Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crossover GTX -- The Ultimate Wet Weather and Muddy Trail Running Shoe

California is being pummeled with precipitation.  Great news for the ski slopes.  But while in the lowlands, that means rain.  And on trails, mud, LOTS of it.  Last week I pulled out and started running in my new Crossover GTXs.  Wow!

I had already run last winter in my Wildcat GTX shoes.  The same durable, neutral Wildcat shoes with Gore-tex moisture protection.  These work great, but like any Gore-tex shoe, have two limitations:

1. When crossing streams, if the water goes over the top of the shoe, you are just as wet.
2. Many of the trails in the East Bay where I run have that thick, cakey, mud, that quickly accumulates below and on the sides of any shoe, making each foot weigh several pounds.

Wildcat GTX

The Crossover GTX has an attached gaiter that zips up and cinches tight, effectively coverting the popular Crosslites into a runnable boot.  Although the mud will still cake up on the sides until it suddenly sloughs off, it no longer gets into my shoes.  Similarly, it's much easier to cross streams or splash through deep puddles and keep my feet and socks dry.

These shoes are also a huge improvement over the discontinued Nordic GTX I used 2 winters ago and for a few ten-mile laps at McNaughton 150 mile (April 2009).  The Nordic GTX gaiter is nice, but getting it on and off is a little awkward and takes some time.  
Nordic GTX:  three hooks attach gaiter to thin cord in sides and back of shoe

The Crossovers by contrast come off and on quite easily and quickly.

my cleaned Crossover GTX, one with gaiter zipped up and the other down

I am not so prissy that I mind my feet getting wet during runs, but it sort of gets old when you are running for hours and hours, and it's sort of a hassle washing and wringing the mud out of your socks.  Okay, so I am sort of a priss.  But an ultra-endurance priss...

Anyways, I am convinced these are the ultimate trail shoes for the rainy season and dealing with Bay Area winter mud.  I imagine they also work great in snow...


Sara said...

Great review, Mark. I've been loving the Crossovers through mud and snow, they definitely work well! Who knew prissy could feel so good!! After so many years of doing it the wet-footed way, I'm also enjoying the comfort.

Anonymous said...

I've been using Crosslites for some time now and am interested in the Crossovers, however, I have had people tell me to go one whole size up, some tell me two whole sizes up. Any beta on this subject would be appreciated. I am using size 43 Crosslites and they fit perfectly.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

@Jim, thanks for commenting. Personally I don't feel any difference in the fit-- the shoe part is (I think) identical to the Crosslite. I get shoes in both 41.5 and 42's depending on whether I want to use thinner or thicker socks. Because of the gaiter I wear longer socks, anticipating friction on longer runs, though maybe you don't really have to. I have found the gaiter also mildly support and stabilize the ankle.

I'm not officially part of La Sportiva Customer Service, however, so you might want to sent them a message. Hope that helps, enjoy the trails!