Home » La Sportiva Akasha Trail Running Shoe Review | Still Worth Buying In 2021?

La Sportiva Akasha Trail Running Shoe Review | Still Worth Buying In 2021?

La Sportiva’s Akasha Trail Running Shoe is a 2016 model with ample cushioning for long semi-technical terrain. Akasha means ether in Sanskrit and La Sportiva does not disappoint with this model’s ability to take on training into the upper regions of thin air.

Since this model’s release, I have hit ample mileage in this shoe. Despite being an older trail running shoes, I’m constantly asked by fellow outdoor lovers who can find a model in 2021, “Is the La Sportiva Akasha still worth it in 2021?”. Personally, I think this model has multiple performance features going for it, however, it does have its drawbacks.

In this La Sportiva Akasha review, I’m going to cover multiple topics in detail to help you decide if this model is a good fit for you in 2021.

Who Should Invest In the La Sportiva Akasha?

Runners and hikers are both going to love this shoe. With plenty of cushioning, the La Sportiva Akasha is perfect for long-distance runs on the trail and in my opinion, can be used as a road shoe too. Running flats on stable to moderate terrain is where this shoe will excel.

Do not get me wrong, the La Sportiva FriXion and Braking System will still be able to handle rocky terrain. I just believe there to be better shoes for steep loose terrain, the lugs on the sole are not the deepest and their design indicates such.

la sportiva akasha performance

Having the La Sportiva Akasha trail running shoe since its release in 2016, I have taken this on more hikes than I have runs. It is not my go-to shoe for highly technical terrain but has served me well hiking long distances in the alpine and running semi-technical trails.

Note, I am not an ultra-runner by any means but this shoe has accompanied me on some 10 to 12-mile trail runs leaving my feet happy and satisfied. The La Sportiva Akasha is reported by the company to be perfect for ultra-marathons and long-distance running.

La Sportiva Akasha Review

$140

la sportiva akasha shoe
4.6
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Long-Distance Running
  • Hiking On Semi-Technical Terrain
  • Casual Trail Runs and Running On Flats

Falls Short

  • For Loose and Steep Terrain
  • For Technical Terrain and Hikes

 

La Sportiva Akasha Pros

Over the course of my running and hiking with with the La Sportiva Akasha, I’ve found multiple pros with this model.

  1. Comfort and Cushion
  2. Performance of the FriXion XT, Trail Rocker system, and Impact Braking System
  3. Durable Upper Construction

The first pro with the La Sportiva Mutant is the comfort of the shoe. Wearing this shoe, it is nearly as comfortable as regular a tennis or running shoe. The wider design of the toe box in the Akasha allows the toes to move freely and not feel cramped. The overall higher volume is very accommodating to wider foot individuals.

As stated in my previous trail-running shoe articles, I do not have a wider foot, but I still found the added volume to be comforting and by no means did the shoe feel too big. The Cushion Plate on the La Sportiva Akasha allows for a smooth ride over long distances on semi-technical terrain. As with any shoe, there can be a compromise with cushion and responsiveness.

la sportiva akasha

The La Sportiva Akasha has great responsiveness, which you want when trail running, that does not compromise cushion. I do own a pair of Hoka One One Evo Speed Goats that supply plusher cushion than the La Sportiva Akasha, but I feel the Evo Speed Goat falls short on the topic of responsiveness.

Another pro of the Akasha is the performance of the sole. The La Sportiva Akasha comes equipped with FriXion XT, Trail Rocker System, and an Impact Braking System. With almost all La Sportiva shoes, their outsole treads are top-notch and the Akasha holds that standard.

Running semi-technical terrain with gradual grades in almost all conditions, you’ll likely have no issue with gripping the ground. Having used it on smoother steep ascents and descents, the sole technology will securely hold you in place.

The only issue I have with the Akasha shoe and its tread are on steep and loose terrain, I think the Akasha falls short compared to other La Sportiva shoes I own such as the Mutant. But with that being said, the La Sportiva Akasha is intended for long-distance trail running and not for highly technical terrain. Trying to grip loose scree on steep ascents you may find yourself slipping around and the same can be said for running the downhills on similar terrain.

la sportiva akasha upper

Just the other day I put them to the test running a steep downhill section over loose rock and I ended up taking a pretty good fall. If you are planning on hiking or running more highly technical terrain, you may want to look for a shoe with a beefier lug, such as the La Sportiva Mutant.

The last performance highlight of the La Sportiva Akasha is the durable upper construction. As mentioned earlier, I have owned this shoe for five years and it has been put through the wringer. From long trail runs to hiking 14 thousand-foot mountains, the Akasha has held the test of time. With a highly breathable upper construction, the La Sportiva Akasha is highly abrasion-resistant.

Whether you brush up against roots, sticks, or rock, the Akasha has the durability to withstand abrasion. This is a key feature of mine, I never want to limit myself or have to worry about my shoe’s durability when on the trail. As with any shoe, there will be minor wear and tear over the years and my pair of Akasha’s do show their age. But for a pair of shoes that are five years old, they are one of the more durable long-distance runners I own.

La Sportiva Akasha Cons

Truthfully, I only have one real drawback and con in regard to performance with the La Sportiva Akasha.

  1. Performance On Technical Terrain

The only con I have for the La Sportiva Akasha is its performance on technical terrain and steep loose surfaces. I do not think this shoe performs great on steep scree or highly technical surfaces. A shoe with a more aggressive lug will be better suited for loose terrain and the Akasha is not built nor intended for such.

la sportiva akasha outsole

As well, this is not my go-to hiker for technical 14ers in the warmer months. I have used it on many 14 thousand-foot mountains, but they have been within the class 1 to 2 range. Having tried it on a class 3 route, I would not recommend this shoe for any sort of exposed climbing where a good purchase for rock is required.

La Sportiva Akasha Performance

Below I’m going to break down the performance of the La Sportiva Akasha into a few different subcategories to help you decide if this shoe, in particular, is right for you.

Versatility on the Trail

The La Sportiva Akasha is not the most versatile shoe I have ever owned but it is a top performer in the category it is designed for. That is, long trail runs on semi-technical terrain. I will say that this is one of my favorite hiking shoes to use for lower-class long treks.

If you are heading out for a long-distance trail run on the flats or maybe going into the alpine on a smoother rolling terrain, the La Sportiva Akasha will meet all expectations and keep you performing at your best for hundreds of miles.

la sportiva akasha trail running

Do not buy this shoe if you need a technical sole to conquer the most rugged trails or hike the highest-class mountains, it will not perform how you want it. Another issue with attempting to use this shoe outside of its capabilities is the tongue design and lacing system.

Loose and steep terrain tend to have the unwanted side effect of debris flying every which way. A shoe with a normal tongue and lacing system does not aid in keeping rock or debris out of the lining. The Akasha will not assist in keeping unwanted stuff from tearing up the bottom of your feet if you are on loose surfaces. I have run into this issue many times, but again, use the shoe for what it is intended and should not have any issues.

Traction On Trails and Runs

As stated above, La Sportiva never short changes you when it comes to their soles. The Akasha has top-of-the-line La Sportiva FriXion XT, Impact Braking system, and Trail Rocker system. Use the shoe for what it is intended and you will never have to worry about gripping any surface.

la sportiva akasha five year update

But if you start to step outside of the shoe’s capabilities and take it on steep rugged techy terrain, it may fall short. I really do love this shoe for moderate terrain trail running. Slamming on the brakes to avoid an obstacle or rolling over rocks on the flats, the Akasha has served me well for many years.

Stability, Durability, Comfort

The Cushion Platform designed into the Akasha makes for a smooth ride over miles and miles. There are definitely shoes with more plush cushioning on the market but the Akasha exceeds expectations when it comes to no compromise of comfort and responsiveness. In my personal experience, sometimes a shoe with too much plush cushion can leave you feeling unstable and unconnected with the surface you are running over.

This can tend to lead to injury and it is why many recommend shoes with less cushion. On the other hand, more cushion on long runs can make for a more comfortable ride and can help distribute load better on the joints. The La Sportiva Akasha has found that sweet spot for a high degree of comfort and cushioning, while still leaving the runner to feel stable and responsive on the trail.

la sportiva akasha reviews

As for durability, once more, I have owned this shoe for five years. Any runner or hiker who has owned a pair of shoes that has lasted them five years can attest, the shoe is durable. The La Sportiva Akasha has an upper AirMesh that allows the shoe to breathe extremely well. Running in the warmer months, when this shoe is intended to be used, I have never felt my foot feeling too warm (outside of my normal physical exertion-related sweat).

A shoe that can breathe can sometimes be less durable, but that is not the case with the La Sportiva Akasha. It has also been constructed with PU leather in the rear and Dynamic ProTechTion at the toe. Other than minor wear and tear over the years, the Akasha is one of the more durable long-distance trail running shoes I own.

La Sportiva Akasha Sizing

La Sportiva shoes are built on European half sizes which have smaller increments than US half sizes, which the company advertises as allowing for a better fit. It is always a good idea to head into your local running shop to talk with an expert and get the appropriate fit.

But if you know your foot and its size and feel comfortable making a purchase online, you should be safe going true-to-size in the La Sportiva Akasha. Compared to other models from La Sportiva, the Akasha has more volume overall and a wider toe box. This is a feature many runners and hikers look for that may be perfect for you, too.

Price Breakdown

For the La Sportiva Akasha, you can expect to pay anywhere from $70.00 – $140.00 USD.

This shoe is not readily available on the North American market anymore via La Sportiva, but if you can find it, I would invest in as many pairs as possible if you like this model. It has been a trail runner’s favorite for years and years. Whenever they pop up, they go quick.

La Sportiva Akasha Review

$140

la sportiva akasha shoe
4.6
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Long-Distance Running
  • Hiking On Semi-Technical Terrain
  • Casual Trail Runs and Running On Flats

Falls Short

  • For Loose and Steep Terrain
  • For Technical Terrain and Hikes

 

Construction Details

Below, I have provided what I think are some of the construction features in regard to how this shoe performs on the trail and if its construction is a good fit for your style of running or hiking.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 10.93 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Fit: Wide
  • Upper – AirMesh/PU leather rear/Dynamic ProTechTion at toe
  • Lining – Mesh non-slip
  • Midsole – Injected EVA/Cushion Platform
  • Sole – FriXion XT/Trail Rocker system/Impact Braking System
  • Rock plate: No

If you have any additional questions about this model, drop a comment below!

Takeaway Thoughts

Over the last five years, I’ve really enjoyed training in the La Sportiva Akasha trail running shoe. As I’ve grown with my training and hiking, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with this shoe’s performance as a whole.

If you have any questions about the La Sportiva Akasha trail-running shoes or other trail-running shoes, drop a comment below!

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

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Will Quillman

Will Quillman is a Strength and Conditioning Coach at The United States Air Force Academy. He works with the NCAA Division I FCS football program and teaches physical education courses, including basic cadet physical development and rock climbing. He holds a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine with an Emphasis in Strength and Conditioning from The University of Colorado Springs (UCCS). He loves outdoor gear and apparel. Training outdoors is one of Will's many passions and devotes hours every single day training for the activities he loves. Will knows that in the backcountry, gear and apparel can make or break a great experience.

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