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Scarpa Maestrale RS Review

Proven 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 better
Scarpa Maestrale RS
Photo: Backcountry
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $800 List | $799.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Balanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fit
Cons:  Ski/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versions
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 29, 2021
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 14
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 4
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 10% 7
  • Warmth - 10% 8
  • Ease of Use - 5% 9

Our Verdict

Product Recall
Maestrale RS boots produced in the Fall of 2017 have been recalled with a defect that may make the boot's shell crack under certain conditions. Visit Scarpa's recall page to find instructions on how to identify boots from that time period and how to get them replaced.

The newest version of the Scarpa Maestrale RS is basically a brand new ski boot. Our entire test team had at least some experience with previous versions, and we can authoritatively say that it is as good as any of the predecessors and at least a little better in all ways. Boots just keep getting better, and Scarpa is keeping up. The Maestrale RS goes uphill like the rando race boots of 10 years ago and goes downhill better than anything on the market at that time. The weight is acceptable (but surprisingly bettered by some options that ski downhill even better), and the boots will be largely durable. There are some usability quirks that you might grow accustomed to but might choose to opt out of. The fit is generally higher volume than average. We can recommend these boots for anyone that has a wide/high volume foot. Almost any boot can be modified and punched, but those of you with high volume feet will have to do less or none of this with the Scarpa. The performance is good and neutral for all-around backcountry skiing.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Scarpa Maestrale RS
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $799.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$899.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$798.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Balanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fitExcellent downhill performance, lightweight, proven styleLight, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flexExcellent downhill performance, durable, warm, reliable, familiarLight, high volume fit, proven buckles and closures
Cons Ski/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versionsModerate insulation, hard to get in and out ofCold, finicky transitionsVery limited uphill and foot-travel performance, heavyHigh volume fit, compromised downhill performance
Bottom Line Proven 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 betterWhether 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 contenderBalanced, all-around ski touring boots that lean in the light-and-fast direction; these are optimized, probably, for what you like about the mountainsThese are lightly modified resort boots, built to optimize the downhill and be minimally functional on the way upRelatively inexpensive lightweight touring boots that have more than satisfactory performance and a relatively wide fit
Rating Categories Scarpa Maestrale RS Tecnica Zero G Tour... Scarpa F1 LT Lange XT3 120 Atomic Backland Carbon
Uphill Performance (20%)
4.0
6.0
8.0
1
9.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
5.0
9.0
2.0
8.0
Downhill Performance (35%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
10.0
2.0
Comfort And Fit (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Warmth (10%)
8.0
7.0
5.0
9.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (5%)
9.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Scarpa Maestrale RS Tecnica Zero G Tour... Scarpa F1 LT Lange XT3 120 Atomic Backland Carbon
Weight Size 26.5, pair 6 lbs 5 oz 6 lbs 0 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 7 lbs 11 oz 4 lbs 12 oz
Weight of One Boot Shell 1080 g 1119 g 0809 g 1398 g 0850 g
Weight of One Stock Liner, No Footbed 252 g 204 g 214 g 352 g 227 g
Weight of One Complete Boot, No Insole 1432 g 1323 g 1023 g 1750 g 1077 g
Range of Motion; Degrees 60 55 72 34 66
Binding Compatibility? Tech Only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR Tech and DIN AT Tech and DIN AT Tech only Tech, DIN AT, Grip Walk Tech only
Stated Flex Index 125 130 95 120 110
Stated Last width 101 mm 99 mm 102 mm 100 mm 98 mm
Alpine Wrap or Tongue Tongue Wrap Tongue Wrap Tongue
Shell Material Carbon Grilamid Grilamid Grilamid, Carbon Core Polyurethane Grilamid PA, carbon

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison


Funky snow in a backcountry, storm-day couloir run in Grand Teton...
Funky snow in a backcountry, storm-day couloir run in Grand Teton National Park. The Maestrale RS was up to the task.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Uphill 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.

The cuff range of motion of the Maestrale is good and the...
The cuff range of motion of the Maestrale is good and the transitions are relatively simple.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Weight


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.

"Testing" the Maestrale RS in Grand Teton National Park's "Nugget...
"Testing" the Maestrale RS in Grand Teton National Park's "Nugget Couloir". This isn't your typical use case, but it was good testing.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Downhill Performance


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.

Warmth


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.

For average backcountry skiing, you can't go wrong with the Scarpa...
For average backcountry skiing, you can't go wrong with the Scarpa Maestrale RS. It is carefully tuned for wide appeal.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

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 large, external ski/walk mode cuff lock, in action.
The large, external ski/walk mode cuff lock, in action.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Value


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.

The Scarpa Maestrale next to the Editors Choice Tecnica Zero G Tour...
The Scarpa Maestrale next to the Editors Choice Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro. Head to head, these boots are closely matched. The Tecnica skis better and is lighter, but its more expensive and fits narrower.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Conclusion


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.

Jediah Porter

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