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Happy Trails: Viva La Sportiva!

La Sportiva Cyklon
La Sportiva Cyklon

Part of our 'Happy Trails' exploration of the Great Outdoors, La Sportiva was founded in 1928 by Narciso Delladio, who started out making boots and clogs for rural folk in the Fassa and Fiemme valleys of Northern Italy. Mountain equipment and ski boots were duly added to the roster over the decades. Today, La Sportiva still make shoes at their factory in Ziano, which is nestled at the foot of the Trient Dolomites, where they maintain an impressive roster of sponsored athletes including mountain runners, rock and alpine climbers and skimountaineers. While many outdoors brands dabble on the fringes, La Sportiva remains a defiantly hardcore brand obsessed with uncompromising technical footwear.

La Sportiva might be new to the pages of Sneaker Freaker, but with the current trend cycle and their knack for producing eye-popping booties, it seems inevitable their vibes will crossover in daily rotations. The new Cyklon model is an intergalactically-named workhorse tuned to suit the specific needs of ‘skyracing’ runners. With an average gradient of over 50 per cent, facing up to the ferocious sprint known as the Vertical Kilometre is no joke. Helmets are compulsory in some races and for good reason. Grip is essential.

The design is a joint venture between La Sportiva and BOA Technologies, who provided the engineering smarts used in the rotating closure system. Visually, as can be seen from the other side of the Alps sans telescope, the Cyklon is a power-packed mix of kinetic branding and intricate tech callouts. The strap-happy upper keeps feet locked-down and makes for a slim, aerodynamic profile. Subtle it ain’t, especially in the neon green scheme.

Let’s break the fully loaded tech-sheet down from the ground up. The sole compound uses Ultra-grip FriXion, which is tuned for unstable terrain. Above that, the midsole cushioning and shock absorption is supplied by single density EVA Memlex. The upper takes things to a new level with anti-abrasion mesh, heat-adhesive TPU reinforcements and La Sportiva’s Dynamic Cage construction. The key component is the elasticised Dynamic Flap that cradles the foot and prevents grit intruding on sensitive feet, but the real hero is the BOA Fit System, which enables runners to dial in their personal settings with a flick of the wrist, pulling cables tight to cinch the foot tight for downhill dashes. At 315 grams, the Cyklon is a legit lightweight racer with flashy style for days.

Almost 100 years since Narciso Delladio hand-made his first pair of boots, his restless spirit continues to burn. Based on their commitment to the twin pillars of innovation and home-grown manufacturing, the future looks bright indeed. Viva La Sportiva!

Grab your copy of Issue 45 now via the  Sneaker Freaker shop!

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