La Sportiva Karacal: A Cushioned Mountain Cruiser


For runners seeking a plush, protective shoe to tackle long days on the trails, the La Sportiva Karacal delivers. This mountain runner provides maximum cushioning while remaining agile and grippy on technical terrain.

Comfort First

One of the standout features of the Karacal is its roomy, comfortable fit. La Sportiva designed this shoe on their wide Tempo Ultra last to accommodate a variety of foot shapes and volumes. The seamless mesh upper wraps the foot securely yet stretches to allow toe splay and prevent irritation on long runs.

One reviewer noted, "The Karacal upper is designed on the Tempo Ultra last with a wide fit to appeal to the long-distance, all-mountain running adventurer. The Karacal is the highest-volume La Sportiva shoe I've worn, and it provides all-day comfort, even in hot weather."[6]

The cushioned tongue and plush Ortholite footbed enhance the shoe's overall comfort. While the toe cap and heel counter are pretty rigid, this structure helps protect the foot on rugged trails.

Cushioned, Responsive Ride

Underfoot, the Karacal features a generous stack of lightweight EVA foam (29mm heel / 22mm forefoot) to provide impact protection on even the roughest terrain. The dual-density midsole utilizes firmer foam in the heel for stability while allowing more cushioned forefoot flex.

Testers praised the shoe's lively yet well-cushioned ride: "The midsole and ride of the Karacal feel very resilient and responsive despite an increasing number of miles on the shoe...I have no doubt these will, like the Akasha, last 400 to 500 miles."[6]

"The ride is crisp and fast, and I could feel the Boost foam more when running with a light heel strike up to about marathon pace."[7]

Mountain-Ready Traction

The Karacal's FriXion AT 2.0 outsole with 4mm lugs provides excellent grip across various surfaces. From slick rock to loose dirt, the sticky rubber compound excels on everything except deep mud or snow.

As one review stated, "The rubber is plenty sticky for smooth, compact surfaces like granite slabs, and the lugs hit a real sweet spot, as they're deep enough to effectively grab on to mud and gravel surfaces while still making plenty of rubber-to-rock contact."[7]

While the lugs aren't aggressive enough for highly technical scrambles, they inspire confidence on most trails: "The Karacal performs well on most surfaces – including slabby rock, dirt and rooty singletrack, jeep roads, and alpine environments."[6]

Other Key Features

  • Durable, recycled polyester mesh upper[8]
  • Full-length rock plate for underfoot protection[1][4][6]
  • Rocker geometry promotes smooth transitions[3]
  • Weighs just 10.2 oz / 290g (men's size 9) [2]

A Plush Mountain Cruiser

Overall, the La Sportiva Karacal shines as a well-cushioned, comfortable, and capable trail shoe for long days in the mountains. Its roomy fit, responsive midsole, and sticky traction are ideal for everything from local singletrack to big backpacking adventures across varied terrain. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

While not a dedicated speed machine or super grippy off-trail shoe, the Karacal quickly covers an impressive amount of ground. If you want one shoe that smoothly transitions from roads to trails to peaks, this plush mountain cruiser could be your new go-to.


Previous Post Next Post