Monday, January 19, 2015

Prancing Through Puddles in the PNW: Gear Review


La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX®



As anyone who has come into contact with me lately can attest, I am really excited about this shoe. The La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX is a Gore-Tex® trail running shoe with an integrated gaiter, designed with winter running in mind. Perfect for sloppy trails, snowshoeing or even an apr├Ęs-ski boot.

Though it looks like a big substantial shoe, it is lightweight–only 10.5 ounces–and is made on a responsive last. The Crossover fits right between the more minimalist Bushidos and the more substantial Wildcats and Ultra Raptors so I find myself wearing them for a wide range of surfaces and distances. The gaiter is a stretchy mesh with nylon reinforcing the rear cuff for durability. The interior lining is Gore-Tex® Extendend Comfort/Gore-FLEX® which is a special type of Gore-Tex® with more flexibility than standard Gore-Tex®. There is also a band to adjust how snug you want the gaiter around your ankle. I have never had any rubbing and do not even notice the gaiter is there.

The outsole is perfect for wet Pacific Northwest trails or snow and ice if you head up into the mountains with deep lugs and sticky Frixion material.  I was able to run up our local steep "Rock Trail" when it was iced over with no problem while my companions had to use their hands to get up and over the snowy climb.

At $175 retail they are a pricey shoe, but like all La Sportiva products made in Italy, the quality is unsurpassed.

The Crossover is so comfortable don't be surprised if you see me wearing them straight through the summer. However, the newly released Mutant appears to be very similar (minus the gaiter) so I am looking forward to testing them out on the trails.



Warm & dry = Happy Runner
Every adventure needs a solid go-to rain jacket to stay protected on the trails and up in the mountains.

The Storm Fighter is a women-specific, fully waterproof, windproof and breathable jacket that has an extremely light GORE-TEX® shell. This lightweight, stretchy and highly breathable jacket was created with the goal of providing the best combination of weather protection, minimal weight and small compression size. The material is nothing like I've ever seen before in a fully waterproof jacket. It is amazingly soft to the touch and it is quiet; no swish swishing sounds as you are running. It also compresses tightly and easily so that you can pack it away into a small pack. 

Reflective shoulder strip.
The hood is adjustable - you can keep it up but cinch it back so that you can hear well and it doesn't block your peripheral vision (no surprise cougar attacks from the left or right). The hood also has a built in visor. You can unzip the jacket up from the bottom for better ventilation and the chin is lined with micro-fleece so that it is soft and comfortable around your face. The cuffs are half elastic for a nice tight but comfortable fit around the wrists.  The reflective shoulder strip is the same tone (none of those ugly silver strips) as the jacket so it blends in during daylight but stands out at night.
Soft, flexible cuffs.

The Storm Fighter retails for $379 but, again, the quality is superb and if you are looking for a jacket that you'll wear for many different activities, that looks great and that will last–this is it!