When I met up with the team from CRISPI, I explained my story when it came to boots. I had grown up in bare feet and bullers. The springiness, agility and flexibility of the little ankle high NZ bush gumboot is something many of us treasure and hold in our minds wrapped up in a nostalgic glow. I had worn bullers pretty much every day of my bush life until I fell off a bluff in Fiordland. I had been aware that my boots just didn’t have the tread pattern for this environment and no amount of inner step spike was going to save me when a clump of moss slid from a rocky face and sent me arse over titt down a bluff system.

After two months out of action with a busted ankle I finally gave in to my bosses suggestion that he buy me some leather boots. He wasn’t skimping either. It was top shelf on the DOC credit card and I walked out of the shop with some incredibly stiff ¾ shank leather boots that felt not dissimilar to wearing ski boots for the first time.

After three pairs of unhappily persevering with top of the line boots I was just about to call it quits and go back to my rubbers when I heard it on good authority that this CRISPI crowd did lite weight, flexible boots that were hand made in Italy. So here I was…

“I want something light like bullers with a much better tread pattern. They have to be super flexy, none of this ¾ shank business. I can’t afford to blow out my ankles again, so they need to offer good support. Oh, and by the way my feet are shaped like flippers with super high arches. What have you got?”

The reply came back about as clear and technical as I could have hoped. The CRISPI Titan GTX:

  • Is super lightweight and comfortable. Almost like wearing slippers, due to their “instant fit technology.
  • Has an excellent tread pattern great for the likes of unsuccessful bush stalking in the Kaimanawa’s (maybe more successful with a different hunter in them), boulder hopping in Waioeka rivers, scaling sketchy vertical rock faces in Fiordland and they are even pretty stable on wellington footpaths. The Vibram low impact orange rubber soles are pretty snazzy looking too and will keep your feet safe from being shot off.
  • Talk about flexy. These things flex long ways and sideways. You can grip rocks with your feet again, just like when you were a bare feet kid and if you have tall arches like me your feet aren’t sore or bruised at the end of the day. If you wanted to get technical on it I could even point out that this is due to the stiff shank of other boots having been replaced by a flexible cork footboard.
  • Support wise they are a tall cut which I hadn’t tried before in a boot but turns out does a lot more than keep the water out when crossing streams. The high cut and thermo wire technology has my ankles feeling safer than ever while not compromising on weight or malleability.
  • The cut is great. The instant fit technology allows most foot shapes to slip right into a boot, fit well and not get blisters.

In short, the CRISPI Titan GTX is the only boot I have tried that ticks all the boxes I need them to. I have thrashed them over the last 6 months in everything from bouldery rivers, sharp alpine granite to quiet bush stalking and they show no signs of blowing out.