La Sportiva Bushido 3 Review: Not Much Has Changed, That’s A Good Thing!

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the Bushido 3 and find out if it's the right fit for your technical trail running adventures.


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Hey everyone, I’m Alastair from Trail & Kale Running Co., and this is my La Sportiva Bushido 3 review. These trail running shoes have a lot to offer, especially for those who love tackling all kinds of mountain terrain – so let’s jump right into who these shoes are best for, and how they perform (and compare to the previous version), and ultimately if they’re worth buying.

The La Sportiva Bushido 3 are all-mountain trail running shoes, designed for those who need good traction, stability, durability, and responsiveness on varying terrains. Whether you’re climbing steep hills, descending quickly, or cruising along flat sections, these shoes are built to handle it all. They’re especially great for runners who enjoy technical trails and need a shoe that can keep up with the demands of rugged mountain runs.

Key specifications of the La Sportiva Bushido 3

  • Price: $145 at La Sportiva (US) / £126 at Sportsshoes (UK)
  • Fit: Runs small (I recommend going up half a size). Wide option also available.
  • Weight: 10.4 oz (295g) for a size US Men’s size 9.5 (I sized up a half size)
  • Drop: 6mm
  • Upper: Breathable air mesh material / Welded Ripstop Overlays / TPU Toe Cap / padded tongue / gusseted tongue / heel loop
  • Midsole: Responsive – includes a thin 1.5mm layer of compressed foam to act as a rock guard under the forefoot
  • Outsole: Frixion Red rubber compound by La Sportiva, varied lug pattern with lugs that wrap around the edge of the shoe
  • Toe cap: Reinforced for protection

Fit and feel

La Sportiva is known for their snug-fitting shoes, and the Bushido 3 is no exception. They do run small, and I have found that going up half a size works well.

La Sportiva is known for their snug-fitting shoes, and the Bushido 3 is no exception
La Sportiva is known for their snug-fitting shoes, and the Bushido 3 is no exception

Out of the box, they feel tight (even when going a half size up!), but loosening the laces and giving them some time to break in helps. The air mesh upper is breathable, making them a good choice for hot runs, and there’s also a padded tongue and enough cushioning around the collar and heel counter for comfort.

La Sportiva Bushido 3 performance review

Before i get stuck into how they perform on the run, here’s a quick reminder that you can also watch my video review to get more insights, by tapping the image below – Don’t forget to give the video a like if you enjoy it (that really helps our channel), and subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more reviews of the latest running shoes :).

La Sportiva Bushido 3 Review: Not Much Has Changed, That's A Good Thing! 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

One of the features of the Bushido 3 that was quickly noticeable during my first run, is its breathable air mesh upper. This material allows for excellent ventilation, which is crucial during long runs in warm conditions. I’ve taken these shoes out on some particularly muggy days, and they’ve managed to keep my feet cool and dry.

La Sportiva Bushido 3 Review: Not Much Has Changed, That's A Good Thing! 2 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

The wide option now available is a welcome addition for those with broader feet, offering a more inclusive fit without compromising on performance. I wonder if the wide may actually fit medium width feet better too – If you’ve tried the wide version, let me know in the comments!

Climbing in the Bushido 3 is an enjoyable experience, the shoe’s traction is one of its strongest points, thanks to the aggressive lug pattern of the Frixion Red outsole. These lugs provide a solid grip on various surfaces, whether you’re tackling loose gravel, rocky paths, or dirt trails. However, I did have a close call coming back down one of my routes but to be fair the trail was covered in dry loose leaves, which no shoe can truly tackle without a slip or two.

The snug fit and excellent heel lock contribute to a secure feel, preventing any unnecessary movement within the shoe as you ascend.

It’s worth noting, however, that while the traction is generally excellent, it doesn’t quite match up to Vibram Megagrip on very dry, leafy surfaces.

La Sportiva Bushido 3 Review: Not Much Has Changed, That's A Good Thing! 3 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

During very steep climbs covered in dry leaves, I noticed a bit of slipping, which isn’t unusual for most trail shoes but is something to keep in mind. Despite this, the overall performance on climbs is for the most part, very reliable, with the shoe offering stability and control.

On flat sections, the Bushido 3 really comes into its own, thanks to the responsive midsole that provides a firm, controlled ride, which translates to a fast and efficient performance. The responsiveness is particularly noticeable when you’re picking up the pace, allowing for a quick turnover and maintaining a good cadence – this is best demonstrated in my video review.

The shoe’s low stack height and 6 mm drop help you stay connected to the ground, enhancing your feel for the trail and allowing for precise foot placement.

La Sportiva Bushido 3 Review: Not Much Has Changed, That's A Good Thing! 4 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

The combination of a firm midsole and responsive design means that even on extended flat runs, the Bushido 3 remains stable and supportive, promoting a strong and consistent running form.

It’s on the descents where the La Sportiva Bushido 3 truly shines – the aggressive lug pattern and the way the lugs wrap around the edges of the outsole provide great traction and stability on downhill sections. This design feature ensures that you have grip even when navigating sharp corners at high speeds, which is a significant advantage on technical descents.

Bushido iii's aggressive lug pattern and the way the lugs wrap around the edges of the outsole is awesome
Bushido iii’s aggressive lug pattern and the way the lugs wrap around the edges of the outsole is awesome

The shoe does also have great stability, party due to its snug fit but mostly because it has excellent heel lock, which keeps your feet securely in place and prevents any slipping within the shoe. This is particularly important when you’re tackling steep, rocky descents where control and stability are super important.

The responsiveness of the midsole also plays a crucial role here, providing just enough cushioning to absorb impact without feeling overly soft or unstable.

One of the great things about the La Sportiva Bushido III on downhills is its ability to adapt to the changing terrain. The low stack height and firm midsole allow me to make quick adjustments, giving me extra confidence to tackle varied surfaces. Whether I’m running over loose rocks, dirt, or even in wet conditions, the Bushido 3 delivers reliable performance, making it a top choice for serious trail runners like myself.

Are the La Sportiva Bushido III worth buying?

At $145, the La Sportiva Bushido 3 is reasonably priced for a pair of high-performance trail running shoes. They offer excellent stability, traction, and responsiveness, making them a great choice for all-mountain trail running. However, if you’re looking for something that has evolved significantly from the Bushido 2, you might be slightly disappointed as they feel quite similar.

That said, the Bushido 3 is still a fantastic shoe, for those who loved the previous version, this new iteration will be a familiar and reliable companion on the trails. If you’re new to La Sportiva, you’ll find these shoes to be a robust option for technical trails.

👋🏼 If you’re thinking about getting these shoes after reading this review, using our links would be a huge help for Trail & Kale Running Co. We earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which lets us keep creating awesome content like this review. Thanks so much for your support – we really appreciate you choosing us as your source for reliable running shoe reviews!

Shopping around? Here are the best alternative mid-weight, all-mountain trail running shoes right now

  • Brooks Catamount 3: Offers excellent performance and stability, a great alternative if you want a more modern design.
  • Brooks Cascadia 17: Another solid option from Brooks, known for durability and comfort.
  • Salomon Genesis: A good choice for those who need a versatile and rugged shoe.
  • Nike Kiger 9: For those who prefer a lighter shoe with good traction and responsiveness.

I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful! Please share it with a friend, and subscribe to our newsletter for more running gear reviews as they drop. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you out there – Peace! -Alastair

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


  1. Let me know id you have any questions at all! And if you have specific requirements for you running shoes reviews, let me know in the comments and I’ll get you hooked up with the best running shoes for you! 🙂 -Alastair


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