Boots are one of those pieces of gear that can ruin your time outdoors pretty quickly if they don’t live up to your standards. Crispi Boots is a household name, and this Crispi Thor 2 GTX review was born from our endless search for the perfect ultralight boot that offers durability and water proofness without the all-too-common downsides you usually get with lightweight boots. Having the right pair of boots in the backwoods can keep you pursuing the outdoors longer instead of turning around to head home because your feet aren’t happy.
If your boots are not warm enough, are uncomfortable, give you blisters, or don’t keep you dry you’re in trouble. Boots are an essential piece of every outdoorsman’s gear. While these Crispi Thor II GTX boots are some of the lightest, uninsulated boots they make and are designed for warmer season adventures, our real question was how they would hold up and how they would do in adverse weather given that those are the two most common downfalls of lightweight, early season hunting boots.
In our experience, lightweight boots seem to be more comfortable, give you more agility hiking in the mountains, and generally make you more efficient. With that being said they tend to be leaky and not very durable. Conversely, you can go with heavy, more waterproof full-leather boots, but you lose some of the comfort and agility. Here in the Colorado high country, the frequent daily rain showers can create problems for boots that do not do well in moisture, so I was excited to try these Crispi Thor II GTX boots to see if I could find the perfect combination of lightweight and waterproof.
The Specs: Crispi Thor 2 Review
As with most outerwear clothing, there seems to be a few dominant brands, and footwear is no different. In the boot field, there seems to be a love/hate relationship with a lot of consumers and specific brands. People who find a boot that fits well, love that specific brand while others are not a fan at all. I had read a lot of reviews from folks who said Crispi makes the greatest boots out there, and others who said they would never put another pair on again. I had personally never used a pair of Crispi boots prior to testing these Thor II GTX boots, so I was excited to form my own opinion.
Before I get into my experience with them let’s go over some of the specs the Crispi Thor II GTX boots tout. I chose to review the Thor II GTX boots because they are recommended as a great lightweight option for the summer and early fall seasons . They are advertised as being lightweight, waterproof, and breathable. They do not come in an insulated version, however- only uninsulated.
- Upper: Water-repellent Suede and high resistant breathable PUtek Spider fabric
- Gore-Tex waterproof lining
- Vibrame outsole – Crispi Claw
- EVA Midsole
- Polyurethane coated leather rand, triple-stitched with Kevlar
- 8″ Height
- Weight (one boot, size 10): 1.25 lbs
- 4 Flex rating
The Testing: Crispi Thor 2 GTX Review
For this review, two of us here at Backwoods Pursuit were able to test out a pair of these boots in different states. The Crispi Thor II GTX boots went on many training hikes, scouting trips, and hunts in multiple terrains from the Idaho backcountry to the high mountains of the Colorado Rockies, so we really got an idea of what these boots could do.
When it comes to the topic of boots, they are difficult to critique because they are so deeply personal to each individual. The fit of a boot for me can be vastly different for the next guy. I tend to not be overly picky when it comes to shoes and don’t tend to have problems with my feet. I know a lot of guys that have a different shaped foot that have to be more picky in their selection if they want to be comfortable.
As we go over how these Crispi Thor II GTX boots performed, just keep in mind we’re assuming they are a good fit on your feet. They fit both of us who tested them this year very well and were very comfortable right out of the box. That should be the first checkpoint when purchasing new boots. If there is any discomfort when you first put them on, they are likely going to be a royal pain in the foot on the mountain.
While I didn’t run into as much wet weather as usual in Colorado, our tester over in Idaho used these boots during mid-October hunts in conditions you typically wouldn’t use these boots in. A big snow and rain storm hit, and just for fun, he tested them out to see how they would do in those conditions. While they did fine, the more shallow tread depth is not ideal for snow, so I wouldn’t recommend these for hikes in snow covered terrain. In the hike pictured above, the temperatures were right on the cusp of freezing, so the 6+ inches of snow that fell the night before turned to rain and started to melt the snow.
Given that these are an 8 inch boot and no gators were worn, the wet snow and rain soaked through the pants and beads of water were running down the legs. The boots had no chance of staying dry. It doesn’t matter how waterproof your boots are, your feet won’t stay dry when they are getting wet from water running down your legs.
All that to say, the Crispi Thor II GTX were absolutely soaked through after that day on the mountain, but it was no fault of the boots. It was impossible to tell if the boots leaked or not because they got wet from the situation just mentioned. I will say, though, that this was the only time that either of us got wet using these boots, so it’s reasonable to say they really are waterproof like they promote.
Overall, both of us who tested these boots were very impressed with the way they held up, particularly for such a lightweight boot. Neither of us took it easy on them as we trudged through some pretty nasty terrain, packed out multiple animals, carried backcountry camp on our backs, and hiked many, many miles.
Material Quality: Crispi Thor II GTX Review
The Crispi Thor II GTX boots are made with a water repellent suede and high resistant breathable PUtek Spider fabric upper. The Vibram outsole is the Crispi Claw with self-cleaning lugs. I was a bit concerned as to how a non-leather boot would hold up in the rocky and difficult terrain of Colorado, but to my pleasant surprise I did not have any issues with stitching or upper fabric tears throughout the whole season. We did not get as much wet weather during the season as we typically do, but the times we did have moisture such as boggy areas and crossing small creeks, they held up well keeping me dry.
The polyurethane coated leather rand worked exceptionally well protecting the most abused part of the boot. After a full season of using these boots, there are not any signs of damage, cuts, or tears whatsoever. Being an ultra lightweight fabric boot, that is always a concern, but these performed flawlessly.
Out of the box experience: Crispi Thor II GTX Review
Over the course of lots of different boot reviews, there have been some boots that were more comfortable than others out of the box. The Crispi Thor II GTX boots were some of the more comfortable ones that we’ve tested right from the get-go, and for the most part maintained that comfort throughout the season.
Right out of the box they almost felt like wearing tennis shoes. At only 1.25 pounds per boot they are extremely lightweight and do not feel cumbersome at all. In fact, it is tempting to try to wear them all year long, but as discussed above and in our Crispi Guide GTX insulated boot review, they are not designed for late season hunts where you will run into snow and cold temperatures. Being 8 inches tall and having a shallower tread depth, they just don’t provide the protection and traction you need in the snow like some of the bigger, heavier boots.
One consideration you’ll want to take into account when thinking of purchasing an early-season boot like the Crispi Thor II GTX is that the EVA midsole is not quite as thick as a typical later-season boot. While this does shave some weight, you also have less between you and the rocky ground, so you may feel the ground more than you would with boots that have a thicker midsole. It’s something that takes a bit of getting used to if you have only ever used full leather boots with thick, robust midsoles.
Why not go with a heavier boot to begin with?
For several years on my early season archery hunts, I just wore heavier, taller, all-leather boots. They worked fine, and I didn’t know any different. As I have gotten older and more conscientious of things like weight and comfort, I must say going to a very light weight boot was pretty awesome. You can simply feel the efficiency and agility you get in a lightweight boot.
Interestingly enough, the Crispi Thor II GTX boot has a 4 flex rating which is actually more stiff than the Crispi Guide GTX boots that we tested for the late season. As we mentioned in the Crispi Guide GTX review, they have a 3 flex rating, and even though the Thor II GTX boots have a higher stiffness rating, we found the Thor II GTX to be less restrictive overall. In our use and testing we found that, due to the height of the boot and the PUtek material used, the stiffness of the midsole was not a factor in movement restriction.
I have worn several different models of taller boots (10 inch+) and all of them have felt much more restrictive than the Crispi Thor II GTX boots.
One thing that can’t be overstated is the significance of how light the Thor II GTX boots are and how it affects you in the field. My legs never felt weighted down or that they were too heavy. It simply felt like I was wearing tennis shoes with a stiffer mid-sole. Lightweight boots like these greatly increase your efficiency while hiking and allow you to navigate through difficult terrain with ease.
The traction was adequate, and I never felt like I couldn’t get where I wanted to go due to poor grip. As you can tell in the picture above, the depth of the tread is certainly more shallow than other boots we’ve tested, but it never presented a problem until the snow hit.
Of course there comes a time during the season, especially in the Colorado and Idaho high country, that a light weight, uninsulated boot starts to be counter-productive. I’m all for saving weight, but it just gets too cold with low temps and snow in the Rocky Mountains in the later season to get by with lightweight boots. As long as you use the Thor II GTX boots in warmer weather for how they are designed, I think you will be very pleased with their performance.
Insoles and Break In Period: Crispi Thor II GTX Review
I have never had a very good experience with factory insoles, and my experience with the Crispi insoles was no different. We gave them a try early on, but pretty quickly realized they would need to be replaced. I only wore them a few times before replacing the insoles with the Superfeet Trailblazer insoles, while my brother Gabe went with the Sheepfeet Custom Orthotics. These are both significant upgrades to the factory insoles. The Superfeet Trailblazer insoles definitely helped overall, but if you can take the leap for the Sheepfeet Custom Orthotics, your feet will be extremely happy.
Sure, Sheepfeet are expensive, but they are custom built to your foot and provided noticeably better support and comfort than the Superfeet. Bottom line: if you spend a lot of time hiking in the mountains, your feet are worth the extra money if you can swing it.
The break-in period for this Crispi Thor 2 GTX review was very minimal. I was worried that with a flex rating of 4 they would take a little while to form to my feet and feel comfortable, but surprisingly, they were extremely comfortable right out of the box.
Other than my feet getting used to this style of boots, it really took a minimal amount of time to break them in. I would recommend wearing them on a few hikes before taking them out for a long hunting/hiking trip to make sure you don’t have any hot spots and to give your feet some time to acclimate. That’s just a good idea no matter what new boots you are breaking in.
Stiffness and Support: Crispi Thor 2 GTX Review
Crispi has a stiffness guide that they call their “flex rating.” Boots are such a personal preference and my preferred stiffness may be very different from yours. Their flex rating is quite helpful in selecting which boots are going to work best for you, and they give you an outline to follow if you have a preference in stiffness.
These Crispi Thor II GTX boots have a stiffness/flex rating of 4 (out of 5) meaning they are on the stiffer side. Obviously there are pros and cons to having stiffer or less stiff boots. Typically, stiffer boots will give you a little better durability and require less of your muscular structure in supporting your movements through mountains while providing better ankle support. However, you usually lose some agility as well as some feel for the terrain in which you are navigating, which can be a determinant when stalking in close to an animal.
The more flex boots have, the more they seem to wear out quickly and break down any waterproof lining, but flexible boots are typically more comfortable and better for stalking because you have a better feel for the ground. Being quiet on a stalk is much easier with a flexible boot.
While the Crispi Thor II GTX boots are on the stiffer side of the flex scale, they are extremely generous in allowing movement, and I did not feel like they were restricting in any way. In fact, I would say they felt much less restrictive than any other boot I’ve worn. They have a unique flexibility in them, but also offer tremendous support for being a lightweight, shorter boot.
Since they are only 8” tall, support was a concern of mine. I have had some pretty severe ankle injuries over the course of my life, so the risk of rolling an ankle on the mountain is something I want to minimize as much as possible. It is very easy to step on a rock the wrong way and tweak an ankle pretty easily in the backwoods.
Unless you never get off the couch, you can’t minimize the risk to zero in the backcountry. While the Crispi Thor II GTX boots are not the most supportive boots I’ve ever worn, I always felt like I had adequate ankle support, and I never felt like I was in danger of rolling an ankle. I was very impressed with them given my initial concern.
Lacing and Eyelets: Crispi Boots Review
The Crispi Thor II GTX boots start at the toe with the typical enclosed eyelet for the first four and then have a nylon ankle lock loop. After the ankle lock loop, they have two open-hook eyelets.
While there is not a perfect system out there, personally I would prefer a metal open hook for the ankle lock, rather than the nylon. I didn’t mind the nylon ankle lock system, but for durability, I would rather have the metal hook. This came to an ugly head on the opening weekend of elk season in the Idaho backcountry. On the first day of the season, the nylon loop pulled out of the stitching, rendering it useless and not repairable (at least in the field). Thankfully the boot was still functional and we were able to finish out hunt, but the boot became less comfortable, particularly when going down hill.
Things happen, and a manufacturer defect like this can happen to anyone out there. Outside of the inconvenience and slight discomfort, what’s important in these situations is how the problem is handled. As soon as I got back into cell service, I contacted Crispi Boots customer service and explained what happened. They requested a picture of the issue which I emailed over to them. They quickly sent over a return shipping label and had a new pair of boots to me within the week.
This is the first issue of any kind we’ve had with any of the five pairs of Crispi boots we’ve tested over the years, so outside of the initial frustration, it wasn’t a big issue. This did confirm, though, that even though we’d never had a problem with the nylon loop prior to this (the Crispi Valdres Plus GTX that we tested last year also has this design. Check out that review here), it is far from our favorite design for an ankle-lock system.
Traction and Tread: Crispi Thor II GTX Review
The Crispi Boots Claw Vibram outsole on the Crispi Boots Thor II GTX ultra lightweight boots performed very well in the warmer weather elements. As we discussed earlier, and in our Crispi Guide GTX review, the tread on these Thor II boots are not designed to perform in the late season snow and we wouldn’t recommend it. They have a more shallow tread pattern that is designed for terrain that doesn’t involve snow.
Waterproof: Crispi Thor II GTX Review
These Crispi Thor II GTX boots are rated as waterproof. In my testing, I didn’t have a day that was especially wet as it was a very dry fall, so I didn’t get the chance to push them to the limit in their ability to keep me dry. I did use them during early deer/elk hunting season and walked through boggy areas, springs that came up through the ground, small streams, and wallow areas without any issues of leaking.
What I Liked: Crispi Thor II GTX Review
After putting these boots through the paces for this Crispi Boots Thor 2 GTX review, we came away with a deep appreciation for what they offer. They are very comfortable and didn’t take much time to break in. The weight of these boots is an obvious plus, and having worn a lot heavier footwear all year, these Crispi Boots Thor II GTX boots made it feel like I wasn’t wearing boots but something similar to a tennis shoe, while still offering great support at the same time.
- Ultra lightweight
- Very durable for lightweight boots
- Very comfortable
- Quality tread and grip
- Good support for being an 8″ boot
- Great flexibility without giving up support
- Easy to lace up and put on
- Minimal break-in period
What I Didn’t Like: Crispi Boots Thor II GTX Review
There wasn’t too much to dislike about the Crispi Boots Thor II GTX. They are a little more expensive than some other lightweight boots out there, but as I mentioned above, they seem to be a lightweight boot that will last a lot longer than some of the others. So in the end, they may just come out to be less expensive since you don’t have to replace them as often. The nylon loop breaking in the backcountry was obviously not ideal, but thankfully it didn’t cause an issue the rest of that trip other than some minor discomfort going down steep terrain.
- Pricey for a lightweight boot
- Thinner mid-sole; not as cushioned
- Had to replace insoles
- Ankle support loop broke in the field
Annual Care: Crispi Boots Thor II Review
At the end of each season, I like to take a brush with some water to scrub the dirt, grime, and hopefully blood off my boots. Once they’ve dried out, the Crispi Waterproofing Spray is great for these Thor II GTX boots. Because they are not a leather boot, you don’t need to treat them with a leather treatment, so care is a bit simplified. However, I always like to give them a good cleaning after the season.
Conclusion: Crispi Boots Thor 2 GTX Review
These Crispi boots are the most lightweight boots we’ve ever used, and are also some of the best ultralight boots we’ve tested to date. The weight difference from a standard 10” full leather boot is a huge factor and makes getting deep into the backcountry that much easier. Both of us put a lot of miles on these boots over the last year, and abused them about as much as you can.
They held up with impressive durability, gave me all the traction I needed, and were a perfect combination of breathability and warmth for early hunting season. Even in the early morning when it was a bit cooler, they worked perfectly in keeping my feet warm, but never made me sweat in the heat of the day.
You can tell they are made from exceptionally high quality material, and I plan to use them for many years to come. If you are looking for new, lightweight early season boots, I would recommend checking out these Crispi Thor II GTX boots.
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