The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Lange XT Freetour 130 Review

These are strong, durable, well-performing downhill ski boots with just a couple concessions to uphill touring.
Lange XT Freetour 130
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $700 List | $419.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Excellent downhill skiing, durable, warm, reliable
Cons:  Very limited uphill and foot-travel performance
Manufacturer:   Lange
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 18, 2019
  • Share this article:
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 3
  • Weight - 20% 1
  • Downhill performance - 30% 10
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 9
  • Warmth - 10% 8
  • Ease of Use - 5% 5

Our Verdict

In granting our review awards, we have some options. The highest scoring product, overall, gets our Editors' Choice. Sometimes, two Editors' Choice awards are justified. In granting the Top Pick awards, we have some creative license. We get to look at the subcategories of products, look at the ways consumers use the equipment we review and choose Top Pick award winners for certain niches. For the niche of consumers that ski downhill hard and fast and doesn't mind compromised uphill performance and heavy weight, the Lange XT FreeTour is an easy choice. At the other end of the spectrum, we granted another Top Pick Award to the lightest, best touring, and almost the poorest skiing product in our test. The Scarpa Alien RS is an AT ski boot, but otherwise is nothing like the XT FreeTour 130. Check out the Lange, but read on to know what you're "in for".

Boot Updates

Lange updated the Freetour, and it is now called the XT Free 130. Read about the changes below.

February 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
Lange XT Freetour 130
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $419.97 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$899.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$359.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$700 List$624.98 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
62
100
0
76
100
0
72
100
0
70
100
0
70
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Excellent downhill skiing, durable, warm, reliableExcellent downhill performance, light weight, proven styleLight, excellent freedom of motion, easy to use, skis downhill as well as any average touring bootGreat downhill performance, progressive forward flex, reliable buckles and ski/walk modeExcellent downhill performance, lightweight, innovative
Cons Very limited uphill and foot-travel performanceModerate insulation, hard to get in and out ofLimited crampon compatibility, not as warm as the warmest boots availableHigh friction in range of motion, smooth soleClaimed easy transitions leave you in a tour mode that is significantly compromised., binding and crampon compatibility limited.
Bottom Line These are strong, durable, well-performing downhill ski boots with just a couple concessions to uphill touring.Whether a newcomer adjusting from the resort or a seasoned expert looking for work-horse shoes for 100+ backcountry days a season, the Tour Pro is a top of the line contender.The TLT 7 is the result of decades of refinement and the performance shows; the proven attributes are welcome, and the innovative refinements work well enough.This is a ski touring boot that skis downhill almost as well as a resort boot.Unique, innovative boots that really push the envelope way ahead in terms of downhill performance (at this weight point) but have some design and branding inconsistencies for actual backcountry and uphill use.
Rating Categories Lange XT Freetour 130 Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Dynafit TLT7 Performance Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour
Rating Categories Lange XT Freetour 130 Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Dynafit TLT7 Performance Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour
Uphill Performance (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
6
Weight (20%)
10
0
1
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
7
Downhill Performance (30%)
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
Comfort And Fit (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Warmth (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (5%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
3
Specs Lange XT Freetour... Tecnica Zero G... Dynafit TLT7... Atomic Hawx Ultra... Dynafit Hoji Pro...
Weight size 26.5, pair 7 lbs 12 oz 6 lbs 0 oz 4 lbs 8 oz 7 lbs 5 oz 6 lbs 2 oz
Range of Motion; degrees 22 55 55 36 55
Binding Compatibility? Tech only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR WTR, Tech, and DIN AT WTR, Tech, and DIN AT Tech only WTR, Tech, and DIN AT Tech only
Stated Flex Index 130 130 Not reported 120 Not reported
Stated Last width 100mm 99mm 102mm 98mm 103.5mm
Alpine wrap or Tongue Alpine Wrap Alpine Wrap Tongue Alpine Wrap Tongue
Shell material Grilamid Grilamid Grilamid lower shell, Titantex Fiber cuff Grilamid Grilamid

Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated Boot


The XT Freetour 130 has become simply the XT Free 130. Changes to this boot mostly pertain to the Dual Core Light construction, which sandwiches a harder layer of Grilamid between two softer layers, a design created to provide a more progressive and smoother flex. The new boots come with ISO 5355 sole blocks as well as WTR soles. Compare the new XT Free 130 (first photo) with the old Freetour (second photo), below.

Lange XT Freetour 130

We link to the new version in this review, but as we haven't tested the latest version yet, be aware that the text that follows still refers to last year's Freetour.

Hands-On Review of the XT Freetour 130


Lange is a ski boot company. They make nothing else. For this, we applaud them. In a world of "vertical integration", where every company seems bent on taking over the world, it is refreshing when one outfit focuses. For years and years, even as the AT ski business boomed, it seemed that Lange would stay focused on alpine only boots. We, for one, are thankful that Lange has bucked this inertia and decided to enter the AT ski boot market. Their XT FreeTour 130 brings alpine performance with just a touch of touring functionality to make it a specialized backcountry downhill ski tool for the modern market. This is an alpine ski boot that tours. Nothing else.

Lead Test Editor Jed Porter  on the clock both guiding and testing Lange XT FreeTour 130 ski boots  in Teton couloirs. February 2017.
Lead Test Editor Jed Porter, on the clock both guiding and testing Lange XT FreeTour 130 ski boots, in Teton couloirs. February 2017.

Uphill Performance


This is an alpine ski boot that also tours (though not nearly as well as the other products in our test, but it doesn't pretend to). The "walk mode" has limited range and a great deal of friction. The fore-aft walk mode flexion of the FreeTour is the lowest in our entire test and the associated friction of the tight pivot rivets and closely engineered ski/walk mode switch makes for a tool that, even in walk mode, feels like an alpine boot. This is ok. In fact, our lead test editor and dyed-in-the-wool "touring dork" has had his whole world upended by the Lange XT. Jed came to this AT ski gear review through the back door. He nordic skied as a kid, learned telemark in the 90s when that was the best way to access the backcountry, and was an early adopter of tech style bindings and "skimo race" style boots for all-around ski touring. He's never skied in boots weighing more than 7 pounds. He's never skied in overlap cuff boots. He's never skied in boots he couldn't drive a stick shift with. His downhill skiing shows it, but he's a dedicated human powered skier. His gear choices have always been in that vein. Now, when we "forced" him to try these Lange boots, he wasn't stoked.


What he found, however, was that the limited touring range wasn't all that bad. For your normal, skin-accessed, largely straight up and straight down ski touring, he hasn't noticed any real drawbacks to the touring mode of the Lange. Even if the downhill skiing performance weren't so much better, he could forgive the compromises in uphill efficiency. That is high praise. Now, let us qualify this. For flat approaches, for huge days, and for any sort of non-skinning (cramponing, walking, scrambling), the limited cuff mobility will indeed be noticed. In those settings, situations in which most backcountry skiers will find themselves from time to time, the XT Freetour boots will not be ideal. That is the reason we recommend our Editors' Choice products; the Dynafit TLT 7 Performance for all-around use and Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro for those more concerned with their downhill experience) as your first or "quiver of one" boot choice. The uphill performance of the XT Freetour isn't bad, but the others are much better.

For touring  the limited range of motion and greater weight of the XT FreeTour is a drag. In some instances  this is worthwhile as the downhill performance is so much better.
For touring, the limited range of motion and greater weight of the XT FreeTour is a drag. In some instances, this is worthwhile as the downhill performance is so much better.

Weight


These are the heaviest boots in our test. That weight comes correlated with excellent downhill performance, but it makes touring, walking, and step-kicking harder. The theme through our entire testing and review of this boot has been one of compromise. Are you willing to compromise some attributes (weight and uphill performance) for another (downhill performance)? That's all you need to ask about these boots.


The other Top Pick, the Scarpa Alien RS, suitably, is about half the weight of the XT Freetour. That is significant

Downhill Performance


These are the best downhill skiing boots in our test.


The only other boot in the review that comes close to the downhill performance is the Atomic Hawx. The Atomic approximates the smooth, even forward flex of the overlap-constructed Lange, with a more touring-oriented weight and a more reliable ski/walk mode latch. The Hawx isn't quite as stiff nor as smooth in forward progressive flex, but it comes close. It is tempting to lump the Editors Choice Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro in with the Hawx and the Lange. All three of these are made with "overlap construction". However, the Tecnica is built from the ground up for touring and ski mountaineering. The end result is much lighter and tours much better than the Lange. Correspondingly, the Tecnica skis more like a touring boot than like an alpine all mountain boot.

Comfort and Fit


The XT FreeTour is one of the rare boots in our test that worked for most testers straight out of the box. Only the Dynafit TLT 7, Tecnica, and Scarpa Maestrale RS share this honor. All the others required some sort of work to be usable by the bulk of our test team. Now, our test team is pretty resilient. They need to be to swap ski boots one day to the next for long days of ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing. You may very well need to customize any of the boots we didn't. The Salomon and Tecnica are both narrower and lower volume than the XT Freetour.


Further enhancing the value of this model of boot, Lange sells it in a "low volume" version. This version, presumably (we did not test it), offers the same performance attributes with less space inside for a given shell length. This is amazing, and will further sell the boot to those tougher to fit.

Simple green. The clean lines and durable construction of overlap ski boots is refreshing  if a little heavy  as compared to flimsier options.
Simple green. The clean lines and durable construction of overlap ski boots is refreshing, if a little heavy, as compared to flimsier options.

Warmth


With almost eight pounds of material around your foot, the XT Freetour is plenty insulating. Even when fit close for downhill performance, as they should be, we found them to be insulating and comfortable. The Tecnica, Radical, and Fischer Transalp are similar. No boots seem warmer than the XT Freetour. The ultralight Atomic Backland Carbon and La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 are considerably less insulating than the XT Freetour.


Ease of Use


In order to optimize downhill performance, the XT FreeTour is built with "overlap construction". This means that the entire boot is two pieces. In order to get in and out of the boot, one must flex overlapping flaps out of the way on both cuff and lower boot. "Three piece" or "tongue constructed" boots have a front tongue that folds out of the way for entry. In short, it is easier to get in and out of tongue boots than overlap boots. In some instances this difference is unimportant. If you can put your boots on in a warm lodge or hut, it doesn't matter very much. If you are on the tailgate of your car in a cold and windy parking lot or, even worse, in a tent on an expedition, overlap boots can be a battle not worth fighting. For this reason alone, and we know it may seem silly but trust us, we don't recommend the XT Freetour for overnight ski touring camping.


Otherwise, the four standard buckles, velcro power strap, and tightly engineered walk-mode are familiar and reliable. The external walk mode switches on boots like the TLT7 Performance and Scarpa Maestrale RS are easier to operate, but not by much.
The rubber sole of the XT FreeTour is grippier than that on alpine boots  but far more slippery than that on other AT boots. This lack of grip is a result of compromises made so that the Lange can be used  safely and in a certified manner  in special "Walk To Ride" alpine resort bindings  in addition to tech touring bindings.
The rubber sole of the XT FreeTour is grippier than that on alpine boots, but far more slippery than that on other AT boots. This lack of grip is a result of compromises made so that the Lange can be used, safely and in a certified manner, in special "Walk To Ride" alpine resort bindings, in addition to tech touring bindings.

One major attribute of the XT FreeTour 130 is its sole. This model of boot is more versatile - in terms of binding compatibility - than any other in our test. Like all the boots we tested, and this is how we tested all of them, the Lange can be used in modern "tech" style touring bindings. These are the best for all sorts of backcountry skiing. Also, the sole of the Lange is built to be compatible (and safe for use) with so-called Walk To Ride (WTR) alpine resort bindings. For use in-bounds, WTR bindings are better than touring bindings. The XT Freetour boots, then, are more versatile for those that want boots for inbounds and out.

Best Applications


In case it isn't clear by now, we recommend these for that niche of users that highly values their downhill performance and experience. For going fast and hard downhill, on big gear and in tough conditions, the XT Freetour is great.

Value


These boots, especially considering their high-performance attributes, are rather inexpensive. It must be due to the economy of scale that comes with simply converting an existing alpine boot design, but the end result is a high-performing product at a reasonable price. Additionally, we are confident that the FreeTour will perform at a high standard for a long long time. There is little to wear out, and the design is proven and unlikely to obsolesce. This is a good value.

Conclusion


These are strong, durable, well-performing downhill ski boots with just a couple concessions to uphill touring.

Other Versions


The XT FreeTour comes in LV (Low Volume) version. As the only boot in our test that does that, it further enhances its award-winning status.


Jediah Porter