The La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 is a classic all-around ski touring boot. The form-factor is familiar to users of alpine boots, with four buckles and a power strap that eases one's transition. The performance is largely average and adequate. If one is looking for slightly better performance, and doesn't mind the stranger look and more unfamiliar design, our Editors' Choice Dynafit TLT 7 will perform better in most ways. Our other award winners all do some one thing better than the Spectre, but the Spectre is better all around than any of our non award winners.
La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Light (as four buckle boots go), a great range of motion for a traditionally constructed boot
Cons: Thin liner is cold and leaves pressure points
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The original version of the Spectre was, for a time, the "world's lightest four buckle ski touring boot". As it is now, the market has caught up and other boots are lighter. Nonetheless, La Sportiva gained some loyal fans with the launch of their boot line a few years ago, and the Spectre 2.0, as their flagship ski boot, could have even wider appeal.
There is nothing special about the overall scoring of the Spectre.
There are basically three classes of AT ski boots we reviewed. There are the ultra lights, represented by the Editors' Choice Dynafit TLT 7, the Atomic Backland Carbon, Scarpa Alien RS, and the Arc'teryx Procline Carbon Lite. At the other end of the spectrum are the overlap-constructed Lange XT FreeTour 130 and Tecnica Zero G Guide. In between are what have come to be known as your "standard" ski touring boots. The Spectre, with four buckles and a rather traditional construction, sits in this sub category. In terms of uphill performance, however, it comes in closer to the ultralight boots. The fore and aft ankle mobility is better than any of the other standard touring boots. Thanks to carefully tuned pivots, a walk/ski mode that has minimal friction, and a thin liner with flex points built in, the ankle mobility is primo. In our review, only those with more non-traditional construction tour better than the Spectre 2.0.
The Spectre is basically tied with the Scott Cosmos III for the lightest four-buckle boot in our test. For those shopping for this traditional form-factor, these two boots are better distinguished by fit and downhill performance than by weight. That being said, on our scale for boots of the same size, the Cosmos is a little lighter. This dethrones the Spectre in the somewhat pointless race to be the lightest four buckle AT ski boot on the market.
The lighter boots all achieve that weight with the elimination of buckles and thinning of the shell plastic. The heavier boots (and the lighter Cosmos III) in our test all ski better than the Spectre 2.0.
Despite the proliferation of boots and despite this being, currently, La Sportiva's most downhill-oriented ski boot, the downhill performance is nothing notable. The lighter and better touring Editors' Choice Dynafit TLT 7 skis at least slightly better than the Spectre. The similarly weighted and more comfortable Scott Cosmos III skis better than the Spectre. The Top Pick Lange XT FreeTour 130 skis way better than the Spectre. Finally, the much less expensive Dynafit Radical Boot skis about the same as the Spectre.
The downhill performance of the Spectre isn't poor, it's just that the other manufacturers have put a great deal of "R and D" into the ski ability of their boots, and the market as a whole has raced ahead. This model is relatively soft in lateral and rearward flex, while the average forward flex is hindered by a rather non-progressive, hitting-the-wall sort of flex pattern. If the Spectre fits you, and you are a technically proficient skier, the downhill performance will be fine. If you are looking for something tuned for the downhill, look elsewhere.
Comfort and Fit
The La Sportiva, with a low-volume last and a thin liner, takes some careful fit adaptation. Only those with very low arches will find the Spectre suitable "out of the box". The 2.0 version of the Spectre leaves a little more room over the arch than the original, but it is still "flatter" there than any other boot in our test. The toe box is average in roominess, with more space than the Arc'teryx Procline Carbon Lite and more than the toe box space of the Scott Cosmos, but far less than the space in the Lange XT FreeTour or in the Atomic Backland Carbon. All of our testers found the thin liner of the Spectre to be more similar to that of the ultralight boots than to the liners included with the other "mid range" AT boots we tested. The thin liner is nice and light, with great range of motion in tour mode, but it leaves bony foot and ankle protrusions prone to pressure points.
Again, the thin liner and lightweight shell construction conspire against the Spectre. It is better compared, again, to the ultralight class of boots in this performance metric. It is similar in insulating value to the Arc'teryx Procline or Atomic Backland, while the Fischer Transalp, Scott Cosmos III, Tecnica Zero G, and others are all more insulating.
Ease of Use
In terms of ease of use, there are a few things to get used to, but the La Sportiva is actually quite clever. First, the buckles are completely non-traditional. In order to lighten the boot up, the buckles are redesigned entirely. The snap style attachments take some getting used to, but are actually super secure and easy to use, once the wearer is accustomed. Similarly, the ski/walk mode lever is reversed from what is normal. For those brand new to AT ski boots, this won't be any problem at all. You won't know the difference. If you are switching from another model of boot, however, the fact that the LS Spectre lever goes up to ski and down to tour is completely opposite of every other boot on the market.
This is a good all-around backcountry ski boot for those with La Sportiva brand loyalty and for those with very low-volume arches. The four-buckle design inspires confidence in those switching from regular alpine boots, while the performance and weight is well tuned for human powered, mid-level ski touring and ski mountaineering.
At retail price, there is nothing notable about the Spectre 2.0. It remains to be seen, but with the original Spectre La Sportiva and retailers offered huge discounts. We'd wager that the vast majority of original Spectre boots in circulation got there purchased well below retail price. If similar incentives are offered on the 2.0, this will be an excellent value.
Thousands of users have been happy with La Sportiva ski boots. At OutdoorGearLab, we have the benefit of comparing the best of the best to one another. In these comparisons, other products are better than the Spectre. In isolation, however, most users won't know the difference and will be quite pleased with the La Sportiva Spectre 2.0.
— Jediah Porter