La Sportiva's Bushido W is an impressive, yet uncomplicated looking running shoe straight out of the box. No fancy lacing systems, no integrated gaiters, no space-age soles - just a straight forward, built for vertical purpose, exceptionally stylish mountain running shoe.
Slide your foot into the Bushido W and the first thing you'll notice is the snug fit that makes it an ideal choice for runners with narrow, low volume feet. Compared to other shoes in this category, the toe box is also on the smaller side but having put many miles into our Bushidos we can confim that there's still adequate space for feet to relax and toes to spread naturally within the shoe when descending in tricky terrain.
At just 580g per pair (size 38), the Bushido W is a lightweight shoe designed to help you move at speed on uneven ground. The semi-stiff platform makes climbing easier and the 6mm drop and absence of heavy cushioning mean that you really do feel the texture of the ground underneath your feet and can respond accordingly. If you have a tendency to get injured regularly or prefer a more plush ride underfoot then the Bushido W may be too rigid for you but if you're looking to get as much vert under your feet as humanely possible, this could be the shoe for you.
Grip and stability are the two areas where the Bushido W truly excels. The combination of the FriXion sticky rubber, the STB Control construction with TPU frame and the multi-directional lugs of the 'Impact Brake System' all combine to ensure exceptional grip and lateral stability, meaning you can power through those technical switchbacks and rocky sections safe with all the confidence of an alpine chamois. The Bushidos were my weapon of choice for a slippery technical mountain running event in France following an exceptionally sustained period of wet weather and I never once lost my footing despite the fact that everyone else around me seemed to be spending a considerable amount of time on their derrieres!
An additional benefit of the 'Impact Brake System' is that it claims to reduce impact by 20% by using opposing slanted lugs so your knees will definitely be on board if you decide to buddy up with the Bushido.
As a mountain runner with a low volume narrow foot, the Bushido W satisfies pretty much all my needs and I also like the fact that colours are not too 'girly'. At £149 it's not cheap but the price is in line with Salomon's similarly technical and high-end S/LAB shoes. The Bushido W might not work for some but if you're lucky enough that its fit and purpose matches your feet and motivation then it really is game on.