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La Sportiva Mutant

rated 3 of 5 stars
photo: La Sportiva Mutant trail running shoe

The La Sportiva Mutant is an incredible shoe for running fast in the mountains, fastpacking, and skyracing. The innovative lacing system and upper take a minute to dial in, but wrap the foot nicely and provide a ton of security. The outsole is a sticky claw that shreds any trail you plan to cover.


  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Agile
  • Look great
  • Cushioned
  • Stable


  • Lacing can be tough to dial in at first


To start, this shoe is beautiful to look at. Like most La Sportiva products, this shoe just looks fast and aggressive. The black, yellow, and red work perfectly together to make for what I find to be a very attractive design.

Speaking of design, this shoe gets the name Mutant for a reason, with its SpiralTongue bootie that wraps the foot like a sock. The SpiralTongue works in two ways. First, it gives the shoe a seamless, rub free fit, that instantly makes your foot feel “at one” with the shoe. Second, the SpiralTongue acts as a debree gaiter to keep out any dust, rocks, or pebbles.

One of my favorite features of the upper is the FusionGate lacing system. There is a lace cord that is heat molded to the upper of this shoe for each section of the FusionGate to work as lace grommets. I found this to be the ideal lacing system to customize the perfect fit without having any pressure points or bunching.

I also really liked the asymmetrical lace grommet on the toe. One big teller for me was that I didn’t have to adjust or tighten the laces over the 13 miles and 3500 ft of their first outing. The shoe felt just as comfortable on my first step as it did on my last.

The upper material is a tightly woven mesh that kept my feet breathing and cool despite the very warm temperatures. Much like the SpiralToungue, the mesh kept out all dirt and debris, and my feet were as clean as they’ve been in a while. The uppers are a little slow to drain when fully submerged, but don't take too long to dry out. Although the upper fabric is light and comfortable, it is also substantial.

The front of this shoe is protected by a sturdy rubber toe cap, and a solid heel counter keeps the rear end from moving around. I’ll talk more about this in the midsole section, but the stability of this shoe is superb. The final detail is the larger pull loop attached to the heel which is something I like while pulling on a shoes to keep from collapsing the heel counter prematurely.


I’ll start with the midsole by covering the last. For those not familiar, the last of a shoe is the general shape in relation to a foot. The last on the Mutant fit my feet perfectly, which is why my initial opinion on this shoe is so high. Starting in the heel, the last has a secure fit, with no slip. This fit works its way through to the midfoot that felt perfectly dialed in due to the FusionGate.

Just like the Crossover 2.0, the mutant has a Stabilizer insert that runs through the midsole of the shoe (black bar towards the heel). I found this stabilizer to work very well as I traversed uneven terrain without impacting ground feel or making my foot feel constricted.

As for the feel in this section, there is a slightly raised arch, just a little more than the Raptor, but nowhere near as pronounced as the Salomon XA Pro 3D. The toebox has a great anatomical shape that allows for toe splay and comfort without any sloppiness. I experienced no rubbing or toe bumping on the descent. The cushioning of this midsole is what makes this shoe a real shining star. The injected EVA strikes the perfect balance of cushion, without being spongy or unstable.

Like the Crossover 2.0, there is no forefoot rockplate or dual density EVA to protect against serious bruising, but I’ve found the single density EVA to be proficient thus far as I’ve rode the identical Crossover 2.0 midsole over some serious stuff this winter.

Another great feature of this midsole that adds to the overall great stability of the Mutant is the flared heel. This is something Salomon does with their mountain running shoes as well, and I’ve found it adds a lot of balance when carrying a pack or running and moving fast through the mountains.


The outsole tread pattern on the Mutant is the same as the Crossover 2.0, but employs the Frixion XF Green compound and not the Frixion AT Blue. In my experience, the Green is a stickier and softer compound that sticks to everything, but wears down a little quicker. The friction blue has great grip as well, but a little less than the Green. The Blue is a harder rubber compound which makes it last a little longer and makes the ride a little less bouncy underfoot. The Frixion Blue on my Crossover 2.0s have seen 5 months of constant abuse this winter and show almost no signs of wear.

I know the Mutants have the softer Frixion Green, but I’m hoping they are equally durable. Enough about the compounds, the actual tread pattern is really nice for multipurpose use. The wide spaced lugs shed mud, snow, and anything else you throw at them. The lugs themselves offer a lot of surface area, much more than the Salomon Speedcross outsole, and this allows you to feel like you’re wearing approach shoes while on boulders.

These shoes feel equally good soaking up the shock on a fire road or asphalt, as they do tearing down scree covered single track on a ridge line. You can tell these were probably developed and tested in the Dolomites!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130

A versatile shoe, that can be useful to both sky runners and lightweight treckers. Can be a good choice for whoever wants to be agile while hiking or looks for stability during a run in the mountains, providing a good balance between comfortability and grip.


  • Grip
  • Stability
  • Versatility


  • Lacing system
  • Not waterproof

The Mutant by La Sportiva are low ankle shoes presenting themselves as a good compromise between stability and lightweight, thus being a good choice for who is looking to be a fast hikers or to have some more protection during runs in the mountains.

The shoes provide a good support for the foot arch, guaranteeing stability and avoiding soreness. The soles, being high and made of a good fabric, isolate well the feet from both uneven grounds and cold sources. The shoe doesn't provide any protection to the ankles but, thanks to the good support, still gives a stable sensation to the articulation

The fabric is not waterproof, so it not designed for rainy weathers or swampy trail grounds but, at the same time, this provides a higher breathability keeping the feet cool also during warm summer trips.

They are not the lightest sky running shoes you can find on the market and neither the softest ones, but this is a necessary price to pay to have a shoe that keeps the feet stable during mountain runs, being a good choice for mid-length runners.

The main defect we found resides in the new SpyralTongue lacing system which didn't convince at all. It tends to fasten too tight around the higher part of the feet instead of acting homogeneously on the whole length.

The shoes have been tried during various trips in the Alps and the Balkans, both running and during multi-day trips with a heavy load on the shoulders.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 110

Not for me. Uncomfortable fit due to the last and poor asymmetric lace system and burrito tongue.


  • Stylish
  • Colorful


  • Uncomfortable fit
  • Poor lacing system and burrito tongue

I looked forward to getting a pair of Mutants as I had read so many positive reviews. So when they went on sale at Sierra Trading post I ordered a pair. I ordered a 43.5 because I have two other pair of La Sportivas and that was the size that fit.

What a disappointment. The minute I put them on they were not comfortable and clearly didn't fit. So I communicated with some of the reviewers thinking there might be a break-in period but again to my disappointment I was told no.

The shoe felt like a rock climbing shoe with a curved last. The upper dug into my mid foot. And to exacerbate the situation, I couldn't lock in the lace system due to the poor design of the asymmetric laces and burrito tongue. By the way, I have used such a system on a pair of trail runners that I have and liked it. Obviously it was the fit so I decided to order a 44 just to be sure.  

Although they were a tad more comfortable, I had the same problem. They felt like the shoe was trying to curve my foot inwards like I was bow legged and they were now sloppy because of the upsizing. So I kept the smaller size pair and wore them around the house only, to see if they'd break in. No such luck.

I won't discourage anyone from buying a pair because I know that not every shoe is for everyone and my other pairs of La Sportivas have been very comfortable, durable, and performed great.  But they were not for me.

Source: bought it new

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Price MSRP: $135.00
Current Retail: $154.95-$165.00
Historic Range: $62.00-$165.00
Reviewers Paid: $130.00
Weight 10.70 oz / 303 g
Last Tempo 2 Ergo
Fit Medium/Wide
Upper AirMesh / TPU / 4-way stretch dynamic scree guard
Lining AirMesh
Midsole Injection molded EVA / TPU stabilizer
Sole FriXion XF / V-Groove with Impact Brake System
Drop 10mm
Cushioning Midsole - 32A
Price MSRP: $135.00
Current Retail: $29.10-$165.00
Historic Range: $15.57-$247.50
Weight 9.00 oz / 256 g
Last Women's Tempo 2 Ergo
Fit Medium/Wide
Upper AirMesh / TPU / 4-way stretch dynamic scree guard
Lining AirMesh
Midsole Injection molded EVA / TPU stabilizer
Sole FriXion XF / V-Groove with Impact Brake System
Drop 10mm
Cushioning Midsole - 32A
Product Details from La Sportiva »

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