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Lange XT3 120 Review

These are lightly modified resort boots, built to optimize the downhill and be minimally functional on the way up
lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review
Credit: Lange
Price:  $650 List
Manufacturer:   Lange
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 9, 2020
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 16
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 10.0
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 1.0
  • Weight - 20% 2.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 10% 8.0
  • Warmth - 10% 9.0
  • Ease of Use - 5% 7.0

Our Verdict

We grant the Lange XT3 120 one of our more specialized awards. It is an excellent product, but is really only serviceable in a narrow niche of application. If you want resort boots for occasional human-powered endeavors, you might justify these boots. You'll get excellent downhill performance, but pay for it on the way up with greater weight and limited touring cuff efficiency.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent downhill performance
Durable
Warm
Reliable
Familiar
REASONS TO AVOID
Very limited uphill and foot-travel performance
Heavy

Compare to Similar Products

 
lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review
This Product
Lange XT3 120
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $341.97 at Evo
Compare at 2 sellers
$900 List
$899.00 at REI
$481.92 at Evo
Compare at 3 sellers
$850 List
$849.00 at REI
$680 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Excellent downhill performance, durable, warm, reliable, familiarLight, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flexExcellent downhill performance, lightweight, proven styleBalanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fitWell balanced performance, easy on and off
Cons Very limited uphill and foot-travel performance, heavyCold, finicky transitionsModerate insulation, hard to get in and out ofSki/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versionsNeutral fit is both a pro and a con, flimsy liner
Bottom Line These are lightly modified resort boots, built to optimize the downhill and be minimally functional on the way upBalanced, all-around ski touring boots that lean in the light-and-fast direction; these are optimized, probably, for what you like about the mountainsWhether a newcomer adjusting from the resort or a seasoned expert gunning for 100+ backcountry days a season, here is a top of the line shoe contenderProven ski boots with modern updates and an overall performance profile that is optimized for the majority of bc riders; if you have high volume feet, even betterA solid, well-balanced touring boot that emphasizes your downhill experience while still allowing most touring paces and giving freedom of motion for mild technical ascending
Rating Categories Lange XT3 120 Scarpa F1 LT Tecnica Zero G Tour... Scarpa Maestrale RS La Sportiva Vega
Downhill Performance (35%)
10.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Uphill Performance (20%)
1
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
2.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Comfort and Fit (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Warmth (10%)
9.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Ease of Use (5%)
7.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Lange XT3 120 Scarpa F1 LT Tecnica Zero G Tour... Scarpa Maestrale RS La Sportiva Vega
Weight size 26.5, pair 7 lbs 11 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 6 lbs 0 oz 6 lbs 5 oz 6 lbs 8 oz
Weight of one boot shell 1398 g 0809 g 1119 g 1180 g 1220 g
Weight of one stock liner, no footbed 352 g 214 g 204 g 252 g 253 g
Weight of one complete boot, no insole 1750 g 1023 g 1323 g 1432 g 1473 g
Range of Motion; degrees 34 72 55 60 60
Binding Compatibility? Tech only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR Tech, DIN AT, Grip Walk Tech only Tech and DIN AT Tech and DIN AT Tech and DIN AT
Stated Flex Index 120 95 130 125 115
Stated Last width 100 mm 102 mm 99 mm 101 mm 102.5mm
Alpine wrap or Tongue Wrap Tongue Wrap Tongue Tongue
Shell material Polyurethane Grilamid, Carbon Core Grilamid Carbon Grilamid Grilamid

Our Analysis and Test Results

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 XT3 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.

Performance Comparison


lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review - when maximum ski sensitivity matters above all else, the lange xt3...
When maximum ski sensitivity matters above all else, the Lange XT3 has got your back. The rest of the time, its weight and touring friction will hold you back. Choose wisely.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Uphill Performance


We are careful with our words. This is an alpine ski boot that also tours. It isn't a "backcountry ski boot" in the modern sense of the phrase. The "walk mode" has limited range and a great deal of friction. The fore-aft walk mode flexion range of the XT3 is the lowest in our entire test. We measured it at 34 degrees, total. We find that limiting, even in boots that offer low friction within the range. Ankles and bodies like 40 degrees or more of cuff range.


Further, efficiency comes from range and friction within that range. The associated friction of the tight Lange pivot rivets and closely engineered ski/walk mode switch makes for a tool that, even in walk mode, feels like an alpine boot. These are ski boots for short tours. You will suffer, as compared to anything else in our review and most of the backcountry boot market, on the uphill in these Lange boots.

lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review - just a few years ago, it was inconceivable for tech binding...
Just a few years ago, it was inconceivable for tech binding compatible boots to perform like the Lange XT3. Not so any longer.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Weight


On our calibrated scale, we measured the size 26.5 tester pair of the Lange XT3 130 to weigh 7 pounds 11 ounces. That's 1750 grams per boot. Of that, 1398 grams is in the shell, and 310 grams is in the liner. The liner is heavier than average but not the heaviest available in a touring boot. The shell is heavier than anything else in our current test. The shell is almost more than twice the weight of one of our highest award winners. It is definitely more than twice the weight of uber light options on the market.


Beware catalog copy. Boots in this category are touted as being "lightweight". As compared to resort boots, they are. A pair of Lange XT3 130 might weigh 80% of what resort boots weigh. They might weigh 50% of the absolute heaviest boots, provided those heavy boots are equipped with rigid, vacuum-style custom liners. However, the range of touring boot weights is significant. As we noted above, the Lange XT3 is more than 200% the weight of the lightest competitors. The weight of this Lange is much closer to average resort boots than it is to average touring boots.

lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review - the traditional, four-buckle form of the lange xt3 is much of its...
The traditional, four-buckle form of the Lange XT3 is much of its appeal. We like familiar things in unfamiliar environments.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Downhill Performance


The Lange XT3 goes downhill very, very well. You choose these for downhill performance. Their downhill performance is virtually indistinguishable from typical recreational resort boots. The materials, geometry, construction, and accessories are all tuned for downhill performance first.


The "touring dork" faction of our test team is blown away by the Lange XT3 120. To show this misanthropic, reclusive team how rad optimal downhill performance can be has been a sweet treat. It takes them an adjustment period (yes, going from flimsy boots to stiff boots is nearly as tricky as the opposite journey), but it changes their view without fail. The Lange is too heavy and confining for extended human-powered use, but it opens the eyes of even the most jaded practitioners.

lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review - choose the lange xt3 for lower paced, high-quality downhill ski days...
Choose the Lange XT3 for lower paced, high-quality downhill ski days and priorities. the fit, warmth, and control is amazing.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Comfort and Fit


The XT3 is one of the rare boots in our test that worked for most testers straight out of the box. Only a few 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.


Further enhancing the value and fit and appeal of this model of boot, Lange sells it in a "low volume" version. This LV 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. We have to attribute the fit options to Lange's commitment to ski boots.

lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review - the xt3 wins a niche award for niche performance. it is a great...
The XT3 wins a niche award for niche performance. It is a great choice for maximum downhill performance and occasional uphill travel.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Warmth


You lug all that material up the mountain. The bulk and mass of the Lange XT3 is first credited with mind-blowing downhill performance. The next and hidden advantage of the thick liners and shells is in insulating value. More material around your foot makes your foot warmer.


After fit, thickness of shell and liner are the main warmth attributes. These Lange boots are thick, first for downhill performance. The upshot is that this makes them warmer too. As compared to ultralight boots, the XT3 is more insulating. It is similar to other heavy and thick boots in our test.

lange xt3 120 backcountry ski boots review - the gripwalk sole of the lange xt3 works in matched resort bindings...
The GripWalk sole of the Lange XT3 works in matched resort bindings. This could be an excellent way to streamline your kit, provided the vast majority of your skiing is at the resort.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Ease of Use


To optimize downhill performance, the XT3 is built with "overlap construction". This means that the entire boot is two pieces. 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 XT3 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 other boots are easier to operate and less likely to ice up than the XT3, but not by much.

One major attribute of the XT3 is its sole. This model of boot is more versatile - in terms of binding compatibility - than most others 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 bindings for all sorts of backcountry skiing. Also, the sole of the Lange is built to be compatible (and safe for use) with so-called GripWalk alpine resort bindings. For use in-bounds, GripWalk bindings are better than touring bindings. Then, the XT3 boots are more versatile for those that want boots for inbounds and a little bit of out.

Value


For their performance, the Lange XT3 isn't very expensive. In fact, touring ski boot prices are consolidating nearly across the board. Further enhancing the value of the XT3 award winner is its durability. These boots will last a long, long time. If recent history is any indication, this level of downhill/uphill balance won't be dramatically eclipsed for years and years.

Conclusion


Our lead test editor Jed Porter 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. Prior to reviewing BC ski gear for OGL, he had never skied in boots weighing more than 7 pounds. He had never skied in overlap cuff boots. He had never skied in boots he couldn't drive a stick shift with. His downhill skiing shows it; he's a dedicated human-powered skier. His gear choices have always been in that vein. Now, when we "forced" him to try shoes like these Langes, 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 the drawbacks he expected. Even if the downhill skiing performance of the Lange XT3 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 XT3 boots will be onerous. That is the reason we recommend lighter and more flexible products for all-around use. The uphill performance of the XT3 isn't bad, but the others are much better.

Jediah Porter
 
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