The La Sportiva Mutant has remained relatively unchanged for the past 5 years or more and so we've really got to know the shoe both by using it ourselves and selling it in store. Now there's a new version.

Whilst you might think 'selling it' involves just the instance of the sale, in fact, over time customers return, we chat about past purchases and it's quite common for the conversation to return to feedback on past purchases (especially shoes) and how the product performed (and so, how happy they are with it). In the main, it's all been good feedback about the Mutant and so it's become a regular of the store.

What did the 'old' Mutant offer that was so good? Well. From a customer's perspective, the Mutant is an all rounder. For the local terrain (often wet limestone) the traction on the La Sportiva Mutant offered a bit of everything. The grip is more aggressive than a typical 'door to trail' trail running shoe, the mutant is capable 'off track' up to a point but the grip offers a bit of everything - much as trails vary from road to tracks to muddy bits etc. The Mutant's sole unit copes with a variety of surfaces even if it doesn't specialise in one. It's worth mentioning the the traction compound (look out for the white "x" on the sole unit offers a sticky compound that) was a core reason for us to pick it up off the wall for customers - it's a great pick in our view for grip on wet rock but not too soft to offer a decent amount of wear.

So what's new about the New Mutant? Well, at a glance very little and for this we are grateful.

Looking round the shoes, the midsole and sole units remains visually unchanged.

However, La Sportiva has tweaked the grip compound, it's changed name change - it was "FriXion® XF", it's now called "FriXion® White ultra grippy" (the little white "X" on the sole unit signifies this).

The previous generation Mutant was already really good locally on wet, slippy limestone. The new grip should prove even better!

Most of the changes on the La Sportiva Mutant 2023 are around the upper.

The cord overlays have changed - mostly asthetic but they will have a minor influence on fit and precision.

f you are getting geeky about the upper - the contour patern is of local Italian mountains around the Fiemme valley - in the Dolomites of Northern Italy (near La Sportiva HQ)

The mesh used for the upper is more open - more breathable. According to La Sportiva the new upper material maintains or exceeds durability on the previous models.

Durability-wise, the previous generation was already amongst the best in terms of low warranty issues, achieving higher mileages over the life of the shoe.

All in all, as a core shoe in our range of trail running shoes. We are relieved that the new Mutant 2023 shoe has been tweaked with minor changes and not radically redone. It was already a great shoe in our opinion.

You can take a closer look at the Mutant here: (Men's shoe) and (Women's shoe)