“The comfort, support, and range of motion of the Hunter allows me to go exactly where I want”
I wanted my pair of Crispi Hunter GTXs to address a problem I’ve had for as long as I can remember: a struggle to find comfortable boots that perform well under a wide variety of conditions. There’s been a few pairs that took a lot of breaking and even then were only suited to certain activities or terrain. Others never really seemed to come right at all. As a result, I’d often be left wanting to go further, explore more, or push harder but you can only persist for so long when your feet are compromised.
After seeing so many people rave about their experience of Crispi boots it seemed that the Hunter was my best bet at ticking all the boxes and finding what I was searching for.
The Hunter is a lot of boot. It’s 10 inches from inner sole to mid-calf, has light insulation, and a full rand. But it still feels remarkably light and in no way overly confining. After trying it on for the first time there seemed to be just the right balance of stability and support while still providing a good range of movement.
They felt comfortable straight out of the box. This was lucky, as I didn’t have much time between receiving the boots and leaving on my next trip. However, I did manage to put a few kilometres on them around town and there was no discomfort (no break-in period required) and I felt confident heading into the hills with them for a week. Molesworth provided a nice mix of conditions to put them to the test.
That Crispi straight out of the box comfort
Based on first impressions, expectations were high… and I was not left disappointed. The hunting, on the other hand, was nowhere near as successful – but that’s another story, for a different day.
A week in the wild
First up, we were met with several days of persistent rain that really brought out the low land tussock-bog. This is frustrating terrain to traverse – not knowing if you’re about to balance on a clump of tussock, have a floater give out beneath you, or plunge into a knee-deep bog hole. While the boots on their own would most likely have been fine in these conditions, pairing them with gaiters produced next level bog proofing. Their height provides enough surface area for a decent gaiter to bind to so that a couple of days traversing this saturated, ankle rolling terrain left me dry and without any discomfort.
Paired with a decent gaiter the Hunter proved bog proof
Pushing up through beech forest didn’t trouble these boots whatsoever. The soles are stiff enough to dig into to soft ground and aid in any ascent/descent. The ankle support helps distribute the load throughout the lower leg – further contributing to the sense of stability. I also didn’t notice any slippage underfoot with the sole providing good traction across slick leaves, roots, mud, and stones. The extra protection a boot of this height offers also makes bush bashing even more fun by reducing the consequences of ploughing your shins into something that looked less substantial at first glance.
Up, over, and across the tops… again, no problems to speak of. Range of motion is great whether moving quickly across scree or scrambling up rocky sections. The problem I’ve had with most boots in these conditions is that I almost have to put my foot where the boot wants to go – especially when they’ve torn my feet up and it’s easiest to just do what hurts least. But these boots go where I want them to, meaning I can just walk up a slope (or explore off to the side) instead of having to crab across and try to follow the path of least resistance.
Moving quickly, directly, quietly across the tops thanks to the Hunter
From the valley to the summit I kept expecting troubles like those that boots of the past would have presented – especially after a week marinating in bog water – yet I encountered none. Comfort, support, and sure footedness made for great adventures from the bottom to the top.
All in all, based on my experience so far, I can’t fault these boots. As with every boot, an aftermarket innersole will provide some extra comfort that may be appreciated after a few days of heavy loads. Also, while these presented me with no issues straight out of the box I would recommend a few trial journeys to get familiar with them before throwing them into action. There is a lot of lace/eyelet real-estate to play with so it’s worth knowing a couple of different lacing patterns in case you reach a point where you require more support, an increased range of motion, etc.
Conclusion (so far)
These boots enabled me to go where I want. This is partly because of just how comfortable they are and I knew they would protect my feet whatever I threw at them. After a week straight in them I was still able to push myself and didn’t have to resort to doing what hurt least. The support they offered gave me confidence in any terrain, while their range of motion allowed me to proceed exactly how I wanted. I wasn’t worried whether the boots were suited to a particular approach – I went where I felt was best, confident that the Crispi Hunter GTX would respond accordingly and get me through.