Verdict from 6 experts and +100 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Traction: Many racers are amazed by the Lycan GTX's grip on rocky, muddy, and snowy surfaces. 
  • Toe splay: Testers attest to the roomy toe box of the platform. 
  • Comfort: The shoe is very comfortable and doesn't require a break-in period, shared several runners. 
  • Waterproofing: Athletes swear by the shoe's effectiveness in keeping the water out. 
  • Protection: Quite a few experts laud the shoe for shielding the foot from the harsh ground elements. 
  • Stability: According to a number of buyers, the trail runner allows for surefooted, steady steps. 
  • Heel fit: A couple of commenters are happy with the snug lockdown in the heel.

1 reasons not to buy

'

  • Bulk: Reviewers who commented on weight agree that the shoe is heavy.

Bottom line

Whether you're tackling the outdoor terrains on a humid or rainy day, the Lycan GTX from La Sportiva wipes your worries away. Despite featuring waterproof qualities, the shoe still maintains a breathable wrap for optimal in-shoe comfort. Living up to the standards of a quality trail shoe, it is crafted to supply maximum protection, traction, and support to help you in your outdoor endeavors.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Good to know

  • The La Sportive Lycan GTX has a Gore-Tex lining underneath the upper. The purpose of this component is to keep the foot from getting wet. Instead of coating the upper with a Gore-Tex film, the waterproof material was made into a lining to allow a bit of breathability.
  • The forefoot of the shoe has a wider volume for optimal comfort. Commonly, feet tend to swell during trail runs. The wider volume caters to the natural swelling of the foot, preventing runners from feeling constriction mid-run. It also improves the runner's balance during toeing off.
  • On the outsole is a Rock Guard that has been combined with the Impact Brake System (IBS). The combination makes the bottom of the shoe ideal for taking on hard, rocky terrain without any slipping or sliding.

The material the outsole is made of is called Frixion Blue Compound. It is marked with a blue “X” sign near the heel. This rubber is highly durable and can supply a good amount of grip while maintaining its bendability. With a rating of 5.6 on La Sportiva’s grip scale, the outsole ensures that the runner is ready for all types of terrain.

The outsole was designed with the IBS or Impact Brake System. Developed in collaboration with Vibram, the system was made to soften the impact a runner receives while running on hard ground. It makes use of angled and opposing lugs to increase the outsole’s traction and its ability to reduce the impact by 20% as compared to regular lugged soles.

Protecting the foot from different debris that can be encountered on the trail is the Rock Guard. Aside from protecting the bottom of the shoe, this component also improves the durability and longevity of the outsole.

The midsole is made up of an Injection Molded Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate or IMEVA. This type of material is produced by injecting liquid EVA to a mold, and then letting it sit to cool and form. When the rubber becomes solid, the mold is opened, and the midsole pops out. This process produces midsoles that deliver better bounce and responsiveness compared to other manufacturing processes.

The forefoot of the midsole follows the shape of the wider forefoot on the upper. The design on the midsole improves balance by providing a stable platform that can evenly disperse the runner’s weight and helps push the runner off during the propulsion phase of the running cycle.

The upper is made up of breathable mesh that easily allows air to pass through. The material delivers proper ventilation. To strengthen it, microfiber reinforcements coated with an abrasion-resistant material were added. These additions not only augment the durability of the upper, but they also serve as extra protection for the foot. The Brooks Cascadia 13 is another trail running shoe that uses a mesh upper.

From within, a Gore-Tex lining was added to provide a comfortable in-shoe feel while acting as a layer that keeps the foot dry. Because the Gore-Tex is introduced as a lining, it makes way for sufficient ventilation as it doesn’t cover the mesh material of the upper.

On the tip of the forefoot is a TPU or Thermoplastic Utherane toe cap. It slightly enhances the durability of the upper, but its main goal is to protect the toes from accidentally getting stubbed during trail runs.

How Lycan GTX compares

This shoe: 91
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: £140
All shoes average: £130
£60 £240
This shoe: 355g
All shoes average: 296g
170g 680g
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com