The Spectre’s cuff (on the size 26.5 shell) is about 2 cm higher in the back than the 26.5 MTN Explore, and a touch over 4 cm higher on the tongue. That may not sound like a lot, but I sure noticed the additional height. The Spectre 2.0 just felt more locked in higher up on my leg, and dissipated impacts over my whole shin better. Part of that is also due to the fact that the highest of the Spectre’s four buckles is higher than the MTN Explore’s top buckle and thus locks the upper shell down better.
The Spectre 2.0’s flex felt like it absorbed impacts better than the Explore’s. Yes, it’s softer, and I felt that lack of precision driving bigger skis like the 184 cm Bibby Tour. But in variable snow, the Spectre 2.0 did a better job absorbing chatter instead of transmitting it straight from the ski. It gave me a quieter, more pain-free ride at the expense of a touch of power. That’s a trade I’m happy to make, especially when I’m driving narrower skis, or skiing in more variable terrain.
Salomon MTN Explore vs. the Sportiva Spectre 2.0
When I was locating the MTN Explore among various touring boots, I wrote this:
“In terms of weight, the MTN Explore sits between more all-round touring boots like the Zero G and MTN Lab on the one side, and the uphill-oriented boots for the skinny pants crowd. There aren’t a lot of other boots out there like it.”
I went on to say that the MTN Explore’s combination of a sub-130 flex and a very good walk mode is a good fit for a lot of backcountry skiers.
And I would say the same thing about the Spectre 2.0. It’s just a touch heavier than the MTN Explore, walks as well or better, and has a higher cuff and a more forgiving flex for the descent. And while the Spectre 2.0’s buckle system is a little weird, I got used to it pretty quickly, and those who want four-buckle security in the backcountry will appreciate it.
As a one-boot-quiver for the backcountry skier who needs an easy-walking boot for long tours, but who still wants to be able to drive bigger skis, drop bigger airs, and ski variable snow, boots like the MTN Explore and Spectre 2.0 are a great choice. And if you value cuff height over a little extra stiffness (as I do), the Spectre 2.0 gets the edge.
The La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 occupies a very versatile niche in the current landscape of touring boots. It’s light enough and has good enough range of motion for long days in the backcountry, but is stiff enough with a comfortable ride quality that suits it well to bigger skis and terrain. While the buckle system is a bit odd and takes some getting used to, the Spectre 2.0 is a very capable boot that should appeal to a wide range of skiers.