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Scott Freeguide Carbon Review

Well-built, high performance ski touring boots for all-around use. Especially good for wide and high volume feet
Scott Freeguide Carbon
Photo: Wild Snow
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Price:  $900 List | $899.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Wide, high volume fit. Modern, balanced all around performance, up and down
Cons:  Heavy liner, high volume fit
Manufacturer:   Scott
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 9, 2020
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54
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 5
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Downhill performance - 35% 5
  • Comfort and Fit - 10% 6
  • Warmth - 10% 7
  • Ease of Use - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Scott Superguide Carbon is a carefully tuned, high-performance ski boot for all-around human-powered backcountry skiing. It goes uphill as much as your legs and lungs will allow, and skis down whatever you wish to navigate. It can drive big skis and isn't too much for smaller sticks. The primary differentiation is its wide fit. There is space in there for high volume feet. As such, it is sort of all alone; it performs well and fits those with particular needs.

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Pros Wide, high volume fit. Modern, balanced all around performance, up and downExcellent downhill performance, light weight, proven styleLight, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flexExcellent downhill performance, durable, warm, reliable, familiarStiff, comfy fit, Intuition liner
Cons Heavy liner, high volume fitModerate insulation, hard to get in and out ofCold, finicky transitionsVery limited uphill and foot-travel performance, heavyHeavy, high friction cuff pivot
Bottom Line If you have wide or high volume feet this is a great choice. You’ll compromise little to nothing as compared to the rest of the marketFor only the most specialized of needs (super wide feet, high speed climbers, big-cliff-huckers) will it be overwhelmed; this is an excellent ski boot that quietly entered the market and crushes the competitionFor all-around skiing with a light and fast preference, this is a great choiceExcellent for short climbing sessions interspersed with largely mechanized access backcountry skiingFor “crossover” use, choose the right binding, bigger skis, and, if it fits, it can be used for both occasional short human powered runs and inbounds skiing
Rating Categories Scott Freeguide Carbon Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Scarpa F1 LT Lange XT3 120 Scarpa Maestrale XT
Uphill Performance (20%)
5
6
8
1
3
Weight (20%)
5
5
9
2
4
Downhill Performance (35%)
5
8
5
10
8
Comfort And Fit (10%)
6
8
8
8
7
Warmth (10%)
7
6
5
9
9
Ease Of Use (5%)
7
7
5
7
6
Specs Scott Freeguide... Tecnica Zero G... Scarpa F1 LT Lange XT3 120 Scarpa Maestrale XT
Weight size 26.5, pair 6 lbs 5 oz 6 lbs 0 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 7 lbs 11 oz 6 lbs 13 oz
Weight of one boot shell 1122 g 1119 g 809 g 1398 g 1237 g
Weight of one stock liner, no footbed 310 g 204 g 214 g 352 g 308 g
Weight of one complete boot, grams 1432 g 1323 g 1023 g 1750 g 1545 g
Range of Motion; degrees 55 55 72 34 55
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 and DIN AT
Stated Flex Index 130 130 95 120 125
Stated Last width 101.5 mm 99 mm 102 mm 100 mm 101 mm
Alpine wrap or Tongue Tongue Wrap Tongue Wrap Tongue
Shell material Carbon re-enforced grilamid Grilamid Grilamid, Carbon Core Polyurethane Carbon Grilamid

Our Analysis and Test Results

Scott's Freeguide Carbon is an all-around, mid-pack ski touring boot for a user with relatively high volume feet. Performance is on par with its closest competitors, and the fit is wider than average.

Performance Comparison



Scott Freeguide Carbon; an all-around, high-performance ski touring...
Scott Freeguide Carbon; an all-around, high-performance ski touring boot optimized for higher volume, "wide" feet.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Uphill Performance


Uphill performance is based on cuff range of motion and friction within that range of motion. Friction usually declines as the boot "breaks in" (this is a good thing). We found the range of motion of the Freeguide to be about average, and certainly adequate. Friction was a little greater than average. It's slowly getting better, but the sturdy liner and robust cuff and tongue limit ankle range of motion, and therefore efficiency, more than similar competitors.

Weight


The Scott Freeguide Carbon weighs 6 lbs 5 oz for the pair. Convention is fast becoming that we share backcountry ski gear weights in grams and per foot. The Freeguide weighs 1432g per boot, on our calibrated, cross-reverenced scale. Further, many people mix and match different liners into their boots and therefore want to know how much the shell alone weighs. The shell weighs 1122g and the liner weighs 310g.

All these numbers are petty competitive with other all-around backcountry ski boots for human-powered action. The liner could be lighter. The vast majority of boots you will be considering are between 1200 and 1500 grams per boot. Lighter than that and the ski performance suffers. More than that and you'll battle lugging them up the mountain. In that range, the Scott is obviously on the upper end of it. You choose this boot for its fit, not for its weight to performance ratio. Other options will perform the same or better and weigh less. But none of them are as well suited to higher volume feet.
1122 grams per shell is about typical for all-around, high...
1122 grams per shell is about typical for all-around, high performance ski touring boots. You can go lighter, but in the current state of the market you'll only have narrower, lower volume options that match the performance of this Scott.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Downhill Performance


Ski touring footwear gets better and better, by leaps and bounds. We've used Scott's offerings (including their predecessors branded Garmont) at every step of the way for more than 10 years now. Every new offering is a huge step up from the previous. They don't update as often as others and they offer fewer offerings than most. On the other hand, when they bring a new product out, like the Freeguide, it is well thought-out and keeps up, at least, with the competitors. The downhill performance of the Freeguide, for the weight, is excellent.

It is stiff in all the right directions (laterally and rearward) with a forward flex profile that approximates the "progressive" flex that is so difficult to accomplish with light and mid weight backcountry boots. The forward flex is competitive and comparable to that of the best products on the market in this same weight range, all only available in the last couple years. We like skiing downhill in the Scott Freeguide Carbon and you will enjoy it too.
The Scott Freeguide Carbon in use in the West Teton backcountry. The...
The Scott Freeguide Carbon in use in the West Teton backcountry. The cuff pivot, for the uphill, is mobile and free enough for fairly efficient action.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Comfort and Fit


The fit of the Scott Freeguide Carbon is its most polarizing attribute. This is a wide, high-volume product. It is essentially an outlier in this way. If you have average to narrow feet, you will always struggle with the Scott. However, if you have high volume feet you won't do better than the Freeguide. It is almost all alone up there, in terms of backcountry ski boots suitable for wide feet.

We also like the relatively rigid liner (as is the standard now, it is heat moldable) and its closure with Boa cable and dial. Not everyone likes their liners to lace tight, but some do. If you like laced liners, and especially if you like to adjust the tension of your liners through the day, you will love the Scott liner. If you don't like laced liners it is probably best for you to swap them for an aftermarket option; you'll save weight and likely make at least a small upgrade in fit, energy transmission, and durability.
Some will really, really like the BOA closure on the liner. Others...
Some will really, really like the BOA closure on the liner. Others will be indifferent and lug around extra weight and complication. Which are you?
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Warmth


Our test team has largely average feet. OSHA would probably come after us if we asked those with extra wide or extra narrow feet to test ski boots. It's hard enough for our iron-footed, average-dimensioned test team to endure new ski boots every other day for a busy test season. What this means is that we put the roomy Scott Freeguide Carbon, for the most part, on feet narrower than it is optimized for. This made for compromised downhill function (we also got them on wider footed testers, and all of us can extrapolate beyond fit issues) but made them very warm and comfy. More than anything, room in your ski boots is what makes for warm feet.

That being said, the thin shell and standard liner aren't especially insulating. All else equal (mainly, fit) the Scott Freeguide insulates about the same as other average ski touring boots. If you have average volume feet, but are very cold most of the time, this Scott with some fit adaptations and performance compromise might yield a very warm solution.

Ease of Use


We had few to no problems with the Scott Freeguide Carbon. We like that it has just three buckles. There isn't even a "power strap". Other boots in this class will have a total of 5 closures. Scott gets retention with 3/5ths the closures. The uppermost buckle is actually a hybrid. It is a hook-and-loop strap that can be further tightened with the camming action of a buckle. In transitions to short uphill sections the buckle can be just flipped open. For longer climbs you will want to loosen the velcro too.

Our only complaint with the usability of the Freeguide is with its rear ski/walk lever. The action is entirely invisible and internal. In certain conditions every boot buckle and lever is prone to icing up. Other contemporary competitors have moved the entirety of the ski/walk mechanism to the outside of the boot where it can be better cleaned in icing conditions.

Value



The price of the Freeguide Carbon is in line with its close competitors. It isn't appreciably more or less expensive than anything comparable. The construction seems both simple and robust; we had no durability concerns and don't anticipate anything more than typical wear and tear. Further value is the good (or great, if you like the BOA) liner. The stock liner of many boots virtually needs to be replaced. You can replace the liner of the Freeguide, but you won't realize great benefits aside from weight savings.

Conclusion


We can heartily recommend the Scott Freeguide Carbon for high volume feet on the end of legs that enjoy all different flavors of backcountry skiing. These are all-around, well-balanced boots for typical, average human-powered skiing. If you have high volume feet, they are more suited to you than virtually anything else we've discovered.

Jediah Porter