Here is a quick write up of thoughts arrived at after a long weekend’s use of the Grisport Crusader Boots in the Lake District. Two routes which included hitting High Street from Hartsop, then along to Angle Tarn for one night’s camp and then starting out from Coniston, passing Lever’s water, up on to Wetherlam and camping a bit below the summit. As I had previously mentioned in my introductory article to the boots (which can be found here), these boots seem very well featued. Italian leather, waterproof membrane, vibram soles and a heel unit that stops friction, and so hopefully; blisters/sore spots. The company seems to have a prescence on Twitter, but I hadn’t heard of them before our initial interaction. Their official Twitter account is @grisport_uk and their website can be found at grisport.co.uk
So upon grabbing hold of them and trying them on for the first time, they do feel like a good quality boot. The outsole is rugged, which shapes up well for hill/mountain walking, the lacing system and gusseted tongue is comfortable when all tied up and doesn’t indicate any troublesome slipping of the laces. The Grisport Crusader feel a relatively heavy boot, but as I say; they are really rugged and so should stand up to a battering quite well. The heel support system is claimed to prevent the heel from slipping in ‘all phases of movement’ and initilly this did seem to be the case.
So the real question is; How did the Grisport Crusader do in use? The answer – pretty well in most areas. The first thing to take note of is that these boots seem to fit quite big. What I mean by that is, I am generally a UK size 9 but there was still quite a bit of spare room inside. As is typical of most ‘supplied with’ insoles, the ones that came with the Crusaders weren’t worth retaining. So with that in mind, I installed some volume reducing insoles and went with my usual Superfeet insoles that I use with all my boots. With that done, they fit much better. This isn’t actually much of a dislike of the Grisport Crusader, because even with my Scarpa Ranger II I had to buy volume reducers and I replaced the insoles. What I did find on the first day though, is that some friction and rubbing was still suffered on the back of my heel. A couple of hours in I had blisters, and then later on in the day a couple of layers of skin had decided to settle in my sock. After having replaced my thinner socks for some slightly thicker though – this did get better. It seemed as though the heel support system went awol during steeper ascents. Powering up the side of Threshthwaite Cove, up to Thornthwaite Crag was the killer. The section at Threshthwaite Mouth is notably leg burning though. After that initial rubbing, it was evident across the rest of the weekend when trekking uphill. That said though, during inclines of lesser gradient, or on the flat – heels did not slip at all. Even after the blisters came about, I couldnt even feel them on the flat because the boots were holding well.
Aside from the slight discomfort from the blisters, the Grisport Crusader performed amicably. It was a wet weekend to say the least, but there was no water ingress. Coupled with leather, the breathable, waterproof Sympatex membrane put paid to that. I didn’t treat the boots before going out, which I normally would, so to say that my feet were still pleasantly dry after a weekend of miserable weather is evident that it’s job done on that front.
Another area in which the Grisport Crusader performed well was their grip. The outsole lug pattern is good for loose rock, mud, grass it would seem but didnt do overly well on larger wet rock. I wouldn’t imagine they would be great for scrambling in adverse conditions, such as I have used my Scarpa Ranger boots before but for three season backpacking – the soles are more than suitable. In terms of comfort under foot and protection from impact again – the boots did well. There was a lot of descent on our route down from Wetherlam, and a misplaced step here or there onto loose rock or a slightly sharper edge didnt really bother me as the midsole seems to be well cushioned.
The leather looks a little bit tired after a heavy weekend, and will need the usual care routine post walk. A bit of conditioner, and wax and they should be good to go for next time. The main thing is that the Grisport Crusader boots left my feet dry, cushioned from impact, with good grip on most surfaces. Aside from the blister issue, which I feel came from steeper incliness and the heel support system not fully working as it claimed to, these are a good offering for a good price for three season use.