I’ll admit to being a bit sceptical when I received Salewa’s Crow GTX ultra-light summer-mountaineering boots. Weighing in at 1220g/pair, the Crows were not only significantly lighter than any three-four season boot I’d worn before, but were altogether more streamlined. With their petite profile and black and papavero colour scheme, they look more like a street shoe than a fully-fledged transalpine boot.
But any misgivings I had were dispelled during a month of travel through the central Southern Alps over braided river valleys, steep tussock, snow, loose scree and solid rock.
The full-wrap rubber rand provides good protection from sharp rocks, and the suede leather and ‘abrasion-resistant fabric’ upper held up well. After a few weeks, the latter was showing signs of fraying where river sands had abraded between the boot and my gaiters, but there was still plenty of wear in them.
The Gore-Tex lining stood me in good stead and my feet were generally drier than my companions’ and surprisingly warm in snow.
It took me some time to get used to the snugness of Salewa’s Alpine Fit last. Initially, I thought the boots were too small but I soon enjoyed their support and precision.
The boots boast three patented innovations: the 3F System for ankle and heel support (a Y-shaped cable which locks the heel in place), asymmetrical climbing lace system for an adjustable fit, and the anatomical cuff flex collar for comfort during descents.
I used them with crampons over multiple days and found them rigid with a full, but flexible, shank. They were suitable for moderately steep snow slopes and I used them to climb to mountain grade 2+ and would recommend them for easy to moderate summer mountaineering.
I found these boots performed best on mixed ground and rock: the Vibram Mulaz soles are precise and grippy. They performed least well on steep traverses, where heavier and stiffer boots offer better edging – an inevitable compromise of lightweight boots.
These boots represent good value for money. They lasted well during a month of intense use and forced me to reconsider my old prejudices.