Best suited for strong skiers, the K2 Pinnacle 130 is a big boot. It is packed with features and intended for skiers who demand downhill performance in-bounds and want the added luxury of a walk-mode for some touring capability and comfort on hike-to terrain. We found this boot to have a snug fit and feel that it is best suited for skiers who prefer not to have any wiggle room in their boots. It has a nice upright stance and fits true to size. The 130 flex rating on this boot seemed comparable in stiffness to the Lange RX 120, and was otherwise much stiffer than other 120 flex boots included in our review.The Pinnacle was a contender for our Top Pick award for a touring capable All-Mountain/Freeride boot but was beat out by last year's winner, the Tecnica Cochise 120 which was lighter, had a better walk mode and was more competitively priced. We felt that it was a better boot in many ways than the Best Buy Award winning Rossignol All Track 120 which also features a walk mode, but the significant price difference put it in another budget category entirely.
K2 Pinnacle 130 Review
Cons: Expensive, heavy, slippery soles for walking
Our Analysis and Test Results
The K2 Pinnacle 130 is a good choice for advanced/expert skiers with a medium volume foot that need a boot that will do it all. It is capable of ripping up groomed on-piste terrain, dancing through steep off-piste terrain, hiking to your favorite in-bounds stash, and skinning just outside of the resort boundary for some private powder turns. Although we don't consider this to be a good choice for a dedicated touring boot due to its weight and clunky nature, it will suffice for short jaunts out of bounds for the backcountry neophyte and for the budget conscious who can only afford one boot to handle many different conditions and situations.
Comfort and Fit
The K2 Pinnacle 130 features a customizable Intuition Liner. The liner looks different from other Intuition liners you may have seen in the past in that it does not overlap itself. It more closely resembles a traditional ski boot liner. The tongue is reinforced with plastic, providing a bit more rigidity and protection from the shell of the boot. We skied the Pinnacle without heat molding the liner but felt that doing so would improve the fit and comfort of the boot.
Two testers reported a biting feeling in the ankle of the Pinnacle. Although the heel pocket was very secure feeling, it was a bit uncomfortable. Heat molding the liner may have improved the shape to match our feet better. But, be advised, secure fit can sometimes come with tradeoffs that may take some specialized boot fitting to make things tolerable in the long run.
We feel that this boot has a nice snug fit for a 100 mm last. The micro-adjustable buckles with many points allow you to fine-tune the tightness on the fly. We appreciate the wide power-strap/top buckle design.
The walk mode allows the user to unlock the cuff from the lower part of the shell. We like this feature for walking to and from the lifts, hiking to ski in-bounds, and for periods of standing around. There is decent cuff mobility for this style of boot, although it does not nearly match the capabilities of a dedicated touring boot. The power-strap/top buckle design allows for more mobility while in walk mode and we found that feature to make walking more comfortable thanks to more ankle articulation.
We feel like for a boot to really crossover to backcountry skiing and to take advantage of a walk mode, the sole should be a bit more rockered and sticky than that on the Pinnacle 130. The flatness of the sole and the hard plastic material made walking feel clunky. Also, the hard plastic toes and heels on the boot are slippery on hard surfaces, leaving us feeling uncomfortable in some places. There is a nice rubberized instep on the boot which does take some of the slip and slide out of uneven surfaces. Why not use a tackier material on the heels and toes?
Downhill Ski Performance
The 130 flex of the Pinnacle felt plenty stiff to drive skis in challenging conditions. They are a responsive boot thanks to the tall cuff and close fit. Only in the roughest of conditions can you feel any play in the cuff due to the walk mode mechanism.
Initially what really stood out about the Pinnacle 130 was the addition of tech fittings to the boot sole. Instead of aftermarket soles that include tech fittings, like those found on the Tecnica Cochise, they are embedded in the permanent sole of the K2 boot. This boot may be overkill for most users of tech style bindings, but if this is your only boot and you like the smooth touring feel of tech bindings in the backcountry, then go for it.
The walk mode on the Pinnacle works well for a boot this size and is easy to operate. A flip of a lever on the spine of the boot disengages the cuff from the lower shell. By unbuckling the third buckle and the power strap, you gain more mobility in the cuff. This is as good of a feature for skinning and hiking as it is for walking to the lifts, through the lodge, or standing around in your boots for an extended period.
We like the powerstrap on the Pinnacle more than the very similar strap found on the Tecnica Cochise. The K2 strap disconnects from the attachment point to the boot. If you are using your boots more for the intended downhill application, it's nice to set the strap where you like it and be able to buckle it down right away.
Replaceable heels and toes on ski boots is important to us. We feel like if you use your boots a lot, you will inevitably be slogging through the parking lot, across firm snow, along rocky boot packs, and up and down the stairs at the lodge. All of this takes a toll on your boot bottoms and soles just can't stand up to this for the long haul. For a secure fit in your bindings, you should keep fresh soles on your boots.
The buckles on the Pinnacle are micro-adjustable with an easy twist of the buckle. With many attachment points, it's easy to find just the right spot.
The Intuition liner adds value to this boot. They are easily heat molded by a professional boot fitter for a more custom fit.
The Pinnacle was warm enough during our testing. Its performance-oriented fit doesn't intend to be the warmest boot out there. A little wiggle room in the toes allows for more comfortable walking and gets a little bit more circulation down to our littlest digits.
We had no issues with the durability of this boot during our test. As already mentioned, we like the replaceable heels and toes on boots to extend their life. Despite being slippery, the hard material used on the heels and toes will likely stand up to abuse over time. Our primary concern with long-term durability with this boot is the power-strap/top buckle design. The strap is crucial for good fit/performance of this boot because it turns it into a taller four buckle design. With prolonged use. Velcro is prone to failure at some point. When it gets tired, we're worried that this strap/buckle will become prone to slipping and not holding well.
The K2 Pinnacle 130 is best suited for advanced/expert skiers who prefer a snug, performance-oriented fit. If in-bounds, downhill performance with a touch of hike-to accessibility is what you're looking for, this boot is a decent choice. Backcountry newbies who are hesitant to invest in another pair of boots will appreciate the hiking friendly features of this boot. Afterall, tech-fittings and a walk mode beat race boots and alpine trekkers any day.
This boot is overpriced. The features are functional and intelligent, but we feel that you can get a comparable boot at a much lower price. There are better dedicated in-bounds all-mountain ski boots and cheaper and more functional boots to try out the backcountry with.
The K2 Pinnacle 130 falls into the freeride/adventure category of all-mountain ski boots. It skis well and has features that help make hiking, walking, and skinning more comfortable. The walk mode is superior to that found on the Rossignol All Track 120 but it does not work as well as the one on the Tecnica Cochise 120. It shines in-bounds where big boots can push around skis in tough conditions and weight isn't as much of a concern. Its clunky nature and weight make it a poor choice as a dedicated touring boot. The Intuition liner and micro-adjustable buckles make it somewhat easily customizable. For a highly customizable boot that is dedicated to skiing in-bounds, consider the Salomon X-Pro 120 which is two hundred dollars cheaper. If you are looking for a boot that can tackle the demands of resort skiing and sample the splendors of the backcountry, check out the Tecnica Cochise 120 which we consider to be a better boot all-around.
— Mike Phillips
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