Lange XT 130 LV

Hiking and Touring in the XT 130

We later ventured farther out of bounds, and I brought the XT back out to test its hiking and skinning ability for trips up Cerro Martin and Torrecillas. For boot packing, the XT was great; walking over the rocky, Martian landscape was smooth with the full rubber sole. The range of motion I had was nice for walking, but I appreciated it even more for our short skin to Torecillas.

My skinning efficiency in the XT was far superior to the RX. I was able to extend my foot at the top of each stride without digging into my calf. This is obviously the case for most boots with a walk mode, but, unfortunately, I can’t speak to the ROM in the XT versus other touring boots. I can say that I wouldn’t have minded a few more degrees of rearward extension if I was going to be on a longer tour.

When we reached the summit of Cerro Martin, I dropped into the Banana, a 45-degree chute with a ten-foot choke in the middle. I skied cautiously and had to check myself a few times before entering the choke to ensure I had ample control of the ski. Later in the week, I wore my RXs when we returned to Martin, and I was able to attack the steep chutes with noticeably more confidence and control. Off Torrecillas, I again was not able to attack with my normal level of aggressiveness, and in the middle of the run (where the snow was grippy and wind affected), I could not control the tails and again hip-checked to stop myself from barrelling out of control into a potential long tomahawk.

Ryan Caspar, Lange XT 130 LV, Blister Gear Review
Ryan Caspar in the Lange XT 130 LV, Las Leñas Ski Resort.

At this point, I am not sure if the issues I experienced with the XT 130 are due to the fact that the boot is softer, or that the lack of a full lock and resultant play in the walk mode causes the lack of precision.

Charlie Bradley’s mod involves adding a small shim to take up the play in the walk mode, and he did experience increased precision; the XT skied more like the RX.

Bottom Line

My Lange XT 130 felt softer and less precise than my Lange RX 130. If you are used to skiing stiff boots and demand the highest performance and precision, this is probably not the solution you are looking for.

However, if you are looking for a beefier boot for touring that you can ski most of the time, and you do not demand as much precision from your boots, it’s easy for me to imagine people adjusting to the XT 130s (especially if they aren’t skiing them directly against the RX 130) and being quite happy with them.

But for me, the benefits of the XT for hiking and skinning do not outweigh the compromises I found in the downhill performance. I would rather endure the a 20-minute bootpack going up in my RXs to enjoy the increased performance going down. I could see this being a good option if I were skinning more, and if the play in the cuff when locked in ski mode can be minimized with modifications.

At the end of the day, I could make the moves I wanted to in the XT, but compared to the outstanding RX 130, it felt like driving a car with a loose suspension versus driving a tightly tuned race car.

That was my experience, but you now need to read Marshal Olson’s review of the XT.

17 comments on “Lange XT 130 LV”

  1. This isn’t a review of the XT, it’s a “how an XT compares to an RX” rant. Come on guys, how does it compare to a Black D factor, dynafit Titan, scarpa mobe, technical Cochise lite, etc? I found that this boot is the best for me for a alpine feel with a walk mode.

    • Given the claims that Lange has made about the XT, a review of how the XT skis compared to the exact alpine boot it is based upon – the RX – is the first step. There is no rant here, just some pretty solid analysis.

      As he says at the top of the review, Ryan has avoided AT boots because of the performance compromise. With some mods, we’ll see if he can reduce that performance gap and bring the XT closer to an alpine boot.

      Lange has actually avoided calling this an AT boot (after all, it doesn’t have tech inserts). They have positioned it as an alpine boot with a walk mode, hence the angle of our initial review. But we’ll hope to make some comparisons to the AT field this season.

      • Honestly Jonathan this review sucked. No shit a boot with a walk doesn’t perform as well as a 130 free ride boot, literally everyone knows that. You say that the reviewer didn’t compare the boot to other AT boots because he hasn’t used them, well why the hell was he chosen to do the review? All he can tell is that it didn’t live up to an RX.
        Also, it doesn’t matter that Lange has avoided calling this an AT boot because it obviously is one. IMO avoiding the term AT is just some marketing BS.

        • (#1) Lange has stated time and time again that the XT skis the same as the RS/RX. That is very much the presentation Lange has made about the boot. So our initial write up reviewed the XT according to these claims. It’s an alpine boot with a walk mode. Ryan reviewed it as such.

          (#2) I assure you you’re wrong that “literally everyone knows” that this boot won’t ski like a 130 freeride boot, and I know this because we have received a ton of emails asking us if the XT really skis like a 130 freeride boot. Also, read #1 again.

          (#3) As we’ve already mentioned, we will be following up with other comparisons when we get more time in the XTs, but for now, you might want to read Marshal Olson’s comments posted directly below your rant.

          • I agree wholehearted with Jonathan here. This was a great review, particularly because Ryan skied them back to back with the RX130. Comparisons to the Cochise would be nice, but I think there’s been enough reviews of the Cochise to assume it will ski better than the XT.

            And like he said, no tech fittings means it’s not a real touring boot. Not sure what you’re looking for here, but if it doesn’t have tech fittings, I want it to ski as well as my alpine boots. Otherwise, I might as well just use an alpine boot.

  2. interesting read ryan. i only had a handful of runs, not a bunch of days, but I felt the same thing about the boot… it just gave up performance against, well basically every alpine boot, and basically every top-end AT boot, for 2 specific reasons:

    1. the upper cuff does not lock to the lower cuff. it skis like a boot with the rivets pulled. this makes it softer and less precise.
    2. in order to add the walk mode, Lange whacked off the spine of the lower cuff with basically a massive pie cut right were the need for the stiffest part of the shell ought to be. more lower shell deformation = softer and less precise.

    lange (and every BS magazine review out there that fluffs this boot) claims this thing is the exact same, skiing, as an RX/RS boot. It simply isn’t. not even close… which seems to be the point of ryan’s review, which my limited experience totally agrees with.

    just my opinion but the XT simply isn’t a touring boot. no tech fittings = alpine boot. sure maybe it has a walk mode, but you need to understand the cost of that tacked-on walk mode is a real performance drop on snow, unlike basically every new real AT boot out there (vulcan, titan, maestrale RS, cochise, etc) which actually do create locked cuffs and rigid spines, and frankly ski much much better (again, just limited on-snow experience on my end).


  3. I know they aren’t the performance machine the rx are, but do you think they will be a solid boot for slackcountry and people who like the neutral stance who generally ski a 110ish flex?

    • Aaron,
      If the shim alleviates the play in the walk mode, I believe this boot will work for someone who is not looking for the absolute highest level of performance.

      I am still hesitant to recommend it to someone looking to replace a stiff, high end alpine boot until I can test the necessary mods.

  4. Our Lange rep said don’t buy the boot. It’s a poor offering. He was very disappointed in how it skied. Will stay in my Titans for now. Still ski lange 130’s on resort days.

  5. Sounds like Lange made the exact same mistake that Atomic made on the 2010 and 2011 Tracker 130, which have been a huge letdown for me. I understand Atomic got it fixed with the 2012; hopefully Lange will do the same next year and put in a mechanism to lock the cuff down like a rivet.

  6. Hey Ryan,

    I’d really like to know what this mod is that your doing to the boot. I got a pair at the end of last year after my BD Factors broke and I could really use a little more stiffness. For resort days I ski on the RS 130s but they’re old and beat up. I’m almost considering riviting the boot down at this point and just using them for rock scrambling. If you have pictures of the mod, I’d love to see them before I go and hack these things up.

    • Steve,

      I have not yet performed the modification that we have been referring to, this was something that Charlie Bradley at the Boot Doctors shop in Taos discussed with us.

      What I do know is that Lange will be adding a metal piece to the walk mode for all production models for this coming season. I have not seen exactly what this looks like, but you can look forward to a review from Marshal Olson in the coming months.

  7. Maybe the different liner has an impact on the way the boot skis. I’ve skied many “touring” boots, and have frequently replaced the light weight touring liners with alpine liners. It almost makes a touring boot ski well….almost. Would like to see a review of the xt 130 with real alpine boot liners.

    • Peter,

      The liner is definitely not substantial, thus my reasoning for trying the boot with a Zipfit.

      I did ski the XT for a day with my old RX liner in it and did not notice significant improvements. Although that liner is close to the end of its life, I still feel that the performance deficits are due to the walk mode rather than the liner.

      Marshal Olson will be reviewing the new production model of the XT that now includes an additional metal piece to alleviate some of the play in the walk mode. Marshal is typically very diligent about using an array of liners when he tests boots, so you can look forward to his insight regarding the liner question.

      • Hi Ryan,
        Thanks for the review. I bought the XT 130 and experienced the same issue with the ski/walk system. Indeed there are several millimeters of back-and-forth play when on ski mode which kills the performance of the boots. I am using an injected liner (Comform’able ) which is stiffer than the RX liner. The issue is definitely with the ski/walk mode not with the liner.
        My shop is checking with Lange (I bought them in Chamonix, France) but seemed unaware of the issue until I raised it. Given the size (25.5), I don’t think my boot is a pre series.
        You mentioned that Lange will be adding a metal piece to the walk mode for all production models for this coming season. Do you know where this piece of metal will fit? Is your info coming directly from Lange?

  8. I’ve been skiing these so far this winter. 15-20 days on them so far. Size 25.5, riding FKS140’s on MFD plates mounted to this year’s 190 Bibby Pro and last year’s 196 Bibby Specials. Skied the stock liner for the first 10 days or so, then molded some power wraps into them. My thoughts, briefly:

    There is play in the ski/walk mode UNTIL I buckle them up. I find it slightly disconcerting conceptually but I don’t feel like there is any play when I’m actually skiing; now that I have some time in them I don’t really think about it.

    The stock liners are terrible. Plan on replacing them.

    On walk mode: you need to unbuckle the upper cuff and undo or loosen your strap. Even then, the range of motion is pretty poor. I find that it’s more trouble than it’s worth for me most of the time.

    Skiing performance: I’m pleased. That said, I was on full-tilts last year to it’s difficult to make a meaningful comparison. My edge control is notably better.

    All-in-all: I like them. Reasonably warm, surprisingly comfortable, happy with performance (all of these were improved considerably when I put some intuitions in, would highly suggest liner replacement). But one of the main selling points, in my mind anyway, is the no-compromise walk-mode; if I were back in time this May deciding what boots I wanted to order I’d go with the RX. But there are probably plenty of people who find the walk mode to be good enough for what they want to do, and for those people this could be a great boot.

    I’ll be very interested to read about the shim mod, if you have any info on how to do that I’d love to see it.

  9. This was an outstanding review. I’m not the best of backcountry skiers – I’m an ex racer seeking a daily driver boot. XT sounded too good to be true (vs RX) and this was a superb article to shore up that assumption. Big thanks!

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