Reviewers say the La Sportiva Raptor has more grip and traction than nearly any other trail shoe on the market. The multidirectional rubber-lugged outsole can handle even the roughest terrain, including slippery rocks and hair-raising descents. A wraparound toe bumper does a good job of protecting feet from sharp rocks, according to reviews. Testers also appreciate the lacing harness, which tightens the entire upper for a snug fit. Like the Montrail Rockridge, some reviewers say the Raptor's heel is too stiff, and we saw reports that the shoe is overkill for smooth trails. The La Sportiva Raptor runs narrow, so wide-footed runners may have trouble getting a comfortable fit. The shoe comes in unisex European sizes ranging from 36 to 47.5. If you have wide feet, the Montrail Rockridge (*Est. $75) is another top pick for rugged trails, and wide-footed testers are able to achieve a comfortable fit.
There's no shortage of reviews for the La Sportiva Raptor. Trail Runner, Outside, Running Times and Runner's World magazines have the best coverage in their detailed trail-shoe guides. Outside magazine is the only source that rates trail running shoes, but the awards at Trail Runner and Runner's World make it easy to identify the best models. Shorter reviews at National Geographic Adventure and Explore magazines are also helpful. Trail shoes don't attract many user reviews, but there are some at Zappos.com. The Raptor gets great feedback there, earning a perfect score from several consumers.
1. Trail Runner
The La Sportiva Raptor gets a positive review at Trail Runner magazine, where testers praise the lacing harness and sturdy ankle support for keeping feet stable on even the rockiest trails. The shoe's traction is also a high point, although the heel is too hard for some testers.
Review: Trail Tested, Michael Benge and Elinor Fish, May 2010
Lisa Jhung at Outside magazine says the La Sportiva Raptor is "the most protective and stable" of all the trail running shoes tested, and she gives it perfect scores for traction and stability. Testers also like that the shoe provides impressive protection and grip without being overly heavy.
Review: Trail Runners, Lisa Jhung, Summer 2010
3. Runner's World
Runner's World magazine says the La Sportiva Raptor is a good fit for those who run rugged terrain and require "four-wheeler-like traction." The grippy lugs and water-resistant upper are high points, but some testers find the shoe too stiff.
Review: Stepping Out, Warren Greene and Martyn Shorten, April 2010
Testers for Running Times say the La Sportiva Raptor excels on rough and rugged terrain, thanks to its excellent traction and snug-fitting upper. However, Brian Metzler thinks it's "too much shoe" for running on smooth trails or roads.
Review: Trail Shoe: La Sportiva Raptor, Brian Metzler, June 2010
5. National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Adventure praises the La Sportiva Raptor trail shoe for its sturdy support and sticky traction. "You'd be hard-pressed to find a running shoe with more grip than La Sportiva's Raptor," Brian Metzler writes.
Review: The Science of Speed: Trail-running Shoes, Brian Metzler, Feb. 2010
WildernessRunning.com, an online shoe retailer, has a detailed review of the La Sportiva Raptor. The shoe is praised for its stability, "seriously sticky" outsole and relatively lightweight design. "The Raptor is easily the stickiest trail-running shoe I've ever laced up," the author writes.
Review: Review: La Sportiva Raptor, Editors of WildernessRunning.com, Feb. 11, 2010
7. Explore magazine (Canada)
Ryan Stuart at Canada's Explore magazine says the La Sportiva Raptor "gripped everything" testers threw at it. The underfoot and toe protection are additional high points.
Review: Gear Guide Extra: La Sportiva Raptor Trail Runner Review, Ryan Stuart, April 24, 2010
Some wide-footed testers think the La Sportiva Raptor is on the narrow side, but those with narrower feet praise the stability and protection from rocks and trail obstacles. The shoe is also on the firm side.
Review: La Sportiva Raptor - ($110), Editors of Competitor.com, March 2, 2010
Eight users provide feedback on the La Sportiva Raptor at Zappos.com, with each giving it a 5-star rating (out of 5). Reviewers say the Raptor excels on technical trails, and is responsive enough that they can still feel the terrain.
Review: La Sportiva Raptor, Contributors to Zappos.com