1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21)

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER
Luke Koppa in the Nordica Strider 120, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.
Article Navigation:  Intro //  Luke Koppa //  Kara Williard //  Sam Shaheen //  Jonathan Ellsworth //  Kristin Sinnott //  Eric Freson //  Paul Forward

Intro

We recently wrapped up our annual series of our reviewers’ ski-quiver selections, and this year, we’re also asking them to answer the question of what single ski boot they’d pick for where and how they ski.

Now, to be clear: these are our personal choices, and not necessarily what we think are the best boots out there for everyone. So you will find here our particular selections and the compromises our reviewers are willing to make. But if you are just beginning to think about boots, we recommend that you start with our Buyer’s Guide, then read some of our full reviews, and then go to a bootfitter to see which of the boots on your list will actually fit your feet. Because as we’ve said many times (and will repeat a lot here), fit is going to be the most important factor when selecting a boot.

Six Questions

Of the currently available boots on the market, what would you choose for:

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

LUKE KOPPA

As will be a theme here, fit is the most important factor for me when choosing ski boots. And for me, finding a boot that fits well is extremely challenging. While I am fortunate in that I’m the sample size for most boots (26.5), everything else about my foot is not well-suited for skiing boots out of the box.

I’ve got a pretty low-volume ankle and calf, a low instep, toes that taper a lot from my big toe to my pinky — but then that’s combined with a fat midfoot / forefoot that expands when I stand (Kara calls that “lateral splats”).

As a result, a lot of “medium-volume” boots leave me with too much room around my ankle, instep, and / or toes, while nearly every “low-volume” boot has been excruciating around my midfoot / forefoot. And even a lot of medium-volume boots feel too tight around my midfoot, and some low-volume boots even feel too loose around my ankle / instep.

Aren’t ski boots fun?

Anyway, I have found some boots that work pretty well for my feet, so let’s get into it:

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Nordica Strider 120

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Nordica Strider 120
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Luke Koppa in the Nordica Strider 120, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

This is actually the boot I’ve used for most of my inbounds skiing for the past three years, but it also happens to have a walk mode, be fairly light, and walk uphill alright.

As with most things related to ski boots, this decision for me mostly comes down to fit. The Strider is one of the few boots that fits my feet really well with minimal bootfitting work (though Kara helped make it basically *perfect*), which is why I spent somewhere around 200-250 days in it.

It’s not the best boot in terms of rearward support, it doesn’t feel nearly as nice going uphill as more touring-oriented options, and it did eventually break after more than three seasons of use. But it fits me really well, I love its forward flex, and it walks well enough to not make me hate myself while touring. Given that I spend roughly 70% of my time skiing via lifts, this boot is an easy choice.

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: Tecnica Mach1 130 MV

Up until a week ago, the Strider 120 still would have been my answer to this question. But my Striders just kicked the bucket, which means I finally have to accept that I need to find a dedicated inbounds boot that will work for me. And after about two weeks in it, my initial pick is is the Tecnica Mach1 130 MV.

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Tecnica Mach1 130 MV
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Luke Koppa in the Tecnica Mach1 130 MV, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

While I definitely need to make some modifications to get it to work for my feet, I’ve really been liking this boot so far. It’s notably stiffer than my Strider 120 in all directions, but the Mach1 130 MV’s flex pattern is nice and progressive, to the point that it only took me a few days to adjust to its overall stiffer flex. I really like its stock liner, it’s really easy to get on / off, and with some work, I think it’ll end up fitting me alright (I’d like to get the fit around my instep to be a bit tighter, while I definitely need to create some room around my midfoot). I’m guessing this will be my daily driver for the rest of this season.

III. 1 ski boot for AT only: Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130

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Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130
Luke Koppa reviews the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 for Blister
Luke Koppa in the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130, Crested Butte, Colorado.

If I could magically make it fit my feet perfectly, I’d choose the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro here. But that boot just isn’t ideal for my weird feet, so I’m going with the better-fitting Prime XTD.

While it’s not the lightest boot in its class and doesn’t have the most range of motion, I logged several very long days in the Prime XTD 130 last spring and summer with few complaints. And compared to lighter boots, I like that the Prime XTD 130’s burlier stock liner makes it a bit more comfortable and intuitive, coming from alpine boots, since it still feels pretty smooth and well damped on rough snow. It walks significantly better than the Strider, it’s significantly lighter, and it’s still got a smooth, progressive flex pattern that is plenty stiff for my backcountry skiing — without being so stiff that it feels harsh when I’m survival skiing with terrible technique.

IV. 1 ski boot + your choice of 1 aftermarket liner

Frankly, I love the Strider 120’s stock liner. It’s comfy, pretty warm, and proved to be pretty durable. So I’d likely just stick with that one for the resort skiing I do.

That said, I have used a few Intuition liners and I think I might grab the Tour Pro as my dedicated touring liner, since it’s a bit lighter and walks better than the Strider’s stock liner, without a substantial drop in downhill performance. The Tour Wrap is also pretty appealing. It stiffened up the Strider a bit, relative to that boot’s stock liner, and it still walks pretty well. But I couldn’t get it to fit quite right for my feet / legs. You can read more about my experiments with a couple Intuition liners in my review of the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, but for this question, I think I’d add a Pro Tour for the days when I’m walking uphill.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

I really liked the performance of the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, once I got the liner / tongue combo dialed in for my preferences. It’s far better than the Strider in terms of rearward support, and it walks better once you remove the tongues. But I just could not get it to fit my feet as well as I wanted, so that’s the main reason it misses the cut here.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

As I alluded to, I absolutely love the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro for touring, but again, it just does not fit my feet very well.

The Salomon S/Pro 130 is a good option for an inbounds-only boot, but I prefer the more damped, smooth feel of the heavier Mach1 130 MV. And skiing a full day in the S/Pro 130 was excruciating for my feet.

I skied the Roxa Element 120 for a few days last year and got along pretty well with it, but I’m a bit hesitant about skiing a Grilamid boot every day in the resort, and it didn’t initially fit me super well.

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

I’d love to try the Nordica Speedmachine 130, given that it reportedly fits the same as the Strider but does not have a walk mode. I’d be curious to compare it against the Mach1 130 MV.

I’ve always wanted to try the Scarpa Maestrale RS as a dedicated touring boot, but I skied in the Maestrale XT and it felt like it was trying to murder my feet, so I’m doubtful it’d fit. But everything else about that boot sounds really appealing.

If Tecnica decides to make another version of the Zero G for weird people with skinny ankles, low insteps, and super fat forefoot-s, I’d buy the first one.

Then, given my positive experience with the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130, I’d like to try the regular Hawx Prime 130 as my alpine boot.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER

KARA WILLIARD

I have spent the last 10-years as a Masterfit Certified Bootfitter, which is probably why I need to start with several caveats here. First, I am extremely particular about fit; a well-dialed and supremely snug fit means everything to me. When fitting other folks, I will always steer people toward the boot that make the most sense for their foot, before I look at boots tailored to their uphill / downhill needs. And I will personally always compromise low weight for improved performance when looking at a boot for ski touring and inbounds use.

Second, I have a super difficult foot to fit, with an array of problems from old injuries, limited ankle dorsiflexion / mobility, and stance alignment issues (part of the reason I got into bootfitting), and I almost always look at men’s boots because I tend to prefer boots with a “130” flex.

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Lange XT Free 130 LV

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Lange XT Free 130 LV
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Kara Williard in the Lange XT Free 130 LV, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

With all that said, I have operated really happily with a one-boot quiver for the last three seasons. Currently, my boot is the 19/20 Lange XT Free 130 LV. My foot works really well in Lange Low-Volume (“LV”) molds, and I have been skiing some variation of a 97mm-lasted Lange since 2012. While I definitely could be in a boot that weighs less, I still have spent 8-9-hour backcountry days in the boot, and never have any regrets once when I’m back in ski mode and I’m getting the response and support that I want on the descent. I have spent time in lighter boots, but haven’t been as happy in them — especially if I’m able to over-flex the boot.

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: Lange RX 130 LV

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Lange RX 130 LV
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Kara Williard in the Lange RX 130 LV.

Same fit as my XT, with the ability to add Cantology shims to address my stance alignment issues. Lange makes boots that just work for my feet. Yes, they are heavier than other options on the market, but I think the extra weight is worth it, in terms of their progressive flex and rebound, overall durability, and unmatched performance in my experience.

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only

This is a tough question for me, since I haven’t spent extensive time skiing in many dedicated touring boots. But the one that I have recent experience in is the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W. While I really like the low-volume fit and features for the uphill (impressive ROM with easy walk-mode, exceptionally light), I have run into problems over-flexing this boot. My next step would be to ski the 20/21 Ultra XTD 130, which they are offering in a full-size run starting at 22.5, which I think is revolutionary on the women’s bootfitting front!

I am also interested in spending some days in the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro (also offered in women’s sizes — yes!).

[Side note: I am a size 24.5, but it has been a struggle to find boots for many of my clients and friends whose feet are smaller than mine, but who require a stiffer flex … I am talking to you Sascha Anastas.]

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

This is an excuse to speak to my every day one-boot quiver … The Lange XT Free 130 LV + ZipFit Gara liner.

I finally have an opportunity to rant about ZipFit liners! I have over 400 days in my current ZipFit, and I move it from boot shell to boot shell. The ZipFit design is exceptional in that the materials resist packing out since its heel pocket and tongue are made of cork, rather than foam. And you can add more cork if / when you need. I added more cork than the stock amount to further snug up my heel in the way that I love, and after a couple of rounds of molding, this liner is dialed. About 80% of my days in this liner have been on-resort, but I will add that I do not have any qualms about touring in this liner, and it is definitely warmer than the majority of stock liners I have compared it to.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

I spent a lot of time on the Nordica Promachine 115 W and it is a close second for me, both for fit and performance. The flex is almost comparable to my Lange XT Free 130, and obviously, the Promachine is designed for resort skiing. But overall, it is one of the most impressive women-specific boots that I have skied in terms of both its flex and precise fit.

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

Given how well Lange boots have worked for me, I’m definitely itching to try the new Lange XT3 130 LV, which is a complete redesign from the Lange XT Free I’ve been using.

I am also curious to try more dedicated, touring-specific boots, as well as the (non-walk-mode-equipped / dedicated alpine boot) Atomic Hawx Ultra 120 or 130, just to see what sort of performance they deliver at a much lower weight than I am used to.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER

SAM SHAHEEN

I want to start off by saying that I’m a ski boot curmudgeon. I rarely find boots that I like, and I rarely find boots that fit. I have a pretty short foot with a very high instep, and I tend to wear a size 24.5 or 25. Combine all those factors, and the result is that I have had a lot of trouble finding good boots throughout my life.

I won’t be the only reviewer to say this, but by far the most important factor when it comes to my boots is fit. Everything else is secondary. There are tons of boots that perform similarly, but nitpicking the performance between a few models is basically futile if one boot fits me even slightly better.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Scarpa Maestrale RS

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Scarpa Maestrale RS
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Sam Shaheen in the Scarpa Maestrale RS.

This is a really tough question because the compromises are going to be massive. I would fight tooth and nail to have two pairs of boots if I was legitimately going to be spending a lot of time both inbounds and out of bounds.

This decision comes down to where I’d rather make the sacrifice — in the backcountry or in the resort. Fortunately, the answer is pretty easy. I’d rather make the sacrifice in the resort because I’m never going to drag an alpine boot up a huge peak. And I generally tend to spend more time touring than riding lifts, so I’m going with my current-favorite touring boot:

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: Dalbello Lupo SP I.D.

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Dalbello Lupo SP I.D.
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Sam Shaheen in the Dalbello Lupo SP I.D., Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

The only inbounds boots I’ve skied in the last 10 years or so have all been some variation of the Dalbello Krypton. Right now I’m using an old Lupo SP ID in a size 24.5 that I really like (I do wish it was a bit narrower…). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only: Scarpa Maestrale RS

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Scarpa Maestrale RS
1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER
Sam Shaheen in the Scarpa Maestrale RS.

This boot is really amazing. Huge range of motion in walk mode, great progressive forward flex, and some of the best rearward support on the market. It isn’t perfect, but this really isn’t a hard decision for me and my feet.

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

I have absolutely no idea… I’m a HUGE fan of Intuition foam (as evidenced by the above boots, all of which have stock liners with Intuition foam), so I think I’d probably just stick with the stock Maestrale RS setup.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

I guess the Maestrale XT was somewhat close, but it doesn’t wrap around my calf nearly as well as the RS does. For me, the RS fits more precisely and I prefer the quality of its forward flex (though it is a hair softer).

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

I’d love to get in the Tecnica Zero G. I’d also like to figure out how to make the Maestrale RS easier to step into, but I think that’s just a personal problem.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER

JONATHAN ELLSWORTH

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Lange XT3 130 LV

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Lange XT3 130 LV
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Jonathan Ellsworth in the Lange XT3 130 LV, Crested Butte, Colorado.

The best thing about this entire “1-Boot Quiver” exercise is that I think Sam Shaheen and I have never agreed this much about anything. Sam writes above: “I would fight tooth and nail to have two pairs of boots if I was legitimately going to be spending a lot of time both in bounds and out of bounds.” Amen, Sam. Amen.

That said, if I was forced to use 1 boot only, the Lange XT3 would be my choice. But more on this below w/r/t aftermarket liners.

Now, as I discuss in our GEAR:30 podcast on this 1-Boot Quiver topic, I have admittedly shied away from the category of heavier “50/50” boots with walk modes. So there very well may be a heavier 50/50 boot out there that I might prefer to use both inbounds and in the backcountry. And since I know that a lot of you do care about this category, I will do my best (maybe?) to start taking a closer look at this category of heavier 50/50 boots.

Still, the Lange XT3 will serve as a “good / very good” dedicated touring boot that I would trust more than the other boots I’ve spent time in for inbounds use. But it definitely does not offer the same progressive flex pattern or plush suspension of the much heavier Lange RX 130 LV, so … just be aware of that. But hey, you 1-boot-for-everything types apparently don’t mind compromises very much, so I guess it’s all good?

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: HEAD Raptor 140 RS

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Head Raptor 140 RS
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Jonathan Ellsworth in the Head Raptor 140 RS, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

I still love this boot. But I also think the Lange RX 130 LV is an outstanding boot, too, and you really should listen to our GEAR:30 conversation about the new world we may be about to enter where we might start to see elastic power straps coming stock on more boots.

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro

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Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro
1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER
Jonathan Ellsworth in the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, Crested Butte, Colorado.

I still love this boot, too. (For all the reasons stated in our full review.)

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

For inbounds use: Lange XT3 + Zipfit World Cup Gara liner (aka, “inner boot”)

I haven’t tried this specific combo yet, but putting this super comfortable, burlier Zipfit liner in the XT3 could conceivably increase the suspension of the XT3 inbounds. It will absolutely make the XT3 heavier — which, who cares when you’re riding chairlifts to get uphill, not skinning.

And hell, Kara just made me feel like a wuss by stating that she tours in the Gara. So I don’t quite know that I’ll start following her lead on that (for backcountry skiing, I’ve gotten along quite well with the stock XT3 liner), but it makes me happy to know that someone out there in the world is doing this.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

I think the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 is a very good boot. If it fits your foot better than the Lange XT3 or Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, and I can ski all three of these boots pretty happily.

Heavier, aggressive skiers might be happiest in the Lange XT3. Those who want a stiffer boot (stiffer flex off the top) may prefer the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 to the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro.

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

“Intrigued”? Probably the Dynafit Hoji Free — I haven’t skied it at all, and its stated last of 102 mm still has me worried that it might simply be too wide since I’m happily walking uphill and skiing down in the narrower Lange XT3 LV, Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, and Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro.

I also would like to get more time in the K2 Mindbender 130 and the K2 Recon Pro, just to continue to (personally) tease out similarities & differences with the other boots I’ve named above.

But I have a hunch that we might see some new boots unveiled this season that could end up being my answer to this question. We’ll see.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER

KRISTIN SINNOTT

While I know bootfitting is a necessary evil, I really don’t enjoy the process. Part of my bootfitting dread is not living close to a good ski shop and having to choose between having my boots fitted or missing skiing or Apres with friends. With a good bootfitter, like fellow reviewer Kara Williard, I can easily tolerate it, but when given a choice, I prefer boots that fit straight out of the box.

That said, I am very lucky in that I have been able to find boots that need zero work to fit well. My feet are average in width with a medium-to-low arch. I do have a slight overpronation and limited mobility in my ankles. My fairly low-volume feet measure just shy of a size 24.5 when sitting and right at 24.5 when standing. Even though there is little difference in the width or arch of my foot between sitting and standing, my custom insoles have helped correct this subtle arch collapse

With all of this mind, my current favorite boots fall into the category of “fit well out of the box,” and with both my chosen boots, after inserting my custom footbed, they were ready to ski.

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W

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Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Kristin Sinnott in the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

If I could only have one boot, the Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W is an easy choice for me. The range of motion in the walk mode is enough for my backcountry pursuits and the boot is stiff enough that I wouldn’t feel limited when spinning laps inbounds. I’ve used this boot when skiing the resort a number of times and was okay with the downhill performance. The boot isn’t nearly as comfortable or as stiff as my favorite inbounds boots, but it’s the best compromise I’ve found.

For now, I’m referring to the previous-generation, 19/20 Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W, since I haven’t yet tried the 20/21 Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W and its new Mimic liner.

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: Salomon S/Max 120 W

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Salomon S/Max 120 W
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Kristin Sinnott in the Salomon S/Max 120 W, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

This is my third season in the S/Max 120 and I have zero interest in looking for or testing any other boot (though I’m guessing Jonathan might be able to convince me to). Its 98 mm last provides a comfortable pocket for my foot without squishing it. The liner is thick and it molded to my foot after a number of ski days. The booster strap is a cam-style option instead of velcro, which in my opinion, creates a more secure fit. The stated 120 flex feels a little softer than my old Technica Mach1 Pro W LV, but only on a few occasions have I felt the need for something stiffer.

In general, the S/Max 120’s smooth flex has worked well for me. Whether skiing aggressively in a forward stance, more upright, or in the backseat, this boot supports me.

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W

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Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W
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Kristin Sinnott in the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

I’ve used this boot for the past two seasons, but full disclosure, I haven’t had too many big days in the backcountry on them. And by “big,” I mean a very full day of touring. I’ve put many miles going up and downhill in them, it’s just lately, my son joins me on my tours and that keeps me out of avalanche terrain and usually just up the ski area or on some mellow trails.

With that in mind, I’ve found the flex of the boot to be stiff enough to allow for an aggressive, forward stance without having to worry about the boot collapsing under me. The smooth, progressive flex doesn’t have a hard stop unlike other AT boots I’ve tested, which makes for a more intuitive ride, and I like the weight and range of motion for the ascents.

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

With all the boots I have tested or worn, I have only ever used the stock liner, so I can’t comment on this one for now.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

If the old Tecnica Mach1 Pro LV W had fit me, it would have been a contender due to its stiff, smooth flex. But no matter how much time I spent with a boot fitter, that boot never fit as well as I would have liked. There’s something about my ankle bones and the Mach1’s fit — they just don’t seem to go together.

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

With my limited time / shorter-duration tours that I’ve been doing for the past two seasons, I’m perfectly content with my touring boot. When I do start venturing out more frequently in the backcountry without my toddler, I’ll be happy to look for a different AT boot.

For my inbounds boot — I don’t see myself giving up the Salomon S/Max 120 W until it breaks.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER

ERIC FRESON

Thankfully, my feet are kind to me. I don’t have much trouble finding boots that fit my foot and / or are comfortable, and other than needing to punch my “6th toe” area in some cases, I typically don’t need to do much more than mold ‘em (typically just the liner) and ski ‘em.

Most of my decision making about boots ends up coming down to their “suspension.” I’m looking for controlled compression and rebound, with an ability to stand up to big “g-outs” (to use a bunch of mountain biking terminology).

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Dalbello Lupo Pro HD

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Dalbello Lupo Pro HD
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Eric Freson in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

The Lupo Pro HD is one of those boots that I really could see myself using day in and day out, in and out of bounds. Honestly.

It’s heavy for a 50/50 boot, has a powerful and linear flex, good damping, and can drive big skis in big terrain. I personally love 3-piece boots, and that’s just icing on the cake here. I do absolutely need to pull out the tongues if I’m walking any meaningful distance (which means that I need to keep space available in / on my pack), and at ~2000 g per boot, I am not going to forget that they’re on my feet on the way up. But in my mind, if you like 3-piece boots, ski aggressively, drive big skis, spend time walking uphill, and / or need something you won’t easily fold in half, it’s an option you should be looking at.

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon

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Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon
Jonathan Ellsworth & Eric Freson review the Salomon S/Max 130 and Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon for Blister
Eric Freson using the Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon, Crested Butte, CO.

The ski boots I remember loving as a kid are the Salomon Pro Model and the Salomon Falcon S/Lab. So, I’m a known lover of Salomon shit kickers. Most have worked for my feet, most have typically been quite temperature stable, and most have controlled suspension characteristics.

The S/Max 130 Carbon fits those traits in my experience. It’s incredibly powerful, light, and precise. It offers a ton of terrain “feel” and feedback, and lets me know what my skis are doing / going over at all times. For an inbounds-only boot, the very low volume S/Max 130 Carbon makes it easy for me to get a great fit quickly (though its fit definitely won’t work for everyone). I wouldn’t call it easy-going, but if you want to feel like you have hyper-cars on your feet, it’s worth checking out.

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only: Salomon S/Lab MTN

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Salomon S/Lab MTN
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Eric Freson in the Salomon S/Lab MTN, Crested Butte, Colorado.

A very nice mix of walking and skiing performance, I love that I’m never thinking about my boots (in the backcountry) when wearing the S/Lab MTN. A walk mode that I can engage or disengage without pulling my pants up, just two buckles, and an easy to initiate and progressive flex that can accommodate pow noodling or driving the fall line alike, there is a lot to enjoy here.

The 98mm last keeps my foot in place, the liners are warm and hold up well to long walks and sweaty feet, and I find them very aesthetically pleasing. Not the easiest to get my foot (or liner) in and out of, and they aren’t “the most” anything. Not the stiffest, or best range of motion, or the lightest weight. I do run mine with an Intuition Tour Wrap liners to stiffen them up a bit. Generally, I find the S/Lab Mtn is invisible on my feet, and I really appreciate that when I’m looking to use my brain’s limited processing power to make good decisions in the backcountry, rather than being focused on my feet.

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

Dalbello Lupo Pro HD + Intuition Tour Wrap. Other than being tired from having such a heavy boot on my foot when walking uphill, or annoyed about taking the tongues on and off with each transition in the backcountry, the addition of an Intuition Tour Wrap liner really would make this a boot I would feel comfortable skiing at the resort while still not giving up its useability in the backcountry. The stock liner isn’t anything to complain about, but the excellent foam from Intuition and the warm safety blanket of having a “wrap” style liner caressing my foot would put this combo over the top as a “do everything” quiver-of-one boot.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

Full Tilt First Chair 130

I love this boot. I love 3 piece boots. When I am hammering the resort day after day and need a boot that gets me a high level of performance, but also a very high level of liveability / ease of use, Full Tilts have no peer for me.

The First Chair doesn’t offer the most precise fit, but it’s stiff enough for me, I like its linear and controlled suspension, and how comfortable and easy to live with it is. It’s also easy to maintain and repair. And Seth Morrison skis them.

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

Full Tilt Ascendant SC

As I just discussed, I like Full Tilt boots a whole bunch. A 3-piece boot, Intuition liner, and tech inserts? Seems like something that would be right up my alley. I’m a bit concerned the cuff height will be a bit too low for me, it’s a heavy boot, and it’s notably higher-volume than the other boots I’ve gotten along with. But if the performance, comfort, and useability are all there, I’m prepared to be a fan. Excited to spend some time in this one.

Salomon Shift Pro 130

The ski boot I’m most excited to ski this season. I’m hoping for a powerful boot that is reasonably lightweight, comfortable to walk in, and has a high ceiling of performance that I’m not often bumping into the end of. If it fits and skis like the Salomon alpine boots I know and (generally) love and walks even reasonably well, I’ll be very happy.

1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER 1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21), BLISTER

PAUL FORWARD

I. 1 ski boot for inbounds skiing + backcountry ski touring: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro

Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Paul Forward in the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, Chugach Range, Alaska.

I still marvel at the engineering accomplishment that is the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro. I’ve used just about every boot in the category of “stiff touring boots” and the Zero G is close to or better than every other boot there in overall ease of use, tour mode comfort, and, most importantly to me, downhill performance.

Factor in that it does this while being 100-200+ grams lighter than almost anything else in its category, and it’s an easy call for me. It (literally) doesn’t hurt that I was able to take them out of the box, do a quick heat mold of the (very nice) liner, and immediately started going on long tours in complete comfort.

It’s a little soft and light for smashing crud under the lifts on big, heavy skis but I could deal with that to have a boot that tours so well. My biggest issue for inbounds use would be the binding constraints of the Zero G’s ISO 9523 soles, but I could live with MNC bindings. On the other hand, there are plenty of days when these are overkill for most ski touring, but I keep reminding myself that these are within 100 grams of my modified Dynafit TLT6’s that I used on weeks-long traverses in the past because they seemed so light at the time.

II. 1 ski boot for inbounds-only skiing: Lange RX 130 LV

Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Lange RX 130 LV
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130, Chugach Powder Guides, Alaska. (photo by Charlie Renfro)

There are a lot of great alpine boots out there and the best one is probably just the one that fits your foot the best. For the last 5 or 6 years, the Lange RX 130 LV has been that boot for me.

The 130 occasionally feels a touch soft when skiing with a backpack, but most of the time, the flex is quite good for me and I’ve always gotten along with the ride provided by Lange’s Polyether construction. I also appreciate the rubber soles and I’m sure they’ve prevented at least a few falls that would have occurred with the hard plastic soles found on most race boots. Unfortunately, I’ve never found a pair of alpine boots with a stock liner that works for me (it’s always the instep pressure) and that includes the RX 130. I have been using my ZipFit liners from Gnome’s in New Zealand since 2015 and I still love them in these boots.

III. 1 ski boot for ski touring only: Scarpa F1 LT

Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Scarpa F1 LT
Blister 2020-2021 reviewer ski-boot selections
Paul Forward in the Scarpa F1 LT, Chugach Range, Alaska. (photo by Charlie Renfro)

This is the toughest one for me and I need to start with an important caveat: I don’t ski in the backcountry like I do inbounds, or even while heli skiing. I’m fortunate enough to live very close to some spectacular ski touring terrain with a snowpack that usually allows steep powder skiing all winter, but when I’m out under my own power and away from ski patrols and helicopters, I typically ski slower and with more caution. As a result, I don’t usually need inbounds- / alpine-like performance out of my touring gear.

With that said, for the majority of my ski touring days, the new Scarpa F1 LT is simply brilliant. My size 27.5’s, including my custom insoles, come in at around 1100 grams and the tour mode is incredibly comfortable with almost effortless fore / aft ROM. The mind-blowing part, however, comes when I lock them into descent mode and realize that these things are quite stiff with a poppy, rapidly progressive flex. Even on skis over 130 mm underfoot and not always in perfect powder, they do the job surprisingly well. In less extreme circumstances, like ~110mm skis and soft snow, they just disappear under me and let me ski how I typically want to ski in the backcountry.

I’ve mentioned many times on Blister that I’ve been playing with two-buckle, lightweight touring boots since the Dynafit TLT5 Performance first came out in 2010 and I’ve tried most of the boots in that class that have come out since. To me, the Scarpa F1 LT is thus far the pinnacle of light touring boots and I encourage every dedicated ski tourer to try a pair of boots like this. You might be surprised by how capable these incredibly light boots are.

That said, there are days when conditions and aspirations line up and I want to go ski something big and consequential, and / or I’m just raring to ski as fast and aggressively as possible in the backcountry. On these days, the F1 LT does feel a bit soft and I’m very happy to have my Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro as mentioned above.

IV. 1 ski boot for everything + your choice of 1 additional aftermarket liner

I’m going to stick with my Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro for this. The stock liner is quite good and I haven’t experimented with anything else in them so far. Given the options, however, I’d probably rotate through some Intuition Powerwraps to see if I could eek out a little more downhill performance without messing up the touring comfort too much.

V. What 1 or 2 boots were closest to making the cut?

The above-mentioned boots are best in class for me and I haven’t found anything else that I would add to my list so far. With the Lange RX 130 LV, Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, and the Scarpa F1 LT, I have the best boot quiver of my life and I’d be happy to just keep skiing these three boots for another few years. The only thing I’m missing, and this is super niche, is a pair of very stiff-flexing but also very comfortable, higher-volume alpine boots so my feet stay warm and comfortable during long days of heli guiding that involve being out all day and wearing a heavy pack.

VI. What are you most intrigued to spend more time in?

As I mentioned above, I’m still looking for an alpine boot that is very warm and comfortable but still very stiff for skiing with a heavy pack. I have a pair of Tecnica Mach1 TD MV Concepts on the way and am hoping that, with the right liner and fit modifications, I can make them into my “all-day, comfortable and warm, but still good-enough-skiing guide boot.”

On the other end of the spectrum, I’m quite intrigued by what Dalbello is doing with that Quantum Asolo Factory. I’m also curious if their Lupo Air really is a 1300-g, 130-flex boot.

The last one I’d like to check out is the Lange XT3 140 Promodel. While I was always impressed by the previous XT 130’s I skied over the years, I didn’t have the best experience with my pair of the previous XT 140. The XT3 is a totally new boot though, and I love the idea of a 140-flex boot with a walk mode and grippy rubber. I really hope a pair of these finds their way to Alaska this winter.

51 comments on “1-Ski-Boot Quiver: Reviewer Selections (20/21)”

  1. “I’ve always wanted to try the Scarpa Maestrale RS as a dedicated touring boot, but I skied in the Maestrale XT and it felt like it was trying to murder my feet, so I’m doubtful it’d fit. But everything else about that boot sounds really appealing.”

    Hawx Prime XTD fits me so much better touring is like an entirely new more fun activity.

  2. Sam, you’re not the only one who both likes his new model Maestrales and struggles mightily to get them on (and off, for me). If I let them get cold before booting up in the morning, it’s a nightmare. I don’t know why they took away the feature from the older model that allows the tongue to pull out of the way.

    Thanks as always for the great reviews, all.

  3. I have the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro which was the only lightweight touring boot in that style to fit my feet pretty well before bootfitting. After a highly customized boot fitting I really like it worrying only about longevity.

    I hadn’t purchased a new boot in years, waiting for new designs to settle down and more expansive fit options but, I got tired of waiting.

    After realizing the capabilities of a good boot fitting, people have way more options if your willing to have it done.

  4. My experience has also proven a good stock fit is the best determination and so many feet are so different.

    For me, the Maestrale RS digs into my calves and is too narrow but the Maestrale XT is a much more comfortable and a little too wide for a proper responsiveness.

    The Prime XTD hurts my instep, ankle bones, and heel.

    • I had fun at Mt Lyford in NZ this year helping to lever a very unhappy dude out of his cripplingly painful Hawx Prime XTD’s. They did not want to come off.

  5. I have had good fitting success with Lange in the past, ski mainly inbound but like a bit of walk mode for the odd hike or tour.
    Any insider insight if Lange will push out the sizes to 30.5 on the XT3?

    Also have zipfits and think they are great but does anyone have comments on the tour version?
    Cheers

  6. Dynafit “One” fits me perfectly and is the only boot i want/need in my one boot quiver. BTW it has a Palau liner i bought from Palau.

  7. I have had a lot of boots in this category trying to find the one boot solution. My quest started with the original Lange XT, Tecnica Cochise, Fisher Ranger, and K2 Pinnicle all 120 flex – finally found a home in the Nordica Strider 120 with SureFoot Custom Liners – but I am also skiing a pair of Mistral RS – so I guess one boot will not work for me. FYI – Through this entire odyssey I mostly live in the same pare of Scarpa XT Comps – Home is where the hart is!

  8. So the other question I would have asked was – take fit out of the equation, what would be your choice for a 1 boot quiver for 50/50 or maybe even for a 70/30 inbound to backcountry mix. Fit has to be right but if you took it out of the equation what boots would you think would be ideal.

  9. Would love to see what you think about the Dalbello Lupo Air boots. 1300g in a 26.5, no fiddling with the tongue, Krypton type fit, sweet liner and legitimately stiff. Probably best for those with higher insteps, but this boot is legit. Wonder why Dalbello doesn’t promote this boot more?

    • I’m really curious about this boot, too. I love my Lupo 130Cs, but being one of Dalbello’s first shots at Grilamid their shell durability sucks – they’ll probably need to be replaced after this season. I’m skeptical of any cabrio boot that claims a 130 flex without a tongue, but here’s to hoping.

  10. What do all of you have a problem with Fischer ? I owned their first Ranger 120 Vacuum which skied amazing but the liner packed out to quickly. So I changed to the Fischer Progressor 130 and that boot was amazing too. Really quick edge to edge with great snow feel. Fischer with the Vacuum technology can custom mold the entire boot liner and shell to your foot/leg/stance so your set on edge better than any other boot without having canting. I also added the Booster Race straps to these boots and that really made a difference in performance. I’ve since upgraded to Fischer’s new Ranger Free 130 because of the tech binding fittings incorporated in the boots. This boot has a higher instep and wider forefoot which I really needed right out of the box. So entry and exit is so much easier. I’m just disappointed that none of you tested or reviewed any Fischer boots.

  11. Inbounds: RX 130 with Intuition liner and Raptor power straps.

    The Raptor 140 is even better, but nearly impossible to remove on a cold day in the parking lot.

    About to give inbounds AT a try — something I thought I’d never say — with some Atomic Backland Carbons.

  12. Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 W has been a great ski for me even inbounds especially with an Intuition liner. Curious to try the mimic liner.

    I’ve been using the Hawx and the Scarpa Freedom previously and it’s hard to imagine walking around without a walk mode haha even from the parking lot or on a boot pack.

  13. Big fan of a sub 1500 gm AT boot as a 1-quiver, and then use a tongue liner for touring, wrap liner for resort. For this season, picked up a TLT7 Perf to add a long distance/hike boot (FWIW).
    Also, with the Maestrale RS, I gotta flip to walk mode and pull the upper back behind the liner in order to easily get in and out.

  14. think a 2 boot quiver would be a more interesting article.
    It would guide people to a touring boot, if they have the same alpine boot as the reviewer(for 1 touring, 1 resort boot), assuming there’s a good chance that boot would fit them.

    It would also be fun to see how reviewers think of covering the spread, similar to how they did in 2 ski quivers. Do you go for a super light touring boot and a 50/50 boot with a solid liner? Or a super stiff burly 140 flex resort boot and the stiffest, burliest AT boot because that’s your style?
    All kinds of fun options.
    No need for “one brand” type questions, just the what and why, and which potential boots you haven’t tried yet.

    On the opposite side, how is the super light touring boot overview by Paul Forward coming along?

    • I’m afraid that I don’t see how / why you can’t already extrapolate this from what we’ve written above? E.g., for me – inbounds: HEAD Raptor 140 RS. Touring: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro.

      • Foot gets along pretty well with a RX130. It’s wide enough with a punch along the outside of midfoot, and I get a punch for the bone on top of my instep(navicular?) and a little punch for my outside ankle bone. I love the heel hold that the RX gives my foot.

        I ski a 29.5 which means nobody has what I would like to try on in in a touring boot in stock. The solution is order boots in and return what doesn’t fit, which is a pain in the ass and represents a lot of money out for the testing. I’m thinking of ordering a Zero G Tour Pro, Mastrale XT or RS and a Hawk Prime XTD. It seems like one of these could fit my foot. Any other suggestions for an RX like fit in a lighter weight but stronger flex touring boot? Thanks!

        • Tricky situation. Are you in a regular RX or the LV? Zero G skews more on the low volume side (more similar to the Hawx Ultra & Lange LV fit). Lange’s old XT Free or new XT3 might have the best odds for lining up similarly with your inbound boots.

          Also, a few of my local shops do a really good job of sizing me up and special ordering a boot or two we think will work as long as it’s from their existing brand partners, so it might be worth the ask.

  15. I think a good follow up will on the “grippers” or bindings. Pin vs alpine set up in the resorts? The ISO question comes into play.
    Great articles and topics. Keep asking the questions.

  16. Sounds strange but Scarpa F1 can serve as an fantastic touring boot – I am surprised that it is not listed here. I can ski my 187cm/104mm skis in F1 without any problem.

  17. I think I would just give up backcountry skiing if I only got one boot OR one pair of skis. Do more winter “trail” running / fat bike instead. The compromises are just so massive and in CO the snowpack is so dangerous anyway. Abasin is open until June…

  18. Interesting takes. I’d be interested in your all’s perspectives on how to branch out from purely alpine boots to the “ideal” two-boot quiver. I’m primarily a resort skier, but branching out to touring (just doing uphill laps at the resort for now on a set-up with Shifts and 5-year old ill-fitting Cochise 120’s, will be getting avy courses taken care of soon, etc.). I’d like to get rid of the Cochises as they’re too big. But, I’m not at a place where dedicated set-ups make sense for me, i.e., dropping ~$1500 on a pure touring and pure resort boot, yet. So, boots like a well-fit Cochise/XT3/Strider seem more appealing for the near-term and if touring becomes a thing that I do regularly, then having dedicated resort and touring boots would be worth the investment.

    Also, from a logistical standpoint, how often are you folks with a two-boot setup using two different boots in a one particular ski (one with an MNC binding, for example)? And, are you needing to readjust every time you swap out?

    • I’ve wanted to try Dodge boots for many years but still haven’t even held a pair in my hands. I wish they’d send us a pair to review.

  19. Kevin,

    “I ski a 29.5 which means nobody has what I would like to try on in in a touring boot in stock. The solution is order boots in and return what doesn’t fit, which is a pain in the ass and represents a lot of money out for the testing. I’m thinking of ordering a Zero G Tour Pro, Mastrale XT or RS and a Hawk Prime XTD. It seems like one of these could fit my foot. Any other suggestions for an RX like fit in a lighter weight but stronger flex touring boot? Thanks!”

    I am in a 29.5 boot and experience the same thing. I have a Hawk Ultra XTD 130 in 29.5 and really like it. They have a wider model as well, the Prime you mention. I concur with Blister’s reviews on the boots and will add the heat molding works great for getting more width where needed. I was interested in the Zero G Tour Pro, as well, but the shop never got them in. I also was in the Salomon XLab Mtn boot and liked that as well and almost bought it. The Atomic was more binding compatible with its WTR sole, so that was my choice. I have a long narrow foot, and both of those boots fit well. I recently upgraded my Atomic XTD with their new Mimic liner and its even better for inbounds skiing. I keep the original light weight liner for touring use. There are several other boots new to the market, Blister does a good job keeping on top of this market. They are due to publish a touring boot update to their previous roundup article this season.

  20. This was a big reveal. Most of the blister crew favored heavy-duty boots, which tells me that you are not primarily touring/BC oriented folks (with a couple of exceptions).

  21. Great article and enjoy reading your thought processes on where you would make compromises. I have Lange RS130s for the resort and recently bought Scarpa Maestrale’s for touring in. Due to covid have only skied the Maestrale’s for one day in the resort. Not a bIg enough sample size but could imagine using them as my single boot if I had to.

  22. Hi Paul, have you tried the atomic backlans carbon? differences with the scarpa f1 lt? What characteristics stand out from both? which one goes down better?
    thanks in advance.

    P.S. excellent article.

  23. I have three pairs of skis and one pair of boots. Though one boot and one ski quiver selections sound ridiculous, or just as a mental exercise for you, there is a reality to this. I just got back from a NH/ME early season trip. Two adults, three kids (7 y.o. to 14 y.o.) in one car for two weeks. Packing is tight. Like really tight since I have three girls. I’m not saying girls have more stuff than guys, but….products, many products and fashion conscious. Anyway, imperfection is a given. I only have room for 1 pair of skis and 1 pair of boots. And as a parent, you literally could be doing anything: trees (if I’m lucky), front side east coast ice, side hits, bumps, and park. If I could have, I would have skinned up the mountains as many locals were on some off days. The appeal is that my kids won’t be there with me.

    So thank you Blister for doing this. There are people who love skiing but live in low snow areas, have kids and compromised conditions that have to make the best of a bad (ski) situation. Just as a joke, this is my 1 ski, 1 boot quiver for East Coast w/ kids. My setup *would* be different without kids or heading west.

    2016 (I think) Lange XT 100s
    Line TW Pro 171. I’m 6′ 190lbs.

    Not ideal. All of this bought prior to knowing about Blister. The Line’s have been good to me. But I think it’s time to move on from there. Maybe much taller Dynastar Menace’s. For boots, I’m interested in the Full Tilt Ascendent SC’s. I hope Eric Freeson reviews them. It’s not that I have a secret love of Full Tilts. It’s that not only do I have to put on my boots, but help with gear for three kids. I am gear-guy-man-dad. Ease of use becomes important. I like my Lang’s but it’s crazy what I’m doing with a 100 flex boots. I’m simultaneously good with them, and desperate for something else. Without kid consideration, I’d likely stick with the Lange’s but bump up the flex.

    I wonder how abnormal this is. Next time you go to the mountain (particularly on the weekends), look at the parking lot. Look at the families. The ski industry is likely floated by that crazy crowd snotty noses, lost gloves and parents just trying to make it to a chair without too much drama. It’s there that these thought experiments make sense.

    • Great post, sir. Spot on across various fronts. My daughters are now at Uni and one of them skis with me so there is a different future ahead where you don’t have to try and lug multiple skis from the car to the lifts!

      I am in Lange RS130’s bought PBM (Pre-Blister Membership) as a result of a good chunk of time with a Boston area bootfitter but am sure I don’t need 130 flex (knew nothing about flex when I bought them). Love them but often wonder what I ‘should’ have bought and what my next boots flex will be – will it be tough to go softer now I have had a few years in 130? Lots to learn

  24. I chose the Lange XT3 130 LV for inbounds and side country, a great boot for me. After dialing them in the only complaint I have is they are hard to get on and off, especially when it’s cold, as the shell wraps to the top of the foot and ankle. Obviously in the mornings I warm the boots up, but if they were at 10° I am not sure I could get into them!

  25. For me, who’s backcountry mostly consists of quick tours into the side country these days: my one boot quiver would be a Lange Rx 130, Intuition wraps, with Cast toes installed. I’d rather have the compromise on the way up than mess with my resort days.

    My Atomic XTD 130s are my dedicated BC boot, but I’d rather take the Langes if I could only have one pair. I am very curious to see if the Lange XT3 could replace my RX’s, but I doubt I’ll be happy in area with any boot without rivets.

  26. Currently using a Dalbello DRS WC M for inbound dutty and the occasional slalom training and those are by far the best race boots I have owned to date, damping is great, comfort is excellent with minimal work. All my previous race boots were causing me some frostbite on a regular basis during a season, with the DRS this virtually never happens.
    For BC I am using the first gen of the Hawk 130 xtd, while it is better than most other touring shoes I have used, the flex is super soft and has a tendency to blow through. I have a tendency to ride hard and charge (former racer) but I am not massive (1m80, 84kg) but this is a frustrating issue. Since I ride 70% of the time with race boots either groomers or freeride and expect to ski the same way when I earned my turns finding a boot and ski combo that is serious enough has proved to be challenging. Maybe give a go to some Lange or Salomon Shift to replace my Hawks, if anyone is in the same situation and has some info to share I’d be happy to hear it :)

    • *running these Hawk XTD with a Smax line to try to improve a bit precision and gain a bit of flex. Original was really flimsy and light so this is a good improvement for those looking for a way to beef up those Hawk Ultra 130 XTD.

  27. I currently have Dalbello Boss I.D with a custom Sidas foam injected liner without walk mode as I use for 80% lift assisted/20% touring shorter distances (20 min – 60 min tours from the ski lift). The bindings are frame bindings Marker F12 Tour EPF. The weight of the boots are 1830 grams + liner 700 grams. So bit over 2 500 grams. However touring without walk mode is not comfortable. How would a boot like the Lange XT3, Nordica Strider 120 or even Atomic Hawx XTD compare to my current setup in bounds? Would I notice an increase/decrease in performance? As I understand it my current boot is not an high-end boot and the flex is 110 (set in the firm position). It would be really useful to have 1-boot ski quiver since I don’t live near the resort so the less boots I have to bring the better.

  28. Thanks for this, it’s really helpful. The one thing I’m missing from Blister is more category overlap. Finding out how gear does in a category relative to other stuff it competes with is great, but for people who don’t know what category they really want (me) or people stuck between categories (also me), finding out if the worst touring boot is still better than the best 50/50, for touring, would be really interesting. This article (and really the Cochise 130 flash review) kind of locates where the best 50/50 boot fits relative to good inbounds boots.

    For me (and maybe a lot of people), 50/50 is kind of a misnomer. As someone who is trying to do more touring, but lives on the east coast and mostly does trips, I need a 90/10 boot, or a 95/5 boot. I simply can’t justify a second set of boots that are going to get 1-3 days a year when I’m out with a guide. But if I can take a minimal compromise inbounds and go from “0” walk to “sufficient” walk, that’s a really interesting prospect.

  29. Thanks for this awesome review! I’m hoping someone can elaborate a bit on the flex pattern and suspension differences between the Lange RX and XT3. Is this something you notice in every turn, or just in certain scenarios like stomping a landing? I love my RXs and wouldn’t want to sacrifice much carving performance by switching to the XT3. But I’d be fine trading some cushioning in variable terrain for walk-mode and pin inserts. So understanding what these differences really mean would be helpful.

    • the main thing is it has less rebound, so more of a static feel when you flex into it as opposed to the springy/bounce you’d get out of the RX 130 or an RS boot. additionally it has a more aggressive forward lean than the RX boots, which i found surprising, but adjusted to, though would be concerning for someone with limited dorsiflexion.

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