During a recent run on my hometown trails the La Sportiva Skylite took me back to my cross country roots. It was fairly lightweight (12.1 oz./343 g per shoe), quite responsive, and made me want to sprint down the trails I’d raced a decade and a half earlier. The shoe even felt fast when running at a leisurely pace, a characteristic aided by the fact lesser height differential between the heel and tow than most trail shoes, which puts your foot in a position to run fast.
One place where the Skylite is not fast is on mud. That’s not surprising as La Sportiva designed the barely existent tread to minimize weight. While out on the trail I compared the tread depth with that of a hiking boot and the boot’s impression was at least twice as deep. Without significant tread, the shoe doesn’t provide much traction. This lack of traction made the Skylite feel less stable than La Sportiva’s well-lugged Crosslite, a shoe that is nearly identical to the Skylite except for the outsole. That said, I never slid dangerously or fell during an hour run on muddy, thawing trails; however, the level of slippage I experienced would be frustrating during a workout or race. On the upside, it’s impossible for the sole to build and be weighed down by mud.
The Skylite can ably handle the short stretches of road you might encounter in a trail race. Indeed, the Skylite is smooth on the road. It rolls well and felt no less efficient that a road racer. However, Skylite lacks the forefoot cushioning found in the Crosslite, as a 3,000 foot run up the partially paved Glacier Point trail in Yosemite showed me. During this run, it didn’t take long for the balls of my feet to start to ache. The Skylite lack of cushioning is due a firm midsole and lack of shock-absorbing lugs, such as those found on the Crosslite.
The La Sportiva Skylite is a shoe that performs extremely well at the task for which it was designed – running fast on dry trails. If you are racing a trail half marathon or want to set a personal ascent record up the local mountain? Throw on the Skylite and have some fun. I even think that it could be used as a cross country racing flat, particularly by those who want a little more stability than the standard options provide.
Your best bet for picking up the Skylite is over at La Sportiva’s website where it retails for $95.
- Rumor has it that the low profile outsole of the Skylite provides great traction on rock face. Can anyone confirm this?
- Anyone care to share how the Skylite has performed in races? Seen any fast guys sporting it?
- Any minimalists out there who regularly throw on the Skylite for training runs?