La Sportiva Crossover GTX Mountain Running Shoes

La Sportiva Crossover GTX Mountain Runners

Trail Runners for Winter Hiking

I got a pair of La Sportiva Crossover GTX trail running shoes to see whether they’d be good for winter hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this winter. Earlier this year, I successfully made the transition to from leather boots to trail runners for 3 season hiking and I’d love to prolong the comfort and increased hiking speed I’ve experienced into the winter months.

Unlike my Inov-8 Terrocs, the Crossovers have a Gore-tex lining and an innovative ankle-high gaiter attached to the top of a running shoe. They look extremely cool and they are pretty comfortable despite having a very deep bottom tread that looks more like a pair of soccer cleats than a running shoe. They do run very small however, so be forewarned. When ordering. I’d recommend that you go at least 2 sizes up from normal.

I’ve worn the Crossovers on several hikes now while carrying a substantial winter pack (25-30 lbs), and the foot beds are more rigid than the Terrocs, which I’ve found helpful in dealing with a heavier load than I normally carry the rest of the year.

In addition to wearing the Crossovers on some local walks, I had the opportunity to test them twice in mild winter conditions ranging from 2,500 to 4,500 feet on a variety of surfaces including mud, stream-crossings, ice, wet snow, packed snow, post-holing, wet rock, dry rock, and ice-covered rock, during peak-bagging day hikes. Here’s what I’ve observed about these shoes:

Breathability and Insulation

The Gore-tex doesn’t breath. I can’t say I’m that surprised. My feet sweated during my hikes, although I was wearing just a medium wool sock. However, they sweated enough that I got chilled when we stopped hiking.

As long as you keep moving on a day hike or training run, this probably won’t be an issue, but the Crossovers don’t provide the same degree of thermal insulation as a regular hiking or mountaineering boot. So, if you plan to hike all day and then stand around on snow while making camp, be sure to bring some dry, insulated camp shoes with you, and sleep with your Crossovers in your sleeping bag at night so they don’t freeze solid  overnight.

La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes


The Crossover’s Gore-tex liner and the zipper on the high gaiter are indeed waterproof. I’ve walked through all kinds of deep mud, puddles, and streams, and haven’t experienced any seepage.

Gaiter System

Despite the zip up gaiter, you need to still wear a high gaiter if you’re going to hike in deep mud or snow. That said, the combination of the two really works well ensuring that your socks won’t get wet in most any condition other than full stream immersion above the ankle.

La Sportiva Crossover GTX Gaiter System

The only thing to be aware of is that most gaiters assume they will have access to a front shoe lace to hook onto. There is nothing external on the Crossover for this, but it would be nice if such a loop were added on the next model. Even nicer, it’d be great if the Crossovers came with a zip on, mid calf-high gaiter that obviated the need for an external gaiter entirely, but could still be attached if desired.


The traction of the Crossovers on wet rock is excellent, as well as on icy trail, but only when the surface of the trail is rough or mixed rock and ice. If you hit flat ice, prepare to slide. This is when I put on a pair of Kahtoola microspikes, which worked nicely with the Crossovers, despite their deep tread.

Traction on packed snow and wet snow is great. More than great. I hate bare booting on snow, but the tread on the crossovers prevents any slippage. Moreover the toe cap is stiff enough that you can kick steps into packed snow without smashing your toes. This made hill climbing when we hit treeline very easy.

La Sportiva Hobnails

Tungsten-Alloy Hobnails

In addition to the Crossover shoes, I’ve been experimenting with a set of Titanium hobnails which can be screwed into the sole of the Crossovers to provide additional traction. I have not tried these out on icy rock yet because they’re simply not practical to keep in the shoes all the time. As a hiker, and not a mountain runner – running hurts my knees for weeks after I do it – using the titanium hobnails does not make any sense. They take enough time to screw in and extract that you can”t wear the Crossovers  anywhere (at home, driving, etc) except when you are walking on ice, and I think I’d prefer Kahtoola microspikes anyway because they are longer and can be put on and taken off as needed.


As a hiker and not a runner, the Sportiva Crossovers are a good shoe for winter day hikes and snowshoeing trips where I can keep moving and need moisture protection from mud and packed snow in milder temperature conditions such as in early spring or late autumn. I don’t think I’d be comfortable in using the Crossovers in harsher winter conditions where I need a more rigid crampon compatible shoe or one that is better insulated for overnight camping. Still, the Crossovers help fill a significant void in my cold weather shoe lineup where I still want the 3 season mobility of a trail running shoe for colder weather hiking and snowshoeing.

Disclaimer: The author received a pair of Crossover GTX shoes to evaluate this product. receives affiliate compensation from retailers that we link to if you make a purchase through them, at no additional cost to you. This helps to keep our content free and pays for our website hosting costs. Thank you for your support.

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  1. I have a pair of Crosslites, the non Gore-Tex version of this shoe. The biggest issue I have with them is how narrow they are. They really squeeze my feet, and that isn't good for cold conditions. How are these ones for width?

  2. The width was fine, just the sizing overall was way small, although they do get softer and break-in after use. Maybe that masked the issue. I suspect, but can't verify, that the crossovers are just wrapped crosslites, so perhaps this is a lurking issue.

  3. how fast do they dry when soaked …. the point of using trail runners in winter is to have something that will dry quickly when the shoe gets inevitably soaked

  4. I considered doing that test but backed away from it because I have a pretty good idea how it will turn out. If you hike in snow in wet trail runners with goretex liners, they'll stay wet. If you try to dry them at night they'll freeze, or worse saturate your down bag, if you try to dry them with body heat.

    I think the assumption that you hike in trail runners in winter in snow/ice because they dry faster is illogical. I think the goal is to avoid hiking in a heavier shoe (like a 5lb pair of mountaineering boots), so that you can go farther, faster. Even UL mountaineers wear overboots, like those made by 40 below.

  5. put the runners in a plastic bag or stuff sack and leave the opening outside you bag .. for epic win put in a hot nalgene in the bag as well

    without being able to dry yr runners at night … youll need to use gortex socks … which defeats the point of a goretex boot

    wet boots and cold feet is the fastest way to frostbite

  6. Phil, thanks again for such an honest review.

    IMO you were evaluting these shoes for a function they weren't really intended for and found them lacking. To me that adds more weight to your comments that the shoes will probably work very well as trail runners (those guys don't stop often).

    I expect that the target customer for these shoes, winter trail runners, will not be deterred when reading that these shoes are not recommended for multiday winter hiking.

    I have caught this "off label use" bug too; when shopping at the hardware store, supermarket, or clothing store I always look for items that might reduce my pack weight or simplify my pack.

  7. La Sportiva Crossover GTX – Preliminary EVALUATION- Feb 2011 for preparation to >>

    Al Andalus Ultra (220 kms , Spain)

    The overall purpose of the shoe and evaluation is for preparation of the Ultra distance multiday race for 2011 /2012. The two race that this shoe is being evaluated fro is the Al Andalus ultra (220 kms – 5 days – trail- Spain)) and the Marathon Des sables (250 kms – 7 days – Sahara Desert hills, dry river beds, rock hilly terrain- Morocco). I have been running for over 30 years with many races, marathons, long trekking event, as well as an ultra-multi-day race (MDS 2008). The shorter distances do not really put the shoe to the extreme test as any deficiencies can be overcome on a shorter distance. Once the shoe are used for longer distances like the marathon distance or multi-day distance the shoe become extremely important for protection, comfort, and prevention of injuries. Any small deficiency in the shoe will manifest itself into a serious problem with usually foot injuries to the athlete. This result sin extreme discomfort and severe pain for the athlete.

    I have done an initial review and a detailed inspection of the La Sportiva, after some initial runs through the Ottawa area (Feb 2011). The runs were conducted on clear pathways, snow covered pathways and in some case ice paths. Last week I did some preliminary run to get a feel for the shoe in and around the running/biking trails in Ottawa. This past weekend (27 Feb 2011), I conducted a running distance of 16 kms approx. (Weight carrying – 6 lbs racing backpack, time –1hr 30 minutes, temps – 8C to –5 C). These slightly longer run gave me additional feel on how the La Sportiva Crossover GTX would perform and function during the actual event Ala Andalus (Spain). At the current moment, I have run approximately 100 kms wearing the “new” La Sportiva Crossover GTX in and around the Ottawa area. I am very impressed with the feel and overall product design, provided by La Sportiva. There are a couple of serious issues which are critical to success at the multi-day event, with no feet injuries.

    Please keep in mind that I am comparing the newly acquired La Sportiva GTX, and my past historical running shoes over the last 30 years, trying to recommend the best options for La Sportiva to investigate and correct. There are excellent features of the shoes which would provide great success at any ultra distance multi-ay event, as well as some critical deficiencies.

    The overall purpose of the comments relate to the completion the 240 kms desert trek or a 220 kms trail multi-day event shoe, and with the objective of no foot injuries.

    As previously stated the following items are based on 30 years of experience of long distance running and numerous long distance treks (9 > Nijmegen Marches @ 160 kms each). The following items were initially investigated and evaluated:

    • Sizing:

    o Adwin Gallant ( 9 ½ – Actual): Overall sizing was very poor as it did not allow sufficient movement of the toe area due to the narrow fit of the toe box area. The La sportive shoe sizing chart does not match the general industry standard whatsoever. I requested a Size 9 ½ initially, however this was severely undersized for the “real” fit. To correct this problem, I requested a size 10 ½ to allow for sufficient freed of movement and proper toes foot freedom. I received the newer size which seemed to fit quite good initially. Once I ran with these shoes for an initial 100 km, it became very evident the 10 ½ was still undersized This was tolerable for a shorter distances (16 km – 20 kms), however with the toes striking the end of the shoes there would have been a severe injury problem at the 200 km multi-day event. The bigger fit (i.e. 11 ½) will be vital for blood circulation and possible feet swelling due to extreme heat in the Sahara Desert or hot dry weather in Spain. The sizing must enable two pair of socks to be worn, and allow for feet swelling. and feet protection – Final Size >> 11.5 (Men’s) > La Sportiva. To verify a sizing I proceeded to find a similar style of shoe and fit. The resulting product sizing used was a La Sportiva (Crosslites). I will still continue to use the current 10 ½ for further evaluation purposes, however I will restict the distances to under 20 kms and will not take this size shoe to any uktra multi-day events.

    • Outer Sole:

    o The La Sportiva Crossover GTX was evaluated, and it was determined to be a very good tread design for the trail (snow, dirt, and snow). It tends to be slightly hard for road surfaces, however since this shoe was designed for "off road", it is not an issue for winter training, Al Andalus and MDS 2012. There is an issue of longevity of the wear of the shoes; however it should be sufficient for our 240 km event. The La Sportiva Crossover sole offers excellent under foot protection, and will be a great asset at Al Andalus , and MDS 2012 for the hazardous terrain..

    • Entry/Exit (Perfect Design !!):: The new shoe re-design has proven to be an excellent change to the entry and exit of the shoe. There is no restriction or “fighting” to get the shoe on/off during the event. This is very good design feature especially if there are some unforeseen foot injuries at Al Andalus , and MDS 2012.. This feature becomes very important if there are foot injuries or swelling.

    • Zipper: This extended zipper is an excellent closure device and has proven to be excellent feature on the shoe. It should be very successful during our preparation training and at the MSD 2012. The sealing of the zipper will be of utmost importance when keeping the sand out of the shoe, given the type of terrain we will be facing in Morocco. And in Spain. If sand get inside the shoe it results in rubbing and foot injuries (blisters, torn skin, severe pain)

    • Upper Bootie Adjustment Elastic: Very easy to use and very simple design feature. The elastic adjustment allows people with different calf sizes to adjust according to their own fit requirements. This feature and be tightly secured to the calf area aiding in keeping the sand, debris, dirt, and snow out of the shoes.

    • Upper Zipper Flap: The upper flap near the front zipper is an added feature, which will prevent possible irritation caused by the associated zipper clasp.

    • Lace: Current lace is excellent as it does not cuts into the top of the foot. There are other “closure” systems however the lacing system/thickness is sufficient for a mult0day ultra event.

    • "Tongue":

    o The La Sportiva Crossover GTX tongue was not sewn up the sides to the rest of the shoe. This enabled excellent entry, but this will allow sand in if by same incidence sand gets into the lower front of the shoes. The La Sportiva Crossover GTX shoe’s tongue was covered overtop the tongue which gave additional protection and barrier for from sand ingress, which seals the shoe better, but causes restriction of the entry into the shoe. The padding of the tongue is a good and it added additional padding protection for the top of the foot.

    • Insole:

    o The current La Sportiva Crossover GTX insoles are very inadequate and provide no additional foot protection for the ultra multi-day event. I have replaced the La Sportiva Crossover GTX insole with a commercial product (Noene AC2 – Carbon Arch support – ). The Noene offer which offer additional energy protection/absorption. The only drawback of the commercial insole is the increase in weight and also uses up some of the inner shoe space area. The overall purpose of the improved insole is the need for additional foot protection for the 240 km distance. I used the insole at the MDS 2008 and proved to be an excellent product, especially compared to the cheap and ineffective La Sportiva insole.

    • Rear Ankle Inner Boot (Inner Foam Surround) (Critical Design issue !):

    o The current La Sportiva Crossover GTX has slightly increased foam around the side and rear of the shoe. This is a very important feature for an ultra multi0day event as this is what helps keep the foot secured in the shoe with no movement. Without sufficient padding/foam, the rear of the foot tends to slip in the rear foot area. This will not be acceptable since this will eventually cause friction on the rear of the foot and possibly create severe blisters. The current La Sportiva Crossover GTX design is excellent for this feature, however it could be increased slightly in height, however this might not fit with the overall “flowing” design of the shoes.

    • Outer Bootie ( Perfect Design !!):

    o This design is the most successful change to the current La Sportiva Crossover GTX from the Crosslite for both winter running and desert sand protection. This is an excellent design with respect to feel, comfort, and lightness. The boot forms to the foot and provide almost no additional weight to the shoe. This excellent design will definitely have an impact on other manufacturer’s future design of similar products. The height and material selection will provide the required barrier from the entry of sand and will ensure overall protection of the shoe. I used a similar “integrated” gaiter at MDS 2008 and it proved to be an excellent design feature and best feature in keeping the sand out of the shoes, thus preventing severe foot injuries. One of main benefits of the bootie is the success of the bootie to keep out the snow, while running in deep snow banks. This has always been an issue when running in Canada, especially when the running conditions are not ideal. No snow penetrated the inside of the shoe and my feet remained dry during my running, here in Ottawa.

    • Inner Heel Cup (Protective material):

    o The current additional padding of the current La Sportiva Crossover GTX is an excellent feature. This feature protects the foot and the shoe material from being torn during normal wear. I have in the past actually worn out some past running shoes in this heal area (i.e. Nike AirMax. And Asics Nimbus). The only critical issue on this design feature is to ensure the material is high enough on the heel. The current La Sportiva Crossover GTX has is made with sufficient height and protection.

  8. OJ – I think that's the longest comment anyone ever left on sectionhiker. How would you like to review something else?

  9. Hello

    I would review any shoe, so long as I do not have purchase them. I have been running for 31 years so I tend to be a little critical of the shoes. The La Sportiva Crossover GTX was donated by the manufacturer for trial asessment for my upcoming multi-day race (220 km, 5 days- Spain >> Al Andalus ).

    Adwin Gallant (Ottawa, Canada)

    [email protected]

  10. What do they weigh in your size?

  11. can you use the GTX for urban walk in the city, or it will damage the sole? thanks

  12. I live in northern CA (low altitude) where winters consist mostly of low intensity rain and I am doing mainly day hikes in the winter. So these should be a good wet and cool weather replacement for my summer ultra-raptors. The tread design should “grab” less mud than traditional treads. Only one good rainy day hike so far but they are comfortable and seem well suited to this purpose.

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