Crispi’s Titans are designed as a high-cut, lightweight, waterproof boot made of nubuck leather. The company Crispi is an Italian company which is well known throughout Europe and the USA; although relatively unknown in New Zealand, it’s gaining a firm fanbase among Kiwi hunters. Crispi have a good understanding of what it takes to make various types of boots for different terrains and conditions – this shows through the variety of boots on offer. Kiwis will be pleased to know Crispi have a company here in NZ which makes any communication, warranty concerns or issues much easier to deal with.
The lacing system: Two locking guides are used around the top of the ankle to secure the laces in place. A pet hate of mine is lacing guides that cut into the laces, however there’s no fraying at all with these, and the guides are smooth; the lacing guide system is also fast and easy to use.
Nubuck leather: Nubuck leather has been used and, upon initial inspection, you can feel how they’ve managed to shave a lot of heaviness off the boots, as every feature has been streamlined to reduce weight. My initial fear was that the leather wouldn’t be hard-wearing, but with months of hard use and just a liberal application of wax between hunts, I can clearly see the leather is going to last a long time.
Vibram soles/tread: The story of how Vibram soles have become the standard ‘go-to’ tread for hunting and outdoor boots for so long is very interesting, and out of all the parts of any brand of boot I’ve come across, the Vibram sole has been the one consistently high-quality feature. The tread on the Titans performed well on the wet west coast of the South Island and in the muddy gullies of the Kaimai Ranges.
Lightweight: The Titans weigh 750gms per boot; Crispi have used some pretty nifty design features to achieve this. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll understand that anytime a company shaves a lot of weight off a product, it can have negative impacts on the usability and durability of the product. These Titans have had several hundred kilometres of use – a considerable testing phase to ensure we were thorough.
The Southern Traverse
The very first test for the Titans was the Southern Traverse which was a 60km walk over the Browning Pass in the Southern Alps featured in the previous issue of NZRod&Rifle. We started in Canterbury and ended in Westland covering what was some drastically different terrain. What a first test! With many river crossings on the Canterbury side, the first thing I noticed was the boots dried out relatively well overnight in a hut. I stuffed them with some newspaper in the evenings and by morning, they were not totally dry but close to it – with the repeated drenching’s, it was important to dry the boots out as much as possible in the evenings. Throughout the walk, the Titans were found to be extremely comfortable and the grip on the soles more than adequate for the wet, slippery conditions. I slipped over once on the last day – for a total of five days walking, that’s pretty good going! The extremely light boot was very comfortable but had little in the way of firm ankle support such as you’d expect from a true alpine boot; however, for most of the terrain on the traverse, they were more than adequate.
Central North Island
I felt the tussock country terrain was where the Titans were best suited and are right in their element. The boots were great for sneaking through the dense beech, broadleaf and pepperwood groves the sika love. Being warm, waterproof and light make them ideally suited to the Central North Island.
The Kaimai Ranges
There are good numbers of deer in the Kaimai Ranges, but anyone who’s been through that bush off-piste will tell you it can be a cold, wet, muddy, miserable, supplejack-filled hunt more reminiscent of the retreat from Stalingrad. Over the course of 7 trips into the Kaimais during the test period, the Titans were found to be an ideal bush boot and handled the muddy conditions admirably; the tread is well-suited to manoeuvring muddy game trails.
The Crispi Titan boots are well constructed using sturdy materials and quality manufacturing techniques as evidenced by their hard-wearing nature and ability to withstand wear and tear. None of my pet hates were present in the boots after 8 months of hard use. Key failures for me when reviewing boots are soles that come away from the main body, laces that are poorly designed and fray easily, waterproofing that doesn’t stand the test of time and any seams or stitches which give out. The Titans received a gold star on all these points; the stitching, sole fit and waterproofing are all still in top condition. One thing that really impressed me was the fit of the sole to the main body of the boot; it’s absolutely rock solid with no signs of the weld being corrupted – this is a testament to the construction techniques and materials used.
The Titans are the kind of boot you can wear day in, day out and are perfect for the bush, muddy conditions and tussock terrain of the Central North Island as they have great waterproofing and are light and warm. Being designed as a lightweight boot, if you need a traditional alpine hunting boot or firm ankle support, then the Titans are not for you. If you’re a rock-hopping tahr hunter, then heavier constructed boots with more ankle support would be a better choice.
The retail price at time of print is $599, so they’re in the price bracket of a premium boot, but after hammering them for the whole of this year, they’ve proven worth the