For years, when winter arrived and the snow started to pile up, I assumed my only option for running meant heading to the gym. But winter doesn’t need to mean a boring treadmill.
La Sportiva just unleashed its new winter trail runner called the Cyklon Cross GTX, which enables trail runners to continue getting outside all winter long.
The Cyklon has been a popular shoe for La Sportiva for years, and now the brand is leveraging the success of that trail runner into a winter version with the Cyklon Cross GTX. This is a great option for snowy trail runs in rough terrain from fall through spring when the weather turns.
Just look at the shoes — equipped with a GORE-TEX integrated gaiter and BOA Fit System — and you know it means business. Once I slipped on the sock-like shoe, I felt like I could take on any trail no matter how slick or snowy.
To ensure that these new technical mountain running shoes could stand up to the toughest of winter conditions, I took them into the snowy Rocky Mountains of Colorado to test them out.
In short: The La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX trail runners are like a sticky, waterproof second skin that you can slip on and tighten down with the convenient BOA fit System. The GORE-TEX membrane and water-repellent gaiter, combined with the sticky and grippy FriXion White, add up to a pretty epic package. This running shoe is protective and ready for the elements, and at first glance looks more like a boot than a trail runner. But, don’t be fooled.
La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX Review
Cyklon Cross GTX Specs
- Gaiter: Two-way stretch water-repellent anti-drag scuff-resistant single mesh and water-repellent lateral YKK zip with coating
- Lining: GORE-FLEX construction
- Footbed: OrthoLite Hybrid Mountain Running 4 mm
- Midsole: EVA-injected shock-absorbing and bio-density with stabilizer insert
- Sole: Optimum grip FriXion White (suitable for use with AT Grip spikes sold separately)
- Lugs: 7 mm
- Waterproofing: GORE-TEX membrane
- Lacing: BOA Fit System
Go Way Off Road This Winter
Walking off trail, much less running, in the winter has always been a dicey proposition. However, with the Cyklon Cross GTX, I feel confident heading outside this winter.
One of the first things that caught my eye with these shoes is the proprietary BOA Fit lacing system, which I have on my mountain bike shoes and alpine touring ski boots. The simple click-and-turn mechanism will easily tighten the laces on the shoe without having to tie anything. This is especially helpful when you are wearing gloves, have cold hands, or both.
La Sportiva describes the fit of the shoe as an “easy-in” system. I did find it quick and easy to slip my feet into the shoes, ratchet up the BOA Fit System, and zip up the gaiter. Once on, the shoes felt like heavy-duty socks with structure or almost like a second skin in the way they form to your feet.
The result is a very comfortable running shoe that I wore for four-plus miles out of the box with no issues, hotspots, or discomfort at all. If you have worn or had success with La Sportiva running shoes, such as the Ultra Raptor II, before, these are a continuation of that, just overbuilt for winter.
The shoe is integrated with a water-repellent gaiter ensuring that my feet stayed dry for four miles through the snow. Unless you find yourself in snow that is so deep that it comes over the ankle-high cuff, you will stay dry in these shoes, which is a must for winter runners.
FriXion White Soles for the Win
I first tried these shoes on inside the house, and the sole, made from FriXion White, reminded me of NFL receiver gloves as they stuck to the wood floors. FriXion is part of La Sportiva’s line of soles on shoes.
The White is a super-sticky compound that is long-lasting and made for mountain running shoes and indoor climbing shoes. The FriXion White ranks 7.5 out of 10 for grip and 5.1 on the hard-wearing scale.
The takeaway is that these soles are going to stand up to harsh winter elements. As I ran on the soft, fresh-packed snow trail, it was similar to running in the sand on a beach — the shoes compressed the snow as I moved up the mountain, but they never lost traction.
The one thing these shoes are not immune to is ice. Ice is dangerous for any shoe, but you can pair the new Cyklon Cross GTXs with AT Grip spikes, sold separately, to make them bite the ice and offer some additional traction uphill.
La Sportiva says the Cyklon Cross GTX work with snowshoes, so to cap off my day on the mountain I strapped on a pair of snowshoes and headed deeper into the woods through untracked knee-deep powder. The shoes did great with my snowshoes, and I was able to trek up and down the mountain, cutting a trail easily.
My feet got cold in the deeper snow as there is no insulation in the shoes. You’ll want to make sure to wear a warm pair of winter socks with these. The soft toebox of the shoe would occasionally pinch in the snowshoe bindings as I ascended uphill.
Another factor I analyzed while running versus snowshoeing was these shoes’ comfort. While running on snow, the OrthoLite 4 mm ergonomic footbed worked just fine, but in a stiff snowshoe, I could feel the insoles compressing into the soles at times.
While not a problem for just a few hours on the trail, it may be worth considering an insole with more give if you decide to use these for snowshoeing all day long.
The waterproof breathable GORE-TEX membrane worked great with the water-repellent gaiter to prevent snow from getting into the shoes, even when I ventured into deeper snow. Overall, the snowshoes added traction and float to an already stellar shoe, making it easier to go further off trail.
La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX: Conclusion
La Sportiva designed the Cyklon Cross GTXs for off-road training and even competitions during the winter. After testing them out at 11,000 feet in the snowy Rocky Mountains, they are a must-have for anyone who wants to continue running and training outside during the winter months.
The Cyklon Cross GTX offers an easy-to-put-on pair of shoes with a nice snug fit that keeps you secure and dry on the trail. The standout FriXion White soles were stellar performers and combined with the BOA system and built-in gaiter make these winter running shoes stand apart.
The only downsides I had were cold feet inside the thin shoes (wear warm socks!), and the additional need for traction devices in certain icy conditions. Some might also find the price a con, however, these shoes include built-in gaiters and great traction, so you are getting your money’s worth.