Verdict from 2 experts and 19 user reviews

4 reasons to buy

  • According to a few users, the Unika offered superb cushioning no matter the distance.
  • Some runners were impressed by the shoe’s durable traction on varied surfaces.
  • A user remarked that the shoe fits great out of the box.
  • Several runners lauded the shoe's excellent quality.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The La Sportiva Unika is a very expensive trail shoe.
  • A couple of runners mentioned that the tongue felt rough.
  • The upper felt warm; one user advised other runners to wear thin socks.

Bottom line

The La Sportive Unika is an expensive trail running shoe. Those who tried the shoe admired its cushioning, traction, and fit. While others consider this model a successful release, others were dismayed over a few flaws. Overall, this trail shoe is worth a try.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Good to know

  • The La Sportiva Unika prides itself as the first mountain running shoe made in Europe. It is designed to be a versatile shoe that easily handles any trail, in any distance. The Unika uses a combination of La Sportiva’s premium materials and technology to create a durable, resilient, and reliable running shoe that will last for a long time.
  • A dual-layer upper caps off the shoe’s structure. It uses the brand’s Sock-Like™ construction, as well as their proprietary lace-up system, to form a package that provides stability, comfort, and convenience.
  • The Infinitoo™ midsole material claims to have a high energy return and compression resistance, which results in a strong and consistent cushioning. Coupled with a solid rock plate and a dynamic and sturdy rubber outsole, the Unika gives an adaptable performance to let the runner have a pleasant trail running experience.

The Unika is a trail running shoe that is true to size. It has an anatomical silhouette that follows the shape of the foot; therefore, it intends to fit runners of all foot volumes. The shoe is available in D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

The outsole of the La Sportiva Unika is FriXion® XF 2.0, which is the brand’s go-to rubber compound for shoes that are used on angled rocks and trail surfaces covered with wet or dry sand. The FriXion® XF 2.0 delivers superb grip and lightweight protection simultaneously.

Assisting the sticky rubber of the FriXion® XF 2.0 are the Stability-Lugs™, which have the unique feature of being eternal stabilizers. What this means is that, aside from enabling traction, the lugs help steady the shoe, especially on uneven surfaces and during trail transitions.

The Infinitoo™ technology of the Unika’s midsole creates a cushioning out of polyurethane (PU) foam. It possesses a high energy return and a consistent level of underfoot comfort. Compared to traditional midsole foams, the Infinitoo™ is more compression-resistant, therefore is more elevated in durability and firmness. The Brooks Caldera 3 is constructed similarly to the La Sportiva Unika, as both shoes are 

A Rock-Guard™ rock plate is inserted in the middle of the outsole and midsole, offering the foot increased longevity and protection from debris and other harmful trail elements.

La Sportiva introduces the Sock-Like™ construction in the Unika. Inspired by mountain climbing, the Sock-Like™ takes the dual-layer upper and wraps it tightly and securely around the foot. The result is a contoured fit that permits the adequate level of stability and comfort for long-distance trail runs.

The Unika also features the Lace-up Harness™, the lacing system that, aside from locking the foot down, integrates the uppers to the midsole. This action aims to distribute pressure evenly across the entire foot, resulting in a smooth ride and overall a pleasant running experience.

How Unika compares

This shoe: 67
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: £180
All shoes average: £130
£60 £240
This shoe: 330g
All shoes average: 296g
164g 680g
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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