Preview: La Sportiva Bushido II || Go-to “high route shoe” gets better

The La Sportiva Bushido II is mostly the same as the first-generation, but with a few nice tweaks.

Update: I have posted a long-term review of the Bushido II based on my experience with it in Alaska and Yosemite.

The La Sportiva Bushido is designed for running on rugged mountain trails, but I’ve found it to be best suited for backpacking high routes. Most notably, it:

  • Sits low to the ground, for stability on uneven surfaces;
  • Features a stiff midsole, for kicking steps in snow and hard dirt, and for holding an edge on side-hills and steep slopes;
  • Has an aggressive and sticky rubber outsole, for excellent traction on rock, dirt, and vegetation;
  • Is well constructed, so that it can endure the abuse that high routes dish out; and,
  • Fits snugly, for precise control.

Read my full review of the first-generation La Sportiva Bushido.

La Sportiva is updating the Bushido for spring 2019. The Bushido II will retain all its winning features, but gets a few tweaks that should make it even better.

Preview: La Sportiva Bushido II

La Sportiva employees at the Outdoor Retailer booth sounded mostly happy with the performance and sales of the first-generation Bushido. Both guys I spoke with said that it’s their favorite trail running shoe, and one mentioned that it’s the best-selling women’s trail running shoe at REI.

So La Sportiva’s approach to a second-generation Bushido was similar to that of Altra when it released the Lone Peak 4.0 — improve it some, but don’t mess with why people love it.

The Bushido and Bushido II are more similar than different:

  • Same MSRP, at $130;
  • Same weight, at 10.5 oz (300 grams) for men’s and 8.8 oz (250 grams) for women’s;
  • Same narrow last, the Racing Lite Ergo;
  • Same low-volume fit;
  • Same outsole rubber and pattern, the Dual-Density FriXion XT V-Groove with Impact Brake System;
  • Same tongue; and,
  • Same stack height and drop: 19mm to 13mm, with 6mm drop.
The outsole rubber and pattern is unchanged, but the exterior of the arch was updated to improve durability.


Changes to the Bushido II are relatively minor, but still significant enough to warrant a second-generation designation.

The biggest difference between the first- and second-gen is the EVA midsole. The Bushido II is supposedly more responsive and springier, due to the inclusion of proprietary LaSpEVA in addition to the holdover compression molded MEMlex.

The exterior of the arch is covered in a more durable material. This was one of the first blow-out points on the first-generation, although it was inconsequential — when the TPU was abraded off, the plastic underneath was exposed.

Rubber (instead of synthetic leather) now covers more of the toebox, and the upper mesh fabric was changed to improve breathability (hopefully without affecting durability).

The upper is made of a more breathable mesh fabric. I didn’t have complaints about this, and I’m hoping that the new mesh is at least as durable.

Finally, the toe guard was redesigned. Rubber (rather than synthetic leather) has been extended out over the toebox. And the small strip of synthetic leather on the lateral perimeter of the toebox has been removed, apparently to avoid some complaints about pinching.

Questions about the Bushido II? Leave a comment.

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Posted in , on August 8, 2018
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  1. Hunter Hall on August 8, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    At first I did not like the Bushido, but it has grown on me and I love it now.

    My only complaint is I feel like there’s not enough padding on the balls of the feet. Am I hearing that the new generation will address this somewhat? Is there anyway to mitigate this a little bit in the current shoe?

  2. Hunter Hall on August 8, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I should clarify that I removed the original insoles and replaced them with power steps, which my feet love.

  3. David W on August 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Do you have a high volume shoe recommendation for high routes? All of the La Sportiva models that I tried on were far too narrow for me. Like many others I have been using the Lone Peak 3.5s and enjoying them for standard trails.

    • Mike on August 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Have you tried the Altra King MT’s? I think those are their high route shoes. I hiked the JMT in Lone Peak 3.5s though without any stability issues (I was using trekking poles though).

  4. Damir on August 28, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Hi Andrew , do you know when will Bushido 2 be in stores ??

    Best regards from Croatia

    • Andrew Skurka on August 28, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      Products shown for at the August show usually hit shelves the following spring, in this case March-ish 2019.

      • Ethan on November 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

        Andrew thank you for the helpful review. Been looking forward to the Bushido II. La Sportiva Boulder said it should be in by mid-January if not a week or so earlier. It’s supposed to have a bit more room in the forefoot than the Akasha. One question – at OR did you find the insoles had a pronounced arch? With low-medium arches, I avoid shoes that have a high forced arch. Happy Thanksgiving!

        • Andrew Skurka on November 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

          The sample size at OR is US 9-ish, which would fit only if I cut off my toes. But Sportiva says that there’s essentially no change to the fit, and the first-gen do not have a high arch.

  5. Ethan on November 21, 2018 at 7:05 am

    Thank you, that’s good to hear

  6. Floyd on April 10, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Does version II of the Bushido have a rock plate? REI is listing with a plate, but I do not see it as part of your updates for the shoe. The original did not have a plate, and I could feel it on the extreme rocky trails that I run — especially as the lugs on the ball of foot wore down more.

    • Andrew Skurka on April 10, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      Sportiva did not indicate that they’d added a plate to the second-gen. This would be a big omission, and I would not have expected that of the Sportiva reps with who I spoke.

      But if you really want to know, call their CS. This is a current shoe for them now, and CS reps should know it well.

    • Ryan on June 5, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Bushido II does have a rock plate. More cushion and a better profile/fit and material around the ankle are the major updates.

  7. El Mateo on April 18, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    As always, La Sportiva continues to ignore the big guys. My size 14 Sasquatch feet would pay dearly to try these perfect looking high route shoes…

    • Joshua on May 2, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Andrew,

      I’m taking the planning course, now and re-weighed my 1st edition bushido shoes. I’ve weighed them multiple times to confirm, but I keep getting 1 lb, 6.3 oz. Is the weight listed above per shoe or per pair @ 10.5 oz? I’m due for a new pair and was wondering if my shoe weight will be halved or if my multiple washings have really doubled the shoe weight.

      Thanks for all you do!


      • Andrew Skurka on May 2, 2020 at 7:36 pm

        10.5 oz per shoe for men’s size 9

  8. Joshua on May 2, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks for taking the time and answering a silly question.

  9. Matthew on April 16, 2023 at 8:22 am

    You use the non gortex ones right ? Thanks !

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