A capable all-mountain boot.
Designed and built with versatility in mind, Salewa's Crow GTX Men's Boot has the chops to handle everything from mixed mountain terrain below treeline to technical rock and scree, or even the occasional alpine snow and ice. The Crow's versatile and well-rounded design lends itself well to just about any objective that takes you to the high mountains, making it an ideal companion for everything from mid-summer traverses and ascents to week-long backpacking trips
The Crow's suede and wear-resistant fabric upper has been optimized to withstand abuse from rock, ice, and mud, and it's backed by a Gore-Tex membrane for waterproof and breathable protection. A full-wrap rubber rand provides additional protection when you're toeing in on sections of snow, while the 3S Combi system makes the boots semi-automatic crampon compatible when that snow turns to ice. For the majority of the time when crampons aren't necessary, you'll remain secure thanks to the stiff, supportive, and aggressive Vibram Mulaz sole. Cinch the climbing-style laces down tight for a secure fit and dial in the perfect width thanks to the Multi Fit Footbed system. A flex collar allows your ankle to flex naturally during long descents, so your legs, ankles, and feet remain fresh and ready for back-to-back days of bagging peaks.
- Gore-Tex Performance Comfort waterproof and breathable insert
- Suede leather and wear-resistant fabric upper
- Full rubber rand
- Climbing-style lace closure
- Multi Fit Footbed
- 3F ankle support system
- 3S Combi system (compatible with semi-automatic crampons)
- Flex collar
- Vibram Mulaz sole
- Item #SFW002P
- Q & A
Great very light mountaineering boots
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: 12
- Height: 6'2"
- Weight: 185lbs
My use so far: I've used these boots over about 2 months ago for winter hiking in snow and when I would be wearing microspikes/crampons. On the less intense of these hikes, I'm often carrying a ~35lb pack of gear/toddlers. They have mostly taken place in forested New England hills with little exposed rock, but lots of off camber deer trails, deadfall, etc.. I've worn microspikes with them multiple times, but this winter has not yet merited crampons.
Sizing: I generally wear an 11.5, I bought a 12 in these to allow for thick socks and potential foot swelling. I didn't try the 11.5, so I'm not sure I could have gone down half a size. I have Salewa's Mountain Trainer lows in 11.5 (albeit on a different last) and they fit well, but I wouldn't want to kick too many steps in them as my toes are a little close, so a 12 was probably the right choice.
The Good: The boots are very light for what they are and are not at all clunky. There sole is much stiffer than your average hiking boot, but it isn't rigid and there is a rocker to it that makes walking easy, though a slight adjustment if you're used to really flexible shoes. They're rigid enough to kick steps and to jam the long edge of the boot into to loose snow/ground when climbing descending.
I find them very comfortable. I have fairly normal feet with a slightly high arch and instep and they fit really well. I like the position of the lace lock and if I wanted, I could lace the ankle very loosely and still have my foot stay in place. When laced up, they are legitimately supportive of your ankle (unlike many mid-boots), but not as brace feeling as even higher boots.
My feet haven't yet gotten wet despite walking in the snow. They haven't gotten cold despite wearing them mostly in temps from 10-30 (with this morning's hike done at 0). I wear thick merino socks or smartwool mountaineering socks, depending on the temps. They aren't insulated so I wouldn't want to stand around in them, but for constantly moving they've proved plenty warm.
Neutral: They aren't very cushioned. I don't feel this when I'm walking on snow, but when on hard surfaces and very hard frozen ground I do. If i was going to take them on an extended trek where the trail was largely rock, I might put in a slightly more shock absorbing insole, but the one in now does lend to the precise feel.
The Not So Good: The lacing hooks could be a little deeper/wider mouthed. I've missed them (particularly the lock loop) a lot more often than other boot's lace hooks, particularly when my fingers are cold and the laces are wet/frozen. It's a very minor annoyance, but it would be easy to rectify.
My biggest gripe is the sole that came on the boots isn't the one listed on Backcountry's website or shown on Salewa's page. It's supposed to have a Vibram Mulaz sole and it has a different vibram sole (maybe a Mulaz Evo, which is actually an older pattern). I posted a picture below. I have different shoes with a Mulaz sole and like it somewhat better. I've tested them out size by side and the sole on my Crows is just not quite as grippy and seemingly a little harder. It might wear a little better, but I'd trade it for the softer Mulaz sole. I talked to Salewa and they said that the Crow has only ever had the Mulaz, so I don't know how mine ended up with the sole it did and future buyers will probably have the Mulaz. It's just one of the few things I don't love about this boot.
Overall: I love the boot. I wouldn't buy it as a general use hiking boot. Unless you like a really stiff boot, it's just too stiff for general purpose scrambling. For hiking in winter where crampons/microspikes/kicking steps might be necessary, alpine trekking with a decent pack, light mountaineering where you aren't front point (I presume), they're great.
On the left, you can see the (slightly worn) Vibram Mulaz sole on a pair of Millet Tridents. On the right, the Crow's sole (Mulaz evo?).