La Sportiva Wildcat.
It’s getting to be that time of year again…what I call “transition season”. Basically its’ the time between spring…and winter. Some people refer to it as summer, but I’m allergic to that word, so I made my own season…transition season. As the snow quickly disappears and grey clouds fill the sky, I’ve found myself lacing up the trail running shoes and getting my fix on the trails around Snow King quite a bit lately.
Recently, I’ve been testing out some new La Sportiva shoes called the Wildcat. At less than 12 oz, the Wildcat is a relatively lightweight shoe that offers lots of cushion and moderate stability. It’s not the lightest shoe out there, but most ultra-light shoes don’t offer squat for stability or cushioning, so an extra ounce or two is worth it in the long run. Your feet will love you on those hot days running in the sun, as the Wildcat has a full mesh upper that allows for impressive breathability and dries very quickly when wet.
Rubber toe-cap provides protection from rocks and roots.
On top, the Wildcat has a nice protective covering over the tongue, which helps keep dirt, pebbles and rocks from making their way into the shoe. A rubber cap over the toe protects them from roots and rocks that always seem to bite you when you least expect them. Inside, a honeycomb lining on the tongue and heel add to the wickabilitly of the fabric and give a nice soft feeling around you foot.
Lacing is what I would call minimal on the Wildcat. I usually prefer shoes with lacing a little bit further down towards the toe, as they seem to hold my foot in place better on downhill sections of trail. But, after one break-in run, my foot stayed put even on the steepest descents with the minimal lacing. Unlike many European based companies who tend to make narrowly lasted shoes, I found the Wildcats to fit on the wider side, which is good for most Americans that have big, fat, clown feet.
Transkinetic Heel Stabilizer increases stability.
In the heel area, the Wildcat has what La Sportiva refers to as the Transkinetic Heel Stabilizer. Basically it’s a plastic piece that fits around the heel, offering increased stability. Though the Wildcat is not a “motion control” shoe per-say, it does offer stability for a more neutral runner. The Wildcat also offers lots of cushioning with two layers of EVA, one being an ultra plush and durable LaSpEVA, running all the way from the toe to the heel, and sucks up impacts saving your knees.
For added traction, rubber studs or cleats stick out from the bottom of the sole.
On the bottom, the sole really shines on the Wildcat. With a little narrower platform than some shoes, the Wildcat finds flat surfaces easier than a wide shoe. Meaning it fits in between rocks…instead of getting all skewed on top of them. Another highlight of the sole is the tread pattern, which has little nubs or studs that stick out beyond overall plane of the sole and allow for great traction in loose and or muddy terrain, as well as having superior self-cleaning characteristics when things get sticky.
So far, I like the Wildcat for general running on any type of trail be it loose and rocky, or smooth and muddy. They are light, yet cushy and moderately stable without being over built. And when the temps really start o heat up, I know my feet will stay cool with the extremely breathable upper. Try a pair on…I think you’ll like them.