Long Term Gear Test: La Sportiva Helios.

Long term gear test: La Sportiva Helios, by La Sportiva NZ ambassador Sam Clark-

I’m going to get this out of the way early in the piece:  The La Sportiva Helios could be the last pair of running shoes you’ll ever need.

1034-2398-large heliosMy relationship with the Helios began 9 months ago. In my preparation for the Coast to Coast, I searched for every conceivable advantage- I needed a light shoe, with the right grip to tame the slick Granite boulders which the race is famous for. I tried several other shoes, which from the outside looked to have a lot of grip, but discovered they were almost useless when it came to real world conditions, where a runner might encounter any number of surfaces during a run. Over Goat Pass, some “trail running” shoes are almost useless. By my definition, a trail running shoe relies on its aggressive tread pattern to have traction on soft surfaces like grass, mud and trail. However the rubber which makes them great for that purpose makes them almost useless when it comes to traction on slick wet surfaces.  Goat Pass demands a Mountain Running Shoe, and in the Helios you have it.

La Sportiva is an Italian company that was founded in 1928, with its roots in mountain sports. In the mountains, having the right grip can be a matter of life and death and these guys have a reputation for making the stickiest climbing shoes out. Their mastery of rubber has trickled into their running shoes, and when you wear them, you’ll feel like Spiderman.

Sam Clark

Sam during the 2015 C2C.

On to why these may be the last pair of running shoes you’ll ever need:  I am a multisporter, which by definition means I take part in a multitude of sports and often under the toughest of conditions. So here is a rundown of what I have put my Helios through:

Several Multisport races, including podium finishes in the New Zealand, European and World Championships. Several Adventure races, ranging from 6 hours to 5 days. Two Ironman triathlons and two 70.3 races,  an ultramarathon, the world’s largest swim-run race, dozens of trail runs, Northern Europe’s largest kayak marathon and hundreds of hours of training in between.

They also combine well with a pair of blue jeans.

As always, there is no “right shoe “ for everyone, but if you’re searching for a great all round shoe that performs  on the road and on the highest peak, then the La Sportiva Helios might be the shoe you’re looking for.

Sam finished 2nd at the 2015 Coast to Coast Longest Day, using his La Sportiva Helios over the Goat Pass mountain run. To find out more on Sam, check out his athlete page.


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