2018-2019 La Sportiva Spectre 2.0
Stated Flex Rating: 115
Stated Last Width: 102.5 mm
Size Tested: 27.5 / 304 mm Boot Sole Length
Stated Range of Motion: 60°
Stated Weight (size 27.5): 1445 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Shells & Boot Boards, no Liners: 1219 & 1223 g
- Stock Liners (no footbed): 251 & 248 g
- Total Weight per Boot: 1470 & 1471 g
Shoe / Clog: Pebax; Vertebra: Carbon-reinforced Grilamid
Test Locations: Teton Valley Backcountry, ID; Teton Pass Backcountry; WY
Days Tested: 10+
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Spectre 2.0, which was not changed for 17/18 or 18/19, apart from graphics.]
We reviewed the original La Sportiva Spectre back in 2014, and came away impressed with its value. The boot offered a lot of bang for the buck. However, reviewer Paul Forward had a lot of trouble with the Spectre’s fit — he didn’t have enough instep height (room above his forefoot). La Sportiva then released a tweaked iteration of the Spectre 1.0 with a higher volume to address this fit issue, and then in 2016, Sportiva released the Spectre 2.0, which they claim “is now 5% stiffer while retaining the largest range of cuff rotation in its class.”
After spending the early season in the Salomon MTN Explore, I’ve been testing the Spectre 2.0 since early January, and it quickly became my go-to touring boot.
So how does the 2.0 compare to the Spectre 1.0, and how does the 2.0 stack up to the modern crop of touring boots?
As we’ve said many times, the best way to make sure any boot will work with your foot is to go in and try it on with a good bootfitter. That said, I can provide some generalizations about the fit of the Spectre 2.0.
La Sportiva seems to have solved the instep issue from the original Spectre. I have very high arches and a large volume foot, and with my custom footbeds in the stock liners, I haven’t had any problems in this area. I did, however, find that on longer days, my toes were getting scrunched together. I usually need to get a 6th toe punch on most ski boots, but I was a little surprised that I needed one on the Spectre 2.0, given its stated last of 102.5 mm. I’ve been skiing the K2 Pinnacle 130 as my inbounds boot all season, and have had zero problems with its stated 100 mm last. All that to say, the Spectre 2.0 isn’t the widest “102.5 mm last” boot I’ve used.
Otherwise, the fit has been excellent. The heel hold has been very good, and I haven’t experienced any blisters or rubbing, despite the fact that I did not heat mold the liners before I started using them.
The Spectre 2.0 holds the distinction of being the only touring boot on the market that is compatible with all tech-binding norms. It works just fine with traditional tech bindings (I’ve used the G3 ION and Dynafit Speed Turn) as well as the Marker Kingpin, and Trab’s TR2 binding. Right now the Spectre 2.0 is one of only a few boots on the market compatible out of the box with the TR2, although La Sportiva is releasing another TR2 compatible boot for the 17/18 season.
The walk mode on the Spectre 2.0 is easy to activate, and so far, it has been silent and bomber. However, I have seen many boots that use a similar sliding-metal-bar mechanism develop an annoying squeak, so I’ll keep an ear out for that and be ready to lubricate it.
I expected the Spectre 2.0 to walk very well; after all, it is said to have “the largest range of motion in its class.” But it is worth remembering that its class is four-buckle touring boots, and does not include boots like the Salomon MTN Explore, the Fischer Travers, Atomic Backland Carbon, etc.
Still, 60° is nothing to scoff at.
I never found the limits of the Spectre 2.0’s ROM, either forward or back. This boot walks very well. It feels similar to the Salomon MTN Explore in terms of range and fluidity of ROM, but it’s worth noting that I haven’t experienced the blistering issues with the Spectre 2.0 that three of us now at Blister have had with the MTN Explore.
Sure, the Spectre 2.0 is no Dynafit TLT 5 or Fischer Travers on the up, but compared to similar boots like the Salomon MTN Explore or Fischer TransAlp, the Spectre 2.0 is as good or better in terms of range of motion and weight.
Transitioning and Buckles
As I mentioned above, the walk mode is easy to use, and I haven’t had any issues with it failing to lock, coming unlocked, or accidentally locking. This makes half of the transition process very easy.
As Paul Forward noted in his review of the original Spectre, it has very unique buckles, and those buckles took me a few tours to get used to them and figure out my strategy. I prefer to tour with my buckles open, but with the latches on the track so that I can simply flip the levers to cinch them down at the top. The Spectre 2.0 buckles work very well for this. The female end of the buckle hooks and clips onto the post in such a way that it stays put solidly even when there is no tension on the boot. That makes transitions reasonably quick; I just have to flip the four buckles on each boot open or closed, then cinch down the power strap.
I have heard reports of the barrel adjusters on the cables coming loose, so I Loc-tited mine preemptively, and have had no issues.
Initially, I was pretty skeptical of the Spectre 2.0’s downhill performance, in part because we have all been very happy with the Salomon MTN Explore’s downhill performance, and I doubted that the Spectre 2.0 could really compete with the MTN Explore. And yet, I have continued to reach for the Spectre as my default touring boot once I was done reviewing it.
La Sportiva claims a “115” flex for the Spectre 2.0, while Salomon calls the MTN Explore a “110” flex. This highlights the classic problem of every company using their own relative flex scale, since on snow, I found the MTN Explore to be a touch stiffer and more precise. It’s not a drastic difference, but a difference I noticed.
So the MTN Explore feels a touch stiffer, but I’ve continue to reach for the Spectre 2.0. Why?
Two primary reasons: cuff height, and the quality of that flex.
NEXT: Cuff Height, Flex Pattern, Etc.