Scarpa Maestrale RS Review
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Scarpa Maestrale RS
|Price||$590.11 at Backcountry|
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|$669.81 at Backcountry|
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|$899.95 at Evo|
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$685.67 at Amazon
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|Pros||Balanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fit||Light, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flex||Excellent downhill performance, lightweight, proven style||Light, nimble, great range of motion, one move transition||Excellent downhill performance, durable, warm, reliable, familiar|
|Cons||Ski/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versions||Cold, finicky transitions||Moderate insulation, hard to get in and out of||Thin liner is cold, limited downhill ski performance, closure string degrades||Very limited uphill and foot-travel performance, heavy|
|Bottom Line||Proven ski boots with modern updates and an overall performance profile that is optimized for the majority of backcountry skiers||Balanced, all-around ski touring boots that lean in the light-and-fast direction; these are optimized, probably, for what you like about the mountains||Whether a newcomer adjusting from the resort or a seasoned expert gunning for 100+ backcountry days a season, here is a top of the line contender||This is the "speed touring" boot that many have been looking for for a few years||These are lightly modified resort boots, built to optimize the downhill and be minimally functional on the way up|
|Rating Categories||Scarpa Maestrale RS||Scarpa F1 LT||Tecnica Zero G Tour...||Dynafit Mezzalama||Lange XT3 120|
|Downhill Performance (35%)|
|Uphill Performance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (10%)|
|Ease of Use (5%)|
|Specs||Scarpa Maestrale RS||Scarpa F1 LT||Tecnica Zero G Tour...||Dynafit Mezzalama||Lange XT3 120|
|Weight size 26.5, pair||6 lbs 5 oz||4 lbs 7 oz||6 lbs 0 oz||4 lbs 8 oz||7 lbs 11 oz|
|Weight of one boot shell||1180 g||0809 g||1119 g||0772 g||1398 g|
|Weight of one stock liner, no footbed||252 g||214 g||204 g||244 g||352 g|
|Weight of one complete boot, no insole||1432 g||1023 g||1323 g||1016 g||1750 g|
|Range of Motion; degrees||60||72||55||65||34|
|Binding Compatibility? Tech only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR||Tech and DIN AT||Tech only||Tech and DIN AT||Tech only||Tech, DIN AT, Grip Walk|
|Stated Flex Index||125||95||130||Not reported||120|
|Stated Last width||101 mm||102 mm||99 mm||99 mm||100 mm|
|Alpine wrap or Tongue||Tongue||Tongue||Wrap||Tongue||Wrap|
|Shell material||Carbon Grilamid||Grilamid, Carbon Core||Grilamid||Grilamid with carbon fibers||Polyurethane|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Scarpa's latest Maestrale RS features a lightweight carbon-infused Grilamed Lambda Frame in the shell for more rigidity, as well as eco-friendly Grilamid Bio material in the cuff for increased torsional rigidity. There's even RECCO technology built into the powerstrap. We're linking to the updated model, but please be aware that our review still pertains to our testing of the previous model.
The Scarpa Maestrale family of ski boots has become a backcountry skiing institution. Our lead tester rode his first pair more than ten years ago now. Iterative and significant improvements under the same model name have us, in the latest version, reviewing and skiing a solid, no-nonsense backcountry skiing boot for all kinds of users. Others are lighter and others ski better, but few are as well balanced for the masses. If the Maestrale fits your foot and your skiing is of the typical variety, you won't go wrong.
On our scoring matrix, the Maestrale RS stands out more for all-around balance than maximum score. In no one category does it lead the pack, but in none does it lag behind either. Beginner backcountry skiers will appreciate the way it mimics your resort gear with minimal fiddle factor while more experienced riders will dig the durability and balanced uphill to downhill performance attributes. Everyone can appreciate the value and wide availability of the Maestrale. The Maestrale has been around for years and years now. Members of our test team have used it in most, if not all, of its iterations. The latest version maintains the excellent value and further enhances both uphill and downhill performance.
On the uphill, aside from weight (which we assess elsewhere), your primary concerns are with cuff mobility and friction within that range of motion. In these ways, the Scarpa Maestrale is excellent. The overall range of motion is greater than most skier ankles. This is amazing for a boot that skis this well. The friction within the range of motion on the Scarpa is a little greater than other boots, at least out of the box.
Long term use of the Maestrale indicates that the cuff friction loosens up with use. Pivot tolerances grow with time and interfering surfaces of cuff and lower shell smooth out to pivot with less resistance than when new.
1400 gram (weight of one complete boot) AT ski boots are now the heavy ski boots. For human-powered skiing, with all the excellent ultralight options available, boots around 1400 grams (which converts to around six pounds for a pair) are considered downhill-oriented. On our scale, the Maestrale RS weighs 1432g.
Both our top award winners now are lighter than the Maestrale RS. But both cost more too and one of the award winners doesn't ski as well as this value-oriented choice.
For the weight, at this time in history, we want a little more downhill performance. The cuff/lower shell connection is a little rattly and the flex isn't as progressive as we've come to expect.
For the cost, though, the Maestrale RS skis well. The lateral and rearward support is above average. If these boots fit and you have expert level downhill ski skills (as you probably should for pretty much all backcountry skiing) you will suffer none for choosing the Scarpa Maestrale RS. Another choice might move the needle a bit on downhill control and sensitivity, but cost you in other ways.
Comfort and Fit
The Maestrale is generally a pretty wide and high volume fit. The shell is both wide and high-volume. For feet that match that description, this is excellent. For average feet, the stiff and thick "Intuition" liner takes up some volume in an almost-sustainable way. Narrow feet should look elsewhere.
The thick and relatively stiff Intuition brand liner lends both initial comfort and greater-than-is-typical accommodation of varying foot shapes and sizes. It sure seems that more users are able to get a fit in the Maestrale with just liner molding than in other boots. Most boot customers need some level of customization of their kicks. The simplest customization is to heat mold the liner. In the Maestrale, as compared to other similar options on the market, more people need nothing more than this liner mold procedure. If you need the more sophisticated sort of work down to the shell of your boots, the Maestrale's materials are conducive to this.
The thick liner and average shell material combine to make for a pretty warm package. Especially if your feet are narrow to average, the liner will stay "puffed up" and lend great insulation. Performance suffers for use this way, but insulation value is optimized.
Many customers of other brands of boots will switch to an Intuition brand liner for boot warmth. The Scarpa Maestrale RS includes stock, a liner that is very similar to this common aftermarket choice. Right "out of the box", the Maestrale RS is warm like many people upgrade other boots to be.
Ease of Use
Scarpa has carefully tailored the Maestrale. The latest version improvements came almost equally in terms of uphill, downhill, and ease of use. The set of buckles is simultaneously proven and simple but innovative and unique. The most unique usability feature is the instep buckle. This buckle pushes your heel back into the heel pocket for maximum uphill and downhill retention. We love this. As do many other testers and routine users. The lowest buckle appears complicated, with a routed cable joining multiple anchor points. In use, though, this buckle shaves weight and effectively distributes the holding power.
The ski/walk mode is a large, external lever similar to that which is fast becoming standard. It works as advertised, but features a spring that often has lower tension than you'd wish and a bar/slot interface that is pretty tight. With icing and quick flips of the lever, the boot can and does fail to get easily into ski mode. In our testing, we had this issue with this boot more often than we wished. Even being careful with icing and such, the lever fails to lock down with some frequency.
The initial purchase price of the Scarpa Maestrale RS is a little below average. If you are one of the die-hard Intuition liner fans, replacing every non-Intuition liner with your favorite, you will save some-to-many dollars with the Maestrale. The Intuition Liner of the Maestrale is ready to go for the discerning liner fan. Most other boots, at any price, do not come with such high-quality, proven liners.
Finally, in terms of value, the Maestrale RS is widely available and has been on the market for a very, very long time. We speak mainly of the most recent versions but can assure you that previous versions were also very good. You are likely to find the Maestrale RS and almost as likely to find it on sale or on the used market. All this adds up to the opportunity for a value choice.
If the shoe fits, wear it. In this case, if your feet are average to high volume, consider the Maestrale. Especially if your performance needs are "average" (almost perfectly balanced going up and down), the Maestrale will hit your sweet spot. Other boots definitely ski better on the way down, sometimes at lower weight and better uphill performance. But the Maestrale is well balanced, affordable, and widely available. It was an easy choice for the most recent application of our budget award.
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