2017-2018 Scarpa Maestrale RS
Size Tested: 25.0
Blister’s Measured Weight (Size 25.0):
- Shells: 1053 / 1057 g
- Foot Beds: 21 / 21 g
- Liners (with L pads and adhesive): 244 / 245 g
- Total: 1318 / 1323 g
Stated Flex: 130
Stated ROM: 60°
- Carbon fiber infused Grilamid Web Frame shell
- Grilamid cuff
- Wave Closure System (lower Z-buckle)
- Speedlock Plus ski/walk mode
- Intuition liner
Days Tested: ~35
Skis / Bindings:
- G3 SENDr 112 188 cm / G3 Ion
- Scott RockAir 183 cm / Dynafit Radical ST
- RMU CRM 175 cm / Dynafit Radical FT
Test Locations: Front Range, Elk Range, & Ten Mile Range, CO; Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT; Mount Rainier National Park, WA; Jasper National Park, Alberta
The 17/18 season is, inarguably, the year of the 130-flex touring boot. Every major boot maker is making one, and few are as high profile as the new and completely redesigned Maestrale family of boots from Scarpa.
Scarpa claims that the Maestrale RS is the most popular touring boot in the world, and I’ve been skiing in the original Maestrale RS since 2012. So I was very eager to check out the new version. The old Maestrale RS had its fair share of issues, and this redesign seemed to address all of the major problems, while also coming in stiffer and lighter than the original.
Now that I’ve put more than 30 days in the new version, I can confidently say that this iteration is a giant leap forward in just about every way. The new Maestrale RS is stiffer, significantly lighter, flexes more progressively, and is more serviceable than the previous version.
It also has a range of motion of 60° that makes the Salomon MTN Lab’s 47° seem pretty underwhelming.
As always, we’ll start this section with a PSA: Getting a boot that fits properly is the most important thing you can do for your skiing, and you should always go to a good boot fitter. But here is my take on the fit of the Maestrale RS.
(For reference, my foot is medium volume with a rather narrow heel and forefoot, and an extremely high arch and instep.)
The new Maestrale RS retains the 101 mm last of the original design, but that’s about where the fit similarities end. The volume in the forefoot is definitely less than the original — I have a slightly more precise fit in the instep than the old version. I usually wear a 98 mm last alpine boot, and the new Maestrale feels like a 100-101 mm last in the forefoot, unlike the very roomy previous version.
The toe box feels pretty similar to the original version, despite feeling slightly narrower in the forefoot. It’s roomy enough for comfort in a boot you might end up wearing (intentionally or unintentionally) for some pretty long days in the backcountry.
The biggest issue I’ve had with the Maestrale RS is its heel pocket. In relation to the old version, the new heel pocket is much wider and less anatomically shaped. In the old boot, I could wear it out of the box after just baking the liners and be fine. In the new boot, I get a large amount of heel lift resulting in blisters on the way up, and poor performance on the way down. Strategically-placed L pads have helped this, but I still wish (for my foot, at least) that there was a more anatomical shape around the Achilles. The L pads can take up space, but they don’t change the shape of the shell.
All this is to say that the new Maestrale RS is one of the wider and roomier touring boots in the 130-flex category, which is definitely something to consider if you have big ol’ club feet.
The new Maestrale RS looks completely different from the old version, and different from most other touring boots on the market.
The only features that really remain from the old boot are the Intuition liners and the ratchet-style heel retention strap, which are the two best features from the original boot. Well done, Scarpa.
The new boot also features a well-thought-out upper buckle, a solid power strap, a crazy-looking Z cable buckle on the lower shell, adjustable forward lean, ski/walk mode with 60° ROM, and Vibram soles.
The new Intuition liners work pretty much the same as all Intuitions; they have a good foam that packs out a decent amount, but retains heat better than most liners we’ve tested.
Power Strap and Upper Buckle
The new power strap is great. It feels solid, so I can crank on it super hard if need be. And this is made easier by the fact that the plastic of the cuff is pretty pliable so it can form to your lower leg easily. The power strap is also married to an adjustable spoiler so you can really dial the fit in for your leg.
The upper buckle is a big improvement over the old version (which was a standard alpine buckle). Now it looks like what many other touring boots have. The first notch has concavities in two directions to hold the buckle bale more securely while going up (when the buckle is usually undone). The notches are also covered by a spring-loaded aluminum bar to keep the bale engaged while walking. The buckle piece is paired down with a wire bale and an easy-to-grab (and delightfully neon green) lever.
Heel Retention Buckle
Coming back unchanged from the previous Maestrale RS, and for good reason, is the heel retention buckle. This buckle is very well designed. It effectively pulls your heel and ankle back into the heel pocket and provides a tight and precise fit that is easy to adjust. The ratchet system allows for fine tuning of the tightness with much more precision than standard notches seen on other three piece boots. It definitely takes a little while to get used to this style of buckle if you’re not used to cabrio boots, but the Scarpa design is solid and only suffers from minimal icing while remaining easy to adjust and durable.
One of the more unique features on this boot is the Z-cable buckle on the forefoot. This system routes a cable back and forth across the instep and forefoot of the shell. The notches of the buckle interface directly with the cable to hold the forefoot. This one buckle serves the purpose of the two lower buckles seen in a standard alpine boot.
This cable buckle is clearly designed to save weight without compromising performance. While I tend to believe that to be impossible, in the case of the cable buckle, I think Scarpa has done a great job. The buckle works quite well and offers great control over the forefoot of the boot. Granted, I have such a high instep that I hardly use this buckle, but when I need every bit of performance out of the boot, I’ll crank it down happily and without issue.
NEXT: Walk Mode, Soles, Etc.