Salomon MTN Explore Boot
Available Sizes: 24.5 – 29.5
Size Tested: 26.5
Stated BSL (26.5): 301mm
Stated Flex: 100
Stated Last: 98mm
Stated Range of Motion: 63°
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- shells, no liners: 1126 & 1135 grams
- stock liners + laces, no footbeds: 281 & 281
- shells + stock liners: 1407 & 1416
Test Locations: Santa Fe, NM backcountry
Ski / Bindings Used: 186cm Volkl BMT 109 / Marker Kingpin 10
Days Tested: 3
Reviewer’s Feet: Left foot: 27.0cm long, right foot: 27.5cm. C-width, narrow heel. High arch / high instep (on a scale of 1-10, it’s an 8 or 9). Fairly stable, solid platform. A bit of pronation. A good amount of ankle range of motion (i.e., “dorsiflexion”).
By now, you may know that we have been very, very impressed by the Salomon MTN Lab. In fact, we’ve named the MTN Lab our 15/16 product of the year.
And as I noted in my review of the Lab, I had this sneaking suspicion that the MTN Lab’s sibling, the MTN Explore, might be a very interesting product in its own right—and not merely a dumbed down / price point version of the MTN Lab.
In short, my suspicion was correct. The MTN Explore is also a high-performance boot.
I’ve now got about 25 days in the MTN Lab, and I was out this past Saturday and Sunday touring in the MTN Explore. And since we’re getting approximately 2.3 thousand emails a day asking about the Explore, I wanted to offer some initial impressions.
Caveat: I’ve only toured three times in the MTN Explore, so I reserve the right to modify these impressions as I get more time in them—and especially once I do some back-to-back-to-back laps with the MTN Lab and the MTN Explore. Having said all that, I’m comfortable with these initial conclusions, so if I do revise any of these opinions here, I expect those revisions to be subtle and not full reversals.
Take a look. And then I’ll just wait while your brain processes the differences:
Blister’s Measured Weight – MTN Explore vs. MTN Lab
Shells, no liners: 1126 & 1135 grams // MTN Lab: 1257 & 1246 grams
Stock liners + laces, no footbeds: 281 & 281 // MTN Lab: 288 & 303 grams
Shells + stock liners: 1407 & 1416 // MTN Lab: 1545 & 1549 grams
I suspect that some folks will be psyched by the weight savings of the MTN Explore, while others will shrug at the ~140 grams-per-boot weight savings.
For me personally—given the kind of touring I generally do: sub-six hour tours with few long, flat approaches, and often to some fairly steep lines—280 grams per pair isn’t a huge deal to me. You might feel differently.
Range of Motion
Understandably, the ROM of the MTN Explore vs. the MTN Lab has received a lot of attention. Salomon claims that the MTN Explore has 63 degrees of ROM, while the MTN lab is listed at 47.
Paul Forward and I both are fine with the ROM of the MTN Lab. I’ve been touring in the Lab multiple times since I wrote my review of it, and my practice is to open up all the buckles completely.
Can I feel the end of the MTN Lab’s ROM when taking longer strides? Yes. But on steep boot packs, or relatively steep skin tracks (though I haven’t walked up any Mt. Superior-style skin tracks yet in these), the ROM feels totally fine—to me.
So not surprisingly, the MTN Explore also feels fine. I.e., very good. So far, where I notice the increased ROM most is on flat sections where I’m inclined to stride out and glide. I personally have not felt any obvious difference / improvement when booting up steep chutes or on steeper sections of skin track.
NEXT: Flex, Skiability, Etc.