The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
The rest of the MS Team
Also in This Area
Also in This Style
Lowa Cristallo X Pro Gore-Tex Boots: Technical Prowess and Comfort
Posted on: February 6, 2008
Weight: 5 pounds (Men’s 9)
I've always been skeptical of Gore-Tex footwear, and it's almost guaranteed that I'll have cold feet regardless of the temperature (unless I'm clunking around in double boots), so I was curious to see how these boots would perform climbing and scratching around the Canadian Rockies.
Handcrafted in Italy, the X Pro is an advanced version of Lowa's Cristallo boot featuring a combination upper of split leather and a material called Keprotec, made by Schoeller and first used in motorcycle wear. They also provide double insulation: a Gore-Tex Primaloft lining with an additional layer of Thinsulate.
Climbing in the Rockies generally involves a decent approach, usually wallowing through snow for a couple of hours, even climbing sometimes. The boots impressed me on all kinds of terrain, though I may be biased: they fit my foot perfectly. Despite being very stiff, their great shape and a slight rocker to the Vibram sole made for comfortable approaches. And when it came time to stand on frontpoints for a few hours, this is where they really shined, offering the ultimate combination: technical prowess and comfort.
It's hard to say if the Gore-Tex/Keprotec composite is any more breathable than leather (or, for that matter, any more durable), but on the whole I thought the X Pro was more water-resistant and well crafted. They proved a great all-around winter mountaineering boot. From wobbly ice pillars to sketchy mixed climbs to long days in the hills, these boots kept my feet warm, dry, and comfortable—consistently—all which make for happy days in the hills.
Pros: Warm; water-resistant; comfortable yet technical.
Cons: Very stiff, but design allows for maximum comfort; no more durable than most leather boots.