La Sportiva Karacal | Blister Review

Here, we see brands from various countries are all within 1/2 of a EUR size while my US size varies one full unit. Because the European metric uses smaller units of measurement that are also unisex, I strongly encourage folks to get familiar with EUR sizing. This is something you can expect me to echo throughout my reviews. Anyway, La Sportiva attempts to remedy this discrepancy by offering 4 extra US sizes per size run for both genders.

Okay, so let’s get into the Karacal’s fit, starting with length. The EUR 42.5 and 43 both fit my foot well, which is standard for my foot length. I’d select the EUR 42.5 for a performance fit where speed and security are priority, and I’d go with the EUR 43 for long days during big training blocks. If you’re going to stick with US sizing, I’d recommend going up half a US size to one full US size depending on your intended use for the shoe.

Moving on to volume, the Karacal is intended for a high volume foot. This generally means the shoe is best suited to fit a person with higher arches, which position the metatarsal bases higher off the footbed and normally require extra space along the laces. However, unlike the Jackal, which is also intended for a high volume foot, the fit of the Karacal is very specific and not nearly as adaptable as the Jackal. I found the fit to be really fussy at the bottom eyelet of the shoe, just above the metatarsal heads. This zone felt unusually spacious, which I enjoyed on certain types of terrain but found to be problematic for my foot on others, which I’ll explain later in this review.

The front of the Karacal’s collar is really where the specificity of the shoe’s fit really comes into play. The top eyelets’ overlays sit unusually high and have a shape that really bites hard into the medial malleolus of a low volume foot. I attempted a few different lacing techniques to better secure my foot and remedy the lace bite at the top eyelet, but to no avail. When I tied the shoe to the appropriate tension that was needed to lock my foot into the frame of the shoe, the Karacal actually ended up causing me a decent amount of pain at my 5th metatarsal base. I found myself frequently having to stop to retie the shoe with less tension. Needless to say, constant interruptions to adjust the fit of the Karacal definitely hampered my enjoyment on runs requiring a lot of foot security. With an excess in width and volume, and the shoe’s large collar, I struggled on anything off cambered or chunky.

While I had my fair share of difficulties with the Karacal, I do believe folks who enjoy a wide fit and who have mid-to-high volume feet will find that the shoe offers enough security and agility on moderately technical to non-technical terrain. However, if you like a narrow and low volume fit, there are definitely better options within La Sportiva’s lineup than the Karacal.