By George North
Listening to the radio this morning I was struck by some expert or other warning that one of the major problems that governments of the future will face is the new addictions of the populace. Coffee, social media, the lottery were mentioned amongst other things. Shoes I thought, musing on my own weakness. Maybe growing up in the historic shoe-producing town of Kendal had been the source of the problem. When the new Scarpa Crux appeared at Rock and Run a couple of months ago I soon had another pair of shoes to add to the collection. There’s been a bit of consolidation within Scarpa’s UK approach shoe range recently, and it’s clear that the Crux combines the best features of a few other models and rolls them into one shoe. Would this be a recipe for disaster, or an inspired blend though? One obvious influence on the Crux is the highly popular Quest model. I loved these shoes – their low profile toe made them fantastic to climb in, whilst the stiff mid-sole meant they were still comfortable to walk in. As with all shoes with low profile dotty treads they could be a bit of a nightmare on wet grass though. The Crux has a tread much more suitable for British terrain.
So far I’ve been impressed – these things are the business! They fulfill pretty much all of the criteria I look for in an approach shoe. Firstly they’re light enough not to be too much of a burden when carrying them up a route (830g for a pair of size 44s). The sole as already mentioned provides really good grip on mud and grass, which is pretty useful for scrambling down descent gullies in the Lakes. On a particularly fine day out in North Wales recently I wore these from the start of the day to the end, taking in the superb V Diff ‘Grooved Arete’ on Tryfan, as well as the classic scramble of Bristly Ridge, not to mention a fair bit of walking with a reasonably heavy pack. The sole was stiff enough that my feet stayed comfortable all day long, although as ever a better quality in-sole would be appreciated for a bit of extra cushioning. On the rock they climb pretty well for a shoe of this type – they’re no Anasazi Blanco to be sure, but they’re hugely better than a standard trainer, or many of the so-called approach shoes on the market. The solid area of rubber under the toe helps to reduce the amount of roll under the foot making them perfectly adequate for scrambling and easy routes. They don't have any sort of waterproof lining, but as stated in previous reviews, I'd say this is a good thing due to the inevitable durability issues with waterproof linings in low top shoes. (Not to mention the fact that un-lined shoes breathe and dry out better).
These have the absolutely typical Scarpa fit; wide at the toe, and quite snug at the heel. If you get on with other Scarpa shoes (as I do) then I’m sure these will be no exception. The sizing also seems to be spot on. As usual if you want them for climbing or scrambling in then it might be an idea to drop down half a size compared to your loafing shoes.
Obviously it’s a bit early to be able to make an accurate assessment of this yet, but they do seem to be up to the usual Scarpa quality of construction. Despite giving them a bit of hammer they’re still fly enough for the Rock and Run office (high praise indeed!)
I'd have no hesitation in recommending the Crux to anybody looking for a high quality approach shoe. If the fit's right for your foot then I doubt you'll find a better technical approach shoe. They're light, well made, fairly simple and very comfortable - I reckon they look pretty good down the pub too, which is obviously a prime consideration to any outoorsman!