Update: La Sportiva Spectre
Boot Sole Length: 304mm
Stated Flex: 110
Stated Weight: 1445 g per boot
Blister’s Measured Weight (size 27.5):
- shells, no liners: 1180 & 1185 grams
- stock liners, no footbeds: 243 & 246 g
- shells + liners, no footbeds: 1423 & 1431g
- Boots as Tested:
- 1465 & 1470 g with Intuition Powerwrap Plug liner and insole
Days Tested: 15
Test Locations: Alaska: Talkeetna Mountains, Neacola Mountains, Kenai Mountains, Chugach Range
Skis/Bindings Used: 2013-2014 DPS Lotus 120 Spoon 190cm and 2009-2010 DPS Lotus 138 192cm (both w/ Dynafit Radical FT 12). Praxis Backcountry 190cm – stiff carbon layup (w/ Dynafit Vertical ST 10)
I have more time in the La Sportiva Spectre and am better able to discuss the overall performance of the boot. Please see my initial review of the Spectre for full details on its design, as well as some information about the various types of alpine touring ski boots.
As I described previously, at about 1,470 grams per boot, the Spectre sits in a very competitive place when it comes to weight. The Spectre is about half a pound lighter (per pair) than my Dynafit Vulcans with the same Intuition Powerwrap Plug liner, and the weight difference is definitely noticeable. On the other hand, the Spectre weighs about a pound per pair more than my old Dynafit TLT 5 Performance boots.
More on the Design
In my First Look, I noted the unique buckles on the Spectre, and I still feel their design is totally viable—it makes for a lightweight buckle that offers a great deal of adjustment. I did, however, have some issues with buckles popping loose while booting up in deep or variable snow. Occasionally, this would result in the exposed metal post becoming iced up, making it difficult to reattach the buckles for the descent.
Forefoot buckles coming loose allow the yellow tongue to lift up from the lower shell while touring, which sometimes resulted in snow being able to enter into the lower shell and work its way into my liner. This was not a common occurrence, but it was quite noticeable when it happened.
Caveat: It is possible that the issue of snow entering the boot may be a result of my increasing the volume of the instep area during the fitting process, making the opening under the tongue in the lower shell larger than intended. And as noted in our initial review of the Spectre, Sportiva has now increased the instep height of the Spectre.
I spent a lot of time working on the fit of these boots, even after posting my First Look. I had some issues with the boot’s instep being too low (see the Caveat above), and it took several sessions with a heat gun, adding volume to the shell, until it was comfortable enough for all day touring.
I again tried the stock liner, but was only able to get the instep room I needed using an Intuition Powerwrap LV liner. According to my local bootfitter, Corey Anderson at Powderhound Ski Shop in Girdwood, AK, my instep is higher than average, but isn’t especially unusual. I have owned a lot of alpine, AT, and telemark ski boots in the past few years, and have often needed a little extra volume over the instep but it’s almost always been achievable with a liner mold or swap.
Uphill / Touring Performance
With the fit of the Spectre dialed, I was able to go log a lot of hours in it, and found it to be great touring and climbing boot. The Spectre’s range of motion is perfectly adequate, matching that of any other boot I’ve used, including the Dynafit TLT 5.
A pet peeve of mine on interchangeable-sole boots such as those in the Salomon Quest line or the Tecnica Cochise is how much farther forward from the ball of the foot, the tech fittings are on the replaceable sole blocks. In my experience, this yields a less natural, less comfortable stride. But this isn’t the case on the Spectre. The tech fittings on the Spectre’s toe are well positioned and allow for a natural stride.
The boot’s short, rockered sole (304mm long in a size 27.5 – same as the Vulcan) makes the boot nimble on rocky ridges and quick scrambles. The sticky, full-rubber soles and rockered profile also make the Spectre one of the better ski boots I’ve used when it comes to riding a snowmachine in challenging terrain.
Flex & Downhill Performance
The Spectre is a solid choice for most ski touring applications. As I’ll discuss below, I was able to find the boot’s limits when it came to downhill performance, but bear in mind that I weigh 190lbs without my gear, usually tour with a 15-20lb airbag pack, and spend most of my time skiing the Salomon X-max 130s. I should also clarify that every boot I will mention in comparison here was skied with the same Intuition Powerwrap LV liner that I have in the Spectre.