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La Sportiva Levante Review

la sportiva levante
Overall
4.4
  • Protection
    (4)
  • Traction
    (4)
  • Cushioning
    (4)
  • Reactivity
    (4.5)
  • Stability
    (5)
  • Comfort
    (5)
  • Weight
    (4.5)
Comments Rating 5 (1 review)

Summary

Mountain running shoe optimised for long distances. La Sportiva developed the Levante model based on the needs of female users. The result is a high-performance shoe that guarantees an excellent fit, remarkable precision and maximum grip even on the most technical and rocky terrain.

Pros

  • Precision of stride
  • Excellent fit for the female foot
  • Very wide toe box
  • High grip on hard ground
  • Protection against debris ingress
  • Drop of 6 mm suitable for long distances
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Sole not performing well in mud
  • Non-water-repellent upper fabric

The La Sportiva Levante is a high performance mountain running shoe, suitable for light to medium weight runners, who run long distances on rocky and hard terrain. The hallmarks of this shoe are its high precision and excellent fit, optimised for the female foot. The ideal user is the runner looking for lightness, protection and ease of running.

la sportiva levante

Technical features of the La Sportiva Levante

  • Upper: breathable air mesh made of recycled material + thermoplastic film rip stop reinforcements + knit collar + monofilament Nylon side panels
  • Midsole: XFlow™ foam + Trail Rocker™
  • Technical Fit dedicated to long distance performance
  • Lining: anti-abrasion mesh made of recycled material
  • Insole: OrthoLite® Hybrid Mountain Running® ergonomic 4 mm
  • Tread: FriXion® White compound with Impact Brake System (IBS) and longitudinal FLEX inserts
  • Cleat height: 4.5 mm
  • Drop: 6 mm (heel 30 mm, toe 24 mm)
  • Weight: 210 g per shoe (weight measured in size 39.5: 230 g)
  • Manufacturer link

In general, the construction is designed for maximum support and stability: the knit gaiter wraps around the ankle, the wrapping system and the ergonomics of the heel comfortably secure the foot, preventing it from slipping inside the shoe.

detail of la sportiva shoe

Test mode

I used the La Sportiva Levante in April and May this year for about 200 km and 8000 m of elevation gain. I tested them on hilly trails in the Brianza area of Lecco and on mid-mountain trails, even with technical and rocky sections, both uphill and downhill. On my outings, I encountered various types of terrain: dry and compact earth, mud, smooth rocks, rough rocks, meadows, mule tracks, and short sections still covered in snow. Temperatures ranged from a few degrees above zero to milder temperatures (20°C), while individual rides ranged from 20 to 30 km and gradients from 1000 m to 1500 m.

La Sportiva Levante on-site test

First impressions

When I received the La Sportiva Levante, they seemed very similar to the Jackal II Boa, which I had tested last year. This, of course, with the exception of the type of closure. The La Sportiva Levante shoes, in fact, have the classic lacing system with laces.

As far as weight is concerned, the La Sportiva Levante are lightweight shoes: I measured 230 g in size 39.5.

the weight of the shoe

Comfort and fit

The comfort of the La Sportiva Levante is excellent and I have never suffered blisters on my feet. There is no need to be afraid of stretching the gaiter collar to fit them: it is elastic and robust and, at the same time, remains soft during the run.

Once the laces are correctly adjusted, the shoe wraps around the foot well and instils a feeling of precision comparable to that which I had already experienced with the Jackal II Boa model previously tested. The difference I found between the two models is the greater width of the toe box of the Levante. I particularly appreciated this factor during long runs and in higher temperatures, where the foot tends to swell more.

testing the la sportiva levante

Foot protection and breathability

The upper is very soft to the touch. This mesh provides excellent breathability and, at the same time, prevents dust and small debris from entering the shoe. The upper is unfortunately not water-repellent; however, water evaporates fairly quickly to the outside.

levante rear
Detail of the rear of the La Sportiva Levante

There is a rubber edging on the front of the shoe that effectively protects against accidental impacts against obstacles such as rocks or roots.

The rubber edging on the front
The rubber edging on the front

The insole is 4 mm thick and belongs to the Ergonomic line, which is performance-oriented and designed by La Sportiva to achieve an excellent compromise between comfort and responsiveness.

the insole
The 4 mm Ergonomic Insole

On this model, the flap is integrated into the upper and is raised to create a protective gaiter. During my trails, the flap never moved and never created any excessive friction zones on my instep, thanks to the soft, elastic material it is made of. Furthermore, no debris has ever managed to get into the shoe. This is by no means a given, as it had happened to me in the past with other trail running shoes equipped with a collar.

The flap with gaiter function
The flap with gaiter function

In addition, I found it very useful to be able to store the laces, once fastened, inside the tongue. In particular, I have always stored my laces in the front slot of the tongue, designed, in fact, to be pulled with my fingers when slipping the shoe on.

front of la sportiva levante
Detail of the front of the shoe

Midsole

The midsole uses XFlow™ technology, developed by La Sportiva to improve cushioning and energy return while running.

Indeed, I was always able to tackle the descents quickly, as the shoe cushioned very well in the front and was very stable in the rear. This excellent impact absorption made me feel secure, even on the most technical terrain.

trail running with la sportiva

On climbs and on the hardest terrain, the front polyurethane cushioning has always ensured excellent reactivity and energy return.

Trail Rocker™ technology (located in the red part of the sole) favours rolling and natural ‘outer heel – inner toe’ support. I find this detail particularly important for runners who tend to overpronate, as in my case. Controlling the correct support of the foot, in fact, is the basis of injury prevention.

trail rocker
The red part of the sole of the La Sportiva Levante features Trail Rocker™ technology to encourage correct rolling.

Drop

I also particularly appreciated the medium-high drop of 6 mm. When the shoes have a low drop, they cause the heel strike to be more violent and the contact to the ground to be of the whole sole or forefoot. This shortens the stride length and, if the same speed is maintained, increases the cadence. This requires more work (up to 30% more) from the ankle, both in the propulsion and cushioning phases of the stride. This implies a greater demand for force from the triceps suralis and, therefore, an increased load capacity from the Achilles tendon.

Low drop shoes, therefore, can increase the load on the Achilles tendon. In the absence of a specific problem, there is no problem in also choosing low drop shoes, as the body is very adaptable and can get used to different types of footwear, especially if they are worn gradually. If, on the other hand, achilles tendinopathy is present, wearing shoes with a higher drop can be helpful in reducing the load and pain on the tendon. Since my left Achilles tendon is almost always inflamed, I prefer to use shoes with a medium-high drop.

Sole and grip

The sole of the La Sportiva Levante features 4.5 mm high, stiff lugs, which aid grip when braking and descending.

Sole and lugs
Sole and lugs

The lug height of 4.5 mm is not very high and this pays off somewhat in terms of grip on muddy or snow-covered ground. On all other types of terrain, especially hard and rocky ones, the La Sportiva Levante give their best.

In terms of durability, after the 200 km test, I didn’t notice any obvious signs of premature usage, despite the many rocky and uneven stretches I covered.

la sportiva levante

Fit of the La Sportiva Levante

he size I tested (39.5) is perfect for my foot. I generally wear size 39, so I recommend you choose half a size up compared to shoes of other brands.

la sportiva levante

During the two months of testing, I used both thick synthetic fibre socks and very thin synthetic socks, finding both options equally comfortable. From this point of view, I found the Levante more comfortable than the Jackal II Boa tested last year. In the latter case, in fact, when I wore thin socks and tightened the laces a lot for greater precision of stride, the inner seam of the upper positioned under the inner malleolus bothered me slightly over long distances.

With Levante, on the other hand, I never felt any discomfort, despite the fact that I am a runner who tends to over-pronate and, therefore, to rest my foot excessively on the internal malleolus area.

testing levante

Recommended for

I recommend the La Sportiva Levante to runners looking for a high-performance mountain running shoe. Ideal for long distances, it gives its best on mountain terrain, guaranteeing high stability even on the most technical and complex passages.

As it is a lightweight shoe, I recommend it especially for long and light-medium weight runners (up to 65 kg). The formidable stability guaranteed by the Levante, however, does not preclude the use of this shoe also by more robust runners.

Furthermore, I really appreciated the fact that this shoe was designed with women’s needs in mind. La Sportiva has really managed to come up with a cutting-edge, technology-rich shoe tailor-made for us women!

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