2019-2020 Lange RX 130 LV

Boot: 2019-2020 Lange RX 130 LV

Stated Flex: 130

Available sizes: 24-30.5

Stated Last: 97 mm

Size Tested: 27.5

Stated BSL (size 27.5): 315 mm

Buckles: Alu Race, WC Profil Screwed Shell 2 Easy Open

Powerstrap: 50 mm Velcro

Shell Material:

  • Cuff: Polyether Dual Core
  • Shoe / Clog: Polyether Dual Core

Soles: Standard Alpine (ISO 5355)

Binding Compatibility: Standard Alpine, Grip Walk, WTR, and MNC Bindings

MSRP: $699

Test Locations: Chugach Powder Guides, Kenai Mountains, & Alyeska Resort, AK; Mt Bachelor, OR

Days Tested: 100+

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 RX 130 LV, which returns unchanged for 18/19 and 19/20, apart from graphics.]

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Lange RX 130 LV
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  Intro //  Design & Features //  Fit //  Performance //  Bottom Line

Intro

The RX 130 has been in the Lange lineup for years now, but starting with the 17/18 version of the boot, Lange incorporated their “Dual Core” construction across the RX line. This new construction is designed to offer better overall performance and make the boots easier to get on and off. I’ve now spent two seasons in the current RX 130 LV, and it’s become my go-to alpine boot. Here’s why:

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

Shell construction and a note on different plastics

Both the cuff and lower shell of the RX 130 are made of what Lange calls “Polyether Dual Core”. What is Dual Core? This is what Lange has to say about it: “Utilizing our revolutionary new injection method, both soft and rigid versions of the most responsive high-performance plastics (polyether, polyurethane, grilamid®) are simultaneously injected into the boot mold and targeted to key areas of the boot.”

The basic concept is that harder plastic is used in the areas that need to transmit power and energy while softer plastic is used in areas that wrap the foot and lower leg and need to be more pliable for comfort, fit, and flex. Lange also claims that this process creates a sandwich of softer plastic within outer layers of stiffer plastic that enhances elastic tension and actively compresses and expands within the sandwich of the shell material. In theory, this creates more tension and more rebound when the boot is flexed.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Charlie Renfro)

In the case of RX 130, Lange utilizes Dual Core Polyether in both the cuff and lower shell, which I think is a good idea. Because Lange often makes the same shell shape out of different materials (across their different models and over the years), I’ve had the opportunity to ski what is essentially the same boot (in shell-shape and fit) in several different plastics including Polyether, Polyolefin, Polyurethane, and Grilamid.

I’ll get into the flex characteristics and performance of the current RX 130 below, but I will say with confidence that, from the perspective of pure downhill ski performance, my favorite Lange boots have always been those with both a Polyether cuff and Polyether lower shell. I’ve found that the full Polyether boots provide the most progressive flex, best rebound, and best overall control compared to the same shells that use other plastics. The only downside I’ve found with Polyether-shell alpine boots is that they do seem a bit more temperature sensitive than some other plastics, particularly in comparison to Grilamid, which seems to stay pretty constant across the temps.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

It’s worth noting that, Lange has typically made their 120 and stiffer RS series (Race / Piste) boots with a Polyether cuff and lower shell (as they still do), but various iterations of the RX boots have featured a combination of Polyether and Polyurethane (e.g., the 2013 RX 130 with translucent green lower and white cuff). Interestingly, Tecnica makes their entire line of 18/19 Firebird WC racing boots out of Polyether (all the way down to the WC 90), but the Mach1 130 LV is the only boot in the Mach1 series with a full Polyether cuff and lower shell.

Lange switches to Polyurethane lowers in the RX 120 and full Polyurethane in the softer RX’s. Other companies vary in similar ways as far as I can tell. I don’t know the details of each plastics characteristics, but it seems that the industry is in general agreement that racers and others looking for the highest performance and overall stiffer boots are better served by Polyether shells.

Cuff Alignment

Lange calls their cuff alignment adjustment “canting,” a term I usually associate with boot-sole adjustment, but the RX 130’s cuff assembly does allow for +/- 1.5° of adjustment. With my minor amount of varus leg shape (i.e., bowlegged), I maximized the outward adjustment as I always do and have been happy with that. I wish the RX 130 provided a tiny bit more adjustment, but overall it’s worked well and the cuff adjustment on the boots hasn’t loosened up after around two seasons of skiing in them.

Liners

The Lange RX 130’s liners are quite good and are more than adequate for a boot of this quality and performance level. The RX 130’s liner has a soft, slick lining that makes it more pleasant to get in and out of. The liner’s plastic-reinforced tongue (which is fairly standard for this type of boot) is very well padded and supportive (more so than my Zipfit liners).

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

Lange claims that the heel / ankle area of the RX’s liner is heat moldable and I did go through the heat molding process. To me, the results of the molding process were underwhelming and did not significantly affect comfort or heel retention, but it didn’t make the fit worse, either. The toe area did feel a little tight initially, especially compared to my well-used Zipfits, but the RX 130’s liners packed out fairly quickly and have remained comfortable and warm (definitely warmer than Zipfits).

Buckles

Lange says the RX’s buckles are “Alu Race, WC Profil Screwed Shell 2 Easy Open.” That’s a lot of words to describe what are essentially pretty standard alpine-boot buckles. They do live up to their name of being easy to open, even when wearing fairly bulky gloves. The buckles also have the micro-adjustability that is important on a high-performance, tight-fitting boot like the RX 130 LV.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Lange RX 130 LV — Buckles

I’ve had no issues with the RX 130’s buckles so far, even when taking lap after lap with my instep buckle flopped open. The only buckles I’ve used that I prefer are the very cool and easy to use “Spineflex” buckles on the Head Raptor 140 RS, which do seem to distribute pressure better than any other buckles I’ve used on a pair of alpine boots.

Power Strap

Lange uses a 50mm-wide, hook-and-loop power strap on the RX 130. While the stock strap works fairly well, it has the tendency to get a bit looser after a few runs, just like I’ve found on all other similar hook-and-loop straps.

I do wish that Lange would equip their higher-performance boots with some sort of elastic Booster-style strap like some other boot manufacturers are doing. I ended up replacing the RX 130’s stock strap with a World Cup Booster after a few days (as I do on almost all of my frequently used boots), and I have no regrets after doing so.

Soles

I am thankful that Lange has thus far avoided putting Grip Walk soles on the RX and has instead just stuck with standard alpine ISO 5355 soles. As I’ve written many times, I personally don’t think that putting Grip Walk soles on alpine boots provides any notable advantage, even for scrambling around on rocks (though there might be a small benefit on snowmachines). But Grip Walk soles do have the distinct disadvantage of being incompatible with many bindings, especially alpine bindings that predate the WTR / Grip Walk standards. I love that I can click the RX into even my oldest alpine bindings without concern of compatibility issues.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

I’m am also grateful that Lange chose to provide some reasonably grippy, replaceable rubber sole pads for the RX. While I don’t like the bulky and rockered Grip Walk soles, I’d still rather have some sort of grippy sole, rather than traditional hard plastic. While I’ve spent several seasons heli guiding in hard-soled alpine boots, I love having rubber soles, especially for hard, slippery surfaces like ice and concrete. With the RX 130’s soles, I think Lange struck the balance perfectly for a boot of this type and I wish all high-performance inbounds boots offered similar soles.

It’s worth noting that my other favorite alpine boots, the Head Raptor 140 RS, also have Vibram rubberized sole blocks (though they were sold separately). While the Raptor’s Vibram soles are an improvement over that boot’s stock hard plastic soles, the Lange rubber soles are much grippier on all surfaces and are easier to install / replace.

Getting Them On and Off

This is the first area where I think the Dual-Core construction does make a difference, especially when the boots are warm. In comparison to several pairs of non-Dual-Core Lange boots with essentially the same shell, the current RX boots are a bit easier to get on and off. When it comes to getting the boot on and off, the RX 130 feels fairly similar to Tecnica boots with their “Quick Instep” construction (e.g., the Mach1 130 LV).

This is a minor point, but I also appreciate that all of the edges of the shell on the RX 130 have been rounded off / smoothed out. This is in stark contrast to the Head Raptor 140 RS, which has fairly sharp edges on the inside of the shell that have bloodied my hands more than once when trying to get them on and off or during liner removal / install.

Fit

As, always, choose your boots based on fit and work with your local boot fitter to determine what boot you need. Getting a great-fitting boot is much more important than finding one with particular features / flex / weight. With that said, here’s how the RX 130 LV works with my feet.

While I’m told that the RX had some small changes in the fit starting with the 17/18 version of the boot that I’ve been testing, as far as I can tell, the fit of the current RX 130 LV is the same as the 18/19 Lange XT Free 130 LV and XT Promodel LV. And based on my time in these boots, I think this fit is the same as the previous, non-Dual-Core RX LV, and the 15/16 XT 130 LV. To verify this, I even swapped out the same liner in various generations of XT’s and RX’s and I could not tell the difference from one to another when it came to fit. For me, that’s a very good thing, as these boots all fit me almost perfectly right out of the box without any shell modifications — and that’s pretty uncommon for me.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

In fact, I can’t think of any other alpine boot that I could comfortably ski out of the box without some shell modifications, except for the old (now discontinued) Salomon X Max 130. The X Max was a fairly high-volume boot for having a stated 98 mm last (not to be confused with the 18/19 Salomon S/Max, which is a very low-volume boot).

I haven’t had a formal foot evaluation, but I’ve had a few boot fitters comment on my foot shape and the general conclusion is that I have:

  • A fairly low-volume ankle and heel
  • A higher than average instep / arch
  • Good ankle flexion
  • Moderate width across metatarsal heads

With that in mind, my common issues with ski-boot fit include too much room / sloppiness in the heel / ankle, the need for a “6th toe” and metatarsal-head punch, and most common of all, pain / pressure over my instep.

Aside from the various Lange boots mentioned above, the other current alpine boots in my rotation are the Head Raptor 140 RS, Dalbello Krypton 130 ID, and Salomon MTN Lab. All of these boots required large 6th-toe punches, whereas Lange boots did not. I’m not prepared to say that the forefoot of the “LV” Lange boots is overall wider or higher volume, but it does seem to work better for my particular foot.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Charlie Renfro)

The place where I most appreciate the Lange RX 130 LV’s fit compared to any boot I’ve used recently is in the heel / ankle pocket, where I get the best heel retention that I’ve had in any recent boot. The only boot that comes close is the Head Raptor, which is also excellent but doesn’t seem to contour to my particular foot quite as well.

My only issue with the Lange RX — which is an issue for me in every alpine boot and most AT boots I’ve owned — is the instep. In my first pair of the Lange XT LV, I did have the bootboard ground down slightly to accommodate for this and I’ve meant to do the same on the RX 130 LV. As with all my alpine boots, I typically end up with the lowest buckle and the cuff buckles fairly tight and the buckle over my instep barely latched if at all because my instep really can’t handle any additional pressure. I thought the softer plastic that is supposed to be above the instep in this new Dual Core RX 130 LV could make a difference for me in this regard, but I have not noticed a difference compared to other recent “LV” Lange boots like the previous RX and XT Free.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

Back in 2015 when I got my first pair of the Lange XT 130 LV, Lange recommended that I go with the 97-mm-last LV version of the XT 130 instead of the 100mm-last MV (despite my concerns about my high arches / instep) because they felt that the heel and ankle would provide a snugger fit and higher performance. I have tried on some “MV” Lange boots and will definitely be sticking with the LV versions for all of the reasons Lange highlighted.

My last note on fit has to do with liners. I have used and generally like the Lange RX 130 LV’s liner, but I have Zipfit liners from Gnome’s in New Zealand from the 15/16 XT 130 LV and I’ve swapped them into the current RX 130 LV. While everything I’ve said above applies with both liners, the Zipfits increase the heel / ankle retention to another level and are generally my go-to liners for these boots.

Downhill Performance

The current, Dual Core RX 130 LV is the best alpine boot I’ve ever used when it comes to downhill performance. I’ve skied a lot of boots so I know that’s a bold statement and is partly (largely?) based on just how well they fit my foot, but I feel that the flex of these boots is absolutely dialed for the kind of skiing that I do.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

My first days in the RX 130 were around April 2017 on ~105 mm skis on a day with temps in the low 30’s (Fahrenheit), skiing around Alyeska resort. I immediately noticed the excellent heel retention (remember, I have skinny ankles / heels, so this is often an issue for me). But I also noticed great responsiveness and rebound during dynamic turn transitions while skiing fast on groomers. The next run I pointed my skis toward some skied-out, off-piste crud and felt that the RX 130 provided as good or better suspension than any boot I’ve ever used. Great first impression!

Over the remainder of that season and all of last year, the Dual Core RX 130 has become my go-to boot for everything I do that doesn’t involve ski touring. When reviewing other boots, I ski them enough to break in the liners and get an idea of how they perform, but I always end up returning to the RX 130 for general skiing and use it as my benchmark boot when reviewing skis. Similarly, I spent the majority of my heli season last year guiding in the RX 130 and almost always grabbed them when I knew I’d be skiing something consequential.

I’m not sure if the Dual Core construction is really “the most significant breakthrough in modern ski boot performance since the first plastic ski boot” as Lange claims on their website, but the Dual Core RX 130 does provide the nicest flex, dampness, and rebound of any boot I’ve used in recent memory.

Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Dan Starr)

Unfortunately, it’s been too long since I skied the non-Dual-Core RX 130 LV to definitively state a difference. But I can say that, to me, the current RX 130 has a smoother flex than my other favorite boot, the Head Raptor 140 RS. The two boots are fairly close, but the Raptor’s flex ramps up slightly quicker and seems to provide a touch less rebound and allows for a little bit less ankle flexion when really driving the boot.

From a pure forward flex / stiffness standpoint, the RX 130 probably falls somewhere in the middle of the pack of “130-flex,” high-performance alpine boots. I haven’t skied a lot of the of the newest iterations of other 130 boots, but the RX 130 is slightly softer than the Raptor 140 (in 130-,140-, and 150-flex configurations) and the 17/18 (all black) Salomon X-Max 130. The RX 130 is stiffer than the old Nordica GPX 130 in every way.

Compared to Lange’s 18/19 XT Free 130 LV and XT Free Promodel LV (claimed flex of 140), the RX skis better in pretty much every way. I immediately noticed better rearward support (though the XT Free Promodel is close), but the forward flex on the RX is much smoother and more progressive than the more linear flex of the Grilamid-based XT Free boots. I have gone as far as to ski with one foot in an XT Free, and the other foot in an RX 130 to get a better idea of how they compare. While all of these boots are very good, I prefer the rebound and super smooth, progressive flex of the RX.

Paul Forward reviews the Lange RX 130 LV for Blister
Paul Forward in the Lange RX 130 LV, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Dan Starr)

My only quip with the current RX 130 is that I sometimes wish that Lange offered a stiffer version of the boot. I’m 6’, 190 lbs and am a pretty aggressive skier who skis on a variety of skis, from World Cup Slalom skis to >130 mm powder boards. The RX 130 is definitely stiff enough for me while skiing fast inbounds without a pack. But based on many days of heli guiding in them with a large pack, I do think that those of us who have to ski with big packs or strong skiers who are bigger than I am would benefit from a “140+” version of the RX.

Especially during warmer temps last season, I would occasionally swap out the RX 130 for the Head Raptor 140 RS (in 140- or 150-flex configuration) and found the Raptors to be a bit stronger and more supportive overall. So, I wish I could get everything I love about my RX’s in a stronger flex. 

Bottom Line

The current Lange RX 130 LV has class-leading flex characteristics and is an excellent option for strong all-mountain skiers. If you already have a great-fitting, great performing pair of “130-flex” polyether boots (e.g., the old RX 130), the improvement from the new RX’s Dual Core construction is probably not dramatic enough to get rid of them and start over. But if you need new boots and the RX 130 is a good fit, it’s hard for me to imagine a better all-round alpine ski boot.

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24 comments on “2019-2020 Lange RX 130 LV”

  1. Paul,

    Thank you for the review, as I’m on the fence between this boot and the Krypton 130 ID. I know it may be comparing apples to oranges (2 vs 3 puece shells) but are there any obvious comparisons between the two that make you choose the rx 130 over the kryptons? Are there any conditions that make you go back to the kryptons?

    Thanks again,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris, You’re right that the boots are very different. 3 piece boots like the Kryptons (and I think the Kryptons ski with more precision than Full-tilts) are tougher to engage the tips and feel less precise especially in firm snow of the skis but they have a deep, smooth flex that some people love. If you’ve never tried 3-piece boots you should borrow a pair and give them a go sometimes. I know some really good skiers who love Kryptons and and I know others who don’t like the feel. it’s largely a personal preference kind of thing.

  2. “I love that I can click the RX into even my oldest alpine bindings without concern of compatibility issues.”

    Amen! Great review. I tried these and the Raptors on. My feet said “OK” with the Langes and “Oh baby” with the Raptors.

    No regrets so far, though I would NOT call the Raptors warm with the stock liners. Not horrible, but not toasty, either.

  3. I got the FreeTour XT pro model Boots. In my opinion there is a huge difference between the XT Free 130 compared to the pro models.
    you talked about both within your review.
    Did you use both of them? You just wrote a review about the XT Free 130,

    • Hi Philis, I have used Freetour XT Promodel quite a bit. We’re not ready to full comment on them but Promodel, at least the pair I have, feels very different in overall stiffness and flex profile than the RX. They definitely ski like a Grilamid boot, ie more linear, and then pair I have definitely feel softer in every direction than my RX’s. We’ll update the Freetour review when we’re sure that the pair I have are production models.

  4. Thanks for the detailed write-up. I’m curious how you compare the stance angle of the Raptor 140 RS and the new Lange Rx 130. When I tested boots last purchase 5 years ago the Lange didn’t ski as well for me – it felt more upright and I ended up with the Raptor. Time for a new boot and the changes to the last/mold of the Lange sound like they might be improved to what I’m experiencing with the Raptor. Do you sense any differences between the two in stance angles?

    Tx

    • As told to us direct from Lange the RX has a 12 degree forward lean, 16 degrees with spoiler and a 4 degree Zeppa. I don’t have numbers for the Head from the factory but Joe below lists the Raptor as the same. I’ve skied both boots with the same liner and with their respective stock liners and they feel pretty similar to me. I feel like I’m typically fairly sensitive to forward lean differences but I can go back and forth between those boots without any trouble.

  5. I’ve skied both the Raptor and the RX, and there is a significant difference in stance angle which should be mentioned in this review. The Raptor is 16d lean and 4d zeppa, the RX is 12d lean and flatter zeppa. I find the stock Raptor way too far forward for my stance, and had to gas prdal. Definitely take this into consideration before you pull the trigger on one!

    • We just confirmed with Lange that the RX has a 12 degree forward lean, 16 degrees with spoiler and a 4 degree Zeppa. I’ve skied the raptor with stock liners, spoiler and with a couple of different intuition liners and I felt like it was pretty similar to my experience with the RX. did you ski current versions of both boots?

  6. Thanks for the feedback – seems if the angles you’ve listed are for the current RX, than I’d probably feel the same way as I did 5 years ago preferring those on the Raptor. It’s interesting Paul skis each boot and doesn’t discuss the difference. Paul – any observations ????

  7. No actual numbers, but when I tried the Lange and Raptor on back to back, the Raptor had more forward lean.

    I’ve got monster calves, so with the Raptor’s rear spoiler out for fitment reasons, it put me a bit more upright than designed, and right into my personal sweet spot.

    • Thanks for the feedback Tom. Good stuff. I didn’t notice as much difference between the two especially when I tried both with the same liner but Im sure leg shape can change the lean feeling as you suggest. Nothing wrong with the Raptor! Have a great season.

      • Thanks. Mine was just based on a quick “feel” standing in the boots, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find they might be the same.

  8. Thanks. I really like the raptor angles. I too ski without the spoilers but do use pro tongue intuition liners which fill the space pretty well for my skinny calves. I’m finding the interior wall of the raptors pretty pinned to my medial ankle, navicular shin etc. Even with punches grinds and cuff alignment I’m still feeling a bit “blocked” when I roll in. Love the fit everywhere else. Wondering if the new Lange mold is more anatomical around the ankle. the Lange RS 130 (LV) I used 5 years ago did not lock my instep/lower leg all that well….seems they have a new mold…

    • I can’t say for sure if the mold is different than it was 5 years ago. I’d hate to speculate on how the ankle of one boot will fit your particular foot vs another. As always we highly recommend that you only buy boots from your local shop/bootfitter so you can try a bunch on and get an expert opinion on what will work. Let us know how it goes for you.

      • Hi Paul- I am the same size and have the same foot shape as you describe. Am currently in a 2012 Rx130 with foamed liner, and looking for new boots. Considering the Rx130 w/zipfit and the Promachine 130. Any thoughts?

  9. Love my Tecnica Mach 1 130s. Had the Lannge 130s years ago and your review makes me want to demo these newer Lange. Very informative review. Thanks.

  10. Great review as always, thanks Paul. Any experience with the Nordica Promachine 130 that Jonathan reviewed recently? I have an extremely narrow ankle/foot but like the sound of the Rx’s flex. Wondering how the Promachine and Rx differ in ankle volume and flex/suspension?

  11. Lange does technically make a stiffer version: the ZB. Which is what I’m currently skiing cuz I found the RS130 was too soft. Downsides are massive amount of bootwork to get the 92 last to fit my super fat forefoot and they’re awful to get on/off in the cold. And they’re a little too stiff without a pack in temps below about 10F. Upsides are absurdly good heel hold (even had to have the heel ground out, a first ever for me), and they’re by far the most powerful, best flexing boot I’ve ever skied.

    But yeah, it would be so awesome if Lange made a wider ZB/stiffer RS130.

  12. I have been skiing the RX 130 LV for around 20 days now. I have a very narrow heel/ankle and wide 6th toe area. I had to have punches done to both my metatarsal and 6th toe areas on both boots to make them fit. 1cm or less in a shell fit. Once the fit was dialed, I can say that the boot changed my skiing style. By far the dampest boot I have skied in, I can lean into it as hard as I can and never hit a hard stop. The rear support is exceptional as well. I am a fan of the buckles, although I do find the top buckles to be hard to tighten at times (two hands to tighten). I am skiing the boots with custom footbeds, surefoot liners and booster straps. The original velcro straps were ok given how stiff the shell already was, but I prefer the elasticity of a booster on my liner.

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