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Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Boot Review

© Nick Brown

As a confirmed shoe-over-boot user, the somewhat sceptical Alan James tries the stiffer, high cuff alternative to his current favourite approach shoe - the Crodarossa from Dolomite. Will he be converted to boots for long hill days and scrambling...?


The Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Boot is a high cuff adaptation of the Dolomite Crodarossa GTX Shoe which I reviewed in our massive Approach Shoe test in August 2019. The lower approach version has been my go-to approach shoe ever since, so I was pleased to be able to try this more substantial boot. Despite sharing a name the Crodarossa boot adds a heel brake, a stiffer sole, and the high ankle padding; in short it feels like a very different product. This is much more of a walking boot than an approach shoe and the carry-over of the name is probably one for the marketing team rather than for those simply looking for a more substantial 'hi' version of the approach shoe.

Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe  © Dominic Green
Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe
© Dominic Green

First impressions are of something light and well-built but with more solid support than you would get from most light walking boots. According to Dolomite this boot is aimed at 'technical treks', mountain approaches and via ferrata. It is certainly suitable for these activities, and this makes it a good match for British summer hillwalking and scrambling too.

Two models are on offer - a women's version with lower volume and a 'pro' version. It is not obvious what different the pro version offers since it is the same price, shares the same description on the website but is a little lighter. There is no option without a Gore-Tex lining.

Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe  © Dominic Green
Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe
© Dominic Green

Weight and Build Quality

At over 1100g for the pair these are substantial for an approach shoe but relatively light for a scrambling/walking boot. We think they sit in between these categories although the visual impression is of a full boot and one of surprise at how light they are. The build quality is high, as expected from Dolomite. There's a solid upper with a soft ankle padding section and good protective rands on the heel cup sides and toe box. The tongue is high and lightly padded with full GTX waterproofing.

The lacing system uses a Dolomite-favoured system of cord-on-cord eyelets, an aspect that seems more shoe-like. I have my reservations with this system. With the lower Crodarossa shoe I found the strain on the top eyelets did prove to be too much and required a new eyelet cutting. It seems Dolomite have recognised this in the latest version since the top eyelet (the one which takes vastly more strain) is a more robust strap and there are also hooks on either side for the top fastening.

Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe  © Alan James
Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe
© Alan James

Fit

As mentioned, there is both a women's and men's version available for the Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe. They seem to be slightly on the large side for the stated size, and I find them a little roomy in my usual size 42. I often use an instep insert due to the shape of my feet and this extra volume has actually created just enough space for the insert to fit really well. Of course, this might not be the same for everyone and it is essential to try them on properly before buying to get the best fit possible. I have fairly standard width feet and find the toe box a perfect fit - again, worth trying if you have wide or narrow feet. The women's version offers a lower volume option in relatively neutral colours.

The lacing system gives good control over the toe box and is flexible in the middle section. The top eyelet, as mentioned, is a solid section of tape allowing you to pull the main foot section tightly closed. As an avowed low shoe wearer by habit, I am not keen on cinching up the boot tight on the ankle padding, since I find this a little uncomfortable. A drawback with some boots is that if you wear them a little loose at the top, this can work its way down the laces to give a slightly baggy feel elsewhere. With the Crodarossa I get no such tension creep and I can keep them relatively loose at the top but maintain good tension across the rest of the foot.

Dolomite Crodarossa keeping feet dry on a stream crossing  © Nick Brown
Dolomite Crodarossa keeping feet dry on a stream crossing
© Nick Brown

Upper

The suede upper with Gore-Tex lining is always going to be a personal preference. In this case there is no option - that's what you get. Personally I am a fan and my feet stayed perfectly dry on a few long days out in fairly boggy terrain during the testing.

Dolomite Crodarossa on the classic scramble of Pinnacle Ridge above Ogwen  © Rory Park
Dolomite Crodarossa on the classic scramble of Pinnacle Ridge above Ogwen
© Rory Park

Sole

The megagrip Vibram sole is the other major change from the lower approach shoe Crodarossa. This is a standard Vibram pattern sole with a decent heel brake and is significantly stiffer than an approach shoe. On rough terrain, you get good grip but with less sensitivity than a softer approach shoe, a tradeoff some will approve of and others not. We gave it a great test on some taxing scrambles in North Wales including two classics Pinnacle Ridge (Grade-2) and Sentries Ridge (Grade-3) and the stiffer sole was not found wanting. The stiffness gives solid edging ability for scrambling, and on rock I find the sole every bit as grippy as a lighter shoe. On the approach and especially the descents, the more supportive higher and drier boot was extremely welcome. And on loose or wet ground, the downhill traction provided by that heel is an improvement on a lot of flatter soled approach shoes.

Dolomite Crodarossa Hi GTX Shoe - On  the grade 3 scramble of Sentries Ridge, Mynydd Mawr  © Rory Park
Great versatility on Sentries Ridge on Mynydd Mawr in North Wales

Summary

Like many climbers, I have always preferred light approach shoes over anything boot-like. Even on massive long approaches and walks when I wasn't climbing, I have still tended to go for the lower approach shoe style. The main reason for this was that I found boots heavy, uncomfortable and inflexible. Right from the off I could see that the Crodarossa 'Hi' avoids most of these problems. They are surprisingly light, I find them incredibly comfortable, and they proved much more flexible when scrambling than I had expected. Add to that the obvious benefits of extra support and the ability to keep dry and I can happily say that a habit of a lifetime has been changed. For anyone looking for a full-day walking boot that is versatile enough for use on scrambles, via ferrata and long crag approaches, this is an excellent choice at a decent price.

Dolomite say:

The Crodarossa Hi Gtx 2.0 is a shoe designed for mountain approach and technical treks, like via ferratas and climbing paths. Standing out for its cutting-edge features and the unmistakable pattern on the upper which recalls the mountain peaks, this version is crafted with suede leather and a stretch fabric tongue, for higher comfort and precision during the activity, especially on uneven and rocky terrains. The Vibram® Winkler Evo outsole moreover ensures precision and full control for each movement, guaranteeing at the same time stability and traction, even on unpredictable terrains. Fully waterproof thanks to GORE-TEX lining, it lastly features a slipknot lacing system, which makes this shoe easy and fast to wear.

  • Weight: 1144g / pair size 42 (our weight)
  • Sizes: 39-47 (men) 36-47 (women)
  • Upper: 1.4/1.6 mm Suede - Stretch fabric
  • Lining: Gore-tex Extended Comfort Footwear - Gore-tex elastic lining laminate
  • Sole: Tpu stabilizer - Die-cut Eva midsole - Vibram® Winkler Evo bottom - Megagrip rubber compound
  • Footbed: Moulded Eva
  • Gore-Tex ® Vision 3LY Lining > Waterproofness, breathability, low insulation
  • Allgrip sole > Stability and high traction
  • Megagrip Vibram® compound outsole > Superior grip on both wet and dry surfaces
  • Suede upper 1.4/1.6> Comfort and durability
  • Dolomite Wrapping System and Slipknot lacing

For more info see dolomite.it



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22 Jun

Brasher use the same sole on their 'Country Roam' shoe and it's very good for UK conditions. I wear my Brashers daily for work and the sole has lasted well.


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