need for sticky traction, stability, and agility are required. The Peregrine is good for just about everything else - it is comfortable, dynamic, and can still withstand technical obstacles. 

The Jackal II and Jackal II BOA will be available February 2023

Jackal II Women's available now at La Sportiva 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.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Pete said...

Thanks for the reviews. Always informative. I wonder if you could add a comparison to the Akasha II.

Jeff Valliere said...

Sure thing Pete! The Akasha is a great shoe for longer distances, but I find it to be a bit lumbering compared to most other shoes on the market today. The Jackal 2 I think has a better fit overall (both versions) and are lighter, more lively and overall more fun to run in. The Akasha feels a bit dated to me, where the Jackal feels modern and more functional.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Comparison to Scarpa Golden Kima RT please. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

hi jeff! How does it compare to the spin infinity shoe?

Anonymous said...

hi, great review. in anticipation of buying the new shoes for the races and the best days, on long distances, I was orienting myself on these, the Akasha II and the S/Lab Ultra 3 (the latter I have already had 2 pairs and I know them well).
how do these shoes compare? alternative advice that I have not considered, for a small to medium foot?

Anonymous said...

I just received the Jackal 2 after wearing out my Jackal 1's and was hoping to love them, but they are not as good for me. The material on the instep is rather rigid and pushes against my foot. It seems like they were a little off on the construction and the fabric bunches up. Overall volume is greater and I have to use the second set of holes to get the heel snugged up. The mid and outsole are slightly narrower which may make the overall weight less. When I try them on side by side the new fit is just a little more sloppy and I feel like I need to snug the laces to tightly even though the length is correct. Wider feet will like these.