A Monster Shoe for Mountain Terrain: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Trail Runner Review – GearJunkie

A Monster Shoe for Mountain Terrain: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Trail Runner Review  GearJunkie

Trail running shoes have to do a little bit of everything. They need to be lightweight, but also heavy-duty enough to stand up to rough terrain or weather. A popular model on market, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor just got an upgrade.

Trail running is one of those sports where footwear is arguably the most important piece of gear you invest in. The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II has been a staple running shoe for years. For 2022, the iconic Italian brand released the second iteration of this trail beast.

In short: You can’t go wrong with La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II running shoes. The Raptor is a monster on the mountain. These shoes let runners take technical terrain in stride. The massive soles and lugs handle mud, choss, and steep trails with no problem.

The major change for the second version of the Ultra Raptor is the addition of wide widths for both the men’s and women’s models. The upper also gets an upgrade in this version, making the fit more comfortable and secure.

We put this new version of the 2022 Ultra Raptor II to the test on some technical trails in Northern Idaho.

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Trail Runners Review

Testing the Ultra Raptor II in wet and muddy conditions; (photo/David Young)

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Specs

  • Weight: 10.4 oz. women’s, 12.5 oz. men’s
  • Drop: 9 mm
  • Lining: EZ-in Heel Pocket, wicking mesh
  • Insole: Ortholite Hybrid with 5% recycled rubber and 15% production waste foam
  • Midsole: Injection-molded MEMlex, Endurance Platform EVA Insert, nylon-molded flex TPU Transfer shank
  • Sole: FriXion XF 2.0 X-Axis, 4.5mm lugs
  • Stack: 19 mm/28 mm
  • Price: $155

Out of the Box

Out of the box, these shoes look intense. The Goji/Carbon Lamborghini red and black version of the Raptor II just looks fast.

The entire shoe is built very solidly with the standout being aggressive lugs combined with FriXion rubber and a Trail Bite heel. The combination provides all-terrain traction and maximum grip.

The Ultra Raptor II is billed as the ideal all-terrain mountain running shoe for long-distance runs and ventures off the beaten path. Yet the stout build of the shoe does not translate to heft — it’s still very lightweight at 12.5 ounces.

You can use these for everything from walking to hiking, as the shoes include a full-length rock guard and an ultra-sticky rubber outsole. La Sportiva definitely designed the Ultra Raptors with protection and stability front of mind.

On the Trail

(Photo/David Young)

I laced these shoes up and could almost immediately tell that they would give me the confidence to tackle most terrain.

I decided to test them out on a solid 4-mile out-and-back trail called the Pulaski Tunnel Trail in Northern Idaho. The moderate trail has more than 700 feet of elevation that traverses, at times steeply, next to a stream.

The varied trail provided everything from roots to rocks to test the Ultra Raptor II’s ability.

The TPU lacing harness locked my feet into the shoe, creating a secure and supportive fit. The shoes run a bit small, so I sized up a half size and they fit great.

(Photo/David Young)

The Raptor II has a compression-molded EVA midsole, which absorbed shock and impact on the rocky trail. They provided ample cushioning while ascending and descending the trail.

The platform EVA inserts protected my feet, and La Sportiva’s Transkinetic heel stabilizer locked my heel in place for increased stability.

I wore ankle socks, but my heels rubbed a bit on the trail, so I would recommend wearing higher socks. This was really the only drawback to these shoes.

Since sock height also tends to vary based on personal preference for different folks, we’ll chalk that up to a minor detail. That, and this low shoe lacks the ankle support you would find in a true hiking boot. However, La Sportiva conveniently offers the Mid GTX version of the Ultra Raptor II for those wanting more ankle and lateral support.

The 9mm heel drop on the Raptor II is in the sweet spot, and the Ortholite Hybrid foam insole provides a plush footbed.

(Photo/David Young)

In testing, the trail was wet in spots and the air was slightly humid; the wicking AirMesh design helped keep my feet cool, dry, and comfortable. The stout EVA rock guard stood up to the steepest of terrain and hardest of impacts while protecting my feet from sharp rocks.

Going both uphill and downhill on some pretty steep grades had me feeling comfortable and stable. I would have no concerns about taking these shoes into some steeper terrain with more exposure, too.

Ultra Raptor II vs. Danner Trail 2650 Campo GTX

When putting the Ultra Raptor II shoes up against my previous trail runners — the Danner Trail 2650 Campo GTX trail shoes — they are similar in many respects, but the Raptors are much beefier.

They both are lightweight and fit snugly. The Danners weigh in at one pound, 8 ounces per pair. Each of the shoe soles is grippy, however, the lugs on the La Sportiva are bigger than the Campo’s Vibram 460 Megagrips.

The heel-to-toe drop on the Campo GTX is 8 mm compared to 9 mm on the La Sportiva Raptor II. The La Sportiva’s a bit stiffer and provides more structure and protection.

In all, I would say that while both are great trail running shoes, the Danner Trail 2650 Campo GTXs are more akin to running shoes, while the Ultra Raptor IIs veer more toward a hiking boot build.

Basically, the Raptors are the sort of trail runners you want for rockier, more technical terrain — not just everyday trail running. While comfortable and light, they definitely shine best on trails (or long distances) where stability and traction is needed.

Conclusion

The newly updated La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II trail running shoes provide everything you need from a stout stellar trail shoe. Whether you are hiking or trail running, these Lamborghini red Raptors should tackle all sorts of technical terrain.

Check Men’s Price at REICheck Women’s Price at REI


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