La Sportiva Raptor GTX shoe review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

The first thing I do when my road triathlon season ends, besides stuff my self with junk food, is put on my trail running shoes. There are few things I love more than a cold and drizzly fall morning on a quiet trail.

This fall I was given the opportunity to try a new trail shoe from La Sportiva. I’d never worn La Sportiva shoes before so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Italian company. But I figured that any company with a separate site at Mountainrunning.com had to be interesting, at least. Before trying out my new Raptor GTX shoes I did a little research on the company. Here’s their “About” page:

Our mission is to bring you the best technical footwear to explore the outdoors. For 80 years we have been producing innovative footwear and we are looking forward to the next 80 years. Produced and designed in a small mountain town at the foot of the Dolomites, La Sportiva supports 140 families in a unique and enviable environment. Everyday the mountains surround the people who handcraft your shoes. Being mountain based and family run allows us to draw on eight decades of experience handed down through the generations. With this heritage we can focus on the future and meld new technologies, ideas and innovation with our rich knowledge of shoe making to give you the most amazing products on the market. Products that let you go where you dream to go, do what you dream to do and live how you want to live.

The longevity of the company and their commitment to small mountain towns, families, and handcrafting gave me a lot of confidence in the shoe I was about to test. Lots of companies make great shoes. But few are focused on boutique quality and the dreams of their customers. I liked La Sportiva before I ever laced up the shoe.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the shoe box was how aggressive the Raptor GTX looks. It’s a mean looking shoe with a fitting name.

Trail shoes often feel clunky out of the box in your living room. While the Raptor GTX certainly doesn’t feel minimalist, it does provide plenty of cushioning and an out of the box “I could wear this all day” feeling. It weighs 13.3oz so it’s not light, but for what it lacks in light weight responsiveness it makes up in rugged dependability.

Here is the information from La Sportiva about the Raptor GTX:

The Raptor GTX is the latest waterproof trail running shoe for technical terrain. The Gore-Tex® waterproof lining is excellent for alpine terrain, or muddy wet conditions.  With sticky FriXion® rubber outsoles grip the rock like a climbing shoe and the flexible TPU lacing harness is secure and stable on variable terrain. The wrap around toe bumper lets you rest at ease as you cruise through leaf-laden trails littered with hidden obstacles.

I took the Raptor for a run on a trail near our house a few days after receiving them. They’re stable, both going forward and laterally. For me, the thing I want most from a trail shoe is ankle stability. The Raptor GTX delivers. I didn’t worry at all about twisting my ankle on uneven terrain in this shoe.

The next thing I noticed about the Raptor was the “FriXion” rubber outsoles. The trail I ran that day, and the trails I run in general, are usually muddy and slippery. The Raptors rubber outsoles provided spiderman like grip as I climbed and descended hills. The Gore-Tex waterproofing also did it’s job, as my swiftwick socks were completely dry when I got home.

Overall, I’m excited about the La Sportiva’s Raptor GTX. This shoe will get muddy this fall and winter. I can’t wait to spend more time in the Raptor. This won’t be the last product from La Sportiva I use.

I love you,

– Daddy

* I was given these shoes by La Sportiva for purposes of this review. My opinions are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.