Tuesday, 30 August 2022 16:07

Dolomite Women's Crodarossa Hi GTX - Approach shoes reviewed

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The Dolomite Women's Crodarossa Hi GTX approach shoes are aimed at use on technical steep ground – but how would they fare being tested on boggy approaches and climbing on rocky slabs?

Jessie Leong tests them out during a trip a trip to on the roughest gabbro rock on the Isle of Skye and around the Scottish highlands.

CORUISK Jessie Leong H68A8697
● 510g for half pair
● Made in Italy
● Best for hut touring, via ferrata, hillwalking, approach
● Upper : 100% leather
● Mid: Material type:leather/synthetic
● Midsole: Dolomite DAS EVA foam with TPU reinforcement
● Footbed: EVA
● Sole: Sole:Vibram Winkler Evo, Vibram Megagrip
● Waterproof GORE-TEX Extended Comfort membrane
● Great grip on all surfaces
● Precise and fast lacing system
● Breathable and quick drying footbed
● UK 4-8 with half sizes

The Women's Crodarossa Hi GTX approach shoes from Dolomite are a supportive high ankle hybrid between an approach shoe and hiking boot that have become a summer staple like smidge spray and factor 50 suncream - it just wouldn’t be possible to enjoy a day in the mountains without them. Constructed to withstand a lot of abuse, the Crodarossa Hi GTX boots come into their own in challenging terrain when the additional ankle support makes all the difference.

Fit is all-important in boots, and when they’re being worn for both approach as well as mountaineering, they needed to balance weight alongside comfort. The Crodorossa Hi GTX boots really suited my feet, as they allowed my toe bed to evenly spread out. I have a fairly wide profile toebed, but like many women’s feet I have a narrow low volume foot space. The only downside was that I found the Crodorossa Hi GTX hadroom around the upper ankle area. This meant that whilst the bottom of the heel had some security for the foot to anchor in place, the upper foot heavily relied on the the lacing adjustment, especially when moving on steep approach and descent, which meant the boots needed to be tightened repeatedly using the Dolomite wrapping system.

GLENFINNAN Jessie Leong H68A9158

To decide what size to go for in the Dolomite Crodorossa, as an outdoor user with relatively ‘average’ sized feet in a UK size 6, it can be difficult to gauge what size boot to go for. In a competitor boot, such as the La Sportiva B rated boots, I’ve usually worn size 40 – so I opted for size 40 in the Dolomite Crodorossas and found they fitted well. With this size, I’ve also found I can wear my normal ‘mountain socks’ which are usually a little bit bulkier than my everyday socks and I didn’t find the boot too compressed around my foot.

Wearing boots all day, particularly for Munro bagging where walking from sea to summit is the norm can mean long arduous approaches where comfort is a very important factor to minimise blisters forming and arch pain. In the Dolomite Women’s Crodossa Hi Tech GTX, the system uses an advanced, midsole design made from EVA foam. With a specifically designed last that mimics the anatomy of the human foot - the use of the ‘Dolomite Anatomic System’ - aka ‘DAS’ means that the midsole is designed to be based on a more precise fit, so that when the foot is repeatedly striking the ground the midsole is less likely to move around, whilst also featuring TPU reinforcements to make it sturdier and offer additional support.

CORUISK Jessie Leong H68A8650
Moving to the external construction, the Dolomite Crodossa Hi tech GTX shoe has a gabbro- resistant Winkler Evo outsole made from an extra sticky Vibram megagrip rubber compound; meaning even on steep, slightly wet rock I felt I could trust my feet. It felt like I was climbing on extra sticky rubber approach shoes rather than traditional mountain boots - however it was noticeable after a week’s wear on particularly rough rock that the ‘sharpness’ of the boots lugs were already visibly smoothed. Nevertheless, for moments when ‘fast and light’ was the order of the day,

I was glad of shoots which had a good balance between grip and overall weight. Continuing with the considered anatomical design, it also uses a moulded midsole to ensure secure, stable support when striking with the foot, whilst an anatomical midsole provides the right support for the ach, improving stability by distributing the body weight properly especially on uneven ground, keeping the foot in the correct position.

It’s clear to see the Dolomite anatomic system considered the needs of a range of activities, so that the product is a technical boot that can be suited for use over a wider range of activities, combining performance, comfort, lightness, and reliability. Use of a synergic insole is designed to mimics the body's protective fatty pads on the soles of the feet to maximize the shock absorption at the heels and balls of the feet, which combined with the midsoles helped provided even more cushioning and flexibility control in order to minimise ankle rolling and injury. As someone who has a tendency to sustain lower ankle injuries, my ankles have felt super supported whilst wearing these and have helped reduce fatigue when out on long, mountain days out. I particularly enjoyed the eyelets and ankle cuff that helped give my thin ankles the support they needed although a slightly smaller size I think would help make these boots even more comfortable.

Lacing is a constant bugbear between the difference of good footwear and excellent footwear. Thanks to the slightly flat lacing, the Dolomite Crodossa laces were particularly good at holding the foot in place, although the more flexible range of movement with the Crodossa meant that minor adjustments were needed (e.g.,when doing lots of repetitive downhill.)

CORUISK Jessie Leong H68A8625

There’s a trade off between comfort, weight, brethability versus durability. The Dolomite Crodorossa Hi Tech GTX offer a high level of agility anr functionality whilst moving through the mountains, making them idea for long ridge days on the Cuillin for instance - but the sacrifice ultimately meant that wear was noticeable even after a week’s worth of wear. With a hard-wearing scree protection edge to keep feet protected rather than a a full rubber rand, these boots offered less protection from scuffing against rough mountain rock but still managed to keep the boot’s original, sturdy shape when trying to smear against rough, gabbro cracks. Use of a Gore-Tex® Sierra lining ensured the Dolomite Crodossa retained had a high level of waterproofness, breathability and insulation against typical Scottish summer conditions, such as crossing wet saturated ground or working working hard on steep, loose scree trails on the way up Gars Bheinn and down 900m of steep boulder fields in An Garbh Choire.

For me, colour has a big impact on me as a consumer, and buying hiking boots is no exception – if it’s a pink pair of boots then no matter how technical they are it’s a clear no. The Dolomite Crodossa Hi Tech GTX boots in Black/ Teal Blue and white colour were an attractive boot to wear from the getgo and were suitable to look stylish even when covered in wet bog. A tiny little Italian tab on the side of the boot helps add a little bit of visual detailing. The boots helped resist water saturation so even when they were worn in wet weather conditions they still managed to stay the same colour compared to what they looked like when new.

Finally, a high performance footbed that used a patented Italian technology ‘Alumina Space Shell Plus’ helped provide several performance focused features such as doubling the amount of thermal insulation then normal insoles, whilst also allowing steam to evaporate and avoid insoles from absorbing sweat, transporting it outside of the insole. The insoles supplied were anti-bacterial and anti-odour, meaning they were less susceptible to being smelly, damp and uncomfortable and didn’t required additional drying out at the end of the day. This provided additional comfort and reassurance that the insoles didn’t need to be continually removed and ‘aired’ and then reinserted back into the boot, which meant less faff when drying the boots out on the Coruisk hut. To top it off, a soft suede upper is equipped with a waterproof membrane from GORE-TEX to allow the boots to breathe naturally, yet still offering a high level of protection and insulation from the elements.

CORUISK Jessie Leong H68A8691

Overall, the Women's Crodarossa Hi GTX - Approach shoes have been a go-to hiking boot, whether it’s been testing walking through rough ground in the Scottish highlands to scrambling along the dubhs ridge on Skye . The design, fit and support have made them a firm favourite for technical climbs, meaning they’re a boot that can be trusted - ensuring greater security in foot placement and resulting in less slippage.

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