Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
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Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
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Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:48 pm

Ski Boot Review: Crispi Svartisen BC
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Well, I hate to say it but I must start out this review admitting that I am feeling a little underwhelmed with my new Nordic backcountry touring boot: the Crispi Svartisen BC. Perhaps disappointed is a better word? I have only had them out for a tour 3 times this season- mainly because I suffering from heel lift and blistering on my left foot (caused by this boot and have had to go back to my Alaskas)- I have not given up on them yet- so my feelings about them may improve.

The Crispi Svartisen BC is a Nordic touring boot designed for covering distance in hilly to mountainous terrain. The Svartisen “BC” has a NNN-BC sole- you can also get it with a 3-pin NN sole.

Here are some of the specs on this boot:
• NNN-BC outsole
• Moderately-stiff flexing midsole
• Full-grain leather from toe to top
• Synthetic protect rand from toe to heel
• Laces- to ankle
• Outer carbon heel that connects to two straps:
o An instep strap
o An articulating cuff and strap
• Gore-Tex waterproof breathable layer
• Thinsulate insulation layer

The full-grain treated leather of this boot is a thing of absolute beauty and quality- I am thrilled with it.
PROBLEM: due to the outer heel, cuff and straps, the leather on this boot cannot be effectively treated and maintained…This is a big frackin’ problem with this boot. I have spent damn near 30 years working and playing in leather boots in all seasons and the most extreme conditions. The thought of not being able to effectively maintain the leather on this boot is enough to make me lose sleep!

In general, the build quality of this boot is magnificent.

The two straps are very well designed and made.

Now what this boot does not have- and IMO- desperately needs:
• The sole flex on this boot- out of the box- is quite plainly too damn soft. There is not the power transfer and support that I would expect from a boot in this class. And once the midsole breaks in, it is going to be even softer damn it!
• This boot needs a higher and more effective lacing system- PERIOD. The lacing system on this boot basically sucks- I don’t know how else to say it. There are so few lace eyelets and cleats that it is very difficult to get the laces either tight enough or customized- this is one of the PRIMARY reasons to buy a damn leather boot in the first place!
o The lacing system only climbs to the ankle- they lace up like a low-cut hiking boot! WTF?! The ONLY support that exists above the ankle is the outer cuff and strap. This is a seriously poorly-tested design. In order to get them tight enough, I have to seriously tighten them at the ankle which applies too much pressure when I am cross-country skiing and causes some numbness in my feet. And- unless I completely tighten the upper power strap and cuff- which is excellent for skiing downhill- but terrible for XC skiing- this boot has no support above the ankle. This boot has beautiful full-grain leather above the ankle that is just flapping in the breeze!!! Very strange design. I do get it. The idea is to give the walking comfort of a low-cut hiking shoe/boot and then tighten the cuff for downhill support. But it doesn’t work.
o The poor lacing system- coupled with poor interior ankle support-cushioning- requires me to tighten the instep strap to compensate- to the extent that it creates a pretty serious pressure point on my bony ankles.
• This boot needs more insulation.
• This boot needs some sort of memory foam in the ankle. The foot last is beautiful and perfectly designed, but the heel and ankle are just- well- open. There needs to be some softer supportive material around the heel and ankle to accommodate skiers who do not have feet that are shaped like bricks! The heel and ankle of this boot reminds me of the block-head-block-foot design of a rubber chainsaw boot- MURDER on your heels!

This boot incorporates two of Crispis "technologies":
• One that is pretty straight-forward and easy to understand:
o “CSF”: Crispi Skeleton Frame.
• And one that I don’t really get and is not well explained on their website:
o “Board Lasting Mechanical Construction”. I don’t get it.

Fit
This boot is nowhere near as wide and voluminous as I was expecting. I would describe them as having medium width and volume. As a comparison- I find the width comparable to my Alpina Alaska, but I find that the Alaska has more volume (funny thing is that the lace system is so much better on the Alaska that I can still get a custom fit easier on the Alaska- even with my low-volume feet…).

The length and sizing of the footbed seems perfect. I bought a 42EU and they fit me perfectly- and seem identical to the Alaska 42EU that I recently tried on.

The ankle is cavernous- with no memory foam and very little material of any kind to conform to the upper heel and ankle. Perhaps not a problem for those with large-volume heel and ankles- but it is a serious problem for someone with a narrow heel and ankle (like me). I have yet to get them laced up so that I simultaneously do not get any heel lift and do not cut off the circulation to my BOF and toes…And this problem cannot be compensated for with by overtightening the instep strap without creating a pressure point on your ankle.

This boot is medium overall in its fit and would likely have no fit problems if you have medium to wide heels and ankles.

If you have a wide foot- you will probably have to size up.
If you have a large volume foot- without being overly wide- they will probably fit perfectly…

I have not given up fitting this boot yet…I am going to have to play with lacing strategies and different socks to try and get it just right…
I am also considering an insulating bootie- like the Bama “Sokket”. This would both solve the heel-ankle volume problem and improve insulation. However- I might need a 43EU to use an insulating bootie…Damn.

Performance
Assuming that they fit and can be laced up properly: this boot is an amazing balance between completely free XC striding and loads of lateral support above the ankle for downhill skiing. It is a brilliant idea and design. The above ankle support of this boot greatly exceeds that of my Alpina Alaska, and it is as much a striders boot as the Alaska.

The significantly softer sole flex of the Svartisen means that it does not deliver the stability and power transfer of a stiffer flexing boot. I am greatly disappointed by this. For example: my 5-year-old Alaska BC boots have more stable and supportive sole than the Svartisen right out of the box!!? That being said the sole-flex feels fine- if not powerful- but, I fear that they will be soft, floppy and useless by the time they are completely broken in…

This boot is quite easy to flex at the metatarsus. Out of the box, it is a bit easier to flex and pressure the BOF than a stiffer NNNBC boot like the Alaska. HOWEVER: again- this may be a bit “easier” out of the box- but, this sole is going to break down and offer very little stability and support. My Alaska BC- once broken-in- is easy to pressure and offers excellent stability and power transfer in a downhill turn.

Current Conclusions/Impressions

I have not given up on this boot yet.
I don’t want to!
I am going to continue to work on lacing and socks to get a better fit.
At the moment I am a bit disappointed.
This boot is beautifully designed and built- I just wonder how effectively it has been tested and re-designed…
The boot-sole flex is to soft- this doesn’t make sense for a boot of this class.
The ankle and above ankle support is very impressive- without sacrificing striding comfort and extension.
I am left wondering why I picked this boot…In the past I have always leaned towards the design and the reports of the Crispi Stetind- over the Svartisen. I guess I thought that perhaps the Stetind would be so close to the Alaska BC that I thought I should be brave and try something quite different.
This brings to me another question…
The Stetind appears to be tried and proven in terms of fit, comfort and support.
I do have to wonder why Crispi did not simply build the Svartisen on top of the Stetind? Doesn’t really make sense to me…
I hate to say it, but I almost wish I could return them in exchange for a pair of Stetind BC.
Anyway- I am not giving up yet.
I will keep you posted!

Crispi Svartisen BC
Cross-Country: 75/100*
Downhill: 75/100*
(*utterly dependent on whether you can get them to lace up and fit properly...)

Gareth Davies
December 27th, 2018
Stanley, NB
Canada

EDIT: please read on- my experience with these boots has improved as I work on breaking them in and getting a beter fit. These boots offer an excellent performance combination of both XC striding and downhill stability.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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bgregoire
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Favorite Skis: Fisher E99, Åsnes Ingstad & Cecilie, K2 Wayback 88
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Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by bgregoire » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:28 pm

Gareth,

your review reminds me on some I my worst moments is search of my holy grail one-quiver XCD boot!

You should be talking with this guy:
https://translate.google.ca/translate?s ... country%2F

I highly recommend you explore these ankle booties, they really work for blisters, chafting and filling up boots:
https://www.ezeefitsports.com/category-s/1871.htm

I think the Svartisen is a direct competitor to the fischer BCX6/BCX8 boots. Man do i hate the lacing of the older BCX6 which was even worse than the Svartisen! The newer BCX6 lacing might be even better than the Svartisen.

IMO, The Stetind is more of a direct competitor to the Alfa Svarket (which has been made for nearly 20 years or more?!) & Alpina 1600. From having handled in shop, do not expect it to be a stiffer alternative to the Alaska. Its probably even a little softer or equal at best...but that was a while ago now.

Maybe Johnny can lend you his Alfa Guards for an in-depth review? Otherwize, it okay, thank god, there's always pins. I'll hopefully post my review of the Crispi Sydpolen this winter.

Be well.
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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Johnny
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Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by Johnny » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:48 pm

Oh man, that is quite sad... Where did you get them, T-Down?

But hummm... I'm not sure about the source of your deception... It is very clearly stated on the Svartisen BC page: "Flex: SOFT"... A soft boot with cuff support. While on the other hand the Alaska BC is a ridiculously stiff boot... Not sure they can be compared...? In fact, every boots on Crispi's website are described as "soft"...

Is the sole soft laterally too? Same Rotte BC sole as the Kikut?

No way to move the skeleton out of the way for treatment?

VERY nice review! Thanks!
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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bgregoire
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Location: Rimouski, Québec
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
Favorite Skis: Fisher E99, Åsnes Ingstad & Cecilie, K2 Wayback 88
Favorite boots: Crispi Sydpolen, Alico Teletour & Alfa Polar
Website: http://living-laponia.tumblr.com

Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by bgregoire » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:02 pm

Johnny wrote: But hummm... I'm not sure about the source of your deception... It is very clearly stated on the Svartisen BC page: "Flex: SOFT"... A soft boot with cuff support. While on the other hand the Alaska BC is a ridiculously stiff boot... Not sure they can be compared...? In fact, every boots on Crispi's website are described as "soft"...
True BUT, guys, I don't think we can compare the stataed qualitative sole flex between various brands and even sometimes amongst models of a same brand (including Alfa!). As we all know, Crispi produces plastic shell tele boots, and I bet the soft flex of the Antartic/Sydpolen/Svartisen is relative to the hard flex of a plastic shell Crispi boot.

To push my point farther, there is a huge difference in the flex of the Sydpolen and the Svartisen, yet, they are both labelled as soft flex on the Crispi site.....

Happy snow!
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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lilcliffy
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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
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Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:15 pm

Well- thanks for responding guys!
I wrote and posted a response to Ben this morning and it has disappeared!?

Ben- thank you so much for those sites you shared- they are golden!
..........
The carbon heel cuff on the Svartisen extends upwards from the point where it is attached to the boot and it is very snug to the leather...I will do my best to get leather treatment in there!!
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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lilcliffy
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Posts: 2305
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:17 pm

No the boot sole is not soft laterally- it is pretty tight.

And the boot has some sort of re-inforcement underneath the leather- below the ankle that makes them much more laterally supportive than the Alaska- even without the upper cuff.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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lilcliffy
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Posts: 2305
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:19 pm

The sole flex on the Svartisen is about identical to the Kikut.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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lilcliffy
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Posts: 2305
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:27 pm

bgregoire wrote: You should be talking with this guy:
https://translate.google.ca/translate?s ... country%2F

I highly recommend you explore these ankle booties, they really work for blisters, chafting and filling up boots:
https://www.ezeefitsports.com/category-s/1871.htm
Ben! You are such an incredible wealth of knowledge and connections! These links are pure gold!
I think the Svartisen is a direct competitor to the fischer BCX6/BCX8 boots. Man do i hate the lacing of the older BCX6 which was even worse than the Svartisen! The newer BCX6 lacing might be even better than the Svartisen.
Yeah- I have the grey BCX6 which absolutely crushed my poor foot- it had a difficult but reasonable lacing system.
Two of my ski partners have the brown BCX6 (one NN, the other NNNBC)- with the velcro straps above the ankle- terrible. I have yet to see the current BCX6- and there is already a redesign called the "waterproof"- don't know if it is complete redesign again...Would like to see the new BCX6 in the flesh- my local shop doesn't carry them in stock.
IMO, The Stetind is more of a direct competitor to the Alfa Svarket (which has been made for nearly 20 years or more?!) & Alpina 1600. From having handled in shop, do not expect it to be a stiffer alternative to the Alaska. Its probably even a little softer or equal at best...but that was a while ago now.
Hmmm...Again great info. Gamme's UTE test rated the Stetind as having a stiffer more supportive flex than the Svartisen BC (depsite the Svart winning the test) and the NN-3pin version of the Svart being even softer.
(I find it validating that Mr. Gamme considers the stiffness of sole flex as being the #1 factor that determines support and stability).
The Svartisen is too soft-flexing- particularly brand new. It would be just fine if it stayed at that stiffness- but it will inevitably get softer as it is broken in! :twisted:
Maybe Johnny can lend you his Alfa Guards for an in-depth review?
Ah- well- I also kinda wish that I had saved a bit longer and bought an Alfa Guard Advance instead...I guess I decided to be brave and try something different!
Otherwize, it okay, thank god, there's always pins. I'll hopefully post my review of the Crispi Sydpolen this winter.
Well- this is true (sometimes I wished I had just ordered a pair of Andrews from Italy 15 years ago and never even tried NNNBC... :roll: ;) But there is no going back for me- or at least I don't want to for a particular class of ski touring...I am abit adicted to the power transfer when strding on NNNBC...Though 3pins are just fine!)
I very much forward to your review of the Crispi welt!
Be well.
You too my friend- and thanks again!
Happy New Year!
It is snowing!!!!!!!!!!
Must be snowing in your backyard too?
Gareth
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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lilcliffy
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Posts: 2305
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:28 pm

Found my post- forgot to "submit"!
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
lilcliffy
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Posts: 2305
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Boot Review: 2018 Crispi Svartisen BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:30 pm

And- bought them from Telemark Pyrenees.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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