My Crispi Rauma review
Preface for my Swedish readers
Hurdy gurdy! En liten recension av Rauma, ett par lätta (600 gram/styck) kängor från Crispi. Säljs bara på XXL, børk børk børk. Runt 2000 i ordinarie pris men reas ofta under somrarna för 1200, kolla prisutvecklingen. 1200 är de lätt värda, däremot är "2900" som XXL ibland anger som "ordinarie/rekommenderat pris" rent hittepå. Den nya, liknande modellen Crispi Valdres kostar ungefär 2800 i andra butiker, den ser bättre ut än Rauma men är inte värd nästan 3000, men kanske runt 2200 med 2500 som absolut max (men vänta hellre på rea). För 3000 får du nämligen ett par riktiga superkängor. Børk børk børk!
I found very little information about these shoes online, so why not write a review of them. After all, I am a real sucker for boots. The shoes might be a store special, although the Crispi Valdres model looks very similar (but that model seems to have a much better sole and better toe protection). Crispi Raptor Black GTX (a model marketed as "for law enforcement") is even more similar, the only difference is the sole. There is a TL;DR section at the bottom for non-fetishists.
I wasn't even looking to buy a pair of boots. I was at a local outdoors gear store (XXL) to buy a light breathable raincoat (Helly Hansen Loke) for a Norwegian hike. But then I passed the boots section, and saw a pair that were just so pretty. Not at all like the normal boots I used to favor, these were very slick and streamlined, and when lifting them up, I marvelled at how light they were -- especially considering the quality materials used.
As a comparison, my current hiking boots are a pair of La Sportiva Bernina, fifteen years old or more and very heavy and sturdy. At the time of purchasing the La Sportivas, I had surveyed the entire Swedish market: I tried all models available. I'm pretty hard to please.
But now, I bought these Crispi boots after only an hour of trying them on in the store. Much of it was price: they were heavily discounted, to about the price of a good pair of Gore-Tex running shoes.
Soooo preeeeeetty! But really, they are very understated and tasteful in my opinion, not counting the lime-green lacing (which I happen to like). They are almost all black, except for an embroidered logotype and an orange rivet. A large "X" of sorts is embossed on the side of each shoe. Only one design issue affects the functionality of the shoe, and that is having the embroidery puncturing the leather down at the boot. This is a stupid detail; it weakens that area of the leather (an area that is flexed when walking) and water will eventually seep in through it (there doesn't seem to be any reinforcement behind it). All Crispi boots seem to have this detail however so perhaps it's not a problem. I remain sceptical.
Materials and quality
This is a Gore-Tex boot, with the normal Gore-Tex "tub" inner boot going up to above the ankles. As in most such shoes, there is a seam running down the heel, but it's flat and hasn't resulted in any chafing. The top part around the ankle is made of polstered fabric (both inside/outside), probably to help with venting between the leather and the Gore-Tex inner boot.
There is no insulation, which is a good property for hiking boots but bad for "winter shoes". These are not, repeat NOT, "winter shoes". No. Don't think of it. Stop reading.
The shoe is almost completely made of leather, including the reinforced toe which is leather-on-leather. There is an additional reinforcement at the toe (rubber, very small, protects when kicking something) and around the heel (different synthetic material, very large and sturdy, good for when going downhill in blocky terrain getting the heels smashed by/gliding down the stones). Personally I feel the main toe reinforcement could have been made of the same synthetic material as the heel one, as the black leather toe part gets ugly almost directly, and that the rubber "kick guard" is way too small (as pictured below).
The shoe tongue is mostly fabric.
Leather parts are allocated as expected or better than expected for this type of shoe. At the price I paid, much better than expected. Except for the heel part where the leather comes together there is only one seam in total on the main boot, on the inner side of the shoe (inseam). The best quality shoes have no such seam, worse quality consists of lots of patches sewn together. When walking, this inseam will be stressed, and eventually it will break. But this boot is made of pretty soft leather and thus it's unlikely to be an issue. So, very good overall! The ankle part is constructed from smaller patches, this is normal.
All lower parts (toe/heel reinforcement and leather inseam) have triple seams. All other seams of interest are doubled. This is very good. The sole is not sewn to the boot, but glued, which is the standard nowadays -- only soles on top tier shoes are sewn. There is also a decorative seam on the outside of the ankle part that serves no purpose.
The outsole is a Vibram sole which is very thin. So, the tread is shallow, having small nubs of rubber that will certainly break off and not stand up to too much wear. My La Sportivas have the original Vibram "Carrarmato" tread that is much more durable, but of course, this comes with a huge weight penalty. There is no rubber protection around the lower part of the boot so blocky terrain might hurt both the shoe and you.
The dampening is just a piece of hard EVA foam. This saves weight but not your feet.
The inner sole is a pretty standard, not very cushioned one. It has a "meshy" perforated top layer that probably is good at moisture transport but also will happily trap and assemble all the tiny sharp parts of the outdoors inside of it, the result can be a perfect foot-piercing trap, beware!
These boots can be summed up in three words: Light, hard, and soft. Light in weight (~600 g), hard for the feet due to almost undampened soles, and soft when it comes to flexing. I'm no newcomer to hard, undampened soles -- I actually prefer it, to a point -- but I was nevertheless a bit surprised by the unforgiving hardness. Light shoes inspire me to pick up the pace, and walking fast, your feet will be tired pretty soon. As mentioned, the soles are thin, and the shoe lacks the rubber protection around the lower part that more expensive backpacking/mountaineering boots have -- both these details affect flexing in a huge way. So flexing rigidity of the shoe is lacking which can be bad or good depending on walking style and terrain.
Sideways stability is excellent. I have only carried around ten kilos so far, but I can't see that much heavier burdens would pose a problem at all.
The lightness and flexing makes it a very comfortable shoe, apart from the hard sole. I have used it both with thick socks and double socks and it is so far one of the most comfortable shoes I have owned. In soft, not too muddy terrain they will function perfectly as the ground will compensate somewhat for the soles and this is the sweet spot for these shoes: woodland hikes.
The lacing needed to be modified for my use, though. There are fabric eyelets of sorts at the ankle: these are typically thought to keep the heel better in place. For me it was much more comfortable to ignore those when lacing and there was no gliding around inside the shoe despite this. YMMV.
I'm not a huge fan of Vibram, and it's because it's one of the most slippery materials known to mankind. Living in Sweden, we have our share of ice in the winter and slippery stones in the summer, and here Vibram completely fails. These shoes are no exception: hiking up a wet Norwegian mountain, you had to be extremely careful indeed, and hiking down again I fell hard and I still don't know what I stepped on. In soft and muddy terrain you can slip easily due to the shallowness of the tread. On hard packed snow, on the other hand (a tricky task for many soles), these shoes give excellent grip as the smaller rubber nubs can dig in a bit. It's hard to find non-Vibram shoes, though, so what can you do. Sure, Vibram have many different rubber types but I have never met a pair of Vibram hiking soles that weren't outright dangerous in slippery conditions. I much prefer Salomon's Contagrip soles, too bad they come with Salomon shoes attached.
The shoes are not particularly warm in a cold climate -- the sole/midsole combination is too thin and transfers cold from the walking surface unusually effectively, especially when hiking on snow. No socks can compensate for this and a four-hour (~25 km) winter walk turned into a very cold event indeed, even though I kept up the speed and never stopped -- and I am infamously warm-bodied... hot-bodied... eerrhm.
Yes, that is my hot body. Hello ladies.
Waterproofing seems to work fine, same as all Gore-Tex boots. Breathability is not worse than other Gore-Tex boots with a full leather outside.
The Crispi Valdres model looks to be essentially the same as this boot, but with every problem fixed. It costs quite a bit more however, and is likely a bit heavier. I haven't tried it but I'll be on the lookout. Crispi Raptor Black GTX is also related, it has a different sole but is identical otherwise. It costs about the same but isn't sold in Sweden.
Serious materials, quite serious looks and construction, not really a top-level hiking boot but good for what it is and a steal when on sale.
I would recommend these boots for:
I would not recommend them for: