Montrail Cristallo Leather Boots

Author: George Tod

Evaluation



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Montrail Cristallo Boots after 240 Miles



General view of Montrail Cristallo boot

Little wear to sole

Folds in lining of heel causing discomfort and eventually wearing through

Montrail Cristallo Boots after 1,400 Miles



Leather cracked and hole formed

Sole and heal worn thin in places

Lining of heel disintegrated

Cost

75 in 2003 (reduced from 110)

Comfort

I obtained these boots as an exchange, having had an unfortunate problem with wear to the lining of the heels in my previous Montrail boots. I was a little sceptical about buying boots of the same make, but they were the only ones in the shop that fitted me comfortably and they appeared to be very good value at a sale price of 75.

Unlike my previous Montrail boots, these were of a more conventional leather construction with comfortable padding in all the right places. They fitted comfortably from the start and, although the leather was quite stiff at first, and the footbed very rigid, I had very few problems breaking them in. The solid footbed, which helps to provide good support and stops sharp objects from hurting the feet, however, can cause a lot of foot-ache on a long walk. Knowing the problems that this can cause, I fitted them with cushioned insoles and my home-made arch supports in an attempt to prevent this at the outset. The only problem that I encountered from the start was with the lining of the heels. Although they had a thinner lining than my previous Montrail boots, where this curved around the inside of the heel, it went into folds and creases, with a particularly bad fold in the right boot. After a few miles of walking, the rubbing from this made my heel sore. This did not confine itself to the right foot, as the left foot also gave trouble after a longer distance.

Eventually, after about 200 miles of use, these folds flattened more and the lining developed a smoother surface, both of which helped to reduce the problem. However, as can be seen from the photograph above, the lining has been worn through on the worst crease. In practice, this did not impair the performance of the boots, as the lining does not provide a waterproof barrier, but is, I think, merely for comfort! It did, however, cause problems by rubbing and wearing out my socks at a much faster rate than normal. After several hundred miles, the lining broke down more and more, exposing foam underneath until this in turn wore away. The end result was that I got less and less problems as time went on, making me think that they would have been better without a lining around the heel in the first place.

Water Resistance

For most of their life, these boots have proved as waterproof as I would expect from a good pair of leather boots. It was only in the latter stages of their life that the leather started to crack in places, which started letting in a little water. Finally, one of these cracks opened up leaving at first a split and then a hole through which my sock was visible, and this finally put paid to their use in the wet.

Wear

These boots have worn very well, giving me well over the 1,000 miles of use that I expect from a good pair of boots. Towards the end, the tread on the soles and heels was wearing thin in places, resulting in reduced grip, the leather was cracking in several places, and the rand was separating from the leather. However, these were all to be expected after this length of service and I would rate them as very good boots from this point of view. The extensive wear to the lining round the heel that occurred later in their life was actually an improvement, as it reduced most the rubbing of my socks and heels that had occurred earlier on, making them very comfortable to wear over long distances.

Good Points

Bad Points

General Assessment

My general impression of these boots is much the same as that of my previous pair of Montrail boots - potentially they could be excellent boots. They are basically well designed and constructed for the most part, but are let down by one poor feature. It is surprising that both pairs of Montrail boots I have had, with considerably different design and construction, suffer from similar, though not identical problems. Although I have suffered a whole host of problems with other makes of boot, I cannot remember any of them causing me this sort of problems with the heels. Of course, in many boots of a cheaper construction, there are not the niceties of soft linings but, if a manufacturer goes to the trouble of putting in a lining then they should, at least, make sure it is fit for the job and doesn't cause more problems than if it had not been there. Again, I feel that in most other aspects these are excellent boots, but they are let down by a relatively minor aspect of design which should have been sorted out before putting them on the market.


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