Stated Flex Rating: 130
Stated Last: 97mm
Boot Sole Length: 316mm (at 27.5)
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.
Conditions tested: Virgin snow, sun affect, wind affect, chalk, firm. Basically everything.
Duration of test: 15 days
The Lange RS, RX, and XT are now Lange’s top family of boots, outside of their World Cup plug boots.
The RS is presented as Lange’s race-style boot, the RX is positioned as the all-mountain boot, and the XT is presented as the freeride boot because it has a walk mode (though I look at the XT as an alpine boot with walk mode).
All of these boots from Lange are their top consumer boots. While this review is specific to the Lange XT, it should provide useful information about the fit and flex and construction of all of these boots.
Lasts and Models
The RS, RX, and XT all share the same molds for their internal lasts, so they all fit the same, but they’re marketed differently.
The RS is offered stock in the 97mm last, and also in a “high-volume” 100mm last.
The RX and XT are offered stock in the 100mm last (i.e., the RS high-volume last), and also in a “low-volume” 97mm last (i.e. the RS last), which is what I tested.
Both the RX and XT have replaceable toe and heel soles, which is nice if you boot-pack on rocks. The RS is built with the firmest boot board, meaning it transmits more sensation into your feet; only the XT boot features a walk mode.
Ryan Caspar directly compared the XT to the RX in his review of the Lange XT, though it should be noted that he was in a slightly different boot (i.e. an early run) than I was (i.e. production). The boots that I reviewed have a small change to the walk mode: the pin is slightly longer and thus takes up more free movement in the system. I also skied a prototype boot for two days last spring with the same walk mode as Ryan’s, and in very warm spring conditions. I have modified my stance on the XT a bit now that I am in a production boot—at cold temperatures—and I understand the differences in materials and design more completely.
It is my hypothesis that part of Ryan’s comments in his XT review stem from the differences in plastics used between the Lange RS, RX, and XT boots, so I will go into detail below about how these materials work and why they might have been chosen.
Each of the different boots (RX, RS, XT) uses different plastics in different locations.
The Lange RS uses opaque poly-ether (PE) in its upper and lower.
The Lange RX uses translucent PE in its lower and opaque poly-urethane (PU) its upper.
Conversely, the Lange XT uses translucent PE in its upper and opaque PU in its lower.
This is important because these plastics bend and flex differently, and therefore all three of these boots feel a little different on snow while skiing.
In boot construction, opaque plastics are more dense, and are therefore stiffer and have more rebound than the translucent versions. PU is also more sensitive to cold temperatures, meaning that while PE and PU have a similar stiffness around freezing, as temperatures drop from there, PU gets stiffer quicker than PE.
So the fact that the Lange RS is constructed entirely from opaque PE speaks to Lange’s positioning the boot in the “race” category—the RS will be the snappiest and most responsive boot of the family, but will also transmit the most feedback into the skier’s feet.
The Lange RX has a PE lower and PU upper, which means that the forward flex is pretty similar to the RS because the stiffness is primarily controlled by the upper cuff. The lower PE shell of the RX makes the boot slightly more forgiving and smoother in the feet. Adding to this feeling is a softer boot board, which gives the RX its “all-mountain” classification.
The Lange XT, however, is built with a translucent PE upper cuff and opaque PU lower, and mated to the softer boot board of the RX. This is an interesting choice, as the translucent PE upper cuff yields a bit softer flex than the opaque PU from the RS and RX.
The opaque PU lower of the Lange XT combined with the boot bed does a nice job of offering a sporty feel and feedback without feeling quite as harsh as the RS when skiing off-edge, at speed, through variable snow.