By Greg Chapman
Looking for a bad weather beast to take control on the hill? Thanks to a deep, studded tread pattern (the same configuration as that of the Mutant), reinforced upper and Gore-Tex liner, the La Sportiva Lycan GTX is the quintessential winter off-road shoe - tailor-made for snowy trails, frozen ground, muddy paths and even steady fell running.
The breathable mesh upper is backed with Gore-Tex Extended Comfort, making it waterproof with some insulation, yet without the clumsy, sweaty feel of earlier Gore footwear membranes. This upper is then armoured with strategically positioned micro fibre reinforcements and a TPU toe cap, to provide protection whilst keeping the weight to a minimum. The quick lacing system lives up to its name and the teardrop profile laces stay knotted.
The midsole is an injection-moulded EVA with a similar external structure, look, and feel to that of the original Lycan. The cushioning is excellent without being soggy, and we found it very protective over rocks, scree and roots, while retaining decent levels of responsiveness and feel - even over rapidly changing terrain.
A FriXion Mud-Ground outsole with La Sportiva's ubiquitous Impact Brake System gives tons of traction on soft ground and also penetrates frozen turf better than the same sole configuration on the Mutant, thanks to the harder "Blue" compound used. This does mean its grip on rock is slightly less good than the stickier "White" compound used on the Mutant, but all in it's still pretty grippy and certainly lasts longer. As a bonus, La Sportiva's A.T. Grip Spikes can also be fitted for use on particularly icy terrain.
In summary, the Lycan GTX is an expertly designed mix of protective comfort, breathability, adaptability and all-round waterproof construction. It provides a secure ride in all manner of adverse weather conditions and the 6mm drop keeps you closer to action than other similar models in the range. Fit wise, the volume is pretty standard, if anything a bit higher, and the sizing is in-line with other models in La Sportiva's running line up.