Our La Sportiva Cyklon Shoes Review details an advanced running shoe designed for technical terrain. Please do read on to find out more.
The Design Brief
In designing the Cyklon, La Sportiva were seeking to produce a running shoe that excelled on technical terrain. The sort of mixed ground that could feature steep rocky ground, boulder fields and varied undulating terrain. The kind of ground encountered by, amongst many others, sky runners.
The Cyklon was designed as a development of La Sportiva’s extremely popular Mutant shoe. However, it is clear when you compare the two models that the Cyklon has taken the features to a different level. This shoe may have Mutant DNA, but it certainly has its own character and design features.
As you will read in the review, integral to the Cyklon is the BOA Fit system. This innovative lacing system is designed to overcome the problems of traditional laces. The integration of the BOA system is the result of a continued collaboration between the companies and also allows La Sportiva to use their unique Dynamic Cage system.
Even with a renowned pedigree for all terrain running shoes, in the Cyklon La Sportiva were really looking to produce a product that changed the game. I have been testing some out. Please read my La Sportiva Cyklon Shoes review to find out more.
La Sportiva was founded in 1928. Narciso Delladio hand crafted wood and leather boots for Italian lumberjacks and farmers of the Fassa and Fiemme valleys. As demand increased Delladio hired new workers and developed new markets. The good name of La Calzoleria Sportiva (Sports Shoe Shop) fitted the emerging trade and the company continued to grow. The company is still based in the Fiemme Valley and produces boots and shoes for all kind of outdoor activities. They also have a clothing range. La Sportiva products are distributed in more than 70 countries.
BOA was founded in 2001 by snowboarder and surfer Gary Hammerslag. Gary moved from California to Colorado in the mid 90s and set about developing a system to improve the fit and performance of snowboard lacing systems. After many prototypes and much research, the BOA Fit system was born. The BOA Fit appeared in snowboard boots, but now over 300 brands trust the system. It is used in many models of boots, but also helmets, shoes, and other performance products.
The pair of Cyklon’s I received are like a ray of sunshine. The colour scheme is described as neon/goji. This is a bright green/yellow colour with red detailing and a red sole. They are stylish looking shoes, but don’t expect to blend in with the landscape!
La Sportiva quote the Cyklon weight as 320 grams per shoe for a UK8 (Euro 42). On the office scales I found my size 8’s to be 310g.
The upper is made from breathable anti-abrasion mesh with thermo adhesive reinforcements. These reinforcements extend up the shoe sides to offer structure and impact resistance.
The Memlex Eva double density midsole is designed to offer shock absorption and stability. There is a protective TPU toe box and the sole is a sticky FriXion XF2 rubber unit with 6.5mm lugs. There is also a protective TPU toecap and a neoprene gaiter to keep out debris.
The BOA Fit system combines with the La Sportiva Dynamic Cage to provide a precise, stable snd micro adjustable fit. The system also ensures there are no loose lace ends to get in the way. The Cyklon features the BOA L6 platform which is designed for maximum impact protection and resistance to accidental opening.
The heel height is 26.5 mm and the front is 19.5mm which gives a stack height of 7mm. This is a little less than the Mutant and La Sportiva have done deliberately. They felt this offered better performance on technical terrain. There is certainly enough cushioning there for challenging and technical terrain.
The Cyklon certainly have a contemporary style. They are colourful and the branding is bold. It’s a classic La Sportiva look really. I actually really like the styling, but make sure you are ready when you open the box. If it is a shock, be reassured the colours do become more subdued once they get muddy and dusty.
The next thing you’ll notice is the quality. The Cyklon’s are beautifully crafted with great attention to detail. There has clearly been lots of thought given to the design and construction. But, that construction also looks built for the hard miles. The shoes look durable with reinforcements in key areas and extra stitching at stress points.
Pulling the shoes on will initially take some practice. The ankle gaiter, by design, wraps snugly around the top of the shoe. This means the entry point is quite small. La Sportiva have catered for this by offering a pull tab at the front and fold in the year of the gaiter fabric. You hook your finger under one and pull the other. Once you master it, it’s simple enough.
The upshot of this, though, is that once you pull the Cyklon’s on they feel secure even before you fasten the lacing. The heel cup holds the rear of your foot and there is plenty of room for my medium width forefoot. I ordered a size UK8 (42) and found them true to size. I did read of some people reporting they were a small fit, but that hasn’t been my experience.
So, next to consider the lacing system. This is where things get really interesting. The system combines La Sportiva’s Dynamic Cage with BOA Fit. I’ll put my cards on the table straight away by saying this combo is superb. It secures the shoe firmly while also allowing micro adjustability. But, how does it work?
The Dynamic cage is formed from a flap of material that sits over the foot. This connects to the side of the shoe via a thin cord that culminates at a plastic wheel. To close the cage you press the plastic wheel in and turn. This pulls the cord through the loops to tighten the shoe. You can micro adjust the wheel to offer a very accurate fit. To loosen the lace you simply pull the plastic wheel out and the cord is released. It is simple and extremely effective.
For a running shoe this system is absolutely ideal. The foot is held firmly because the cage pulls equally along its length. There are no pinch points and it feels comfortably secure. The system also ensures the foot is pulled securely into the heel cup. Put simply, this is the best system I’ve used in a running shoe.
But there are also hidden details in the design here that need to be explained. The La Sportiva Mutant features a tongue design that avoids any seams where the shoe contacted the foot. They have retained that feature in this shoe too.
The BOA Fit system is a no stretch fastening system. La Sportiva have combined this with no stretch panels that form the upper and lower flaps of the Dynamic Cage. However, as you run your foot needs to stretch. So, there is a stretch panel in the middle that allows for this. You can see this as the red panel in the Dynamic Cage photo above. This is a great addition.
The EVA midsole offers the right level of cushioning and support. It is also backed up by a stability bar that runs along the back and side of the shoe. This is designed to guide the foot forward onto the middle of the foot as you heel strike.
The final key to this type of shoe is always going to be the sole unit. For the Cyklon La Sportiva have used the FriXion XF2 sole. This is a completely new sole design featuring the grippiest FriXion rubber and newly designed lug patterns for grip on varied terrain. La Sportiva say this is ideal for UK conditions. Although I haven’t tried them, the FriXion sole also offers the possibility to use the AT Grip Spike nails for use on icy ground.
On The Move
Taking this forward, how does this translate to real world performance? Well, from the very first wear I have loved every step in the Cyklon. The fit is fantastic and can be dialled in instantly thanks to the BOA Fit system. Once tightened the shoes lock to the feet and feel immediately ready for action. As always, I would say try the shoes to ensure correct sizing before purchase, but I found them a great fit and true to size.
Once on the move the Cyklon’s continue to perform. They are a little less bouncy underfoot than I initially expected but that really doesn’t mean discomfort. Infact, they have proved extremely comfortable. They roll effortlessly from heel to forefoot and the foot is held firmly and comfortably at all times.
As mentioned, there are lighter shoes on the market but again they don’t feel at all heavy. They mainly feel supportive and the kind of solid feel that inspires confidence. However, I did want to mention that they are quite a warm shoe. I suspect this comes down to the several layers that make up the upper. The gaiter, which of course seals around the ankle, must surely also play a part. Not so much a problem in the use I have had from them, but noticeable and so important to mention.
This isn’t a long term review of the Cyklon and I can’t comment too much on the durability. They are, however, a solidly constructed shoe that look built for hard use. In discussion with friends the question of reliability with the BOA Fit system has come up. The system certainly has more moving parts than a pair of laces. What if you are mid run and the system fails? That certainly wouldn’t be ideal, but my expectation is that La Sportiva has done their research to put their faith in this system.
The Cyklon features the L6 platform. This features a bayonet and cartridge system where the cartridge is designed to release from the bayonet on severe impact. If this happens, the user can re-insert the cartridge. It will continue to function during the activity, but a replacement will need to be ordered for a long term fix.
There are a couple more reasons why I am confident in its durability. One is that I have previously used some Black Diamond ski boots with this system and had no issues in several seasons of use. The other is that La Sportiva have collaborated with BOA before and the system has had chance to prove it longevity. BOA do also stand firmly behind their products with the guarantee system. Details of that are worth a read and available here.
As my La Sportiva Cyklon Shoes review shows, I really rate these shoes. Thanks largely to the Dynamic Cage and BOA Fit system, they fit extremely well. They also perform superbly on all the terrain types I’ve used them on.
Infact, they seem to eat up different terrain with ease. Having used them on scrambles and easy grade rock climbs, boulder fields, grass and mud, I’ve not found anything they can’t handle. They are designed for moving over the types of terrain encountered on, for example, Sky Races. They will excel at this.
All in all, this is a fantastic product from an innovative company with a rich history of producing high performance technical footwear. Also, though, it shows a company that appreciates the benefits of collaboration with companies like BOA. Together, infact, a force to be reckoned with. Full details of the Cyklon are available on the La Sportiva website here. You can also learn more about the BOA Fit system here. They retail for £140. The La Sportiva video below explains the shoe in detail.
If this La Sportiva Cyklon Shoes review has been useful, please also check out our Leki MCT 12 Vario Carbon Poles review here. They will make a great companion to the Cyklon.