Break free of gravity.
Give your feet wings, and sprint up the trail in the La Sportiva Men's Vertical K Trail Running Shoes. This shoe owes its incredibly light weight (7 ounces per shoe) to a minimalist one-piece upper and the soft, lightweight foam in the MorphoDynamic midsole that absorbs the punishment from rough terrain without bogging you down with more shoe than you need.
- Stretchy nylon upper wraps around your foot in one piece to provide a comfortable, supportive fit
- Wave shape in the MorphoDynamic midsole increases surface contact area to absorb trail variations from below and impact from above for a smooth, cushioned ride
- Minimalist 4mm heel/forefoot drop encourages a more natural stride
- Sticky FriXion XF rubber outsole offers traction and grip
- Reinforced heel loop aids with on and off as well as gives you an easy means of clipping the shoe onto your pack or harness
- Optimal for medium-wide feet
Terms And Conditions
This Usage Agreement (the "Agreement") governs your conduct while using various services on the web site Backcountry.com and its affiliate web sites (collectively, the "Site"). All references to "we," "us," and "our" shall mean Backcountry.com and all references to "you" and "your" shall mean the user of the Site and Site Services. This Agreement applies to various services and activities on the Site as well as to gear review and product ratings (collectively, "Site Services"). Please read this Agreement carefully.
BY ACCESSING, BROWSING, AND USING THE SITE, ANY SITE SERVICES AND OTHER SERVICES THEREIN, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THIS AGREEMENT AND ITS TERMS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THIS AGREEMENT OR ANY SUBSEQUENT MODIFICATION THEREOF, DO NOT ACCESS, BROWSE OR OTHERWISE USE THE SITE OR SITE SERVICES, INCLUDING THE SUBMISSION OF ANY REVIEWS OR COMMENTS.
Any comments, reviews (including gear reviews and product ratings), posts, feedback, questions, answers, notes, messages, images, video, audio, materials, documents, data, graphics, ideas, suggestions or other communications (collectively, "User Content") you submit on the Site are not private or proprietary. By submitting User Content on or through the Site, you grant, assign and transfer to Backcountry.com all of your rights, title and interest, including without limitation, all intellectual property rights and moral rights, in and to such User Content. To the extent the preceding assignment and transfer is ineffective, you hereby grant Backcountry.com an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, adapt, display, publish, archive, store, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon such User Content, in any form, media, software or technology of any kind now existing or developed in the future.
By submitting such User Content on or through the Site, you are confirming that (a) you are the sole author of the User Content and the User Content originated with you and not copied in whole or in part from any other work; (b) you have obtained all necessary permissions associated with the User Content, including without limitation permissions relating to copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity and/or rights of privacy; (c) the User Content does not contain hate speech or profanity and is not unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, libelous, obscene, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, an invasion of another's privacy, or otherwise in violation of this Agreement; (d) that you are not a minor and have the legal right and capacity to enter into and comply with this Agreement; (e) such User Content does not and will not, in any way, violate or breach any of the terms of this Agreement; and (f) Backcountry.com shall not in any circumstances be required to pay or incur any sums to any person or entity as a result of its use or exploitation of the User Content.
With respect to your conduct on the Site or while using the Site Services, you agree not to: (a) attempt to disguise the origin of any User Content transmitted to the Site Services whether through the Site or any third party site; (b) act in any manner that negatively affects other users' ability to use the Site and Site Services; (c) impersonate any person or entity, including without limitation, a manufacturer or owner of any product, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (d) interfere with the Site or Site Services, or servers or networks connected to the Site or Site Services, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies, or regulations of networks connected to the Site or Site Services; (e) upload, post, or otherwise transmit any User Content that with respect to the Site Services: (i) is not relevant to the product, service, person or entity being reviewed; (ii) you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (by way of example but not limitation, inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements); (iii) contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or (iv) is unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation.
User Content does not reflect the views of Backcountry.com, and Backcountry.com does not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, integrity, quality or reliability of any User Content, nor does Backcountry.com endorse or support any opinions expressed in any User Content. In no event shall Backcountry.com have or be construed to have any responsibility or liability for or in connection with any User Content, Any gear reviews and/or product ratings submitted on the Site, if displayed, are displayed for entertainment and informational purposes only. Under no circumstances will Backcountry.com be liable in any way for any User Content, including but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any User Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any User Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted via the Site or Site Services.
If Backcountry.com determines, in our sole and absolute discretion, that you or any User Content you submit violates this Agreement, we reserve the right, at any time, without notice and without limiting any and all other rights Backcountry.com may have under this Agreement, to: (a) refuse to allow you to submit further User Content; (b) remove and delete your User Content; (c) revoke your registration and right to use the User Content Submission Features; and (d) use any technological, legal, operational or other means available to enforce the terms of this Agreement, including, without limitation, blocking specific IP addresses or deactivating your registration, access to the Site and Site Services using your e-mail address, and your user name and password. Without limiting the foregoing, once User Content is submitted to the Site, Backcountry.com may take any or no action with respect to such User Content, including without limitation, deleting, editing, modifying, rejecting, or refusing to post such User Content, but is under no obligation to offer you the opportunity to edit, delete or otherwise modify User Content once it has been submitted. Backcountry.com shall have no duty to attribute authorship of User Content to you and shall not be obligated to enforce any form of attribution by third parties.
If, despite the foregoing assignment and transfer of rights in the User Content, it is determined that you retain moral rights (including the rights of attribution or integrity) in the User Content, you hereby declare that: (a) you do not require that any personally identifying information be used in connection with the User Content or any derivative works of or upgrades or updates thereto; (b) you have no objection to the publication, use, modification, deletion and exploitation of the User Content by Backcountry.com or its licensees, successors or assigns; (c) you forever waive and agree not to claim or assert any entitlement to any and all moral rights of an author in any of the User Content; and (d) you forever release Backcountry.com, and its licensees, successors and assigns from any claims that you could otherwise assert against Backcountry.com by virtue of any such moral rights.
You are prohibited from violating the security of any system or network compromising the Site or the Site Services, including but not limited to the following: (a) unauthorized access to or use of data, systems, or networks, including any attempt to probe, scan or test the vulnerability of the Site or Site Services or to breach security or authentication measures; (b) unauthorized monitoring of data or traffic on the Site or of the Site Services; (c) interference with the Site or Site Services including without limitation, any type of flooding technique or deliberate attempt to overload the system such as denial or service attacks; (d) forging of a message header or any part of a message header; or (e) using manual or electronic means to avoid any use or access limitation placed on this Site or the Site Services. Such violations may result in criminal or civil liability.
Backcountry.com reserves the right to report any activity or persons that Backcountry.com suspects has violated any law or regulation to appropriate law enforcement officials, regulators, or other appropriate third parties (including the disclosure of appropriate subscriber information). Backcountry.com may also cooperate with appropriate law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigation and prosecution of any illegal conduct. Indirect or attempted violations of this Agreement and actual or attempted violations thereof by a third party on behalf of any user shall be considered violations of this Agreement by such user.
BACKCOUNTRY.COM DOES NOT ENDORSE THE USER CONTENT, IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE USER CONTENT AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, PERSONS WHO MAY USE OR RELY ON SUCH USER CONTENT) FOR ANY LOSS, DAMAGE (WHETHER ACTUAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR OTHERWISE), INJURY, CLAIM, LIABILITY OR OTHER CAUSE OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER BASED UPON OR RESULTING FROM ANY USER CONTENT PROVIDED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.
Share your thoughts
The shoes stay sticky, the rock stays sharp.
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Well maybe not but I love the look. You'll definitely have a bunch of people "asking" what brand they are.
Switched to the Vertical K from the Quantum and I couldn't be happier. Lower to the ground, lighter and sticky. Oh so sticky. I do a lot of rock hopping and am blown away by how well these stick to everything.
Only two problems.
The built in lace cover/gaiter makes getting to the laces a hassle. Got a knot in one and I decided to just leave it.
The smell. If you sweat a lot or ever wear them barefoot be prepared to leave them outside for awhile. Definitely couldn't sleep with them in the tent. They just don't breath well enough to allow them to dry out easily.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I came to these after being disappointed with the New Balance MT10 trail shoes (not enough cushioning for long runs and poor durability). So far I am stoked, they seem to be everything the New Balances were not.
Features I value in them: super lightweight, great traction, enough cushion to prevent bruising your feet, relatively little heel to toe drop.
Time will tell more on the durability front I suppose.
I echo many comments from other reviewers. I absolutely love these shoes. Super light and comfortable. Unlike some others, I haven't had any durability issues with the upper and the bottom don't seem to have worn much after about 150 miles. The one complaint I have is that despite what seems like a snug fit, my foot slips forward on steep grade downhills, which for a longer runs, I have had a blister develop on the tip of my big toe. However, for less technical grades on any terrain, I love them!
Let me preface this with the fact that I live in the southwest where bullet proof soil and dry conditions mean deep tread does nothing to enhance grip ... if I lived in a muddy place I might worry about grip.
Anyways these shoes are very comfortable and insanely light.
I ordered a half size up and that was perfect. Slightly warmer than expected due to the fact that the top doesn't have any mesh.
The shoes collapse down to just the soles so they're very compact. These shoes are great for squeezing into carry-ons ... but they're happiest pretending their not on your feet ... every once and a while I have to check to make sure they're still there. Plenty of support for this category.
I thought these might be too high tech for me, but I am pleasantly surprised. They are incredibly lightweight and fit like a glove. Perfect for quick post work trail runs. I like them fitted on the small side with a thin running sock. My only suggestion would be to tone down the colors in the future.
I just wore these for the Pikes Peak Ascent and they were perfect. I have tried many racing flats for this race and none was as perfect as the Vert K. Plenty of protection while being as light as any other shoe, I have been able to find.
I wore these in prep for the race for my feet to get use to the minimal feel. The funny thing was is that I found myself training in them all of the time. They are much more protective than any other minimalist shoe I have tried while still having all of the benefits of a minimalist shoe. In most minimalist shoes I still get bone bruises from rocks - not with these. Now I am wondering if I can use these for an upcoming 50K.
I loved these shoes as soon as i opened them out of the box. They are SO comfortable, VERY light, UNBELIEVABLY grippy and run so nicely. I mean it, when i took these on a trail run they gripped the messy trail so well, my foot barely moved. They didn't chafe my foot and they are easily more comfortable than any slipper I've ever worn. These are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, in fact. The pair weighs NOTHING. They also cushion fantastically. The MorphoDynamic sole is to blame for this, it really is a home run on Sportiva's part. "But wait." You might say,"You only gave it a three out of five?" Thats right, I did give it a three. These are the least durable shoes I have ever worn, I might as well be wearing a pair of Tom's. The grippy sole on these things really showed wear after the first trail run, you could see that rubber had worn away. The fabric on the outside of the shoe is one piece, very light and comfortable, but a thorn can rip it! They just cannot stand up. They would be perfect for racing, and only racing, no training. I really liked these shoes but if they can't stand up to me, thats bad. I am not a sloppy runner nor do I ever drag my feet, I walk like a ballerina for god's sake. Yet they still fell apart. I am sorry la sportiva, i wanted to love these but I couldn't.
Sam tells you all about the La Sportiva Vertical K Trail Running Shoe.
Do you offer the Vertical K in a size 39.5 or 40?
It doesn't look like they do. I suggest initiating a chat with a BC rep using the link at the top of the page. They should be able to tell you if/when they will stock them. Best of luck!
Love the Vert Ks!
The problem with running in them is that you soon find yourself not wanting to wear anything else. With being super light, having a soft slipper-like fit and surprisingly good cushioning for such a light shoe, they are about as close as Ive come to the perfect trail shoe.
Traditionally I like going with a relatively light, but not minimalist shoe. However, this is the first time in 30 years of running that I can honestly say that Ive worn the same shoe for a long run as well as for speedwork with the Vertical Ks.
The one thing that I would caution though is if youre a runner moving from a more supportive/protective shoe to the Vertical Ks, to ease into it gradually. The good cushioning of this shoe, might have you thinking youre ok to run longer in them initially than you should. Its worth reminding people that they are still a 4mm drop shoe and need to be eased into gradually if youre used to normally wearing more of a traditional trail shoe.
The soft upper has had me doing most of my runs barefoot in them, with no blisters or hot spots even though Ive done up to 4 hours in them without socks.
The durability has also surprised me somewhat as I wasnt expecting them to hold up to higher volume as well as they have. Currently, I have about 500km of running in my first pair and actually showing very little sign of wear.
Im feeling very comfortable with trying them in a 50km, and 50 mile, and even hopeful that I might use them in a 100 miler as well eventually.
La Sportiva Running Team
Ive never used any sort of minimalist footwear previously, but these are such a revelation! I was doubtful at first, planning to use them only for ski mountaineering dry approaches that are too long to hike in ski boots, but short enough that any trail runners will be carried for long stretches after that. So I brought these along on a hut trip thinking theyd mainly be on my pack ... but instead all the skiable couloirs were separated by long unskiable/unskinnable hikes. So I spent most of the trip hiking with all my ski gear and overnight gear on my back. Amazingly, despite all that weight, stability was excellent. Traction was excellent on dry rock (including a marked trail that has surprisingly difficult bouldering, requiring wedging your feet into various tight spots), wet rock, and soft snow. Traction was still pretty good on some lower-angle icy sections. Drawbacks? When scrambling on really sharp rocks, occasionally one will poke into the sole between the lugs bearable, but not comfy (as other reviewers have noted). And traction seemed poor on super-slippery slimy logs, although then again, maybe almost any should would have been too? Obviously not waterproof , or even close, but they also dry out almost immediately. Re sizing, I went my usual size (i.e., same as on the Crosslite 2.0). After ditching the removable insoles (another 1.1 ounces of saved weight, per pair), the tight was still very snug, but since the uppers are almost more like socks (which also probably eliminates the chance of blisters), I think thats the best kind of fit for these shoes.
I mostly got these as a super light approach shoe for multi-pitch descents. They clip to your harness very easily and are barely noticeable. They fit true to size to all of my other shoes. My only complaint is that if you aren't wearing socks they are a real pain to put on and take off. They are great on approaches as well as long as you are mostly covering ground that doesn't have a ton of jagged rocks or roots. Decent in talus.
No. If ya want a waterproof one, get a shoe with GORE-TEX.
When I first ran in this shoe I loved the feel and the super lightness. Now after a couple of hundred miles in it I am even happier. Very light. It is wearing very well and evenly. The sole is soft so you feel an intimate contact with the trail. The downside of that is that you notice the sharp rocks more, but I expected worse from such a light shoe. It is incredibly comfortable and very stable. For me, it is not the ideal shoe for long miles on very technical trails (I'll stay with the La Sportiva Raptor for that), but I have run distances up to 50K and felt great. Compared to the La Sportiva Quantum (which was a huge disappointment to me!), this shoe is lighter, has way better traction, more stable, and a much more comfortable fit. Lives up to all the hype.
Do these run true to size?
From my experience with La Sportiva, yes. Great trail runner by the way. Also, if you order and it does'nt fit...just exchange them. Backcountry is great about that.
I went my usual size (i.e., same as on the Crosslite 2.0). After ditching the removable insoles (another 1.1 ounces of saved weight, per pair), the tight was still very snug, but since the uppers are almost more like socks (which also probably eliminates the chance of blisters), I think thats the best kind of fit for these shoes.
No, they definitely don't. I don't know why Sterling Watson's response was marked as a "best answer." You need to go at least 1/2 a size to one full size up on these. 1/2 size up works fine for less technical running but steep descents will require a full size up.
Definitely not true to size. I went through 2 pairs before I found the right size. I wear a 9 street shoe and 10 in most running shoes. Ordered these in a 42.5 (roughly 9.5 equivalent as I wanted a snug fit) and had to jump to a 43.5 for them to even be manageable. I wish I had a 44 or 44.5 even though now that I have put some miles on them.
Nope. Mine are a 47.5 and I'm normally a 46.5/47. Luckily I had the Quantum's already so I knew to upsize. I'd say they're supposed to be tight but there was no way I was fitting in a 47 in these.