La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX Review: Ready for a Winter Wonderland
Weighs 12.8 oz. (362 g.) for a US M10.5+ / US W11.5+
Sometimes, one Boa dial is all you need
Technical terrain ain’t no thang for the Cyklon
Other than the narrow toe box, we’re in love
Available now for $235
TAYLOR: Bringing the best of the best together can be magical or mortifying. Think of the Chicago Bulls of the ’90s and the World Team of 2004. I’ll let you decide which one fits the magic and which the mortifying. In the running shoe world, bringing the best components is a little more scientific, but we do have a few prime examples of where this has happened. One such shoe is the La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX, which brings together a heavy hitter in the mountains, best-in-class weatherproofing, and an innovation leader in fit. What could possibly go wrong?
The base of this shoe has already had high remarks from our team. The La Sportiva Cyklon is made for technical terrain and has the performance to back up its claims. It took runner-up in the BIG technical category last year (second to none other than the Speedland SL:PDX). Does adding a gaiter and waterproof membrane mess with the successful equation, or is it a seamless transition to the frigid world of winter trail running? Let’s find out.
TAYLOR: La Sportiva took an already fantastic technical terrain shoe and made it better with the creation of the Cyklon Cross GTX. Even though the alterations are winter-specific, they bump the package’s performance up a few points either way.
The core of the shoe is obviously the Cyklon. A moderately thick EVA midsole (28/20mm – 8mm drop) with medium/firm density offers a nice combo of ground feel, technical prowess, and a moderate level of protection. It’s nothing special in today’s terms, but it does the job well on technical terrain. Another perk is that this midsole won’t deaden like many modern midsoles. Some companies will soften the midsole for their winterized shoes. I don’t believe that’s the case with the Cyklon Cross GTX. It’s still laterally flexible in the mid and forefoot, while a firmer section of foam rests under the heel to stabilize speedy descents and technical terrain.
Underfoot, the outsole is also the same. The Frixion White 2.0 compound has mega stats in the durability and aggressive design departments. The multi-shaped 7mm lugs and full rubber outsole eat up a mix of terrain and conditions — wet/dry rock, muck, shallow snow, and hard-packed winter trails. Confidence is easy to find in most situations.
Time to talk about all that’s going on up top. It’s a complicated system of layers and twists and zips etc. Let’s go with an inside-out approach.
The innermost layer is easy to slip your foot into. The La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX has a lot of structure to it. An abundance of padding over the top of the foot and surrounding the ankle/heel allows for a “molded” experience. Even without the Boa laces tightened, it feels snug in all the right ways. If you’ve been in the original Cyklon, you already know there’s more material surrounding the foot in the GTX version.
Part of the reason for the extra material is that the inner membrane of the shoe is a waterproof Gore-Tex material. There’s no arguing with which company is best in the “keeping you warm and dry” industry. That’s exactly how my feet felt on a mix of runs ranging from below zero and snow to mid-30s and dry.
The Boa fit system provides the second-best fit I’ve felt in a shoe. Those are high marks (second only to the Speedland SL:PDX and SL:HSV with their dual Boa tech). The Cyklon Cross GTX uses the more typical singular Boa dial and chord with wrapped fingers over the bridge of the foot. Again, because of all the extra material, it’s so simple to get an exact fit. Whether you need to keep it loose or crank down on the dial, you can do it with this one. The fit is generally slim, and the dial is so precise that there was no sliding or heel lift while running.
An added perk to this setup is that the L6 dial has a rubberized rim for easy grip in wet conditions. Also, it’s tuned to adjust without unzipping the outer gaiter — clutch.
Speaking of that shoe-defining gaiter, it’s a two-way stretch water-resistant material. Water resistance gets a bad rap in situations like this, but I’ve been on runs for a couple of hours in the snow, and my feet always finished as dry as Bob Saget’s humor. The gaiter keeps all debris out well and sheds toe moisture. Anyone with ankles like Robbe would appreciate the added subtle ankle support too.
A few bonuses are a super stout toe bumper that comes in handy on scrambles and frozen toe stubs. Besides looking badass, the reflective details help with visibility from door to trail. Even with these additions, the weight is fair at 12.8 oz. for a US M10.5+. Yes, there are + sizes on top of half sizes.Shop La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX – Unisex
TAYLOR: Story time! I’m a teacher by day and a runner by dark (because that’s the only time I can fit anything in). During a parent-teacher conference, I reached below the table to give my ankle a little itchy itch. To my surprise, I felt a small pop and an ooze of body liquid on my fingers. I didn’t want to cause a commotion, so I didn’t give it a smell or taste. However, I quickly remembered that during my morning run in the Cyklon Cross GTX, I felt some slight rubbing near the top of the gaiter. It turns out that the gaiter folded oddly and, even with crew-length socks that went above the height of the gaiter, gave me a couple of blisters on the front side of my ankles. The second run had the same thing. Any run after that was fine, though. So, expect a slight break-in period with the upper.
As with many winter-oriented shoes, one might expect that the outsole will give Spiderman powers. A rubber outsole alone, even with top-notch marks as the Frixion 2.0, will not keep you upright on the icy segments. In Colorado, ice is everywhere because of the constant warm sunny days and cold nights. Thankfully, the structure in the shoe will accommodate a pretty hefty pair of spikes or light crampons.
My only potential ticks against the Ckylon Cross GTX in the fit department are the general ones you’ll find with La Sportiva trail shoes from an American audience. While I found the midfoot and heel an appropriate width, the forefoot becomes slimmer. If you enjoy a wider fit, this one probably won’t be your first choice. However, weigh your needs here because the slimmer fit does play a big role in how technically sound this shoe is. I found that the forefoot felt snug every time I put the shoe on, but it wasn’t an issue during the run. The forefoot seemed to stretch just enough not to bother.Shop La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX – Unisex
TAYLOR: Here’s the skinny: Other than the toebox, the La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX was already on the dream team for technical terrain tools because of its top-tier fit and durability. The added components to make it a winter voyager give it even more padding and structure that only helps its case on technical terrain and winter conditions.
The Gore-Tex inner membrane, water-resistant gaiter, and Boa fit system make it an even more versatile package with minimal weight gain. Weight will be the least of your worries in winter conditions, though. This shoe will keep your feet optimally warm and dry on wintery adventures. In some ways, the shoe takes on the Speedland motto of not compromising on utilizing the best components in the industry to make great gear.
Is $235 worth it? I feel that this shoe will be used for multiple winters on end. It will keep its integrity for a long time, especially when using it exclusively for wintery conditions. From this point alone, I give the green light.
You can pick up the La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX for $235 by using the shop link below.Shop La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX – Unisex
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Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultra runner living in Estes Park, Colo., with his wife and daughters. Trail running is pretty much the only hobby he can manage right now and loves it. Every so often, he will pop off a race or FKT attempt because competition is pure and the original motivator for him getting into running anyways. When not running, Taylor is a 1st grade teacher, running coach (track & field, Cross Country, and Trail/Ultra athletes), and volunteers at his church.
All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Tecton X, Speedland SL:PDX, Merrell MTL Long Sky 2.More from Taylor
Thank you for the great review. I am a big fan of La Sportiva and the Uragano GTX are my snow-running shoes for several years. These are wonderful, my only complaint is the heel counter that is too sharp and destroy the socks. Have you ever ran in Uragano GTX and if so how would you compare with the Cyklon Cross GTX?