La Sportiva Kaptiva review

If you are looking for a smooth and fast ride to tackle technical terrain, then look no further. With a mid-range stack height of 17mm-11mm (6 mm drop), the La Sportiva have designed a unique shoe.

With little break-in required, I found the Kaptiva's an all-rounder, and here's why:

Ladies rejoice in the Kaptiva

I love that these shoes don't conform to the norm—pink, purple, or floral. Brands that offer women more colour choices, other than those mentioned above, get my attention.

The Kaptiva comes in two colours: Opal/Aqua (pictured) and a blue/deep orange combo that I think looks great.

Sizing for women

These shoes are racing shoes. Often with this shoe style, it is difficult to find a decent size range for smaller feet in the unisex size offerings. La Sportiva offers sizes starting with a US 5.5.

A note on sizing: I am usually a size US Women's 7 in Salomon shoes. But in these, I fit a size 8 with the right amount of toe room. They are definitely a smaller size in comparison.

Comfort & fit

These shoes are on the narrower side yet have room for a slightly wider forefoot and mid-foot compared to my go to's the Salomon S-Lab Sense.

I find these similar to the Salomon S-Lab Sense but offering a little more wiggle room, arch support, and just a bit more comfort underfoot for tackling those longer distances.

While being narrow, as mentioned, they still have a roomier toe-box than most other unisex technical/racing trail shoes that I have tried.

The arch support was what I loved, adding extra hold for the foot but not adding bulk.

The upper is snug and breathable with a sock-like tongue, absolutely zero bulk. Even the laces felt good—go figure!

Good amount of support in the Kaptiva

I instantly noticed the subtle arch support when these first went on. It is often hard to find a shoe that offers some form of stability or support without being bulked up with high stack height or heavy materials.

With a solid heel cup, support and comfort are enhanced with a snug hold offering further stability. As mentioned above, these shoes are a maximum height of 17mm.

When compared to other "comfort" or long-distance shoes, this height is quite low. If you like a low profile, close to the ground feel then, this ticks the box.

Zero "ouch" moments

A 1.5mm EVA rock guard is found in the forefoot and the heel. I can vouch for its existence after a 10km run on extremely rough and rocky terrain (see pictures) with zero "ouch" moments.

The front of the toe-box offers further protection from any toe stubs, rocks or debris with a flexible yet firm TPU toe cap. The cushioning is firm and forgiving, not too hard and not too soft, just right.

There's enough cushioning to offer comfort up to ultra-marathon distance and still flexible and fast enough for 10km races and fun tearing up speedy trails.

Materials & durability

Kaptiva is a no leather/vegan shoe. Its upper consists of breathable mesh and durable rip-stop material from heel to mid-foot.

It has an adhesive overlay, which the laces feed through giving the option to cinch the laces in for a tighter fit. It is a flamboyant design with more than enough to perform and keep you tech heads happy!

I did have an issue on the first very short run with the welded material parting from the sole in the crease of the forefoot. Hopefully, this goes no further. I can't comment on the lifespan of the shoe yet.

Performance of the La Sportiva Kaptiva

La Sportiva has designed and Impact Brake System that allows for fast downhills on varying terrain. Loose gravel and scree were no issue, and I felt confident in every step while flying down my local fire trail.

The lugs (spikes) are specifically designed to assist with braking with a hexagonal shape offering more surface area grip. I had no issues with the upper. I barely noticed it was there.

The added elastic on either side of the tongue means you can lace them up tightly but still have some give. The forefoot is flexible, enabling a fast toe-off and ease running/climbing uphills. I felt a good spring in my step.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.


How La Sportiva Kaptiva ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 11% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Top 28% La Sportiva running shoes
All La Sportiva running shoes
Top 13% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of La Sportiva Kaptiva.
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Liesl Major
Liesl Major

Hi, I'm Liesl, and I'm a passionate trail runner and self-confessed gear freak. I moved to the beautiful Blue Mountains in Australia to be closer to nature and explore more remote and challenging trails right on my doorstep. My first race was a road half-marathon, and since then, I have competed in trail races from 10km to 50km. Technical single track is my favourite, and I love nothing more than the solitude of running trails and finding incredible places. I currently work in a running store and have an eye for the tech specs.