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Roxa R3 130 T.I. Boot

Cy Whitling reviews the Roxa R3 130 T.I. for Blister Gear Review

Roxa R3 130 T.I.

2017-2018 Roxa R3 130 T.I.

Stated Flex Rating: 130

Stated Last Width: 99 mm

Stated Weight (size 26.5): 1520 g

Blister’s Measured Weight (27.5):

  • Shells & Boot Boards, no Liners: 1341 & 1348 g
  • Liners : 263 & 262 g
  • Total Weight per Boot: 1604 & 1610 g

Tech Inserts: Dynafit-Certified

Liner: Intuition Power Tongue Liner

Shell Material:

  • Cuff: Grilamid
  • Shoe / Clog: Grilamid
  • Sole: Grip Walk or swappable Alpine sole

Binding Compatibility:

  • All pin-style / “tech” bindings (Dynafit, Marker Kingpin, etc)
  • Grip Walk Bindings
  • Alpine Bindings

Test Locations: Teton Pass backcountry, Grand Teton National Park, & Togwotee Pass; WY

Days Tested: 6

Intro

While new touring boots were once again all the rage at SIA (e.g., the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD, Salomon S-Lab X-Alp, and Scarpa Maestrale RS), the new Roxa R3 series didn’t get quite as much hype as some of the other new options. But I’ve been skiing the Roxa R3 130 for the last few weeks, both in and out of bounds, and I’ve been impressed so far; enough so that I intend to keep reaching for the R3 130 T.I. throughout the rest of this spring.

Roxa came out flexing when they introduced the R3 130 T.I., calling it the “lightest high performance alpine ski boot ever offered.”

That’s a big claim, but at a stated weight of 1520 g per boot in a size 26.5 for the touring-oriented R3 130 I’m reviewing here — and a stated weight of 1610 g per boot in the inbounds-only (no walk mode) R3S version for the boot — they’re in competitive territory weight-wise for alpine boots.

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Cy Whitling in the Roxa R3 130 T.I., Togwotee Pass, WY.

However, our measured weight of the R3 130 show it to be a little heavier than the La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 and Salomon MTN Explore that I’ve been skiing so far this season.
Still, I was excited to see if the R3 130’s downhill performance was good enough to back up Roxa’s claims about the boot, how well the R3 skied to back up that claim, and to try another 3-piece touring boot since there are more limited 3-piece touring options.

Fit

As we’ve said many times, the best way to make sure any boot will work with your foot is to go in and try it on with a good boot fitter. That said, I can provide some generalizations about the fit of the Roxa R3 130. My foot is high volume, I have high arches, a high instep, and a wide forefoot, so I generally require a toe punch, and usually end up with pain in my instep.

Roxa warned me that the R3 130 runs a little longer in the toe than usual — without being higher volume otherwise in the toe box — and so sent me both a size 26.5 and 27.5 to try on. I found that even with the longer toe box, the 27.5 fit me much better than the 26.5, so the 27.5 is the boot I’ll be referencing in this review.

I’ve been skiing a few 99-102 mm lasted boots this season, and most recently, the La Sportiva Spectre 2.0. Even before heat molding I felt like I had more room laterally in the toe box of the R3 130 than the Spectre 2.0, even though the R3 130 has a stated last (in a size 26.5) of 99 mm. That may be thanks to the “Biofit Last” that has “preformed relief in the most common fit issue areas.” The R3 130 was the first touring boot I’ve used this year where I didn’t end up needing a 6th toe punch; instead I just heat molded the liner with a lot of extra toe padding and was totally fine.

I have a high arch and instep, and with my custom foot beds installed and the liner heat molded, the R3 130 fit my foot much better than any other touring boot I’ve used. That’s a big part of why I’m so eager to keep using this boot — my particular feet happen to feel better after a long day in them than any other touring boot I have right now. They work better with my high-volume foot than the MTN Explore or Spectre 2.0 and have more room through the toe box, instep, and ankle. However I’ve found that they still have adequate heel hold for my feet.

Soles

The RS 130 is available with both a Grip Walk touring sole and a pair of alpine soles. I skied one day on the alpine soles, then swapped to the Grip Walk soles and haven’t swapped back. It is possible to tour in tech bindings with the RS 130’s alpine soles, since they have cutouts for the heel pins of a tech binding. But the Grip Walk soles are rockered (making them more comfortable to walk around and boot pack in) and offer better traction.

Hard / Soft Setting

The R3 has a bolt on the back of the cuff that allows you to choose from “Hard” or “Soft” settings. All this does is rotate a block inside the cuff that engages or disengages the cuff from the highest point of the wings of the clog. In the “Soft” setting, I was disconcerted by how soft the boots were —they felt a lot softer than any 130 flex boot I’ve used so I put them in the “Hard” setting, and left them there for the duration.

Buckles

The lower two buckles of the R3 130 are a cable and buckle system exactly like that found on Full Tilt boots. I’m actually a big fan of this while touring, since I find the buckles to be easy to open and close with gloves on. It’s also easy to flip the buckles open while touring and the buckles stay put so that you simply have to close the lever to tighten them when its time to ski.

Combined with the three-piece design of the shell, these buckles make it very easy to get my foot into and out of the boot; it’s much less of an ordeal than the Salomon MTN Explore or La Sportiva Spectre 2.0.

The middle buckles are attached to the cuff pivot. I did have one of those screws back out on a tour which lead to some creative ski strap use to secure the cuff to the clog for the rest of the day. I talked to Roxa and they are using different pivot hardware on the production version of the boot, and they got me a new screw and pivot immediately.

The cuff of the R3 130 is tightened with a combination power strap / buckle that is similar to that found on the K2 Pinnacle 130. I didn’t have any problems with it, but I did find that I couldn’t simply open the buckle to tour, I also had to loosen the velcro to get enough range of motion to walk since the walk mode doesn’t actually open the boot up that much.

Walk Mode

The very first thing I noticed about the Roxa R3 130 was its walk mode; it’s unique in its simplicity. All the walk mode lever does is block the boot from flexing backward, it has absolutely zero affect on forward flex — that’s all controlled by the tongue.

And what that means is that the walk mode is very easy to open and close, even with thick gloves, and there is no chance of it icing up and becoming impossible to close.

It also means that the R3 130 is inherently limited in how much range of motion it can have, and I found that limited ROM to be noticeable on the skin track.
NEXT: Liner, Touring, Etc.

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