Is it a trail runner or light hiker or both? The La Sportiva CrossLeather joins the company’s product line this year as the more rugged sibling of the wildly popular and multi-award-winning CrossLite. The Crosslite was built specifically for trail racing and employs mostly synthetic materials and mesh for the uppers. As the name suggests, the CrossLeather replaces the mesh with leather adding a higher degree of ruggedness to the standout platform.
Out of the box, the Crossleather is definitely an eye catcher. The shoe sits low to the ground and has minimal heel to toe drop making it the most minimalist in our test.
The CrossLeather definitely isn’t your grandfather’s hiking boot. The bold black and grey styling says “built for speed.” And I must admit, these shoes at just 26 oz just felt light and fast. The scree guard adds to the streamlined look, hides the laces and keeps debris out of the shoe. It’s a nice touch but from a practical standpoint, I’m not sure how you replace the laces with the scree guard in place.
Where the rubber meets the trail, the CrossLeather employs the company’s proprietary FriXion rubber and some very heavy duty lugs. The shape and spacing between the lugs aids in traction and helps to keep mud from clogging the sole. These elements worked well together. And despite the low heel, the midsole provided surprising rebound and comfort.
Upper: Nubuck leather
Sole: FriXion rubber
Weight: 26 oz
Other features include a rubber toe cap to further protect the forefoot.
The CrossLeathers are built on La Sportiva’s Racing Lite last and hug the foot accordingly. At first wearing, they were true to size but much tighter than the other shoes in the test, and tighter even than just about any other shoe that we tested this year. This wasn’t a drawback for me however. I found them immediately comfortable and the leather upper quickly molded to my foot. The lacing system – although hidden – is pretty standard and does what it’s supposed to.
Dig the look and dig the feel. These shoes look fast and are fast. After one wearing, the fit was glove like and very comfortable. Despite being low to the ground, there was more than enough cushion. And the sole provided darn good grip on rocky trails. Highly recommended.