A lightweight low profile aggressive shoe for trail running in demanding conditions.
- Injection molded ergonomic EVA midsole creates a stable, lightweight, flexible platform
- Slip lasted upper hugs the foot with no dead spots and provides the best fit possible
- Airmesh upper is extremely debris and water resistant while still providing maximum breathability
- Mesh lining in the tongue & back half of the shoe
- MEMlex/TPU Stabilizer Midsole
- Cushioning – 32A
- FriXion AT / Impact Brake System, V-Groove Outsole
- Measured size 42.5
- Weight – 290 g (10.2 oz)
- Forefoot width – 98.7 mm (3.9 in)
- Stack height – 22 mm (heel), 14 mm (toe), 8 mm (drop) – not including lugs
- Retail – $110
La Sportiva has been around for 80 years. La Sportiva’s mission is to bring the best technical footwear to explore the outdoors. Over the years, they have been big sponsors of trail running events and have made their collection of mountain running shoes to cater to those runners. La Sportiva is produced and designed in a small mountain town at the foot of the Dolomites. The company is mountain based, and family ran with its knowledge and expertise being passed down from generation to generation.
I have had some interaction with La Sportiva’s rock climbing shoes over the years. I also had a lot of guide partners who had their boots and spoke very highly of them. I had never tried their running shoes and was interested to give them a test when some of the lower drop options became available. I talked with La Sportiva and was able to set up a test of the C-Lite 2.0 Shoes.
To test the shoes I have been putting them through the paces. My runs have taken me on a little roads, some soft trails, some technical trails, and even snowshoe running.
The La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0 Shoes is part of the Mountain Runing Collection. These shoes are built to tackle the arduous conditions you find in the mountains: rocks, snow, loose terrain, steeps, water crossings, and tough descents. They can be used on roads but are not designed for that purpose in particular. Looking at the shoes the first thing you will notice is that there is an integrated debris guard over the laces to keep stuff out of your shoes. This upper material is called AirMesh, a nylon fabric that has been woven into a breathable mesh pattern that is extremely durable and water resistant. The bottom section of the upper is made of Uretech which is a mixture of sand, rubber, and glue that are sprayed or painted on the shoes to provide a lightweight, abrasion-resistant coating that is flexible and highly moldable. This protects the lower area of the shoes for rocks and other hard objects along the trail. The upper has been slip lasted so the upper is sewn into a sock and then slipped into the last. This gives the shoe more of a foot hugging fit with no dead spots. This construction method is common with climbing shoes.
The midsole has been injection molded with MEMlex to create a stable, lightweight, and flexible platform. MEMlex is 80% EVA foam and 20% SBR. The midsole also uses TPU stabilizer in the heel for stability. TPU is a thermoplastic urethane that can be fine-tuned to its intended use. The C-Lite 2.0 uses FriXion rubber in its outsole. FriXion is La Sportiva’s proprietary sticky rubber formula for the best traction on rocky trails. The outsole has the Impact Brake System which is a outsole design where the lugs of the shoes are oriented in opposing slanted directions. This opposition increases braking power by an average of 20% and decreases impact forces by an average of 20%. The lacing system is standard albeit located under the debris guard. The rubber outsole has also been wrapped up over the toe to provide a bit of protection for the toes.
La Sportiva makes it a goal to reduce the impact on the environment of running their business. To do this they work on switching to more video conferencing and reducing air travel, using more recycled materials in their shoes, becoming a zero waste facility or changing their catalog production. It is good that La Sportiva sees this as a worth wile effort and are making strides to be more responsible.
Comfort Next to Skin (5%)
Foot Length (20%)
Foot Volume (20%)
Heel Width (15%)
Midfoot Width (15%)
Toe Box Width (15%)
La Sportiva is an Italian Company and size their shoes using European Sizing. This is important to note as you have to look at their chart to get your proper size but at the same time offers more sizes than US sizing does. In a full-size run, European half sizes create four more sizes over US half sizes giving people a better opportunity to find their correct fit. Since this is European, I found that the shoes run slightly small and narrow. I opted to review a size 42.5 which are somewhat smaller than a men’s US 9 ½. I normally wear a 9 but figured this would be a better fit, and I was right. In the 42.5 the shoes fit good in length and was not too tight in the fit. I am so used to shoes with wide toe boxes that it does take me a little to get used to a traditional toe box. As long as I was wearing thinner running socks I had no issues with the shoes feeling too tight. Do not get me wrong, they are snug. However, they were not too snug for my average width foot. I would say that the toe was on the narrow side, the midfoot was slightly narrow, and the heel was just right. Kind of like Goldilocks.
I never had any issues with blisters with the C-Lite 2.0’s. With over 85 miles in these shoes now and plenty of technical trails, I never had any discomfort or rubbing. I did not wear these sock less and don’t ever plan to as they are a true trail running shoe. The lacing system is standard except that there is a stretch gaiter over the top making it really hard to adjust the lower laces. This was a bit annoying as it made it much tougher to adjust the fit, especially in the lower part of the shoe. Once I had these dialed in they have been great. It will just take some time and effort to do that.
Ground Feel (5%)
Water Resistance (5%)
A lot of performance factors went into reviewing the La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0 Shoes. These are best described as a mountain running racing shoe. It has a tighter fit like a racer but still has big lugs for traction. The shoes have a durable layer around the lower sections for abrasion resistance and protection from the elements. The laces are also protected by a mesh layer to keep debris out. When running recently in the snow, I found that the upper was not very water resistant. If I splashed any slush on the upper, it would get through. This is not a big concern for me as the lack of water resistance means the shoes breathe well. I never had any issues with my feet getting too warm or sweaty. I will note that I have been testing these in the winter months so that may change when it eventually warms back up.
The shoes are a lower drop which I really like. I have been happy running in lower drop shoes, and these are a slightly more than I prefer but not by too much. The shoe is very protective and made to run on very technical trails and rough surfaces. The shoe protects the foot really well, and the lugs provide a lot of traction across all surfaces except for hard ice. On ice, they were as expected, slippery like all my other shoes. =) The C-Lite 2.0’s still have a decent amount of flex to them and even a little ground feel. More than I expected for such a robust trail running shoe. The main thing I noticed about these shoes is how well made they are. After 85+ miles of running the shoes there is really no major signs of wear. I should easily get 500 miles out of these and maybe more, we will have to see. My only gripe with these is the lack of a lower gaiter loop. Since the lower laces are covered, my external gaiters have nothing to clip into at the front of the shoes which makes them difficult to use. I am looking for another gaiter alternative as I like the shoes.
Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised by my first experience with La Sportiva running shoes. I figured they would run a little tight, so I opted up by a half size and was happy I did. They still do have a tighter fit than I have been used to lately, but they are not uncomfortable. They feel like a racing shoe that can take on the gnarliest trails. The traction on these is excellent and with the grippy rubber and protection from the ground, there is really no trails that is too much for these shoes. I tested these on one long run in the Columbia Gorge, and they performed flawlessly. Their only kryptonite is ice, but that can be said about almost all footwear. The C-Lite 2.0’s are very durable, and I believe will last a long time. They retail for $110, which is similar to other shoes in this category and should be an excellent value if they do, in fact, last as long as I think they will. I am looking forward to using these for some of my races this summer, that is if I can get into the races. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Great Traction
- Mesh Debris Gaiter keeps stuff out
- Tough to adjust lower laces