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  • La Sportiva - Helios Trail Running Shoe - Men's -

La Sportiva Helios Trail Running Shoe - Men's

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15 Reviews


A minimalist, super-breathable trail shoe.

Although it's a minimalist shoe at heart, the La Sportiva Men's Helios Trail Running Shoe doesn't skimp on the features you need to tackle rough trails. An integrated tongue gusset keeps debris out of the ankle collar, the highly flexible MorphoDynamic midsole adapts to rough trails like none other, and the mesh upper drains water away quickly in case you're forced to run through a stream. Slide your foot inside this low-drop trail runner and enjoy the natural feeling of being closer to the ground.

  • Tempo 2 last offers a performance fit that's close to your foot for the highest level of responsiveness on the trail
  • HyDrain mesh upper allows water to drain away quickly in case you're forced to run through a stream or river
  • Combined AirMesh and TPU upper keeps this shoe light and breathable without sacrificing support or foothold inside the shoe
  • Synthetic heel lining encourages sweat to move away from your skin so your foot feels cool and dry
  • Low, 4mm heel-to-toe drop takes advantage of inherent biomechanics so your foot can naturally roll from heel-strike to toe-off
  • MorphoDynamic midsole offers more cushioning than a standard minimalist shoe
  • Highly flexible midsole also quickly adapts to uneven surfaces and absorbs impact to reduce stress on your knees and ankles
  • Frixion sole features large lugs that dig into loose sand and gravel and grippy rubber that improves traction on hard surfaces like the road
  • Item #LSP0240

Tech Specs

Claimed Weight
[single] 8.1 oz
MorphoDynamic injection-molded EVA, LaSpEVA
EVA AirMesh
Support Type
Heel / Forefoot Height
[drop] 4 mm
Upper Material
HyDrain mesh, EVA AirMesh, Poly Grid
Recommended Use
trail running
Frixion AT, VA wave
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year

Tech Specs

  • Reviews
  • Q & A

What do you think about this product?

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quick sizing note

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small

these seem to fit small. i'd suggest trying them on before buying. for reference, i normally wear a size 12 running shoe but the 12.5+ (46.5) fit me best. i also wear size 46.5 Nepal Evo cube for reference.

Best light weight shoe

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

This and the La Sportiva Vertical K's are tied for first for my favorite light weight shoes. I think these shoes are really similar so must of this review is repeated. Although, I use the Helios are more of my bread and butter shoe. I've probably gone through 5 of these in the last few years.

They're pretty minimalist but still have a little bit of foam. The cushioning is on the hard side, so it provides a bit of protection but doesn't really pack out. The sole has really pronounced bars that grip on rock really well.

I can't wear these for more than a few hours but for anything but the longest runs they are great, especially in steep rocky terrain.

Fantastic Shoe!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 45.5
  • Height: 5'11"
  • Weight: 167lbs

This was my first pair of trail shoes as I have just gotten back into running after a 20 year hiatus. I read multiple reviews and finally decided on the Helios. I was concerned about a narrow toe, though found them snug but comfortable. I felt a little slow on my break in run, but have since determined that they are a fast, lightweight show. They have great padding without tremendous bulk. I wear a size 11 in NB and ordered these in 45.5.

I just ordered a second pair as a backup before a new "improved" model comes out

Helios and Helios SR

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small

Great traction and sock like comfort makes the Helios one of the best trail running shoes I've owned. It's a great shoe for quick runs and up to 50k.

Compared to the SR - the Helios has a 4 mm drop and is a higher volume shoe. The toe box has plenty of room and is a sure footed climber.

Whereas the Helios SR is a 2mm drop and low volume racing shoe. The toe box is tighter - not uncomfortably so, but it is noticeable.

Also unlike the Helios, the SR has a rock plate and uses a mix of black tacky sole and a hard yellow heel that can take a hell of a beating.

Running steep inclines and extremely rocky terrain, is where the SR shines. I am running several seconds faster per mile with less effort - La Sportiva says on their website the SR model is for "sky running" and the Helios is for "mountain running".

The SR also uses different, more abrasive resistant material around the ankle and high impact areas leading up to each side of the toe cap. In addition the tongue offers a fair bit of padding using the same abrasive material.

The biggest thing I love about the SR model, which I hope the Helios will take on are the laces and eyelets used.

With the Helios I found it hard to get the right amount of tension across my midfoot without really cranking on the laces which aren't the best. Because of having to crank down on the laces, my ankle starts to bother me on longer runs.

The SR laces are perfect - flat like that once tied, don't come undone or loose its tension. It's easy to get the right amount of tension across the midfoot without having to crank on the laces.

With that said the Helios is a fantastic door to trail shoe and beyond whereas the SR is really for technical trails only - it is not for fire roads or anything paved or groomed.

Don't get me wrong, the SR is fantastic but the Helios is tad bit more comfortable, and can be used for a variety of terrains.

If I could only have one of the two I'd pick the regular Helios. Luckily I am able to have both.

Helios and Helios SR

Top trail/road runner!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I have owned 3 pairs of this same shoe. I run about 75% road and 25% trail. Although these are more "trail" specific shoes, I have found they are great on the road as well. Cushioning and air flow are my personal favorite features, as well as the weight. I prefer a running shoe that is very light but has enough cushioning so as not to get injuries. These shoes are that and more.

I generally run 20-25 miles a week and each pair has lasted me between 8 and 12 months. Maybe not the longest lasting shoe but I do wear them quite a bit. I highly recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a light weight trail/road runner.

Great shoe

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I have put about 85 miles on these shoes mostly in Vermont and a bit in New Hampshire and Connecticut. They have performed really well for me. The sole has never slipped on me, even when on wet rock. The midsole is a great balance between flexibility and responsiveness which allows me to take technical trails really well while also giving good ground feel so I know how much of my foot is on that rock. I have never taken them through a creek crossing but on more than one occasion I've found myself in watery mud up to my ankles for long enough that my socks get soaked. These things dry our really quickly and I have never gotten that "squishy" sensation. The toe bumper offers really good protection. More than a few times I've gotten ahead of myself on a downhill and slammed my toe directly into a root or rock at a full clip and I've never jammed my toes at all. I caught a really point rock right through the midsole once and the pain was bad enough that I thought I had done some real damage to my foot, but it turned out to be fine and I've never came across the same issue again. I have very narrow and low volume feet and these fit really well when I crank down on the laces (especially for the downhills). Definitely recommend them. The other reviews say it runs small. I wear an 8 in everything I wear except for climbing shoes, and these fit fine.

Great all around trail running shoe

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

Great trail runner. Its not nearly as beefy as the Raptor and the sole will wear out faster, but this is an awesome shoe. So comfortable. The material drains and drys VERY fast. My favorite all around running and scrambling shoe. I've raced in it, gone down canyons, and slogged up rivers. If I am on my feet all day in nasty rocky terrain I don't feel this gives me quite what I need for underfoot protection, but I'm on my 3rd pair, so clearly it fits most of my needs. Feels light on the feet. There are a lot of good/fun shoes out there. I love the fact that the experience is different for each type of shoe I chose to run in on any day. But on most days I go for the helios! Also, I agree with other reviewers: This shoe runs a bit smaller - about a half size smaller than the Raptor.

Great Trail Runner So Far

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small

It took me a couple of shoes to go through before finding the Helios, but I found a really good trail shoe with this pair. I've run in Salomon's, and I love them, but wanted to try something different. I tried the Patagonia Everlong, and that was a good shoe until the nodules on the sole started to separate from the side wall and sole after 2 months on my favorite trail. What a pity as it was a good minimal trail runner. Thanks to Skylar at Backcountry, he recommended the Helios, and man, that was a home run. As many reviews state, the shoe runs small, so order accordingly or call your Gearhead. Once you have the right size, the feel is supportive on both the sole and heel, and the tread and lugs are great so far after a few runs. The feel on the trail is super grippy, super light and extremely breathable. Makes you want to run fast on the trail! My fav was the Salomon SpeedCross, but this pair will surely be my next fav for sure. Will be hitting the trail with this pair for awhile. The color scheme is pretty cool too in the Blue. Thanks Sklyar for the recommendation!

Great shoes!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small

I love how light these feel on my feet and how the seem to conform to my feet and the terrain. My only minor coimplaint is that due to their minimal sole, you will definitely feel rocks (sometimes painfully) on rockier trails. Not sure if there could be a better balance between shoe weight and rock protection, but they're close. On trails with less debris/rocks, they're flat out awesome.

Like all La Sportiva, they run small.

Runs Small

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
  • Fit: Runs small

As stated it does run small, I would guess at LEAST a full size as I couldn't even get my foot into the shoe. Strangely the sizing chart for La Sportiva is skewed one size small in comparision to other EU shoes' sizing charts. So I would use a more universal sizing chart and expect that they are correctly built/sized per EU sizing but there chart is off.

Runs Small

All Hail the Helios!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

I have placed my fourth order (in blue) for these wicked awesome shoes. La Sportiva nailed it with this minimalist road/trail hybrid. My past shoes are at 580 and 738 miles and after awhile they lose firmness but hold up well. I use my oldest pair for road racing and speedwork and they are super flexible.

For trail running they are unstoppable! I've used them on packed snow, mud, technical rocky single track and everything in between and raced them up to 50 miles. Super grippy, they dry quick, have great ground feel or are "proprioceptive."

I have previously used other wonderful shoes by La Sportiva such as Wildcat and Ultra Raptor, and while these are great, hardy shoes too, the Helios have it all: durability, speed, traction, and work on roads as well. Runs one half size small.

Get you a pair.

All Hail the Helios!

Helios in action

Still going strong on these after 11 months of use! I 'upgraded' from the Vertikal K. More protection in the sole but still maintains its minimal feel. I usually run on the Shoreline trail on the east bench behind SLC, UT and stick to runs under 10 miles. I take out my Nathan water bottle, which keeps a nice, minimal set up. NAT0040

Helios in action

Good Stuff

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Training course with hardpack, roadside, trails, NH class six road, including some snow remaining and Helios is a five star-

Helios grabs well climbing and feels lightweight-

Postholed in junk snow and found ice water and Helios drained out, squishy then drier and drier till the end...

Slightly wider in forefoot would be Helios next best move, for those needing it... :?)

good trail runner

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small

I bought these shoes on sale after hearing many positive reviews. I was advised that they run small so I went up a full size when I ordered. They fit nicely, and per comfortable, but seem rather narrow. I don't think this will impact performance too much, but worry about how quickly the uppers will wear out. Be advised, these shoes do run small and narrow, but are a well built shoe. Backcountry customer service is A+, in my book. best return policy on the web.

Good shoe but runs small

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small

Good light trail runner with some cushion but not too much. I haven't put these through the wringer yet but like them so far. I have worn through pairs and pairs of Wildcats but wanted less drop, the Helios offers that in a lightweight shoe. Beware, it runs really small. I wear a 45.5 in the Wildcat and had to go 46.5 in the Helios. Normally I wear an 11.5 street shoe and 12 running.

love these

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

I love these shoes. I have also been in the Vertical K and they are great but have become more of a hiking/scramble shoe than my go-to trail runner. The helios are a tiny bit stiffer and have a little bit more rigid upper making them great for varied and rocky terrain. They are still a minimalist style shoe with a low, 4mm drop but I feel there is enough body in the heel of the sole to accommodate the occasional heel strike on rough descents. They grip well on just about surface I have encountered, even wet rock that I have had trouble with in other shoes. I wear a 9.5-10 in most street shoes and a 10 in most runners. In the Helios I have the 44.5, or US 11. In comparison, I wear a 10 in New Balance MT110 and a 9.5 in North Face Hedgehog. They fit great, with a little extra room in the toe to help with toe bang on descents.

How does the sole compare to that of the Vertical K? I love my Vertical K's except for running on very rocky trails... my forefoot ends up getting bruised when the rocks sneak between the openings in the sole.

Mitch, sorry to get back to this question so late. The sole is definitely a bit beefier to help out on the rockier patches. While the Vertikal K is a bit more 'slipper' like, the Helios fit more like a traditional shoe. What I do like that crosses over from the Vertikal K is the low drop that encourages the fore-front strike. All the benefits of the minimal style with a sole that won't highlight every little pebble you step on. Looking forward to picking up the new blue/grey color when I finally wear my pair out! 11 months on the first pair and still going strong!