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Trail Running Shoes • March 20, 2024

La Sportiva Prodigio Review: Prodigious, Indeed

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What You Need To Know


9.5 oz. (270 g) for a US M9,

8.1 oz. (230 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

34 mm in heel, 28 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)

Best For

All-around adventuring

Key Features

Nitrogen-infused X Flow midsole, FriXion outsole with 4 mm lugs, Engineered knit upper

On The Run
Lightweight and nimble Moderately cushioned ride Be ready for La Sportiva's tricky sizing
Price / Availability

Available now for $155

Introduction to the La Sportiva Prodigio

TAYLOR: Unless you’re a mountain dweller, an avid climber, have run Leadville, or are an apostle of Anton Krupicka, there’s a good chance that La Sportiva is not in your regular language. If Salomon is metaphorically chicken, consider La Sportiva to be the other white meat of mountain-centric brands. Out in the shadow of the Dolomites, La Sportiva lives, eats, and breathes mountain air. It holds a very high standard for its creations, and if they can’t perform in their backyard mountains, they’re not worthy of the La Sportiva name.

To many Westerners familiar with the brand, La Sportiva has a reputation as high quality and technically oriented but firm and often narrow. Shoes like the La Sportiva Cyklon, Karacal, Jackal II Boa, Mutant, and Akasha II fit almost perfectly into that description, even if it means the brand lacks a little bit of flexibility across its lineup.

[cue smoke machine and dramatic lighting]

Until now. While staying true to its roots, La Sportiva diversified its lineup in a big way. Say hello to the Prodigio. It’s a truly modern trail running shoe that has quality, performance, and variety in mind. This is a brand-new offering that debuts a nitrogen-infused EVA midsole, which La Sportiva calls X Flow. The La Sportiva Prodigio is on the max cushion end for the brand and is built on a last that’s wider than we’re used to seeing.

We recently gave rave reviews for the similarly positioned Salomon Genesis, Brooks Catamount 3, VJ MAXx 2, and The North Face Altamesa 300, but the max cushion trail category is much, much larger than that. Others that fit the same mold are the Merrell Agility Peak 5, Norda 001, and the beloved Hoka Speedgoat, making this a tricky category to jump into. Thankfully, La Sportiva has done so in a very careful manner. It waited and measured out every last detail before releasing the Prodigio into the wild.

What we like about the La Sportiva Prodigio

TAYLOR: I’m going out on a limb here, but I feel pretty confident in the branch I’m standing on: the La Sportiva Prodigio is exactly what a lot of trail runners are looking for. It nails both the underfoot feel and security almost perfectly.

Upon stepping in, I noticed that the fit was meticulous. I didn’t even need to hit the trail to confirm that this was going to be a confidence-inducing shoe. In true La Sportiva form, a secure, moderately padded heel and midfoot lead the way for technical performance. Such a fit is just one of those things you can expect from La Sportiva.

As for the forefoot, it felt “fitted” but wasn’t too narrow or pinchy like in the La Sportiva Jackal II Boa. The Prodigio’s overall fit is much closer to the Cyklon than any other La Sportiva Shoe. It’s by no means wide but may be slightly wider or simply feels that way because of a more relaxed upper.

The engineered knit mesh upper nails both durability and breathability. It feels light on foot and has a ton of tiny holes for air. A thin gusseted tongue, internal supports, and external overlays bring the support needed to achieve a precise fit. Speedgoat fans who are looking at the Prodigio as a potential replacement, don’t worry. This upper won’t stretch.

Whether running in alpine terrain or rolling trails, the underfoot experience plays a huge role in the Prodigio experience. The X Flow midsole foam is medium to soft and has slight cush with just a bit of responsiveness — similar to the VJ MAXx 2 and Brooks Catamount 3.

What characterizes the foam best is how light and consistent it is. X Flow lands more on the durable side rather than the bouncy side of nitro-infused midsoles, which adds a bit more protection and moderate stability, and it should stand up to the miles pretty well. I think that was a smart move, as this shoe is best fit for handling a variety of trails, including the highly technical stuff.

La Sportiva’s FriXion midsole will always show up in The Good section of reviews, too. Durability and grip are both obvious perks. This rubber is one of the few that I would put in a true grade-A category of outsole. The Prodigio has two types of rubber that help grip in a wide range of scenarios. Its 4 mm, multidirectional, u-shaped lugs definitely felt up to snuff on technical terrain as well as road segments, and I’d happily unleash them on just about anything besides soft snow.

Of course, it’s easy to have a lot of good ingredients in a shoe. The La Sportiva Prodigio puts them together in a way that absolutely turns out performance. One could grab this shoe for just about anything, anywhere. The Prodigio is not a shoe that’s distance, terrain, or conditions dependent.

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What we don’t like about the La Sportiva Prodigio

TAYLOR: I used to be able to count how many shoes had a performance-oriented tongue. Nowadays, it seems that every other shoe has a laser-cut minimalistic tongue. My complaint about the Prodigio is not the tongue itself because it does lay really nicely across the foot, but rather, my grievance is with what’s going on above the tongue. The top two eyelets are double-backed pieces of the overlay. While this helps with lockdown, they irritated my first metatarsal during my first couple of runs. Depending on the anatomy of your foot, a long-haul effort could result in serious discomfort.

While I do not have qualms with the overall fit, calling it wide is certainly a stretch of the broader truth. It’s wide compared to any other La Sportiva shoe but sits closer to a standard width from any other brand.

If you’ve read any of our La Sportiva reviews in the past, know that fit is a routine part of the adventure. It’s a Cinderella story… let me explain. Essentially, La Sportiva offers quarter sizes at the most popular lengths in order to find an even more precise fit. For example, my normal size is a US M10.5. I sometimes go up to La Sportiva’s 10.5+ and get a perfect fit, but other times, I’m a US M11 or an M11.5. I went with a US M11 in the Prodigio, and the extra half-size was just right.

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Final thoughts on the La Sportiva Prodigio

TAYLOR: This one will be hard to beat. I truly think the La Sportiva Prodigio is one of the top all-around trail shoes out there. Top to bottom, the brand has pieced together a shoe that’s both familiar and entirely unique.

The La Sportiva Prodigio has the range to be a do-it-all answer for technical races or racking up miles in the mountains. It made me feel comfortable and confident no matter what terrain I was scaling, and that’s a rare sentiment. What more would you want from a shoe? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll be grabbing the Prodigio time and time again.

You can pick up the La Sportiva Prodigio for $155 at REI using the buttons below.

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Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Jumbo says:

    This shoe seems to be working out great for others, so that’s cool. But it didn’t work for me. The upper is too baggy for my foot and caused some nasty issues around the ankle collar. I was also surprised by how firm it is–not a deal-breaker, but just something to be aware of: not plush in any sense of the term,

  2. Reddengray says:

    Curious how the fit of this shoe compares to the VJ Maxx2 and which shoe would be more versitile? If you had to chose one of the two for West Coast running, which would you run in? Thanks

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Taylor Bodin
Lead Trail Reviewer
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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.

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