Winter in Southern California is a very special time of year. To those in other parts of the country, our “change” in weather is almost laughable. When 60 degrees is considered a cold day, it’s hard to be taken seriously. What I love most about living here, is the great amount of geographic diversity. I can drive an hour and find myself in the desert, at the beach, or on the top of a mountain. It’s in these mountains that we can find our taste of winter. Being surrounded by a multitude of peaks over 9000 ft in elevation, it’s easy to find the right combination of snow and ice without having to drive back home to it. As a lightweight backpacker who has fallen in love with comfortable lightweight footwear, I’ve done my best to avoid heavy boots at all cost. The problem is, snow and ice can cause a lot of problems on the trail without the right gear. Last year I wore a pair of Salomon Crossmax with Clima-shield. They were okay, but the low cut ankle allowed snow in, unless I wore gaiters, and the Clima-sheild is anything but waterproof. This year I decided to try a new approach, and purchase a shoe with a built in gaiter attachment. This would allow me to have a lightweight shoe that’s water sealed, and durable enough to take on the mountains. After a ton of research, my two choices were the La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 and the Salomon Snowcross. Having tried both of them on, the Crossover was a far better fit for my foot. The toebox was a much better fit, the midfoot seemed a little more stable, and the gaiter felt much better around my ankle. The final decision was made with the Goretex vs Clima-shield offerings, which really isn’t a competition. To make things even better, I was able to grab these on Running Warehouse for the 12 days of Christmas sale for nearly 40% off.
A Few Of The Hikes I’ve Worn These On:
Read my updated wear report here.
The upper on the Crossover 2.0 is a thing of beauty. Starting at the top, the flexible GTX liner looks like snakeskin, and wraps the foot and ankle very comfortably. The zipper is anatomically lined, and doesn’t just split the shoe in half, which is very nice. The zipper runs diagonally to the outer portion of your ankle. This makes the GTX bootie feel natural, and causes no chaffing under a tight pant leg.
Having used these in snow and ice, I can say with complete confidence that the GTX bootie will keep you very warm and dry. I have not worn these in rain, so I can’t attest to how they’ll perform in a downpour, and probably won’t, given our weather here in Southern California.
The top of the upper has a drawstring that allows you to pull the gaiter tightly around the ankle. This drawstring is elastic and rounded, making for a very comfortable fit. There is also a cover tab that pulls over the top of the zipper when fully closed to keep it from snagging your pant leg, or allowing any moisture in from above.
The toeguard on this shoe is very nice, as it offers just enough protection without being stiff. I’ve worn these shoes with micro spikes, and they held just fine without creating any uncomfortable pressure points. I wish it were a little more robust, but keep in mind these are built with runners in mind, not hikers. In the rear, a stiff heel counter works to comfortably keep your foot in place.
The inside of the shoe feels like a standard La Sportiva trail running shoe. I ordered one size up for a 13 (47), and my usual size is a 12.5 (46.5). Unlike the reviews of others, I don’t find this shoe to fit narrow at all, and I have a rather wide foot. Maybe it’s the materials used, but this shoe fits snug in all the right places, and relaxed exactly where you need it. I took these shoes 10 miles with 4000+ft of gain on my first time out, and had no hot spots or discomfort. These shoes could easily cover 20+ mile days without a problem. Going downhill with micro spikes or crampons is always the true test, as the metal spikes bite into the ice causing your feet to slide forward in your boot or shoe. I’ve experienced no discomfort in my toes on the downhills, a huge plus for the design of this shoe.
The midsole of the Crossover is the MEMlex EVA, a full length midsole engineered for moderate cushioning. I find this EVA to be incredibly responsive and comfortable on all types of winter track surfaces. The stack height of the shoe sports a 10mm drop, which is at the high end of my sweet spot for hiking shoes. I’ve also used this shoe on some rockier trails, and it felt equally comfortable. Without a rockplate or dense EVA layer in the midfoot, I’m not sure how these would handle daily jaunts of 20 plus miles of rocky trail, but hey, that’s not what these are made for! There is a TPU stabilizer in the midfoot (red bar in the pictures), that keeps the foot feeling nice and secure over uneven surfaces. I really like this feature for hiking, as my feet feel stable, without sacrificing too much ground feel or agility. In my opinion, the midsole is what separates this shoe from the Salomon Snowcross the most.
The outsole of the Crossover 2.0 is pure magic. With these shoes on, I’m able to walk on snow and ice without my microspikes. Similar surfaces would have left me on my butt in any other shoe. The FriXion AT rubber is incredibly sticky on rock, pitted ice, snow, and wood. Slick ice is the only surface you’re really going to fly on. For this reason, you can drill spikes into lugs on the outsole (which I have not done), where the sections says “spike”. The V shaped lug design is really nice as well, shedding mud and snow without any trouble. I really can’t think of anything I don’t like about this outsole as of right now.
I highly recommend this shoe to any hikers or backpackers looking for a GTX option to handle ice and snow conditions during the Winter. This shoe is the complete package. With an upper sporting an integrated GTX gaiter, a stable and responsive midsole, and a sticky shedding outsole, the Crossover 2.0 is tough to beat. For a hiker, I’d like to see a more robust toe-guard and a little more protection under the forefoot, but again, these are designed for runners. Still, an incredible lightweight option that will be on my feet all Winter and into Spring.