Rating: 4 / 5
Personally, I rate this shoe a 5/5 because I'm ecstatic to find a shoe that FITS! (I have mutant monkey-feet.) But generally it is probably a 4.
Listen, ye, to my tale of woe...
I just moved back to the US from overseas and I'm waiting for my gear to catch up to me with my baggage. In the meanwhile I went for a brisk six-mile hike in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument yesterday, and the clunky old leather/GTX boots I was wearing tore up my heels.
So after brief research I proceeded to my local REI this morning and bought a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites. I had to go a full size up to get a good fit. Alas, my scale is with the rest of my baggage, but the La Sportiva website claims 12.35oz per shoe.
Today I day-hiked the seven-mile Waldo Canyon semiloop in a leisurely three hours. The new Crosslites did not aggravate my pre-existing blisters in the slightest. I am giddy.
You see, as I mentioned I have mutant monkey-feet. My wife, in fact, delights in ridiculing the one-inch gap between my great toe and index toe. Needless to say fitting a shoe is a challenge, so in my book the Crosslites get a 5, pending future evaluation of their long-term durability. The heel and ankle are well engaged, but there is adequate freedom around the forefoot and toes. The shoe in generally seems much more "stretchy" than most others I've tried, so even though it looked too slim to fit the monkey-feet it was actually quite comfortable.
Here is the lateral side view of the shoe:
Note that the mesh on the sides is reinforced in high-wear areas by rubberization. This is even more extensive on the medial side. The accents have no sharp angles to fail at, and the anterolateral edge of the accents is double-stitched, which is more obvious in the next picture.
Here is a closeup of the toe box:
As you can see, the protective rubber toecap is generous, and backed up a bit on the sides by light rubberization on the mesh. The front lip of the sole seems to be well bonded to the toecap.
I'm not sure if it is clear, here, but this is the tongue:
As you may or may not see, the tongue is not attached laterally to the shoe wall- it is only attached at the front. Aha! You may exclaim- this will allow debris to enter the shoe!
But wait! Here is a view of the lacing apparatus:
The top of the shoe is a layer of elastic webbing that almost completely covers the lacing. Only two eyelet pairs are exposed at the top. This protects the laces and prohibits entry of debris. Unfortunately it also negates one of the advantages of trail runners over boots- that rapid adjustment of the lacings is possible, if for instance your feet swell during the day. IMHO this is not a major disadvantage, but it is a disadvantage.
Here is the tread:
Rather aggressive knobbies, as you can see- probably the equivalent of an Inov8 Mudroc. I do my best to avoid wearing my trail runners on pavement, so hopefully they won't erode too quickly. You can also (barely) see the larger area of rubberization on the webbing of the medial wall of the shoe.
Anyway, I deducted a point for two reasons:
#1 the lacing adjustment issue
#2 it seems to be traditional on BPL not assign the highest rating to any but the very lightest contenders in a category :o)
For what it's worth, all of the reviews I checked on trail-running websites rated the Crosslite VERY high. Many were 10/10 or the equivalent.
I'll try to re-post when I have a better idea regarding durability, but they seem stoutly constructed.
Well, I just took the Crosslites on a three day pack in Great Sand Dunes National Monument. I have found another drawback to the elastic covering over the laces- one can't easily wear gaiters, since many have a hook that attaches to the forward lace. So, maybe it deserves to lose a point after all.
That said, here is the shoe after three hours on the sandy trails of Great Sand Dunes NP:
It looks like the elastic covering did yeoman's work keeping debris out of the shoe, eh? Just a little sand there.
However, I was later forced to use trails that had been churned into fine powder by groups of hunters on horseback. I'd sink up to my ankles every time. After five hours here is the shoe:
And there was more in my socks.
And here are the monkey feet:
In fairness, most of this sand came over the top of the shoe. Still... GAITERS would have mitigated this, eh?
I guess the 4/5 stands. (I'm still impressed with how well they fit. The elastic properties no doubt help there.)