Stated Flex Rating: 120
Stated Last: 102mm
BLISTER’s Measured Weight Per Boot: 1,315 grams (shell) + 225 grams (liner)
Boot Sole Length: 306mm at 27.0
Skier: 6’2”, 205 lbs., athletic, technically proficient, fast and fluid skier.
Foot: size 10.5/11 street shoe (278mm actual length); C+ width (105mm width, weighted); high instep; low-volume heel, ankle, and lower calf.
My Regular Ski Boots: 27.5 Head Raptor RD 130 (95mm last) with several punches for width in the instep and metatarsal heads, 26.5 Tecnica Cochise Pro Light (100mm last) as a touring boot.
Conditions Tested: Backcountry powder, sun affected, wind affected, in-bounds chalk, hard pack and spring slop. Basically everything.
Test Duration: 6 days of skiing
I should start by saying that I was only able to ski the SCARPA Maestrale RS for six days, so I cannot do my normal over-analysis. This review presents my first impressions of the Maestrale RS, and I hope to follow up later in the season with a more thorough going-over of the boot.
The Maestrale RS strives to be a no-compromise backcountry boot for the freeride skier who wants control and precision at speed on wide skis, without paying any penalty in weight or stride while touring. I do not think the Maestrale RS is intended to be a crossover boot per se, but if you have bindings that are compatible with the SCARPA’s heavily rockered sole, the Maestrale RS will be up to the task.
The Maestrale RS is an updated version of the original, now-two-season-old orange Maestrale. The RS features a Nylon shell, as opposed to the original’s Pebax shell. This new material choice makes the boot much more laterally rigid and also yields less shell deformation in the lower, making it effectively stiffer on snow. The RS also includes a stiffer tongue, which matches the increased performance of the shell nicely.
The Maestrale RS comes in at an attractive ~1,550g weight. That is weight-competitive with the new Dynafit Vulcan and Mercury, and is actually a shade lighter than the original Maestrale.
Neither of the Maestrale boots nor the Dynafit Vulcan nor Mercury boots have replaceable toe and heel blocks. If you count grams, this is likely not important to you, but if you like to switch between alpine and AT bindings, or replace the boot soles regularly when they are smoked from scrambling on rocks, replaceable soles do add about 200 grams to the system’s weight. The Cochise Pro Light boot comes in 180g heavier, but does have replaceable soles.
I, for one, really appreciate that SCARPA includes an Intuition Pro Tour liner with this boot. They are light, warm, heat moldable, and match the shell nicely. That said, I did need to put “L-pads” around the ankle of the liner to get adequate heel hold. Should you feel heel-lift, that would be my first suggestion. (You might also be interested in reading my Intuition Liners review.)
The fit of the boot itself is very comfortable out of the box, which typically is worrisome, and often indicative of a boot that’s too big. But in this case, the initial fit is deceptively precise. The original Maestrale was roundly praised for skiing much better than its soft flex might indicate, due to a precise shape that gave the skier more control over the skis than they otherwise would in a stiffer but less anatomical shell.
The RS offers nice closure on the front fold of the ankle and lower tibia, decent heel hold, and a nicely shaped toe-box that will fit most feet without issue. I don’t really have much to say here, SCARPA really did their homework on the anatomy, and the Maestrale RS will fit most feet straight out of the box. I would compare the overall shape of the Maestrale to some of the top-selling alpine boots out there, such as a Lange RX. A very nice fit that will work with most feet.
I do think that the side-pivoting tongue arrangement is a bit finicky, and it takes a little practice to figure out how to fold the upper buckle out of the way, pivot the tongue, and then put it all back together…but it works. No harm, no foul. But expect a learning curve.