La Sportiva Jackal

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MSRP: $140

Drop: 7mm

Women’s version here.

Men’s version here. 

The La Sportiva Jackal is an ultra-oriented shoe ready for mountain adventures. At 8.8 oz for the women’s edition and 10.5 for the men’s, it’s light enough to feel zippy without sacrificing the cushioning you need for long-distance adventures. A 25mm stack height gives this shoe substantial cushion and support without sacrificing too much trail feel. A 7mm drop feels supportive without being too aggressive, and it’s a pretty perfect sweet spot for runs 50k and up.

The upper is a mono-burr ripstop mesh, which is a great balance of breathability and durability. The structure is substantial enough to feel supportive but still feels light enough to be speedy. A thick, padded tongue protects the top fo the foot, but felt a bit stiff to me, particularly on steep descents. The Jackals take a few runs to break in, particularly in the toe cap

and a problem ankle area, which has less padding than the comparable Kaptiva. The first few runs in these rubbed my ankle, but I was able to partially mitigate irritation by using the outermost eyelet to secure the shoe a bit more. The stiff, unpadded ankle is where the Jackal has the biggest room for improvement. Otherwise, the narrower heel cup feels protective and supportive, with just enough heft to let you charge the downhills with confidence and agility.

The outsole has 3mm multidirectional lugs which function as a great brake system on for descents and also fares relatively well on steep and loose climbs. A midfoot rockguard protects your foot on uneven and rocky terrain.  The outsole is nimble enough for tough runs on rubbly and loose terrain. I’d recommend this for any ultra runner looking for a shoe that you can race and train in all summer long.

Zoë Rom is Assistant Editor at Trail Runner and host of the DNF podcast. 

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