When it comes to picking a telemark boot these days the choices are fairly limited. For those who want a boot that is NTN compatible with tech inserts AND you want a stiffer-than-Scarpa flex the Crispi Evo is your boot.
There are two things that set the Evo apart from its peers (Scarpa’s TX-Pro and Scott’s Voodoo NTN); a stiffer flex and tech inserts at the heel.
From the very first turn I could tell Evo had a stiffer flex than I was used to, a Scarpa TX, and about the same, perhaps slightly stiffer than a TX-Comp. If you’re looking for a boot significantly stiffer than TX-Comp, the Evo won’t satisfy you, but Crispi’s World Cup might. On the other hand, complaints about soft flexing NTN boots are somewhat misguided because the overall flex sensation is a combination of boot flex and binding tension. Thus, even though the Evo is stiffer than a TX-Comp, I found it noticeably but not dramatically stiffer than a mere TX. In my experience (YMMV) the binding used tends to override the sensation of the bellows flex in an NTN rig. Bottom line, if you want better edging, Evo ups the ante decisively over TX-Pro or Voodoo, and marginally over a TX-Comp.
For me, the main difference wasn’t the flex resistance of the boot/binding combination, but the location on my foot that the boot flexed at. It only took two turns to notice that the flex point of the Evo put the tele pressure of my rear foot more on my toes — in front of the ball of my foot. A side by side comparison with a TX on one foot, Evo on the other, confirmed this.
The difference can be attributed to the difference in the design of the bellows. Both designs exhibit a curve that sweeps further back on the outside, but Crispi’s bellows is less pronounced. By comparison, Scarpa’s patented, arc’d bellows design begins on the inside and ends on the outside further back from the toe. Crispi’s bellow is more forward, resulting in pressure further forward. Depending on the size boot you wear, and the relative position of your metatarsals to the bellows, this toe dominant pressure will be magnified or minimized. My guess is the shorter your toes to the overall length of your foot, the more you will feel tele pressure on the ball of your foot, and vice versa — longer toed feet will feel more pressure at the toes.
Tech Fittings front and back
The one thing all Crispi NTN boots have is a tech fitting at the heel. This was dropped by Scarpa and Scott for liability reasons. Crispi is to be applauded for providing the option to lock the heel with an alpine touring heel unit, either with Meidjo’s optional low-tech heel or on a DIY telemark tech binding. Don’t forget to support the boot under the bellows if you use the Evo in an AT binding.
Although Crispi’s tech fittings are not genuine Dynafit inserts, the pair tested had no problems working with Lynx or Meidjo.
Evo comes with four buckles: two on the cuff, plus an instep buckle that is simpler and easier to use than Scarpa’s current version and a buckle behind the bellows that is reversed so it can’t be easily knocked open, whether skiing or post-holing in deep snow. Besides a replaceable edge guard for the bellows there is also one on the inside cuff pivot bolt.
As with most telemark boots the Crispi Evo NTN doesn’t set any records for cuff mobility, but it delivers adequate range of motion when skinning uphill. You’ll feel the limit of rear cuff motion on the flats, but it’s still better than nothing.
Crispi boots are slightly narrower in the toe box than Scarpa’s TX-Pro and significantly wider than Scott’s Voodoo NTN. If you find you’re swimming with the extra width of a Scarpa, Crispi offers an alternative you will probably like. The instep buckle will help hold your heel in the pocket. The sculpting of the heel pocket is a nice improvement from earlier Crispi boots but the improved shape is subtle and does little to help hold your heel down.
The liner is heat moldable, with a strip of softer foam midway up the back of the heel to make rear leg movement easier when touring.
There are two major reasons to consider Crispi NTN telemark boots; you want a stiffer flexing NTN tele boot and you want the option to lock the heel. The other reason would be to get a tighter fit relative to what Scarpa provides. The biggest problem will be in finding a shop that carries Crispi for you to even try on. Barring that, the shell sizing of Crispi follows that of Scarpa fairly closely, thus, if your foot fits a Scarpa mondo 26, you can order the same size Crispi with high confidence the length will be appropriate.
Weight/boot (sz 26.0): 4 lbs., 4 oz. • 1.93 kg
Note: For this review the product was obtained through eBay; it was not provided by the manufacturer, a designated distributor, or representative. Thus, there is no obligation to go easy on criticism. As a used piece of gear this review may not reflect the status of the current retail product, but it probably reflects the performance you would expect after a season of use.