Top positive review
11 of 11 people found this helpful
Not perfect, but better than the alternative
on October 19, 2012
I just received my pair from Amazon.
It's late October in Ottawa, Canada, and mild, if a bit rainy today. So I walked around the house in my new size 46 La Sportiva Crossover GTXes, made my decision to keep 'em, and took 'em out for a quick run, just to see.
Before I get to details, here's where I'm at. I jog/run a bit, including 5 mile (8.7km) commute to the office, a few times per week, all year. I used to pretty much stop jogging/running for winter. I'd walk, in hiking boots, but it's not the same. About 3 years ago, I found some Salomon winter trail-runners (with their one-pull lacing system) and just LOVED them. I've worn them out. I needed a replacement.
One thing that I didn't love was the transition months, when the ground was not dry-ish and was also not covered with frozen whiteness, but instead was cold and mucky (late November, part of December) or was covered with partially-hidden melt-water traps and extensive helpings of slush (most of March, and a week or so in the mid-winter thaw). Invariably, I'd step into something that would flow/slop, however briefly, over the low-cut, water-proof Salomons, and then I'd be jogging in soggy socks for the rest of the trip. During winter, I'd wear add-on gaiters, for the parts of my commute where I wasn't on plowed streets or paths, or where the blizzard hadn't been cleared. The gaiters helped keep snow out of the shoe-tops, around the ankle opening, but the fastening system wasn't the greatest, and sometimes I'd get snow rammed up under a gaiter, which then went into my shoe. Drat!
So, Hallelujah! when I finally found the La Sportivas that had a built-in gaiter. I can't run in boots (and you shouldn't if you value your joints). I needed something built like a running shoe, but with a soft sock or gaiter extending a few inches up the ankle to keep snow and slush and muck out of the shoe. Obviously, I'm not the only person with this requirement, or they'd not have bothered to make the Crossover GTX Trail shoes. But... why doesn't every running-shoe manufacturer have something similar? It's been like finding hen's teeth.
So here's what I have found so far:
My normal size is around a 45 (11-1/2 to 12-something in North American sizing). I heeded the advice of other people and bought the La Sportivas a full size larger than usual. I'm keeping this pair, but I could have gone at least a half size larger, again. They're snug, especially with my Smartwool socks in 'em... well, AND my big feet, too, of course.
That's one minor quibble. As long as you know to order large, you'll be ok. The last is narrow, but my wide feet seem ok after a quick few miles. I was actually more concerned that I had barely a quarter inch in front of my big toe (where I usually like more than half an inch) but it seems ok, and I don't expect to be doing much steep down-hill running. If you are, then consider carefully the sizing. Also, try them on in your house, and if you have (or can temporarily set up) a slant board, try standing on a slanted surface with your toes pointed down, to see if your feet push the ends of your toes into the ends of the shoes. If that happens, you might want to just pack 'em up and send back to Amazon for a half size (or more) larger. Once you wear them outside, you own 'em.
Here's the second quibble. The shoe is lined with GoreTex, and so is waterproof. The gaiter, however, is NOT. The gaiter is a form of mesh. I mean, it's not like a screen door, but it is fabric and if you hold it up to the light, you can see lots of tiny holes of the weave or knit or whatever. So... I expect the gaiters to do an EXCELLENT job of keeping loose snow, splashed slush, and muck out of the shoes. UNfortunately, I know that when I inevitably step on slush-over-puddle or thin-ice-over-puddle next spring, my foot will sink through into two to four inches of bloody-cold water, and that water will come through the gaiter and down into the shoe.
So, these shoes are going to solve about 90 percent of the problem, but they don't go all the way. What I would have wanted was that the gaiters be made of (or lined with) GoreTex all the way up. It should be as thin and floppy as possible, because you don't want anything "supportive" and strong above the low shoe part of the footwear, when you use them for actual running. But I really think it should have been possible to go the extra bit and make the gaiter portion truly waterproof, which would have answered the entire prayer I've been praying for... well if I said how long I've been wanting a gaitered running shoe, you'd know how ancient I really am. :-)
OK, one more issue. It wasn't a surprise. Somebody mentioned it in a review somewhere, and I can confirm: The gaiter is a bit too snug over the lace-up part of the shoe. I don't mean too snug for comfort, I mean too snug for the proper function of its zipper. It was a tough pull to get the zipper started, and over my instep. I can see the zipper pull breaking very soon, or else the zipper itself will rip from the gaiter fabric. The other reviewer says it didn't last long for him, and he's been using pliers to pull up the zip ever since. That's not too bad if you run only circuits. But if you run or trek from place to place, you'll need to carry pliers or have a set at each stopping place. Just sayin'.
Finally, I find these shoes a tad TOO supportive. The soles are stiffer and more built than I'd like. But they work, and they flex enough to run in (I weigh well over 200 pounds, so they darn well do flex when I stride... they wouldn't dare not flex...)
Still, I'd appreciate if somebody, anybody would provide links to some other gaitered running shoes or trail shoes. Until that happens, minor quibbles aside, these are RECOMMENDED. A good idea, reasonably well executed. After I've had a chance to wear them in foul winter weather, I'll try to remember to come back and update this review.
I was dithering between awarding three stars or four. As you can see, I went with four. If that changes over the next few months, I'll come back and say so.
See ya in the funny papers. Or wet and miserable on the trails. :->
DECEMBER 07, 2012 - I'm ba-a-a-a-ack!
Well, boyz'n'gurlz, I won't change a word in my review above, but the situation has changed. I'd been edging toward minimalist footwear, with Vibram FiveFingers. They had nothing for winter weather, so I bought my La Sportiva GTXs to get me through winter. But then Vibram came out with their Lontra model, and I jumped. So, despite the good things I (still) have to say about the La Sportivas, I hope to not actually wear them - might give them away on Kajiji - and intend to wear the Vibram FiveFingers Lontras this winter. We'll see if I cave in, when the weather gets nasty. For somebody who still favors the built-up, supportive, "corrective" style of shoe, the La Sportivas are still a good choice. But if you value your feet (and knees and back and.... and....) and have decided to embrace the minimalist footwear paradigm ( I have... I think.... :-) ) then consider Vibram FF instead. And go read my Lontra and Bikila reviews.
Don't mean to confuse y'all, but things change and it's good to keep the info up-to-date. Again, nothing bad to say about the La Sportiva Crossover GTX Trail Running Shoe, it's just that my priorities (and availability of a more suitable-for-me product) have changed.