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The North Face Ultra MT Winter

3 Winter Running Shoes That Will Blow You Away

January 6, 2017 Comments (0) Uncategorized

La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX

La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX

La Sportiva was the first real contender in the game to build a winter running shoe that incorporated a gaiter, so they have a bit more experience than The North Face and Salomon. The Crossover 2.0 GTX has a few slight improvements over the previous version, but otherwise the shoe remains the same. Why mess with a good thing?

The Crossover 2.0 has a 10mm heel/toe drop, the largest of the three brands tested. It also has a full Gortex shell to keep the water and snow out. The outsole is made of FriXion® AT with Impact Brake System™ and V-Groove™. We at TAUR don’t actually know what any of that actually means, but what we can tell you is that this thing is a beast in the snow, has suction cups on rocks, and grips like a fat tire mountain bike tread in the dirt. La Sportiva has spent years perfecting their outsole and the Crossover does not disappoint. Priced at $190 it sits right between The North Face Ultra MT Winter and Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine.

TAUR Rated – 4.75

Design

One of the subtle upgrades to the Crossover 2.0 GTX are several minor exterior visual changes. Is it ok to call a shoe “sexy”? If so, then this shoe qualifies. It has the appeal of a Ferrari 480 GTB (look it up) in red, black, and yellow – combined. The offset front zip pulls across the shoe and unlike the other two brands, La Sportiva includes a draw string to cinch the gaiter for a perfect fit.

Fit & Feel – 4.5

Testers agreed, once you’ve broken in the shoe it is as comfortable as any other. Out of the box, however, it feels a bit stiff and more like a hiking boot than a running shoe. But after 50 miles the midsole breaks in, the outsole softens up, and the shoe fits like a glove. The only critical feedback from our testers was that the shoe can feel a it clunky in the heel cup – a bit wide for the women and stiff for both men and women.

Scott – “This shoe doesn’t have any real weaknesses, but the only area where I’d even nit-pick would be that the shoe can feel a bit stiff out of the box and it is a touch rigid, so it can take some time to break them in. After about 50 miles they ride like a champ.”

Robin – Shoe laces were annoying-would prefer quick lace system, especially in cold weather.”

Matt – “Gaitered winter shoes certainly benefit from a quick lace system, which the Crossovers lack. Constant rubbing from the gaiter loosens the laces, not to mention trying to tie shoes with cold hands or gloves. I’m nit picking here because there just isn’t a lot wrong with this shoe.” 

Gaiter Functionality – 4.3

The offset zipper on the gaiter allows the fabric to be more flexible where it needs to be, at the bend of the ankle. Unhindered by a front zipper it moves well with the foot and the draw string allows for the wearer to get the tightness just right, enough to keep out all the elements. One tester did feel that the draw string could be improved, making it flatter and offering a stow pocket to keep it out of the way once pulled tight. Overall, however, testers were blown away with how functional it was.

Craig – “The Crossover’s gaiter was definitely the most comfortable of the three brands, offering protection and warmth when needed.”

Jenna –The built-in GTX gaiter is one of the Crossover’s best features. It’s a pliable, flexible gaiter with easily adjustable tightness around the ankle to prevent snow from getting inside around the leg without feeling stiff.”

Matt – “The Gaiter fits very well, with a drawstring that helps keep things tight. It also easily ‘peels’ over the cuff of the shoe when putting them on or letting them dry.”

Wet Protection – 4.5

Protection from the elements is the one area where none of our testers really quite agreed on how well one brand worked versus another. Whereas all three brands boast massive protection from the elements, the La Sportiva Crossover is the only brand that uses Gortex. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the other brands aren’t as waterproof, but Goretex has been the standard in the industry and can be expected to work as well or better than anything else in the market.

All but one tester felt that the Crossover offered near perfect protection from the elements, keeping out snow, water, and debris. Ultimately, each user will feel differently, but the overwhelming opinion, TAUR has found, is that the La Sportiva Crossover excels in this area.

Scott – I have used these shoes for several hours breaking trail in deep snow and my feet have never been wet. They do an excellent job keeping water out.”

Matt – “Superb protection from the elements, keeping your feet dry and warm. Even when moisture gets in, your feet still stay warm.”

Craig – “My first several runs in this shoe were in fresh snow, often wet in warmer conditions. My feet never felt it and I was warm and dry throughout all my runs.”

Traction – 5.0

Hands down, the best traction of the three brands. Salomon and The North Face didn’t even come close. By unanimous decision, all testers agreed that the Crossover’s traction was pretty much perfect. There are simply no weaknesses.

Robin – “I ran several icy and hard-packed, snowy trails. Where everyone else wore spikes, these did well without them. I loved the spiked toe box-allowing steeper trails to be climbed without problems.”

Jenna – The traction on the Crossover is by far its strongest quality. Whether on packed snow, icy slush, or frozen mud, slick uphill or speedy, snowy downhill, the moment you plant your foot you can feel the traction engage and hold firm. The impact break system gives you incredible control in every direction and even around the tightest, slickest of turns, but the tread also gives enough to not be excessively uncomfortable on hard-packed trails or the short stint of pavement back to the car. The traction is by far more secure and more durable than any of the other shoes we tested. There’s even a pattern printed on the sole of the shoe outlining ideal screw placement for those who prefer screws over full spikes.”

Construction – 4.75

La Sportiva understands how to make a good quality shoe. The Crossover 2.0 is no exception. Near flawless construction make for a shoe that will last season after season. A couple of our testers have used the previous version of the Crossover and have over 250 miles on them and the shoes still look to be in great condition. The only piece of feedback we’d offer for improvement is to move to a cinch lacing system instead of one that needs tying, since if they do come untied it can be hard to get into the shoe and retie them with cold fingers.

Scott – “The construction and materials on this shoe are excellent. I have been running in them for two winter seasons in tough mountain terrain and they still don’t have any signs of wear.”

Matt – “The fit and finish of the Crossovers is exceptional, well thought out and built to perform”

Jenna – La Sportiva is known for its quality of materials and construction, and the Crossover is no exception. Even after 250 miles of winter run testing, the shoe shows very little wear and tear in the upper – interior or exterior – and the lugs show no signs of peeling off or tearing. The only complaint about the construction is the shoelaces. The laces tend to loosen a little during runs longer than 5-6 miles, even when tied tightly and double-knotted. Overall, the Crossover is a really incredibly comfortable, functional, and durable shoe for winter running.”

Final Thoughts

Craig – “The saddest part of running in this shoe was that I happened to test a pair that were a half size too small, otherwise I’m certain that they would have been one of my favorite pairs of shoes, ever.”

Robin – These would be the shoes I purchase and recommend for friends who want to run long distances on trails all winter. I felt confident with the tread and liked the ample room in the shoe that would allow my toes to move and to wear thicker socks.”

Jenna – The La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 is one of the most durable shoes I’ve ever tested. After logging roughly 250 winter miles on them, they still look nearly brand new, feel as comfortable as they did out of the box, and have maintained tread unlike any other mountain running shoe I’ve worn. The design and look of the shoe is badass while still being very functional.”

Matt – “My favorite of the winter shoes. Excellent protection, traction, and incredibly well built. This shoe will last for many seasons to come.”

Scott – This is a phenomenal winter shoe. What makes this shoe so great is that it has excellent protection from the elements, while still being comfortable enough to run long miles, making it the perfect shoe for those long winter days in the mountains. It also has incredible traction which is invaluable in winter conditions.”

For more information regarding the shoe or to purchase a pair, click HERE!

 

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