Our verdict

The Prodigio fills a notable gap in La Sportiva's lineup with its plush midsole, ideal for long distances. We really liked the comfortable ride and versatility the shoe offered during our runs. However, our lab tests uncovered a surprising downside—durability was significantly lacking. This is a major concern for us, particularly when recommending it to runners who aren't lightweight. In our experience, while the shoe performs wonderfully in terms of comfort and versatility, its short lifespan could be a dealbreaker for many.

Pros

  • Breathable upper
  • Solid performance
  • Stable platform
  • Improved rocker
  • Hike & walk ready
  • Allows toe splay
  • Bouncy supercritical midsole

Cons

  • Poor durability
  • Could use even more foam
  • Not for technical trails

Audience verdict

83
Good!

Who should buy

We pushed the La Sportiva Prodigio to its limits in the lab and on trails, and we're confident it's:

  • A versatile jack-of-all-trails shoe for runners seeking comfort on various terrains.
  • Excellent for lightweight runners who demand a breathable trail shoe.
  • A good pick for those seeking a plushier La Sportiva, being ideal for long-distance training runs and competitions.

La Sportiva Prodigio

Who should NOT buy

Durability tops our list of worries when it comes to the La Sportiva Prodigio. Our lab tests have shown quick wear and tear on the toebox, heel, and outsole. If you prioritise long-lasting performance, you might want to consider the Saucony Peregrine 14 or the Hoka Speedgoat 5.

For racers seeking maximum energy return and explosiveness, the Prodigio might fall a bit short too. We recommend exploring options with Pebax foams and carbon plates, like the Nike Ultrafly or Saucony Endorphin Edge, for an exhilarating trail experience.

La Sportiva Prodigio parts

Breathability

Trail shoes often struggle with breathability, but we had high hopes for the Prodigio, as La Sportiva positions it as their premiere ultra racer, suggesting it should offer at least good ventilation.

To our delight, the Prodigio delivers on this promise, earning a 4/5 in our breathability rating—a solid performance.

By using a light and examining the cut-in-half shoe, we observed the varied thickness across different parts of the Prodigio. The midfoot and toecap are substantially reinforced for ruggedness and stability, while the toebox uses just engineered mesh.

La Sportiva Prodigio micro

To better understand this effective ventilation, we returned to the microscope and identified the key to its impressive airflow.

La Sportiva Prodigio micro close

The engineered mesh is punctuated with countless mini holes that allow heat and moisture to escape, effectively combining with the tongue.

We also appreciated the quality of the upper, which features a dual-layer configuration that adds comfort by ensuring the foot is not in direct contact with the mesh but rather a softer inner fabric.

Test results
Prodigio 4
Average 3.3
Compared to 83 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

While the Prodigio excels in breathability, this often entails a compromise in durability—a significant concern for trail shoes.

Indeed, our tests revealed a disappointing durability score of 1/5 after subjecting the shoe to our first Dremel test. The engineered mesh surrendered almost immediately when confronted with the sandpaper tip.

La Sportiva Prodigio Toebox durability
Test results
Prodigio 1
Average 3.1
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

After examining the toebox, we turned our attention to the heel padding, hoping for an improvement—since it seemed things couldn't get much worse.

However, we were met with another eyebrow-raising score of 1 out of 5 here in the lab, deepening our concerns about the overall durability of the shoe. We're now holding out hope that at least the outsole will show some improvements.

La Sportiva Prodigio Heel padding durability
Test results
Prodigio 1
Average 2.9
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Before using the Dremel for the third and final time, we paused to first assess the hardness of the FriXion Red XT 2.0 rubber. With a reading of 90.1 HC, it's definitively on the harder side of the spectrum, suggesting robust durability.

La Sportiva Prodigio Outsole hardness
Test results
Prodigio 90.1 HC
Average 85.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

Yet we faced another disappointment.

Following our third Dremel test, the outcome was far from satisfactory, revealing a 1.5 mm indentation that seriously questions the Prodigio's durability. Based on our findings, we believe this shoe should not be considered by those who frequently deal with early wear in their footwear.

La Sportiva Prodigio Outsole durability
Test results
Prodigio 1.5 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We also examined the rubber thickness, which measured a very standard 2.0 mm.

La Sportiva Prodigio Outsole thickness
Test results
Prodigio 2.0 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

In hopes of receiving encouraging news, we brought our digital scale to measure the weight of the Prodigio.

We discovered it weighs just 9.6 oz or 271g, a favourable figure for its size. From our evaluation, the shoe also feels exceptionally light during runs.

La Sportiva Prodigio Weight
Test results
Prodigio 9.56 oz (271g)
Average 10.30 oz (292g)
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The heel boasts 29.3 mm of cushioning underfoot, although after accounting for the outsole, lugs, and insole, the actual amount of foam is less than it appears.

Nevertheless, we feel that being just shy of 30 mm probably strikes an excellent balance between lightness and cushioning for many runners.

La Sportiva Prodigio Heel stack
Test results
Prodigio 29.3 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

With just 20.4 mm in the forefoot, La Sportiva has positioned the Prodigio as one of the less-cushioned ultra running shoes on the market.

We've noted that—coupled with the suboptimal durability we previously observed—this shoe is better suited for very lightweight runners who do not require much cushioning underfoot even for longer distances.

La Sportiva Prodigio Forefoot stack
Test results
Prodigio 20.4 mm
Average 24.5 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

La Sportiva advertises a 6-mm drop, yet our precise measurements, adhering to official WA standards, revealed a true 8.9-mm offset. This is also clearly visible in the shoe's wedge-shaped profile.

It's also worth noting that La Sportiva lists a 34/26 mm stack height, which is significantly inaccurate, at least when measured at the 12% and 75% points.

La Sportiva Prodigio Drop
Test results
Prodigio 8.9 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 105 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is a 4.1-millimetre thick piece of foam made by the well-known brand Ortholite. It's their Hybrid model, which includes 5% recycled rubber for a more eco-friendly construction.

La Sportiva Prodigio Insole thickness
Test results
Prodigio 4.1 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

After checking the insole, now it's time to properly take a look at the main cushioning agent of the Prodigio—the midsole. And it also happens to be one of the biggest news of this shoe.

The foam used by La Sportiva is a new formulation named XFlow that's softer than anything else that we have tried before in this brand, which is widely known as one that tend to deliver firmer rides.

But that's no more, as the 19.5-HA supercritical EVA feels plushier than ever, especially for being a trail shoe. And it's a good change especially for those tackling ultras.

La Sportiva Prodigio Midsole softness
Test results
Prodigio 19.5 HA
Average 22.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

We froze the Prodigio for 20 minutes to see how much the cushioning changed.

We then tested its firmness again with our Shore A durometer. The midsole firmness got up by 27.6%, which is actually a normal reaction for an EVA foam midsole in cold temperatures.

La Sportiva Prodigio Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Prodigio 27.6%
Average 26.4%
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Rocker

For those seeking the more traditional ride characteristic of most La Sportiva models, the Prodigio might not meet expectations—but we see the logic behind this design choice.

La Sportiva Prodigio rockered

Geared toward long training sessions and ultra competitions, its rockered shape is a strategic feature that aids in turnover when legs are fatigued.

Stability

Lateral stability test

We mentioned the Prodigio is La Sportiva's softest shoe yet, which we understand might raise concerns about stability.

After all, softer foams can feel less supportive, right? But while testing, we discovered the Italian brand incorporated raised midsole sidewalls and other clever design features to combat this. The result? A surprisingly stable ride that feels supportive for your ankles and knees.

Torsional rigidity

We discovered another interesting design choice by La Sportiva. They increased the shoe's torsional rigidity to a score of 4 out of 5. This is surprisingly close to shoes with carbon fibre plates, known for their massive stiffness.

Test results
Prodigio 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We also gave the heel counter a high score of 4 out of 5 for its stiffness. While this extra support might be necessary for heel strikers, it does make the heel of the Prodigio a bit uncomfortable at times.

Test results
Prodigio 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

European running shoes typically tend to be narrower than those of US and Japanese brands. This is validated by the midsole dimensions of the Prodigio. In the forefoot, we found 109.1 mm, which is a moderate-to-narrow design that aims to perform well at multiple terrain, including sharp corners.

La Sportiva Prodigio Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Prodigio 109.1 mm
Average 112.1 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The same philosophy applies to the heel, with a width of 89.1 mm.

La Sportiva Prodigio heel

That's a very average number that, again, aims to deliver a solid performance for all runners, but clearly steers away from ultra-wide, behemoth-like trail running shoes like the Brooks Caldera 7 (105.2 mm).

La Sportiva Prodigio Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Prodigio 89.1 mm
Average 89.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

With its thick midsole, we initially expected the Prodigio to exhibit moderate to high stiffness, but La Sportiva pleasantly surprised us—it's actually quite flexible, which greatly enhances comfort.

Registering just 20.0N in our 90-degree bend test, we found that the Prodigio doubles effectively as a hiking shoe and delivers a comfy experience even on the longest runs.

Test results
Prodigio 20.0N
Average 28.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

The good news about the stiffness continues—after placing the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes and testing it again, we discovered that it only became 11.2% stiffer. This performance surpasses most running shoes!

Test results
Prodigio 11.2%
Average 35.1%
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

The lugs of the Prodigio are not deep at all at 3.4 mm, making this shoe particularly well-suited for easy or moderate trails, such as those found in US ultra marathons. It's also well suited for many European popular race courses.

La Sportiva Prodigio lugs

Each lug on this shoe features a chevron-like pattern to enhance traction. The design includes thinner lugs in the centre of the outsole; and thicker, more durable lugs on the exterior for added toughness.

La Sportiva Prodigio Lug depth
Test results
Prodigio 3.4 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

The good news about the stiffness continues—after placing the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes and testing it again, we discovered that it only became 11.2% stiffer. This performance surpasses most running shoes!

Toebox width at the widest part

We measured the toebox at its widest part, finding it to be 99.4 mm. This standard sizing is likely to suit 80% of runners, except those at the extremes of the Gaussian bell curve—those with either very narrow or very wide feet.

La Sportiva Prodigio Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Prodigio 99.4 mm
Average 98.8 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We always conduct a second—and last—measurement in terms of width for the toebox to understand how the shoe fits in this area.

La Sportiva Prodigio pov

We found that La Sportiva thought about toe splay, clearly knowing that the Prodigio should be a top pick in the ultra running category. That's why we found 81.2 mm, which is on the wider side of the spectrum. And we're happy with this!

La Sportiva Prodigio Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Prodigio 81.2 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 68 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

In our view, a proper trail running shoe should feature a gusseted tongue to ensure a perfect lockdown and prevent debris from entering the shoe.

Interestingly, the Prodigio has a tongue that is indeed securely attached to both sides, and they've also extended the toebox to minimise the tongue length— a design choice that might not suit everyone, especially those who prefer a bit more room in the instep.

La Sportiva Prodigio Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Prodigio Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

We carefully measured the tongue of the La Sportiva Prodigio and discovered that the Italian company pursued a very balanced approach between weight and padding. At a thickness of 5.5 mm, we feel that they achieved this balance perfectly, and we actually like the tongue a lot, especially for ultra distances.

La Sportiva Prodigio tongue

The laces are made from recycled materials.

The Prodigio also features a mixed-style lacing system that's somewhat unusual and might be less appealing to those who prefer traditional eyelets.

La Sportiva Prodigio Tongue padding
Test results
Prodigio 5.5 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The Prodigio lacks a finger loop heel tab—an omission that, while not critical, would have been a welcome feature for us.

La Sportiva Prodigio Heel tab
Test results
Prodigio None

Removable insole

We discovered that La Sportiva is considerate of those who prefer customized or aftermarket footbeds, as we found that removing the stock insole poses absolutely no problem. 

La Sportiva Prodigio Removable insole
Test results
Prodigio Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

In our lab, we're always delighted to find trail shoes equipped with hi-vis reflective elements, and La Sportiva has ticked this box with the Prodigio's heel.

Test results
Prodigio Yes