La Sportiva Skylite Review

La SportivaDuring 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.

La Sportiva SkyliteLa Sportiva Skylite

Traction
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.

La Sportiva Skylite soleA better look at the Skylite’s outsole

Road
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.

Overall Performance
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.

Questions

  • 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?

There are 7 comments

  1. Derrick

    Great review!I just love the feel of the Skylites. Superlight, snug fit and as you said, you feel fast in them.I generally alternate between Crosslites and Skylites mostly on the trails I run around here. On the muddy days, I'll still go with the Crosslites, as well as on days where I am running a little longer (as I like the extra bit of cushioning from the lugs provided as you mentioned).The longest I have run in the Skylites so far would probably be 2.5hrs and found they were great. I am planning to venture further in them this year though. The Skylites did perform very well on flat and wet rock on a trail running weekend in the Adirondacks recently. They don't have many switchbacks in the ADK's, and the Skylites gripped well on steep climbs.Another quick comment about the Skylite is that I like to use them as a racing shoe in my snowshoes. In addition to them being light and flexible, they are also firm enough to prevent issues with the snowshoe cleat digging into the bottom of your foot. The scree guard on the upper also offers a nice bit of snow protection.

  2. Travis

    Thanks for the overview and pics. I think I would like these lighter weight shoes if they had a touch more stability. For example, I like the stability in the Fireblade, but don't really care for that higher ankle cuff. My ideal would be everything about the Fireblade with the Raceblade fit around the ankle. I may look at picking up the Crosslite's for my winter fast workouts.

  3. BGill

    Goat, how much room is there in the mid- and forefoot? I hate finding a nice pair of shoes and come to find out they they're too snug on my fat feet.

  4. Justin Ricks

    I have really enjoyed the skylite since I purchased them a few months ago. I have trainned in them for runs in the 3.5-4 hour range and have never had any issues. I have even thrown a few screws in them in order to get additional traction on some icy Pikes Peak runs. I wouldn't race in them because I believe they are still too heavy but I also ran in the Nike Lunaracer at Sunmart 50. So maybe I am not the best judge on whether or not you should race in the skylite. I heard a rumor that they are not going to continue to sell them anymore because they are so similar to the crosslite.

  5. Trail Goat

    Derrick and Justin,Thanks for the great info on the Skylites.Travis,I don't remember having too much ofa problem with the ankle height of the Fireblade, but that's just me. I wish companies wouldn't keep the ankle collar so high.. I often have problems with that.Fat-footed Bobby,I'm guessing these aren't the shoes for you. They are snug racing-style shoes. The mid-foot is somewhat snug and the forefoot across the ball of the foot is very snug in my opinion.

  6. New Runner

    I have a pair of Skylites and have yet to use them. Thanks for this great review. I look forward to trying them out. I need to wait for less snowy conditions.I do have a pair of Crosslites and I absolutely love them. Today I did an 18.5km run in them on snow, asphalt and ice. They were solid the whole time. So far, they are the only shoe I can wear that doesn't injure me. The LaSportiva catalogue says they have a pronation control insert in the sole but the store I bought them from says they are a neutral shoe. They feel like a neutral shoe. Does anyone know if the Skylite and Crosslites are really a neutral shoe? On Friday, I went back to see the guy who did my gait analysis back in October and he says my right foot does have a slight pronation. So maybe the Crosslites are a perfect shoe.

  7. Shane

    I bought a pair of Skylites in Leadville six days before this year's Silver Rush 50 because I was concerned about turning an ankle on the rough course. I then wore the shoes while I logged short training runs each day for four days in a row. They were fantastic. They fit snugly on my medium width foot. I especially liked the low to the ground, stable feeling I got with them. I wore an extremely thin sock during the SR 50 and did not get a single blister. They were a bit hard on the balls of my feet during the steep, rocky descents, but I did not suffer from any bruising the next day. Great shoe!

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