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Trail Running Shoes • April 9, 2021

La Sportiva Jackal Performance Review


What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.7 oz. (303 g) for a US M9 / 9.3 oz. (264 g) for a US W8
  • Strong and supportive upper has your back in the wilderness
  • Full-length EVA midsole and PU inserts give gobs of cushion
  • An aggressive trail beast that’s in it for the long haul

TAYLOR: My family and I have a particular camping spot near town where I feel a little extra freedom. It’s both close enough and far enough to keep many locals at bay in the summer months. It’s one of the few places where I feel completely comfortable to rip my shirt off and shred some mountain miles. I like to channel my inner Anton Krupicka sometimes (who I do see from time to time on this particular trail). 

On the feet of that stud of a mountain athlete are always La Sportiva shoes. They’re new to us at BITR, but not new to the trail world by any stretch. Based out of Italy, this company lives, eats, and breathes mountains. And if La Sportiva is good enough for the likes of Anton, Western States Champ Clare Gallagher, and the world’s best big wall climber Tommy Caldwell, we might as well see what they’re all about.

The Jackal showed up to my door unannounced, and the box read, “Mountain Running.” I knew I was in for a treat.


The Good

TAYLOR: Slip these on out of the box and you’ll know you have something special. A very secure and comfortable fitting upper cradles the foot nicely. Much of the upper is wrapped in heat-applied overlays for durability, and it creates a very secure fit. These overlays are lighter and less noticeable than a traditional sewn-in overlay. The toebox gets a little extra attention with an added protective toe bumper. 

The Jackal also features a booty-like gusseted tongue. Many trail shoes attempt to integrate this style of tongue, but few actually work. This one’s soft and provides great lockdown without lace wrenching. I almost never mention the heel counter, but it surprised me how much it helped contribute toward that snug and secure fit. 

The Jackal’s sports a full-length EVA midsole with strategically placed PU inserts called Infinitoo. On top of all that cushion, a 4 mm Ortholite footbed further spoils your foot. I appreciate that the high cushion is toned down just a bit. Many shoes, like the HOKA ONE ONE Mafate Speed 3, try to do too much with too much foam. The Jackal walks the line beautifully, similar to the Topo Athletic MTN Racer

You get even more protection underfoot from a dual-density rock plate and very grippy FriXion 2.0 outsole, featuring 3 mm chevron lugs.

Shop Jackal – Men Shop Jackal – Women sportiva-jackal-top

The Bad

TAYLOR: The Jackal runs pretty short, length-wise, so much that I double-checked the box to make sure I didn’t get the wrong size. I still got my miles in and enjoyed them for the most part. However, you really start to feel cramped toward the end of long runs. I suggest going up a half or even full size. 

Also, this is not a shoe for the Wide Foot Fam. The platform of this shoe is fairly narrow.

Shop Jackal – Men Shop Jackal – Women sportiva-jackal-outsole

La Sportiva Jackal Conclusion

TAYLOR: Being a mountain dweller, the La Sportiva Jackal lends itself to being an outstanding trail tool. It checks the boxes that you would want for exploring those hard-to-reach areas of wilderness. From peak scrambling to off-trail rambling, the Jackal is a solid offering for any off-road adventure.

You can pick up the La Sportiva Jackal at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Jackal – Men Shop Jackal – Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. rms says:

    The length is indeed the problem. My normal 47.5 LaSportiva size was too small and I returned them. These shoes are not offered in 48 🙁 And that is the end of this sad story.

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