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2017-2018 Salomon QST Pro 130

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST Pro 130 for Blister Gear Review

Salomon QST Pro 130

Salomon QST Pro 130 (16/17 & 17/18)

Sizes Tested:

  • 26.5 / 305 mm Boot Sole Length
  • 25.5 / 295 mm Boot Sole Length

Stated Flex Rating: 130

Stated Last: 100-106 mm (heat moldable shells)

Stated Range of Motion: 40 degrees

Binding Compatibility with the alpine sole blocks: alpine bindings

Binding Compatibility with the tech sole blocks:

  • Pin-style (“tech”) bindings
  • MNC (Multi-Norm Certified) bindings

Stated Weight per Boot (size 26.5): 1650 g

Blister’s Measured Weight per Boot:

  • Shells with alpine soles, no liners: 1347 & 1349 g
  • Shells with tech soles, no liners: 1389 & 1391 g
  • Liners (with spoilers, no footbeds): 273 & 274 g
  • Total Weight with alpine sole blocks: 1620 & 1623 g
  • Total Weight with tech sole blocks: 1662 & 1665

MSRP: $699.99 USD

Test Locations: Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, Porters Ski Area, NZ; Cameron Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Arapahoe Basin, CO

Total Days Tested: 18

Introduction

For the 16/17 season, Salomon’s new QST series of boots replaced their popular “Quest” line of boots, and the QST series comes back unchanged for 17/18.

We covered the QST Pro 130 in our 16/17 Buyer’s Guide and we had three different reviewers in this boot this past season to further home in on the particularities of the Pro 130.

The tagline for the QST Pro 130 is simple: “Excel in all playgrounds.”

So what does that sort of all-round excellence look like?

According to Salomon, the recipe includes a swappable DIN-compatible soles and tech soles, a 40° walk mode, a stated weight of 1650 grams, and a unique hybrid tongue design.

That all puts the QST solidly into “crossover” territory — boots that are light enough and walk well enough for longer tours, yet are also compatible with alpine bindings and are powerful enough to ski inbounds. So the QST boots are more inbounds-oriented, do-everything boots than Salomon’s more touring-specific MTN Lab and MTN Explore.

So we’ll be weighing in here on how the QST Pro 130 performs at the resort and in the backcountry, and we’ll be making comparisons to some other similar boots.

Design

The Salomon QST Pro 130 is not quite a traditional overlap alpine boot, nor is it a Cabrio-style, three-piece tongue design. While it does have a tongue, it sits underneath the main part of the shell rather than on top like most other Cabrio designs.

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST Pro 130 for Blister Gear Review

Salomon QST Pro 130 Endofit Tongue

The tongue design — called “Endofit” — is inspired by Salomon’s running shoes. The aim is to wrap the top of the foot and create a more secure fit, and it works. A large amount of overlapping plastic in the cuff closes across the tongue with a single buckle and a camming powerstrap. The tongue attaches directly to the liner, which uses a thick flap to bind and a strip of velcro to secure. It’s an intriguing and unique design.

Fit

As always, we’d recommend that you see a competent bootfitter. Boot fit is a very personal thing and has a huge impact on a boot’s performance. However, we can offer the fit impressions of three of our reviewers.

The Salomon QST Pro 130’s shell is heat moldable, and its 100 mm last can expand to 106 mm, creating a customized width across the entire lower shell.

Brian Lindahl:

After initially fitting the size 25.5 shell, the QST Pro 130 fit me well except in the toe box, where it was a bit too narrow. This is unfortunate because, while the heat molding process for the shell is pretty great, the QST Pro 130’s stock liner has a pretty pointed toe box. Without the shell, the liner itself — even after molding — feels really tight on the width of my toes.

So at the end of the process, I had a boot that fit really well except for the toebox. While I could definitely ski in the QST Pro 130 all day, I think that if the liner had a wider toebox, it would have been even more comfortable for me. So while you can change the liners for a better fit (I tried my Intuition Pro Tours), the QST’s stock liner has some special features to bind it tightly to the tongue of the shell, and I don’t think that the QST would ski as well with a different liner — the shell and stock liner are designed to work together as a single system.

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST Pro 130 for Blister Gear Review

Brian Lindahl in the Salomon QST Pro 130

The last comment I have on the fit of the Salomon QST Pro 130 is about the instep. The Endofit tongue doesn’t give you a lot of options for increasing instep height, and the bootboard is very minimal, so grinding it wouldn’t give you much (if any) extra space). While the instep height was fine for me, I could see this potentially being an issue for other people. Jonathan has a higher instep than I do, and before the heat molding process, that instep was too tight. After the heat molding process however, enough room was made to create a very comfortable, snug fit.

It would be nice to see Salomon include a thicker boot board in the future to provide more fitting options. On the flip side, the Endofit tongue, if it does fit you, really does bind your foot well to the boot. Not only is it very secure, it’s also quite comfortable.

Luke Koppa:

For reference, I have a low instep, wide forefoot, and my feet taper a bit from the forefoot to the end of my toes (i.e. my pinky is much shorter than my big toe). The most common issue I have in ski boots is pressure on the outside of my forefoot, which is something that I experienced with the Fischer Transalp Vacuum TS, despite having the liners and shells heat-molded.

Luke Koppa reviews the Salomon QST Pro 130 for Blister Gear Review

Luke Koppa in the Salomon QST Pro 130. (photo by Eric Mills)

The size 26.5 QST Pro 130 fit me pretty well out of the box. After spending the first couple days figuring out my ideal buckle setup, I could wear the boot comfortably all day touring or riding lifts with very little pain in my forefoot. Unlike Brian, I had no issues with the toebox being too narrow, which makes sense as my feet are fairly pointed.

The Endofit construction worked great for my low instep, and is likely the most comfortable instep fit I’ve had in a boot. But as Brian mentions, the unique construction and minimal bootboard don’t allow for much customization for those with higher insteps.

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST Pro 130 for Blister Gear Review

Salomon QST Pro 130 Liner

(BTW, I tried the QST Pro 130 with the liner from the Salomon MTN Explore, which, despite being from a dedicated touring boot, was thicker and sturdier than the QST Pro 130’s stock liner. However, I didn’t experience much of an increase in downhill performance, and since the special velcro flap on the QST Pro 130 stock liner attaches securely to the boot’s tongue, I have since switched back to the stock liner.)

Jonathan Ellsworth: 

A bit about my feet:

Length (Left & Right): 271 & 274 mm

Width (Left & Right): 100 & 99 mm

Instep Height (L & R): 79 mm & 75 mm. (The Boot Doctor’s Charlie Bradley describes this as a “high arch / high instep” — on a scale of 1-10, he calls my arch / instep a 8 or 9).

Charlie also notes about my feet: Fairly stable, solid platform. A bit of pronation. A good amount of ankle range of motion (aka, “dorsiflexion”).

While I have often downsized to a size 25.5 when reviewing boots with a 100 mm last (I downsize in order to achieve the most secure heel hold I can — since it’s typically easy to create more length or width in the toebox of a boot), but since I would be touring in the QST Pro 130, I didn’t want to end up with a super-tight, alpine-boot fit that might prove to be painful to tour in. So I opted for the 26.5 QST Pro 130.

As both Brian and Luke have touched on, the most notable fit point for me was the relatively low instep of the QST Pro 130. As Brian said, prior to heat-molding the shell, the QST Pro 130 was crushing my instep. But after the heat molding process, that instep issue for me was largely resolved, and I really want to echo what Brian wrote above: “the Endofit tongue, if it does fit you, really does bind your foot well to the boot. Not only is it very secure, it’s also quite comfortable.”

“Snug and comfortable” is pretty much the best possible thing you can say about a boot, so while none of us here are willing to guarantee that the fit of the QST Pro 130 will work for you, we all will attest that with the right feet, this is a design that can yield an impressive fit for a touring boot — snug yet still comfortable to tour in and wear on longer days.

NEXT: Touring, Stiffness / Flex, Etc.

4 Comments

  1. Rod Georgiu June 23, 2017 Reply

    You said that the rear support is lacking. How does it compare with the Lange Free tour 130 in this regard?

    I find the Free tour a bit lacking in rear support though mostly on carpet, not really skiing.

  2. Author
    Brian Lindahl June 23, 2017 Reply

    Hi Rod,

    I haven’t skied the Lange XT Free Tour 130 before, Paul Forward is the only reviewer at Blister who has. He said it had comparable downhill performance to the Lange XT 130. He’s also skied the prior season’s Cochise Pro 130 (when it first became orange), but he doesn’t speak to the rearward flex comparisons with the Lange XT 130 (MAYBE because they were the same?). I’ve spent a lot of time in that same season’s Cochise 120, and can definitively say that the Cochise 120 (bright green version) has a noticeably stronger rearward flex than the QST Pro 130. I can also say the same about the current Cochise Pro 130. Draw what conclusions you want to from this, but unfortunately, I can’t say for sure how the Lange XT Free Tour 130 would compare to the QST Pro 130.

  3. Zac October 9, 2017 Reply

    You said that the boot doesn’t have that burly feeling you experienced with other 130 flex boots. Did you find it too soft to ski very aggressively? I am in the market for a new pair of boots and the qst 130s were one of the options. I am a very aggressive skier but also pretty lightweight (150 lbs). Do you think the qst 130 won’t be enough boot for me? I tried on the cochise 130s and found that the boot wasn’t as secure around the higher portion of my ankle; the qst was more snug there. In addition, the qst 130 fit pretty well out of the box on me. I have not tried on the lange freetours; is that something you would recommend? Are there any others you would recommend? Thanks for the advice.

    • Author
      Brian Lindahl October 10, 2017 Reply

      Hey Zac,

      My experiences in skiing this boot very aggressively are in firm, variable conditions (I didn’t ski it in powder conditions). I found that the FORWARD flex of QST, while softer than other 130-flex boots, was adequate for skiing aggressively in these conditions. However, the REARWARD flex of the boot gave me some problems.

      Generally speaking, I don’t pressure the rear cuff as part of a normal skiing stance (perhaps when loading up the tails at the end of a carve). However, when getting bucked off balance in firm, variable conditions, I found that the softer REARWARD flex of the QST made it quite difficult to recover. I.e., when off balance, the rear of the boot gave way and further compromised my stance and balance, and I’ve never had this trouble in boots that have stiffer rearward flexes. This was most prevalent when speeding across smooth, firm snow, then suddenly encountering rougher firm snow – i.e. getting knocked off balance by a rut. I also found it to be a problem when airing into rough firm snow (minor mogul fields).

      And, while I haven’t skied the Lange Freetour, our reviewer Paul Forward has never mentioned any such issue with the rearward support of those boots. So I think you probably should take a look if you’re really putting a premium on stability at speed in variable conditions — and especially if you’ve ruled out the Cochise 130 (for which I found the rearward flex to be stiff enough for this sort of skiing).

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