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8.1 ounces / 4mm drop / $120
The Dirt: Built on a beefed-up version of the popular Vertical K platform, this lightweight beauty boasts aggressive outsole lugs that lent testers confidence on varied terrain.
The gusseted tongue and tightly woven mesh upper provide ample breathability while keeping out debris. A sturdy toe bumper protects the feet during the inevitable toe dig.
In spite of its light weight, the Helios may feel a touch rigid underfoot on certain surfaces—“unyielding on paved road and hard soil,” said one tester.
Best For: While light as a racing flat, the Helios has ample cushion and stability to hold up to ultras. Said one tester, “Even after runs over three hours in the gnarliest conditions, my feet felt comfortable.”
Traction: “It just eats up the packed dirt and loose gravel on the trails near my house,” said one tester. Others reveled in the Helios’ ability to handle
everything from rocks and roots to snow and mud.
Fit: The Helios offers a true-to-size fit, with ample space for wider feet.
The Downsides: One narrow-footed tester had trouble getting the Helios laced tightly enough: “I really have to crank the laces to get a close fit.”
Tester-Monial: “The Helios has become my go-to shoe. I can’t believe something so lightweight offers the traction and toe protection I need.”
—Michele Hammond, Killingworth, CT
*In 2013, La Sportiva will donate $10 from every online sale of the women’s Helios to the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation, a Denver-based nonprofit that funds scientific research grants for ovarian cancer at respected medical institutions as well as community awareness campaigns across the country.
Check out the other 10 shoes in our Spring 2013 Shoe Review.