In this Crispi Guide GTX review we take an in-depth look at one some of the Crispi insulated boots. The Crispi Guide GTX boots are built for your late season hunts where the weather can be foul, the temperature can drop, and staying dry and warm will keep you hunting rather than heading back to the truck.
I was able to test the Crispi Guide GTX boots in a wide variety of situations, temperatures, and terrains over the course of a year’s time to get a pretty well-rounded idea of how these boots perform, where they stand out and where they aren’t great. One thing to note is that these Crispi Guide GTX boots come as either uninsulated or in a 200 gram insulated version. I tested the 200 gram insulated version for this review.
The Testing: Crispi Guide GTX Review
I started my testing for this Crispi Guide GTX review in early February while there was still snow on the ground, temperatures were often well below freezing and a solid cold weather boot is needed. I continued testing these boots multiple times a week on hikes until the temperatures got too warm for an insulated boot. At that point, I switched over and started testing out the Crispi Thor II GTX boots for the summer and early fall during archery season. Once October hit and the temperatures dropped back down below freezing, I switched back to these Guide GTX boots for the rest of the season.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that boots are one of the hardest things to review because boots are so very personal. The fit of a boot may be perfect for me, but horrible for you or visa versa. So with that in mind, we’ll do our best to bring you how they performed assuming they fit you well. In my case, these were a great fit and extremely comfortable, and that’s where you MUST start with boots. If the fit is wrong, nothing else will matter and you should go find a pair of boots that fits you right.
The Specs: Crispi Guide GTX Review
Crispi boots have become more and more popular in recent years. As with pretty much every single boot brand out there, you are going to find a lot of folks who love them and a lot of folks who don’t. Because of that, I always try to come into a boot review with zero expectations and let the boots perform how they perform. One of the few things that we can definitively discuss in a boot review are their specs.
The model I tried was the Guide GTX Insulated boots, which is one of their taller, 10 inch boots that comes in either insulated or non-insulated options.
- Gore-Tex bootie
- 2.15 lbs each (size 10)
- A.B.S.B Ankle Bone Security System
- Sole: Vibram
- Supergrip, shock absorbing mid-sole
- Water-Repellant Nubuk Leather upper
- Vibram Megagrip outsole
- Crispi Crossbow frame in mid-sole
- Heavy duty rubber rand
- 3 Flex Rating
- Insulated or non-insulated
Build Quality: Crispi Guide GTX Review
These boots are made with high quality nubuk leather that has a great feel to it. I was impressed with the build quality and their durability (more on that below) as they’ve held up perfectly for me over the course of last year’s use. From the stitching, top quality nubuk leather, and waterproof Gore-Tex boot liner to the Vibram Superagrip out sole, the Crispi Guide GTX boots have been a great pair of boots all the way around.
Let’s dive into the details of these boots.
LOOKING FOR A LEATHER BOOT IN A HIKER STYLE? CHECK OUT OUR CRISPI VALDRES REVIEW!
Comfortable out of the box: Crispi Guide GTX Review
I’ve tested a number of boots in recent years from Kenetrek, Hoffman, Meindle, Danner, Crispi and Solomon. Some have been comfortable right out of the box, while others took a lot of miles for me to break in. These Crispi Guide GTX Insulated boots were one of those pairs that, while comfortable right out the box, did take a handful of hikes to break in. The first few weeks of hiking in them (a few hikes a week), they felt stiff and restricted movement a bit, but as the hikes continued, they became exponentially better.
In fact, after those first few weeks, I REALLY started enjoying how my foot rolled through each step, and for what they are (a 10 inch full leather boot), they are pretty lightweight at 2.15 pounds. Yes, they are still “heavy” compared to something like the 1.25 pound Crispi Thor II GTX (which we also tested once the weather got too warm to wear these insulated boots), but then again they are a much different boot built for a different purpose. The stark contrast between boots begged the question; why would you wear these taller, heavier boots?
Do Taller/Heavier Boots Make a Difference?
It was an interesting experiment to go from a pair of lightweight hiker style boots (the Solomon Quest 4 GTX), then the Crispi Thor II GTX boots, and onto to a much heavier, overall more stiff, 10 inch boot like these Crispi Guide GTX. The Thor II GTX has a 4 flex rating while the Crispi Guide GTX has a 3 Flex rating, making the Thor II more stiff however, I found that the Thor II was less restrictive overall due the lower height.
However, the Guide GTX still feels like a stiffer boot overall due to the taller height and Nubuck leather build. The Thor II GTX does feel more stiff in the sole and flexes less in your step, but the shorter height counter balances that.
So where would I use a 10 inch leather boot? I’ll be the first to say that I prefer a lightweight, hiker style boot when I can get away with wearing one. I simply like the weight savings and how much more efficient I feel navigating the mountains in a lighter boot. With that being said, I love the extra protection I get from boots like these Crispi Guide GTX once we hit the cold weather of October and November here in Idaho.
A perfect example of this was during a late October hunt, when I tried to stretch the usable range of the Thor II GTX boots and took them on a hunt in the snow. The more shallow tread pattern of the Thor II (shown below) wasn’t as good in the snow, and the shorter height most certainly didn’t help with keeping my feet dry.
At the end of the day, while I love a shorter, hiker-style lightweight boot, I will absolutely make the switch to a taller 10 inch, leather boot for my mid-late season hunts. The extra weight is worth staying warm and dry, and the additional tread depth the Guide GTX boots offer is a big advantage as well.
Factory Insole Replacement: Crispi Boot Reviews
I wanted to give the insoles that these boots come with a fair try and was actually surprised at how comfortable they were at first. I wasn’t expecting much, but they were better than expected. After a couple of trips, however, the factory Crispi Air Mesh insole just lost its cushion and the bottoms of my feet started to notice.
With pretty much EVERY pair of boots I’ve ever worn I’ve ended up replacing the insoles. Typically, I’ve gone with some old standbys and some my long time favorites; the SuperFeet Trailblazer Insoles. This year, however, I gave the Sheep Feet custom orthotics a try and man, what a difference! Those Super Feet are great and certainly more budget friendly, but there was simply no comparison to these Sheep Feet custom orthotics. It’s definitely more money and a bit of a process to get Sheep Feet insoles, but it’s definitely worth it as you get a fully customized orthotic, made just for you, based on the imprint of your foot.
Sheep Feet sends you an impression box to take your foot imprint and then you mail it back to them (prepaid shipping provided). A few weeks later your custom made orthotics show up. Now, I learned the hard way to ease your foot into using these. Given that your feet likely aren’t use to the kind of support they provide, start with shorter hikes or walks with the Sheep Feet, and ease your way into using them.
I only kind of did that prior to taking them on a weekend long hunting and backpacking trip, and I came home with sore arches. That was my fault as the instructions said to ease into them, but I rushed the process. Word to the wise, give yourself time for your feet to get use to them!
Stiffness Ratings & Support: Crispi Boots Review
Crispi has a flex rating system to help guide you in selecting the right pair of Crispi Boots for your liking. Some people like super stiff boots while others prefer a super flexible boot, so Crispi makes it easy to see the flexibility of their boots.
The Guide GTX boots that I tested have a flex rating of 3 (meaning moderately flexible), and they were a great fit for my preference. I don’t love super stiff boots, particularly for early season archery, so these were about right. They seemed to fall somewhere between the more flexible Solomon Quest 4D GTX I’ve used for years and the more stiff Hoffman Explorer boots I tested last season.
There’s a give and take when it comes to flexibility vs. durability. I’ve found the more flexible boots, while very comfortable and lighter weight, tend to break down much quicker. I typically went through a pair of the Solomon Quest 4D GTX each year (or very close to that), whereas these Crispi Guide GTX boots appear to have many more years left in them for me. They are more expensive up front, but not in the long run.
Lacing Eyelets: Crispi Guide GTX Review
The eyelets on the Crispi Guide GTX Boots start at the toe with your standard enclosed eyelet for the first five, and then moves to an open hook design with the next 5. I much prefer this lacing style rather than the nylon loop for the ankle lock that the Crispi Valdres and Thor II both feature. This of course is a personal preference, but I find the open hook design much more user friendly to lace up every day than having the nylon loop at the ankle.
Traction: Crispi Guide GTX Review
The Vibram Supergrip outsole that the Crispi Guide GTX features gave me fantastic traction no matter what terrain I was in. From dry, rocky side hills to snowy inclines, the aggressive and deep tread pattern really seemed to grab well and prevent slipping. I’ve found through testing multiple tread patterns, even within the Vibram lineup, some simply give better traction than others. The tread pattern on the Guide GTX is deep enough to work well in snow, but not so deep that it gathers excessive mud on those mucky days on the mountain.
I used these boots in mud, snow, and dry ground, and they simply performed exceptionally well in every kind of terrain I threw at them. A foot of snow? No problem. Mud covered hillsides? Well, nothing has great traction in the mud, but these did exceptionally well.
Nubuk Upper/Rubber Rand: Crispi Guide GTX Review
The Crispi Guide GtX boots features a Nubuk leather upper for comfort and a full rubber rand on the lower part of the boot for additional durability. Both of these features did exactly what they are designed to do. The Nubuk upper is super soft and keeps any potential hot spots at bay at the top of the boot, which is especially important with a taller boot like these.
The rubber rand proved durable and showed no signs of coming apart after a full season of use. I’ve used other boots where the rubber rand started pealing after a years use, but there was absolutely no sign of that happening after wearing the Crispi Guide GTX boots for a full year.
Waterproof Testing: Crispi Guide GTX Review
The Crispi Guide GTX boots are equipped with a Gore-Tex waterproof boot to help keep your feet dry while still allowing your feet to breath as much as possible. Gore-Tex makes a proven waterproof boot, and they did nothing but keep me dry regardless of what I threw at them. I never once got wet in any fashion wearing these boots.
I did some hunting in really wet weather while wearing these Crispi Guide GTX insulated boots, as well as a lot of days in the cold, wet snow. On one trip the boots were in snow several days straight, but my feet inside stayed bone dry and warm. As the snow melted later in the week, we had several days of wet terrain, but I continued to stay dry all week. I can absolutely say that these Crispi Guide GTX boots did their job in keeping me warm, dry, and on the trail in some nasty cold and wet weather.
What I liked: Crispi Guide GTX Boot Review
- Relatively lightweight
- Super comfortable
- Quality materials
- Vibram Supergrip outsole
- Super easy to put on
- No nylon loop at ankle
- Great traction in snow
There is so much I love about these boots. They gave me zero issues in the comfort, durability, or waterproof departments, and they kept my feet plenty warm on some hunts where temperatures dipped into the single digits. Not only that, but they look to have many more years of good, hard use in them.
What I didn’t Like: Crispi Guide GTX Review
There wasn’t a lot I didn’t love about these Crispi Guide GTX boots, but if I’m being super picky, there did seem to be a hair too much leather around the ankle section. Once the boots were completely broken in, I noticed that the leather seemed to bunch up a little in that section. Now, I know this is entirely based on the fit of the boot to my foot, but it’s something I noticed. These boots are also on the pricey side, but you are also getting Crispi’s premium insulated boot.
I also found them to be a bit on the restrictive side the first couple weeks while breaking them in, but after that initial period, they were great and allowed me to roll through my stride. I guess that’s not really a dislike as much as it is just something I noticed during the break-in period. At least they didn’t cause blisters or any real discomfort while first wearing them!
- Had to replace insoles right away
- Break-in period
After a Full Season’s Use: Crispi Guide GTX Test
After a full season’s use and testing for this Crispi Guide GTX review they still looked, felt, and functioned great. I need to give them a good cleaning and treatment to keep the leather healthy, but they held up extremely well! They don’t look nearly as worn as they ought to with as much use as I put them through. After using them on winter hikes up until it got too warm for insulated boots, then wearing them again during the October and November rifle deer and elk seasons here in Idaho, they still are in amazing condition!
Annual Care: Crispi Guide GTX Review
Each and every year I like to take a wet, soapy brush to my boots and clean off the dirt, then put a treatment of the Crispi Waterproofing boot cream on them. In some cases I’ll do a treatment mid-season if I’ve really gotten into some wet or nasty weather in order to keep the leather from drying out, but most of the time a treatment at the end of the season works well.
Crispi Guide GTX Review: Conclusion
After absolutely freezing my feet off during some recent late season hunts in uninsulated boots, it was time for a pair of insulated hunting boots, and the Crispi Guide GTX were just the ticket. I put on many, many miles on these boots in some very rough country. I packed out a couple animals with them and these boots kept me dry, comfortable, warm, and on the trail. They are top quality boots made from top quality materials and served me flawlessly.
Time will tell if they hold up to years and years of abuse, but I expect they will based on using them the last year. If you are looking for a pair of leather boots that keep the weight down while still giving you a full ankle support, take a serious look at the Crispi Guide GTX boots.
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