La Sportiva Crosslite Review

La Sportiva shoesBilled as a racing shoe, La Sportiva’s Crosslite (11.6 oz.) can just as easily be a lightweight, trail trainer. During an initial test run that included 30+ miles of trails and a 15-pound pack, I found that the Crosslite offers more than enough cushioning and support for even the most ridiculous of trail endeavors.

Indeed, the shoe’s widely spaced lugs provided adequate cushioning on the early morning frozen ground. This is much different from the Crosslite’s sister shoe, the Skylite, which offers little in the way of cushioning. The Crosslite’s lugs and rock plate also fared well on rocky sections of trail. As morning turned to afternoon and the frozen trail thawed, the Crosslite really started to shine. The shoe clawed tenaciously to the slickest sections of wet clay while the wide spacing of the lugs allowed the shoe to easily shed any mud once back on terra firma.

On later test runs, the Crosslite ran smooth and neutral on the roads. Again, the widely spaced lugs showed their utility by providing a surprising amount of cushioning for such a lightweight trail shoe.

One great feature of the Crosslite is its elastic lace guard, which both keeps the laces from getting snagged and helps keep trail debris from entering the shoe.

In general, I found the Crosslite to be as supportive as heavier trail shoes, but it did not offer as much arch support. Therefore, I would suggest that anyone switching from a more substantial trail shoe gradually build up the length of his or her runs in the Crosslite. In addition, as a victim of chronic Achilles tendonitis, I was wary of the fact that the shoe provides less relative heel lift than standard running shoes. That said, the Crosslite has yet to irritate my Achilles any more than other shoes.

The Crosslite is clearly a shoe that can tackle any trail condition or even the road. While some trail runners use it as an everyday shoe, it won’t be mine. The three types of runs on which I can see myself choosing the Crosslite are (1) muddy trail runs, (2) trail races up to a marathon, and (3) the occasional trail run during which I want to have a bit of fun or pick up the pace. I also plan to try the Crosslite out on snow and ice… if I ever see some here in Washington, DC.

There are 13 comments

  1. Michael Valliant

    Way to go, Goat! Great stuff, man. Outside is a great fit and can benefit from your expertise and experience and I think I would love to get the gig that The Gear Junkie has :)

  2. Ed

    Congrats Goat! It must be really awesome to write for these guys. But you need to know that you are all over my google reader now! irunfar, the gear junkie, outside,… youtube?!?!?! :)Ed

  3. Derrick

    Great review Bryon! Love my Crosslites. Good point about the arch support and easing into them. I've been running my long runs and races in them and haven't had any issues, but always wise to be careful if coming from a beefier shoe. And yes, they are awesome in the snow. You need to pop up here for a run sometime to test them out;)

  4. Martin

    So Bryon,

    I've been running in the NB 100s and also NB XC shoes for a couple years. In battling some PF and also your buddy, Achilles Tend., I'm looking for something with a tiny bit more cushion and support-have you run in both, do you have any info???

    Thanks for the great site!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Martin, The Crosslite would be a very good option for you. It's upper and midsole are definitely more supportive, though there's still a very low heel-toe angle which engages the calf more… and therefore the Achilles and PF. Still it's more shoe than the MT100 and a great all around shoe.

      1. Martin

        Thanks so much Byron-I'll have to look around for a dealer.

        In the meantime, I got a new pair of the 100s which, at this point, are pretty hard to come by.

        Did you find that a particular insole has helped with your feet?

        My running doc/podiatrist has me running with just a layer of spenco but I'm thinking I might give something a little more substantial a shot. Does seem silly to add structure back into a minimalist shoe though rather than just going with something more robust right? I've tried the heavier duty side of the track-but they always feel like bricks on my feet. Wah, wah, wah ; ).

        Thanks again for the info and, as I said, the great site.

        Makes trailrunner mag look like such a poseur.

        Best,

        Martin

        1. Bryon Powell

          I've been using the Arch Flex System in my running shoes with a mix of other insoles in other shoes. Couldn't you also try a shoe between minimalist and heavy duty? It would be "interesting" to throw a structured insole in an MT100 or the like. I'm sure you can find a shoe that's not clunky, such as the Crosslite, Salomon S-Lab, or an Inov-8 that has some structure.

          Glad I can help!

  5. matt lindsey

    I have been running in the Crosslites for over a year now and love them. They are incredible on the trails, and they are great on the roads also. I can't stand running in any other shoe but the Crosslites. Now for the next challenge. I just picked up a pair of the Sportiva Crossover GTX last night. Can't wait to try them out in the wet and cold PA winters. This shoe looks to be awesome as it is the same as the Crosslite, but has added GoreTex and a built in gaiter.

  6. Rob

    The crosslites are my favourite trail shoes, I did an ultra in them in August and got absolutely no blisters! I've done around 300 miles in them and while the lugs have worn down quite allot, there is still plenty of grip and the uppers have still held up over some very tough terrain. They are also excellent approach shoes for climbing

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