For the type of expedition you are describing, I would opt for the Crispi Hunter GTX
. Also made in Italy like the Kenetreks, but have a few features that really set it apart from the rest. Crispi uses Goretex, Kentrek uses Windtex
. As much as people want to try and say they are the same, they are not. Goretex produces a superior product.
I think the reason that some companies do not use Goretex, especially companies coming out of Italy, or other parts of the EU is because from what I have heard getting a Gore license in Europe is not only extremely selective, but also extremely expensive.
With my Hunters I also noticed that Crispi unlike Kentrek uses Vibram soles
. Further Vibram makes the best soles in the world and they make a sole that is specific only to Crispi boots called SuperGrip. I think the number is 20%-30% more grip on wet, icey, or sliimey surfaces when compared with others in the industry. Plus, for this year they have apparently added a new feature to their soles called a Crossbow frame according to Eastmans that absorbs shock when carrying heavy load and I think is a urethane based material instead of EVA in the heel, which is what the majority of other brands use. EVA breaks down, smooshes out and can crack and wet out when it wears.
Third, the biggest reason I chose the Crispi Hunter GTX
was due to the fit. The people at the store said there is no break in period and they will fit right out of the box. I was skeptical, but took them on their word and they were right on with that one. Not one blister on my 5 day hunt last year in the Northwest and I had only worn them for about 20 minutes altogether before my trip.
Further, they have a feature called ABSS (ankle bone support system)
that truly sold me on these puppies. I read a review on the Outdoor Hub website
about the Crispi Kanada that really made me want to try a pair of these boots on. The reviewer talked about how much support he received wearing his Kanadas after he sprained his ankle in the initial stages of his hike wearing another brand of boots. He switched over and was able to complete his hike and noted that after he was through, he took off his Kanadas and was barely able to walk. The amount of support he received from the Crispi boots was the only thing keeping him going.
Last, the Crispi Hunter GTX
is rated to -20F, but even in early fall when I was hunting in southwest Missouri and the days were topping out at 70F, I didn't think they were too warm. In slushy snow and freezing temperatures with only a medium weight smartwool sock on, I was very comfortable, but I think this year I will pick up their new Idaho boot, which does not have insulation for warm days.
I know this was long and I like to give unbiased reviews for others to look at, but there is nothing that I can really say negative about the boots. When I first tried them on, I did notice a difference in the boot's overall rockered shape. Initial reactions walking around in the store were a little different, but the sales guy assured me that I would love it after walking in them for a few minutes in the field. He was right again, the rockered toe to heel shape is kind of incredible. It strolls along so naturally when you are really trying to hoof it to your next checkpoint.
I found that the Kenetreks were really sloppy in the heel compared to Crispi boots and the Crispis fit true to size even though they are an Italian company, the last was not narrow like many European boots I have tried on. I did however switch out the insole to account for my giant arch. The Crispi insole was pretty nice for a factory insole, but almost too stiff for my liking, but if anyone is going to drop $400+ on boots that you know you will have for quite awhile, then you should probably be putting in an after market insole anyways. Ski boots are the same way, why keep that flat piece of foam in your $400 ski boots when you can opt for a custom insole or something like a Comformable trek insole (my insole of choice) to really make them fit the way you want.
Hope this helps. I have not tried on the Lowa boots except for a few light hiker models, but those light hikers were far too narrow for me. Not sure how their burlier models fit though.