La Sportiva Bushido

This trail runner is perfect for runners who favor a minimalist feel and goat-like grip for moving fast over rough terrain.

Cushion

The 13mm-thick EVA midsole material doesn’t have much cushion for hard-packed trail or pavement, but that didn’t bother testers who prefer a responsive, stiff feel underfoot.

Traction

Frixion rubber (the same stuff La Sportiva uses in climbing shoes) in the center of the outsole stuck to every surface we encountered, including steep granite slabs in California’s Castle Crags State Park. The widely spaced, arrow-shaped lugs kept us from slipping in soft dirt and mud.

Support

A plastic arch bridges the gap between forefoot and heel, with a split in the center that acts as a hinge point. The result is increased flexibility (you can actually fold this shoe in half) and better ground feel, but less support under the forefoot.

Protection

The upper is fortified with a substantial toecap and a protective TPU plate in the heel. We sprinted down debris-covered trails without worrying about banging rocks.