Review: The La Sportiva Cyklon Trail Running Shoes
Written By: SportsShoes
We take an in-depth look at the new La Sportiva Cyklon, a performance trail shoe that is built to handle every type of off-road terrain and is suitable for medium to long distances.
The result of research and development between La Sportiva and BOA™, Cyklon is a product that guarantees stability, precision and a perfect fit thanks to the new Dynamic Cage™ powered by the BOA™ Fit System that works in synergy with 3 different elements of the upper for perfect binding and stability of the foot for a safe and precise downhill run. The heart of the lacing system is the internal Dynamic Flap™ that wraps the foot and is activated instantly and precisely via the BOA® Fit System with one effortless hand movement. The protective TPU toecap and the multi-layer, thermo-adhesive side panel provide additional structure and impact protection. The mud-ground tread, ideal for use on soft and muddy ground, is in ultra-grippy La Sportiva FriXion™ White compound and provides the possibility of integrating AT Grip Spike nails in case of use on icy ground. The double-density EVA midsole with stabilizer insert contributes to the overall stability of the shoe and contains weight.
Cyklon: float like a butterfly, run like the wind.
Our Sportsshoes.com Trail Running Ambassador, Ben Mounsey, has been busy putting the La Sportiva Cyklon to the test;
Weight: 315g (EU 42), 270g (EU 38)
Length: Small fit
RATINGS (out of 5) - Comfort: 4.5 | Cushioning: 3.5 | Support: 5 | Grip: 4.5 | Protection: 5
News of the Cyklon’s release was like sweet music to my ears, with La Sportiva’s big promise of a trail shoe that would deliver the highest level of performance in terms of comfort, stability, protection and grip. Needless to say, I have been eagerly waiting in anticipation for the last few months, hoping that it would live up to all the expectation and hype surrounding it.
With its bold and unique design, the Cyklon certainly attracts and captures attention, delivering both style and innovation in equal measure. This is a shoe that really stands out from the crowd and is available in a choice of four different colourways, Black/Yellow and Neon/Goji for men and Hibiscus/Malibu Blue and Mineral Ink for women.
The BOA® Fit Secure Lacing System
There is so much to love and admire about the Cyklon that it’s difficult to decide exactly where to start. Probably best to begin with the eye-catching BOA® Fit System, which is the second collaboration between La Sportiva and BOA™, following last season’s successful release of the VK BOA™.
The BOA® Fit System is an incredibly neat and efficient way to tighten the shoe and ensures the most secure and personalised fit possible. The BOA™ dial is incredibly easy to use and adjust - pull to loosen and release pressure or push, click and then twist to tighten. Surprisingly, this is the first time I’ve used this kind of lacing system and I’m now a massive fan – so much so that I’ve found it very hard to return to the traditional style of lacing system used in most of my other running shoes. There are many benefits to using BOA™ Technology. Firstly, there is never any loose or excess material and no chance of the lacing coming undone during exercise (something which usually really frustrates me if it happens, especially during a race). Also, I have very thin feet and this system allows me to really tighten the laces as much as possible by locking my feet in place and evenly distributing the force across multiple pressure points. This provides a tight, secure and extremely personalised fit.
My only concern with using the BOA® Fit System is what would happen if I damaged the BOA™ dial whilst running across extreme and rocky terrain. Because the dial is housed on the outside of the shoe, I think its position does leave it somewhat exposed and should this system fail in any way, it would be almost impossible to tie the shoe manually. Also, the laces are very thin, so my other worry is that they might fray and wear over time, to the point of snapping. But these concerns are purely hypothetical and until something does actually fail then I suppose I have no real reason to doubt it.
Dynamic Cage™ for Stability and Protection
Aside from the lacing system, arguably the stand-out feature of this shoe is the Dynamic Cage™, another technological innovation designed in collaboration with BOA™. This is basically a three-layered system built into the main part of the upper construction and is designed to provide the very highest level of stability and protection. The first layer wraps around the foot from the lateral side (outside of the shoe), forming a supportive cradle with two layers from the medial side (inside). Both sides are attached together by the BOA® Fit System, which works in conjunction with the Dynamic Cage™. Two of these layers, one on either side, are static, which means that the foot does not move when wrapped and enclosed in this protective case. The smaller, third panel is elasticated and sits underneath the outside layer of the medial wrap, allowing a tiny amount of adjustability and movement. This is important during exercise, because your foot expands when it becomes hot during exercise and obviously contracts when it becomes cold. Therefore, your feet need to be held firmly and securely in place, but a small amount of stretch is still needed in order to provide the perfect balance of comfort, flexibility and support.
This system works exceptionally well because it really helps to lock your feet in place and reduce any lateral movement (basically your ankles twisting and feet rolling) when running over uneven terrain. Feet are extremely well protected, because around the entire perimeter of the shoe, TPU has been added and infused into the material across all of the sections. This level of protection even extends to the toe bumper, which is designed to serve as a solid barrier when you accidentally hit or kick a rock with your foot whilst running.
TPU Heel Stabilisers For Additional Support
In addition to the BOA® Fit System and Dynamic Cage™, the Cyklon also features a TPU heel stabiliser built inside the shoe, which sits directly above the EVA midsole. This works in conjunction with a heel counter located at the back of the shoe that wraps around the back of your foot to provide tons of protection and stability. Collectively, these supportive features work together to lock and hold your feet in place and reduce any lateral movement as you run over extreme and challenging terrain. I would go as far as saying that the Cyklon offers the most amount of stability and protection than any other trail shoe I have ever tested and would therefore recommend to runners who really lack the confidence on off-road surfaces and require a high level of support.
Additional Features to Boost Comfort
On the large medial panel, there are a series of thin slits, essentially windows which are designed to improve ventilation. Along with the thin mesh panel at the front of the foot, realistically these are the only two areas that allow and enhance breathability. Perhaps my only criticism of this shoe is that I don’t think it is very breathable, especially in hot weather (which admittedly we don’t have very often in the UK). Personally, breathability isn’t the most important factor for me when choosing a trail shoe. As far as I’m concerned, stability and protection are far higher up on my list and if breathability has to be compromised because of this, then so be it. However, it is something to consider if you’re interested in purchasing the Cyklon, especially if your priorities differ to mine and if you regularly train or race in hot conditions.
Another great feature of this shoe is the seamless tongue design, complete with a gaitor at the back of the heel. The gaitor has a flap which can be pulled back with your fingertips, whilst also pulling on a small loop at the front of the tongue, allowing you to open the construction and slide your foot inside and out of the shoe with the greatest of ease. This stretchy sock-like design provides a very secure and precise fit around the top of your foot. Most importantly, it prevents any mud, loose rock and debris from entering the shoe during exercise. Working alongside the BOA® Fit System, the Cyklon provides the most personalised and comfortable fit of any trail shoe I’ve ever previously worn.
BUILT FOR EXTREME TERRAIN
When choosing a new trail shoe, one of the most important factors for me is grip. This is because I like to train and race on a wide variety of off-road terrain. I need a shoe that can easily cope with the hard, dry and rocky trails, but equally something that can confidently handle extreme mud and soft ground. The Cyklon is purpose built for tough, mountainous terrain like the Dolomites, so the biggest test is really how well it translates and performs on UK terrain.
With an outsole made from a sticky performance rubber called FriXion™, the Cyklon is also armed with a number of multi-directional 7mm lugs, designed to grip and dig into uneven and muddy terrain. After several weeks of rigorous testing, I can say with absolute confidence that the Cyklon is most certainly capable of handling all types of off-road terrain, seamlessly making the transition from the tough Italian trails to UK soil in some style.
Worth mentioning is the quality of build in every part of the shoe, a trait synonymous with every La Sportiva model that I’ve previously tried and tested over the years. The Cyklon is a shoe that is built to last and excels on the toughest terrain in the harshest of environments, making it one of this year’s stand-out performers and one of the best trail running shoes I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing.
5 REASONS TO BUY THE LA SPORTIVA CYKLON TRAIL RUNNING SHOE
- The Dynamic Cage™ provides unrivalled stability and protection, perfect for runners looking for maximum support in a shoe, to help improve their confidence on the trail.
- With 7mm lugs and sticky FriXion™ rubber which provide outstanding grip, the Cyklon can confidently handle every type of off-road surface.
- The BOA® Fit System ensures a secure and personalised fit, neatly storing laces without any excess material or distraction.
- The sock-like fit provides high levels of comfort and the gaitor prevents debris from entering the shoe.
- The Cyklon is an outstanding all-round trail shoe and well suited to UK terrain.
2 REASONS NOT TO BUY THE LA SPORTIVA CYKLON TRAIL RUNNING SHOE
- The Cyklon is not as breathable as other trail shoes.
- At 315g this shoe is slightly heavier than some other comparable models.
How does the LA SPORTIVA CYKLON compare to some of the other models and is it the right shoe for you?
Let me try and explain by picking out a few of my key recommendations for different types of terrain and purposes.
If you’re looking for a lightweight racing shoe, purpose built for speed and fast ascents, then the La Sportiva VK BOA® is the shoe for you. This super niche trail shoe has been specifically designed for short VK races and uses the same BOA® Fit System and sock-like fit as the Cyklon, although be aware that the VK BOA® is a narrow fit in width. In terms of weight, the Cyklon is reasonably heavy when comparing it to a lightweight racing shoe like the La Sportiva VK BOA®, which weighs in at 180g. However, both shoes are designed for different purposes. The VK BOA®, is designed for super-short mountain races as its name suggests and the Cyklon for medium and long distances, because it ultimately provides more support and protection and is therefore a completely different build. Prior to testing the Cyklon, I had a preconception that I would use this as a training shoe and choose to continue racing in a more lightweight and stripped-back alternative. Whilst this is probably still the case for really short races, I would now choose to train and race in this shoe for any distance above 5 miles, because it doesn’t actually feel as heavy as it looks when I’m wearing them.
If you’re looking for a shoe that can handle a variety of off-road terrain, but want something a little different to the Cyklon in terms of style, then the La Sportiva Mutant is a tough and aggressive no-nonsense trail shoe. It shares many of the same traits as the Cyklon, including an EVA midsole, TPU stabiliser, sticky FriXion™ rubber grip and a similar weight of 320g for a size EU 42. Both shoes also provide tons of stability and protection, especially when running across challenging terrain. However, the Mutant doesn’t have the high sock-like tongue design (with gaitor) and sits differently on your feet. It also has a slightly higher drop, at 10mm and a more traditional lacing system with a lace pocket for storage. Personally, I prefer the look and design of the Cyklon, especially because of addition of the unique BOA® Fit System and Dynamic Cage™, although I do think the Mutant has more breathability in the upper.