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Lange RX 120 Review

The Lange RX 120 is a high performance boot for expert skiers in all-mountain conditions.
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Price:  $600 List | $359.93 at REI
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 and Ryan Huetter  ⋅  Dec 26, 2018
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Our Verdict

Lange's boots are designed with quality features and a focus on a performance fit, making the RX 120 a classic all-mountain ski boot. With a 100 mm last width, this mid-volume boot works well for those skiers with truly medium volume feet 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. 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.

We have found a new top performer though in the Atomic Hawx Prime 120 S. It's a boot that offers much of the same capability of the RX 120 in a more comfortable package.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Lange pioneered the plastic shell ski boot in the early 1960s and has been at the forefront of its design ever since. The RX 120 is proof that they know what they're doing.

Performance Comparison


Here the RX 120 boots ski fast on a windy day on the Dynastar Powertrack 89. This boot is one of the great on-piste performers in our test.
Here the RX 120 boots ski fast on a windy day on the Dynastar Powertrack 89. This boot is one of the great on-piste performers in our test.

Downhill Performance


The Lange RX 120 offers excellent downhill performance and was amongst the best performers in this metric. 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 boot board in the bottom of the shell combined with rubberized soles to do a good job of dampened vibrations from hard snow.

The forward lean is a fixed 12-degree angle. This can leave you feeling somewhat upright if you're used to more aggressive forward lean angles. With practice, this upright stance is comfortable, but at first, it makes it difficult to stay forward in the boots.

The liner is durable and supportive. However  its narrow shape  especially in the toe box  will likely require heat molding if it is too snug for your foot.
The liner is durable and supportive. However, its narrow shape, especially in the toe box, will likely require heat molding if it is too snug for your foot.

Comfort and Fit


The RX 120 is a performance ski boot with a medium volume last. This boot is reasonably comfortable if it fits your foot, but it prioritizes performance. Even after fitting the boot by molding the liner, the stiff shell and thin liner are oriented towards downhill skiing, not comfort on the lift or when eating lunch in the cafeteria.

The RX 120's stock liner is thermo-moldable but is simple and thin. This means that there is less liner to pack out, which allows for a close fit that works well on the hill but it's uncomfortable if the sizing isn't right. The precise overlapping design of this boot limits foot movement inside the shell and the power strap keeps the fit close to the shin. With the buckles tightened as far as they could go, several testers with narrow calves still had a noticeable amount of play. They used a tongue shim to fix the issue. (This was not an issue for our lead tester.)

The 120 flex rating feels stiffer than others in the same category, and the reported 100mm medium volume last seems narrow, resulting in a tight fit. The length is spot on, and we were happy with the performance fit of the toe area right out of the box. We used an aftermarket footbed a few times when first testing this boot, and it improved the fit even more.

Because the liner material on the boot's tongue is so thin, we found little relief from the boot's stiff flex. Testers reported sore shins often, especially when skiing bumpy conditions. A tongue shim prepared by a professional boot fitter provided a more precise fit and relief from the shin pain for some.

In all, with just a little bit of work, these boots provided a locked-in fit that limited movement inside the shell and liner. They are comfortable enough while in action, though we still needed to loosen the buckles when riding long lifts to keep our feet happy.

The RX 120 boots are suited to all-mountain skiing and perform well in ungroomed conditions and on the corduroy.
The RX 120 boots are suited to all-mountain skiing and perform well in ungroomed conditions and on the corduroy.

Features


The RX 120 MV is a relatively simple boot without the flashy features found on other models in our review. The features on the RX 120 are subtle and fairly standard but of high quality. Not having lots of features is not necessarily a bad thing, and a professional boot fitter will be able to improve on fit with additional tools.

The boots come 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 after less than a week of use. Luckily the screw pattern on the toe pieces allows you to rotate them and to switch the pieces between boots to more evenly disperse the wear and prolong the life of the toe pieces before purchasing replacements. Unfortunately, the soles use Philip's head screws, which are more likely to strip or wear down with use. Replaceable soles that use hex head screws hold up better and are easier to replace if the screws themselves see any wear.

Often overlooked  we really appreciated the simple shape improvement to the buckle that allows for easy use with heavy gloves.
Often overlooked, we really appreciated the simple shape improvement to the buckle that allows for easy use with heavy gloves.

The micro-adjustable buckles on the RX 120 are easy to operate while wearing gloves. They have an articulated point that pivots on the end of the buckle and is easy to grab. It provides extra leverage when the buckle is fully tightened. There is also a flex adjustment on the spine of the RX 120 that actually works! By removing or replacing one or both of the screws/plugs in the back of the boot, you can reduce or increase the boot's stiffness. Also, with the assistance of a professional boot fitter, you can adjust the canting angle of the cuff to provide better alignment.

Warmth


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

The sole of the RX 120 showed wear after minimal use. We worry that the small Phillips screws will wear down over time.
The sole of the RX 120 showed wear after minimal use. We worry that the small Phillips screws will wear down over time.

Durability


The RX 120 offers average durability when compared to the other boots we tested. The only durability issue we faced while testing these boots was on the soft rubber of the toes of the sole. By being proactive about rotating and switching the toe pieces, you can prolong the life of these toe pieces.

Best Application


The 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 works well for skiers with medium volume feet who want a stiff boot and are willing to accept less comfort for the high-level performance that comes with a downhill-oriented boot like this one.

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.

The RX 120 handles firm snow with ease in off-piste terrain beneath Hangman's Hollow on Mammoth Mountain  CA.
The RX 120 handles firm snow with ease in off-piste terrain beneath Hangman's Hollow on Mammoth Mountain, CA.

Conclusion


We found that the RX 120 is a high-quality boot that is a good introduction to performance all-mountain boots without being as stiff and difficult to handle as the 130 flex version of the RX. This boot has previously won our Editor's Choice for its overall ability in a wide range of conditions. With the updates seen in this year's model, we continue to recommend it to those whose feet fit it well.

Still, we found more capability and features in the Atomic Prime 120 medium volume boot. And it unseated the RX 120 as Editor's Choice winner this year.

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 and Ryan Huetter