Scarpa Phantom Tech Review
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Scarpa Phantom Tech
$644.21 at Backcountry
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|Pros||Warm, lightweight, climbs well||Super lightweight, climbs well, simple laces||Warm, climbs well||Removable liner, velcro ankle strap, waterproof||Light, versatile, great for rock climbing|
|Cons||No lace lock, not fully waterproof||No lace lock, could be warmer||Expensive||Expensive, slightly flexible||Not very warm, minimal calf support|
|Bottom Line||This lightweight and warm boot will get you to the top of alpine climbs||This lightweight boot is our go-to choice for challenging climbs on ice, rock, and snow||This is a great boot for cold weather climbing and it's really fast to put on, take off, and adjust||This lightweight double boot is perfect for cold weather technical climbing||These light, versatile boots are good for all-around performance|
|Rating Categories||Scarpa Phantom Tech||Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo||La Sportiva G5 Evo||Arc'teryx Acrux AR||La Sportiva Trango...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||Scarpa Phantom Tech||Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo||La Sportiva G5 Evo||Arc'teryx Acrux AR||La Sportiva Trango...|
|Weight||1lb 12.6oz (810g)||1lb 10.8oz (760g)||1lb 15oz (875g)||2lb 2oz (965g)||1lb 13.6oz (835g)|
|Sizes Available||38-48 EU||40-47.5 EU||38-48 EU||7-13 US||38-48 EU|
|Upper||PU Tek + S-Tech Fabric||High tenacity nylon with Schoeller Soft Shell||Stretch Cordura with reflective aluminum lining||3L Gore-Tex w/ TPU Laminate||Nylon 6.6 with Honey-Comb Guard and FlexTec 3|
|Waterproof Lining||HDry waterproof direct lamination membrane||Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort||Gore-Tex Infinium||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Performance Comfort|
|Shank||Carbon Fiber + EVA + Aerogel||Carbon Fiber||3mm Honeycomb Tech insulating carbon||PU||9mm Insulated IBI-Thermo|
|Midsole||2D EVA-MP||Dual color microporous midsole||2mm polyurethane||CM EVA, carbon fiber||6-7mm TPU/ Dual-density micropore EVA|
|Sole Rubber||Vibram Precision Tech Roll / Mont||Vibram Litebase with Mont compound||Vibram Matterhorn||Vibram AR||Vibram "One"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Scarpa has been making Phantom boots for a number of years now, and when it comes to mountaineering and alpine climbing on peaks and routes less than 6000 meters, this is the best iteration yet. It's very light, warm, and climbs well.
We enjoyed climbing steep ice, mixed routes, and bare rock with this boot. The Phantom Tech is a good all-around climbing boot - which is why it gets a high score in this metric. The sole is quite rigid. Though the inner part of the boot is about an inch lower than earlier models, we did not find this compromised steep ice performance unduly. When the boot was laced tight, we found decent support that helped prevent burning calves.
This boot performs best on mixed routes and for drytooling. The rigid sole is just what we want, and the mild rocker is a benefit. The soft and low-cut inner boot gives a great amount of ankle flex for techy moves. One of our testers said, after climbing a two pitch M6, "this boot doesn't restrict any move I try to make".
The attribute that helps the Phantom on steep ice and mixed climbing is a bit of a hindrance on bare rock without crampons. For that application, we prefer a less-than-rigid sole with a bit more rocker. The good range of motion in the ankle area was helpful, however. We used this boot with crampons from several manufacturers, all in a fully automatic binding system. It played well with all of them.
Checking in at 1 pound 12 ounces (810g), the Phantom Tech is shockingly light. Our testers aren't totally sure how this is possible, but it seems like the outsole on this boot is a bit thinner than on other models. It's in the same weight range as lightweight boots.
The other supergaiter boots are in the same neighborhood when it comes to weight; if you're trying to decide between them, go by fit first.
Remember that our tester pair is a size 43, and often manufacturers' websites list the weight of a pair of 42 or 42.5. The weight is also listed for one boot, 1/2 of a pair.
This boot is incredibly water-resistant and provides a fantastic level of protection from snow and ice. The gaiter lacks a drawcord at the top, but it fits snugly enough around the skinny legs of our lead tester to keep snow out when post-holing. The smooth exterior let snow and ice roll off the boot.
The gaiter fabric is a waterproof breathable material. However, the zipper is not waterproof. There is a piece of waterproof fabric sewn in behind the zipper that raises the effective waterline for this boot to about 4.5 inches (about 11 cm). Above this, liquid water will come in if you're standing in a puddle, pool, or stream. Our testers generally avoid standing in water in the winter, so this relatively low water line wasn't a big problem for us.
Supergaiter boots are usually warmer than single boots due to an added layer and the small amount of airspace between the inner boot and the outer gaiter. We found that to be the case for these models. The Phantom Tech is insulated with Primaloft, which is a tremendous synthetic insulator. As mentioned above, the outsole of the boot seems a bit thinner than some other boots. This makes more room for a thicker midsole, which is a warmer (and probably lighter) choice.
We think this boot is about as warm as other supergaiter boots, which is to say that it's about as warm as a mountain boot can be without a removable liner. Again, if trying to decide between this model and other supergaiter boots, look at fit before warmth.
Some of the attributes that boost climbing performance on ice, mixed, and drytooling pitches can be liabilities for hiking. Our testers liked a sole that wasn't fully rigid and has some rocker for less clunky hiking.
The Phantom Tech has a bit more give in the ankle area than some of the competition, which helps. Also, the overall low weight of the boot counteracts the ski boot qualities it brings out in our gait. No mountaineering boot is great at hiking.
The lacing on the Phantom Tech was average. We liked the overall simplicity of the system: traditional laces and a zipper. However, we missed a lace lock. Often this takes the form of a hook at the top of the forefoot, just in front of the ankle crease. This allows climbers to have different levels of tension in different parts of the boot depending on need. The boot comes with the laces threaded differently through the hole in the bottom of the ankle, but this doesn't provide the same function. We weren't able to keep the forefoot tight and ankle loose, or vice versa.
Once that tension is locked in, however, it stays secure. There's also a generous pull tab on the back of the inner boot. Even our testers with low-volume feet felt some resistance when slipping this boot on, and the pull tab helped.
Should You Buy the Scarpa Phantom Tech?
The Scarpa Phantom Tech is one of the supergaiter boots on the market today. It's quite light and agile on mixed routes, two qualities we don't always find in these boots. It's also respectably warm. Though it doesn't provide the robust waterproofness of some other boots, we think this won't be a major issue for most climbers. If this boot fits your foot, we think it's a great choice for mountaineering, ice, and alpine climbing.
What Other Mountaineering Boots Should You Consider?
If you really need waterproofness and warmth from your boot, take a look at the Arc'teryx Acrux AR. It's certainly heavier than the Phantom Tech and doesn't climb quite as well, but it's a great boot for keeping your feet warm and dry. Our favorite overall boot is the Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo, another supergaiter boot that's even lighter than the Phantom Tech.
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