The Italians have a strong history of exporting very good mountain footwear, some might even say the best footwear in the world. This is normally associated with the two big hitters (that's Scarpa and La Sportiva if you're wondering) but there are a few other dark horses like Dolomite that have also been producing solid mountain footwear for a long time.
Designed for scrambling and via ferrata, the Dolomite Crodarossa Pro GTX 2.0 is a fun-filled cocktail of traditional mountain boot mixed with a modern technical approach shoe, producing something that's sturdy, well-featured and more appropriate for the UK hills than you might at first think.
Appearances are deceptive
I have to be honest. When I got these out of the box my initial thought was: 'these look great but they're 100% designed for the summer Alps, not UK mountains'. Well I shouldn't have been so quick to judge, because it turns out they are surprisingly well suited to the UK's wet and green hills after all! Dolomite categorises the Crodarrossa Pro under 'approach' which I think actually undersells what this boot is and what it can handle underfoot.
From the moment you put them on your feet you know you have a mountain-focused boot on, but despite this, once you get moving they feel nimble and reactive. At only 560g per boot (in a UK8.5) they're not exactly heavy for what you get. The sole unit feels sturdy and strong but is combined with a soft and flexible ankle cuff to aid deft footwork. The toe box is a good size that allows your feet to expand after a few hot miles and the lacing system locks your foot down very securely. It doesn't take long to realize that the Crodarrossa Pro is more of a techy summer mountain boot than an approach shoe.
Sole and Midsole
The sole unit is robust and stiff. It has a Vibram outsole made from the Megagrip compound which is a perfect match for this type of footwear. MegaGrip is designed to work well in both dry and wet conditions, as well as providing excellent durability. The tread pattern itself is pretty aggressive so it can deal with wet and muddy downhill descents whilst not clogging up with mud. Despite there not being a specific 'climb zone area' under your toes at the front of the sole the lugs here are very flat and work well on technical rocky ground where you need to scramble and climb.
Dolomite have done a good job with the midsole on the Crodarrossa Pro, giving you a stiff but flexible feeling underfoot with great protection from sharp rocks so that sliding down scree slopes is almost fun. The edging ability when you are scrambling or climbing is spot on. Despite the midsole being robust it doesn't feel like you're standing on a block every time you put your foot on the ground, like it can do in some mountain boots. The comfort level is good and even allows you to walk for a few hours in relative comfort on the hard stone-flagged paths you might find on popular mountain routes in places like the Lakes. I mention this because if you've ever walked these types of paths in stiff technical mountain boots you'll know it's not normally much fun after an hour or two!
Dolomite has a recent history of using slightly alternative upper fabrics in some of their more technical footwear, and to their credit this has been very successful - Rob Greenwood was very positive in his review of the Velocissima approach shoe.
For the Crodarossa Pro, Dolomite have chosen to use a material called Superfabric, which in very basic terms is a woven fabric with tiny guard plates on the surface. I've been really impressed with Superfabic: it's soft enough that when you pull the laces tight the upper locks down onto your foot, but stiff enough to hold its structure when bashing down a scree slope, happily seeing off rocks that bounce up onto the boot. I've also had these boots in a lot of different conditions and environments, from muddy and wet to hot and dusty, and the one notable advantage Superfabic has over some other materials is how easy it is to clean. A quick rinse and rub under the tap and you've got clean boots again. The general durability seems very good and even after several months of use it is hard to spot any wear or scuffs on the fabric.
Lacing systems are not the most exciting thing to talk about, but can be the make or break feature of any mountain boot. In this case it has been executed well, with lacing coming right down to the toe box to offer lots of leeway to adjust the fit. The eyelets are made from small loops of Dyneema cord that does a good job of grabbing the lace and holding it in position as you tighten the boot. Even the lace itself is of good quality and pleasant to handle.
A small but nice detail is the toe box, which has structure and provides a good level of protection as well as helping add stiffness to the front of the boot when it comes to standing on small edges. The line of sight past the toe is also very good, allowing you to place your foot accurately on technical ground.
The Crodarossa Pro comes with full Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry. As always with Gore-Tex, if the weather gets hot and you're in the boots for a long time your feet do get sweety; but I don't see this as a specific issue with this boot, it's just a standard disadvantage of waterproof-lined footwear. I would say that the Superfrabic itself does a pretty good job of letting out the heat and doesn't seem to get waterlogged, and with this in mind it's plausible (though hard to be sure, subjectively) that the Gore-Tex liner performs better in the Crodarossa Pro than in more traditional leather-upper boots.
Available in both men's and women's (lower volume) fit, including half sizes, this boot would probably best suit those with regular-to-narrow feet, and people who don't like a lot of volume. But as always, whatever your foot shape, it's essential to try before you buy, bearing in mind too that the lacing system will allow a good degree of adjustment. As you'd expect from a technical summer mountain boot, the Crodarossa Pro offers a close fit over the foot, combined with ankle support at the softer end of the scale. This would make it ideal if you're doing classic scrambles, or wanting to cover lots of semi-technical ground. It's worth noting that if you are looking for more of an all-day comfy walking boot there might be better, more relaxed-fit options; and the same may apply if you prefer a more solid and supportive ankle cuff.
The Crodardossa Pro is a great lightweight boot for semi-technical summer mountain use. If you are someone that likes to link up several scrambles in a day, or needs something that can perform well on mountain ridges, this would be a great choice. At £235 they're not a budget buy but I do think you are getting a good quality product from a brand that has been making top-notch mountain footwear for a long time.
I really like the blend of modern tech and fabrics built on a traditional lightweight mountain boot platform, finding it works very well when the going gets rough and rocky. This is certainly a boot I'll be keen to keep wearing beyond this review.