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Lange RX 120 Review

Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $600 List | $599.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Excellent medium volume fit, liner, buckles, downhill performance
Cons:  Thin tongue on liner, soft rubber soles wear easily
Manufacturer:   Lange
By Mike Phillips ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 28, 2017
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The Skinny

Lange pioneered the plastic shell ski boot in the early 1960's and has been at the forefront of its design ever since. The RX 120 is a classic all-mountain ski boot. Lange's boots are designed with quality features and a focus on a performance fit. With a 100 mm last, this boot is approachable for those skiers with truly medium volume feet and who are looking for a traditional downhill boot with a 4-buckle overlap design. The RX 120 feels stiff, and it skis very well because of it. This is a boot for an advanced or expert skier who wants to focus on performance. If it doesn't naturally fit your foot, your best option is to take a trip to the bootfitter and have them adjusted.

After winning the Editors' Choice Award last season, we continued to put miles on the RX 120. It still impresses us with its no-frills attitude, performance-oriented fit, downhill performance and durability over time.

Boot Updated Since Testing
The RX 120 has been updated since our tests. We outline what's new below.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated RX 120


Our Editors' Choice winning ski boot has received some updates in technology and construction this season. In addition to a sleeker look, the construction of the shell has changed, and the thermoformable boot liners are designed to contour the heel and ankle better. See the new version below on the right, compared to the older version which is pictured on the left.

Lange RX 120

The newest version of these boots differ from the old ones in the following ways:
  • New Dual Core Shell Construction — A new "power injection" process in manufacturing allows two plastics to be injected simultaneously, creating Lange's Dual Core sandwich construction, which is claimed to enable more dynamic response and rebound, allowing for more control in your turns.
  • Dual 3D Pro Liners — This new liner features better contouring around ankles and heels.
  • Graphics/Color Update — This season RX 120 comes in navy blue/orange.

The review below reflects the original RX 120.

Hands-On Review of the RX 120


The traditional 4 buckle overlap design of the Lange RX 120 has a snug fit and a predictable, stiff flex. Its low profile design feels good on the feet and allows for the feeling of being close to the ski and the snow. The RX 120 far outperformed other boots in this review in downhill performance and in comfort and fit. Albeit an acquired taste, we feel that a close-fitting boot will take your skiing to a new level when compared to higher volume, more comfortable boots.

Performance Comparison


The Lange RX 120 is a repeat Editors' Choice award winner in the men's all-mountain boot review. It wins because of its exceptional downhill performance.
The Lange RX 120 is a repeat Editors' Choice award winner in the men's all-mountain boot review. It wins because of its exceptional downhill performance.

Comfort and Fit


Strapping into the Lange RX 120  which has a traditional 4 buckle overlap design.
Strapping into the Lange RX 120, which has a traditional 4 buckle overlap design.
The Lange RX 120 will be comfortable if it fits your foot. The liner is thermo-moldable but is still simple and thin, allowing for a close fit to the shell that may be uncomfortable if the size isn't right. The precise overlap design of this boot limits foot movement inside the shell while the powerstrap is useful to keep the fit close to the shin. Even with the buckles maxed out, on our lead tester there is still a little bit of space in the cuff. In the long run, a tongue shim helped to take up some space in the cuff and reduce shin bang.

The 120 flex rating is stout compared to other boots in this review, and the 100 mm last feels a bit more narrow than the others, though we found this boot to be spot on length-wise. Our principal tester measures 27.5 on the nose on a Brannock Device (which measures foot length and width) and he felt like the RX 120 was the closest to a perfect fit out of the box. An aftermarket footbed was used a few times while testing this boot initially, and it improved the fit even more.

Boot sole length embossed on the Lange RX 120 and technical specs of the boot stamped on the inside heel.
Boot sole length embossed on the Lange RX 120 and technical specs of the boot stamped on the inside heel.
With the thin liner material on the tongue of the boot, we found little relief from the stiff flex. Testers reported sore shins when skiing bumpy conditions especially. A tongue shim prepared by a professional boot fitter took up some space and provided relief from the shin pain.

With just a little bit of boot work, these boots provided a locked-in fit that limited movement inside the shell and liner, resulting in a comfortable feel.

Downhill Performance


The Lange RX 120 excels in the downhill performance category and outshines the other boots in this review. The flex feels consistent and stiff while the RX 120's close fit allows for excellent responsiveness. The low-profile design increases sensitivity in the boot. A soft bootboard in the bottom of the shell coupled with rubberized soles left us feeling like the boot dampened vibration from hard snow well. We prefer a higher cuff height but appreciated that Lange maintained a relatively upright stance similar to other all-mountain boots. With practice, this upright stance is comfortable, but at first, it is difficult to stay forward in the boots.

Features


The Lange RX 120 has a consistent  stiff flex.
The Lange RX 120 has a consistent, stiff flex.
This is not a special feature-laden boot like the Dalbello Panterra ID 120, K2 Pinnacle 130, or the Salomon X Pro 120. The features on the RX 120 are softspoken and fairly standard but of high quality.

It comes equipped with replaceable soles that are rubberized for extra traction. We would like to see Lange use a more durable rubber on these soles, as we noticed significant wear with less than a week of use. The hole pattern on the toe pieces does allow the user to switch the pieces between boots and rotate them to more evenly disperse the wear and prolong the life of the toe pieces before purchasing replacements. As we point out in the review of the Tecnica Cochise 120, replaceable soles that use hex head screws are easier to replace if the screws themselves see any wear. The RX 120 uses Phillip's head screws, which are more likely to get stripped and worn down with use.

The micro-adjustable buckles on the RX 120 are easy to operate with gloves on. They have an articulated point that pivots on the end of the buckle and is easy to grab and will give extra leverage when the buckle is fully tightened. There is a flex adjustment on the spine of the RX 120 that actually works! By removing one or both of the screws/plugs in the back of the boot, the stiffness can be reduced and provide a softer ride. Also, with the assistance of a professional bootfitter, the user can adjust the canting angle of the cuff to provide better alignment.

Warmth


The RX 120 liner comes prepared to accept an aftermarket boot warmer with both a slit to insert the heating element and wire  and a bungee to guide the wire toward the battery/control unit at the cuff of the boot.
The RX 120 liner comes prepared to accept an aftermarket boot warmer with both a slit to insert the heating element and wire, and a bungee to guide the wire toward the battery/control unit at the cuff of the boot.
The Lange RX 120 is not a very warm boot. The close fit and thin liner do not contribute to keeping toes warm. Fortunately, the liner is prepared to accept an aftermarket boot heater with both a slit to insert the heating element and wire and a bungee to guide the wire toward the battery/control unit at the cuff of the boot. This should help the smallest digits stay warm even in very cold conditions.

Check out the chart below to see which boots ranked highest in our Warmth metric. The Rossignol Alltrack 120 and the Tecnica Cochise 120 took the cake in this category, while the Lange RX 120 hovers at the bottom of the chart.

Durability


Check out the Durability chart to see where the RX 120 landed amongst the rest of the boots in our review. The only issue we faced with durability during our testing of these boots was the wear on the soft rubber of the toes of the sole. By being proactive with rotating and switching the toe pieces, we feel that the life of this piece could be prolonged.

The RX 120 uses a soft rubber material on it's replaceable soles. These showed wear with less than a week of use.
The RX 120 uses a soft rubber material on it's replaceable soles. These showed wear with less than a week of use.

Best Application


The Lange RX 120 is an expert skier's boot for someone who is committed to all-mountain, in-bounds skiing. It exemplifies what an all-mountain boot should be. It will be liked by skiers with medium volume feet who want a stiff boot.

Value


The Lange RX is one of the more expensive boots we tested, but we think the performance makes this pair worth it. These boots are ready to accept work by a professional boot fitter, which will help dial in the fit for the long run. They are of high value to dedicated skiers who seek out high-end performance equipment.

Conclusion


The Lange RX 120 wins our Editors' Choice Award because of its exceptional downhill performance, great fit, and simple yet quality features. This is an expert skier's boot for someone who is focused on the down. This boot has won the Editors' Choice award two seasons in a row, and it consistently proves its mettle against a selection of other all-mountain contenders. We feel most at home in this boot and think it deserves attention for its overall quality as an all-mountain ski boot.

OutdoorGearLab ski and boot review editor Mike Phillips caffeinating between some test laps. He is wearing the Editors' Choice winning jacket  the Arc'teryx Macai  the Editors' Choice Lange RX 120 boots  and the Dynastar Powertrack 89 skis.
OutdoorGearLab ski and boot review editor Mike Phillips caffeinating between some test laps. He is wearing the Editors' Choice winning jacket, the Arc'teryx Macai, the Editors' Choice Lange RX 120 boots, and the Dynastar Powertrack 89 skis.

Other Versions


The Lange RX series is available in several flex ratings. You will find a flex rating appropriate to your size, skiing ability, and ski style. Look for: 100, 120, and 130 flex models. The RX 100 and RX 130 are also available in Low Volume versions, which have a narrower 97 mm last for the skinny-footed skiers.


Mike Phillips