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REPOST - IR - La Sportiva Rajas Trail Runners - Gail

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  • woodswoman
    Roger, Thanks for the edits - I have re-worked the first part of the IR and made necessary edits to the rest. I hope it is easier to read, I actually was
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1 7:51 AM
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      Thanks for the edits - I have re-worked the first part
      of the IR and made necessary edits to the rest. I hope
      it is easier to read, I actually was trained to be a
      technical writer, but I have forgotten much :( Let me
      know if the new version works.


      Initial Report:
      La Sportiva Rajas Trail Runners
      by Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
      October 30, 2005

      Tester Information
      Personal Data:
      Name: Gail Staisil
      Age: 53
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5'9" (1.75 m)
      Weight: 132 lb (60 kg)
      Shoe Size: 10.5 US (42.5 EU)
      Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
      Email: woodswoman2001@...
      Photo Album Website:

      Backpacking Background:
      For the last 15 years, backpacking has become a
      passion. I am a four season backpacker and an
      off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips
      to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my
      trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight
      varies considerably, but my base weight is under 20
      lbs (9.1 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper, who
      averages over 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge
      variety of weather conditions, including relentless
      rain, wet snow and sub zero temps.


      La Sportiva Rajas Trail Runners--Description
      Product Information:
      Manufacturer: La Sportiva N.A., Inc.
      Website: http://www.sportiva.com
      Phone: 1.300.443.8710
      Model: Women's Rajas # 308
      Model Year: 2005
      Size: 10.5 US (42.5 EU)
      Manufacturer Weight: 1 lb 12 oz (0 .79 kg)
      Actual Weight: 1 lb 12.2 oz (0 .80 kg)
      Color: Apricot
      MSRP: $90 US

      Manufacturer's Product Data (Tester's Interpretation)
      According to the hangtag that I received with the
      Rajas, La Sportiva makes a range of footwear for rock
      climbing, mountain running, hiking and backpacking,
      and mountaineering. The Rajas belong to the mountain
      running category which were created for extreme or
      difficult terrain. Since that describes most perfectly
      many of the trails that I often hike and run on, I was

      The La Sportiva Trail Runners that arrived at my home
      are the women's version of the Rajas. Specifically
      designed for a women's foot, they have a different
      last (Women's Tempo) than the men's selection. They
      seem to have a number of features that make them ideal
      for trail running and hiking. A combination of types
      of FriXion rubber compounds are used in the sole of
      the shoe. According to the manufacturer, these sticky
      compounds were developed for extra grip or traction on
      rocky surfaces. For additional traction, the
      aggressive-looking sole has lugs that measure
      approximately .14 in (3.5mm). It also has a separated
      or "decoupled heel" that the manufacturer designed to
      aid in traction. There are also built-in flex areas on
      the sole - there are actually two channels in the sole
      that run laterally to presumably increase flexibility,
      as the sole bent easily when I flexed it with my
      hands. The midsole offers multiple layers to protect
      the feet from bruising while running or hiking on

      The Raja's upper is composed of an apricot-colored
      AirMesh material and gray and black synthetic leather
      with a dark gray FriXion rubber toe cap. The later has
      almost a sand paper type feel to it. The lining of the
      heel of the shoe is also made with a breathable mesh
      material in a lighter apricot color. A simple thin
      removable footbed is provided. The upper is fitted
      with a snug fitting lacing harness on top of a
      semi-gusseted (partially attached) tongue. The lacing
      starts close to the toe box end and finishes at the
      ankle. There are double eyelets at the top to
      facilitate different lacing styles. There are also two
      web loops, one on either side midway between the top
      eyelets and the back top of the shoe. I assume these
      could be used to draw the lace through to tighten the
      heel area with a mechanical advantage. A single wider
      loop is located at the back of each shoe, to make
      putting on or removal of the shoe an easier process.


      La Sportiva Rajas Trail Runners--Initial Impressions

      After a quick initial inspection, I couldn't wait to
      try the Rajas on my feet. I was already dressed for
      trail running as the shoes were delivered minutes
      before my departure to the trails that I frequent. I
      was happy to find out that they fitted perfectly and
      that there were no uncomfortable areas or construction
      issues. The first thing I noticed when I put the Rajas
      on my feet, is that the lacing system is much longer
      than any trail runners that I have owned - it extended
      from the toe to the ankle area. This allows much
      greater lacing options for snugness in the forefront
      of the foot. I have normal or medium-sized volume feet
      that tend to run a bit towards the narrow side, but
      not enough to wear narrow sizes. There are also double
      eyelets at the top of the lacing system which allow me
      to use my favorite lacing technique (looping the laces
      through both eyelets on the same side and pulling the
      opposite lace though the loop).

      I also immediately noticed the FriXion compounds
      sticky-like grip when I walked across my ceramic tile
      floor. I looked forward to testing this out on rocky
      and wet trails.

      The Rajas come in European sizes with US equivalents.
      As I normally wear an in-between or half size that is
      often not available by many manufacturers - Women's
      10.5 US (42.5 EU), it was a true bonus that the Rajas
      came in the exact size that I needed. I decided that I
      would inspect the shoes further before wearing at this
      point, so I departed for the trails.

      The next morning, I had some errands to do in town. I
      donned the Rajas as I felt this would give me a quick
      clue to their overall comfort. They easily passed the
      test, so I planned an afternoon trail run. I usually
      have little to no trouble with initial comfort of
      trail runners as I have no feet problems, so I was
      anxious to begin my first real trail test with them. I
      headed over to the steep, hilly, rocky and now slick
      leaf-covered trails a few miles from my home.

      My initial trail run with the Rajas consisted of a
      five mile (8 kilometers) trail run. It has rained a
      lot recently but the trails were now mostly covered in
      a heavy layer of dry leaves with some wetness
      underneath. The trail is very rocky single-track
      trail, there are a lot of hidden hazards underneath
      the covered trail so I cautiously proceeded. I knew
      the worst part of the trail for me is the last mile
      and a half where several steep switchbacks are
      located. There is a very rutted groove down the
      switchbacks which has become partially filled with
      acorn-scree. The oak trees have dropped their acorns
      and running on them is much like running on marbles. I
      was amazed at how well the Rajas performed, my grip
      held firm and I was completely comfortable. I had no
      slippage during descents inside the shoe. The traction
      I experienced with the sole of the shoes was amazing.

      With such an impressive first outing, I decided to try
      hiking in them the next day. I headed out for an eight
      mile (13 kilometers) trail hike complete with a
      lightly loaded 15 lb (6.80 kg) backpack. Trail
      conditions varied with wet mucky areas covered with a
      thick layer of leaves, loose rock sections, rock
      escarpment and moderate terrain. With the added weight
      on my back, the Rajas were just as comfortable. I wore
      a very light pair of socks and I experienced no
      pressure spots, plus I didn't need to make any
      adjustments to the lacing system. I did a slip and
      fell once, but that was mostly due to the fact that I
      caught a root with the runners, that I didn't see
      under the layer of leaves - no fault of the Rajas.

      Right now, I am very happy with the superior
      performance that I have experienced with the Rajas so
      far. I will continue to test them under a variety of
      conditions for both trail running, light backpacking
      and later trail snowshoe running as winter arrives in
      the very near future here in these northern climes.


      La Sportiva Rajas Trail Runners--Test Plan
      During the next few months, I will extensively test
      the Rajas utilizing them both as a trail runners and
      as hiking shoes. Most of my trail running is done
      locally on an expansive system of hilly, rocky, rooty
      and steep terrain. These are trails that
      circumnavigate the sides and back of a local downhill
      ski facility. They are essentially narrow single track
      bike trails through heavy forest cover. There are
      steep switchbacks with loose scree. Fallen autumn
      leaves and wet conditions make trail running more
      difficult. As fall turns in to winter, I will continue
      to run in the La Sportiva Rajas with the addition of
      running snowshoes when the snow depth exceeds 8 in (20

      I will also be doing extensive day hiking and
      backpacking during this time period. As conditions
      permit, the Rajas will be used in a variety of
      scenarios including several backpack trips. These day
      hiking and backpack trips are mostly to the vast state
      and federal forests in the state of Michigan. The
      testing conditions will be at low elevation or
      altitude 600 ft (183 m) to 2000 ft (610 m), with
      mostly cold conditions and mid range humidity (50-90
      percent). The amount of time in the field will far
      surpass the minimum requirements for this test.

      Rampant temperature changes and much precipitation is
      expected during the four month testing period. Testing
      location temperatures will range from the average low
      in January of 3 F (-16C) to the average high of 37 F
      (3 C) in November. These are only averages, I have
      been on several trips where the temperatures have
      dipped much lower. Average precipitation for this time
      period is approximately 13 in (33 cm).

      I will address the following concerns and more:
      Will the trail runners be comfortable and supportive
      at the same time?
      Will I be able to use thin socks (my preference) with
      the Rajas even in the winter?
      Will the Rajas be fairly consistent size-wise with
      other manufacturers?
      Will the runners stay comfortable after a lot of use?
      Will there be any pressure spots that would develop in
      to blisters?
      Will they be fairly comfortable even when they are
      Will there be adequate room in the toe box?
      Will the forefoot area have an adequately snug feel?
      Will the lacing system be easily adjusted?
      Will knots stay tied easily?
      Will I want to wear the runners long term after the
      testing period because I liked them so much?
      Will the runners have a break-in period or will they
      be comfortable from the first outing forward?
      Will the Rajas support my feet adequately?
      Will the thin footbed be comfortable enough so that I
      won't have to replace it with another kind? (I always
      just use the thin footbeds that come with shoes.)
      Will the design of the shoe facilitate easy movement
      through rocky areas?
      Will the toe area be sufficiently protected when
      jamming between rocks or plowing dead on in to a rock?

      Will there be any rough edges on the toe box and the
      sides of the runners to catch on rocks or roots?
      Will the runners flex properly and not be too stiff?
      Shock Absorption:
      Will there be adequate shock protection from
      running/hiking on rocky surfaces?
      Will the shock absorption decrease with colder
      temperatures? (this is often a problem when certain
      materials that are used become rigid).
      Will the thin footbeds provide enough internal shock
      Will the Rajas take repeated episodes of getting wet?
      Will they dry quickly so that they are ready for the
      next day?
      Will the uppers withstand normal rough conditions or
      will the AirMesh uppers disintegrate easily?
      Will the runners hold up longer than most other brands
      and styles that I have used?
      Will the stitching on the shoes fray or remain intact
      with repeated trail use?
      Will the advanced mid sole design of multiple layers
      endure more than a few months of hard use?
      Will the FriXion sole help maintain stability on rocky
      Will the FriXion sole prevent common slippage
      Will the sole work easily on wet leaves or snow?
      Will the Trail Bite Heel help grab loose scree and
      prevent sliding?
      Will the sole adapt to a variety of surfaces?
      Will all the materials used in the Rajas need any
      special care?
      Are there any specific cleaners needed or can ordinary
      soap and water be used?
      Will the runners have too much ventilation in colder
      conditions? - Or will I have to wear heavier socks or
      a vapor barrier?
      Will sweat dissipate quickly to the outside air in
      normal conditions?
      Will the shoes retain odors easily because they poorly


      Tester Remarks
      I will gladly address all these issues and any
      additional pertinent issues, as I continue to test the
      La Sportiva Rajas Trail Runners.

      Thanks to La Sportiva and BGT for this great
      opportunity during the next four months.


      **There is a pleasure in the pathless woods - Lord Byron**

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