Scarpa Maestrale XT Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Excellent walk mode, high end boot for BC and sidecounty adventures
Cons: Expensive, narrow fit, requires AT or MNC bindings
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Scarpa Maestrale XT is engineered to provide the best downhill performance possible for a ski boot with a 56-degree range of motion. It is touted as a 130 flex boot, which felt about right when compared to other touring boots, like the lighter weight but more touring-friendly Maestrale RS, but does not have the same stiffness as found in the race-inspired 130 flex boots found elsewhere in this review. We can find few snow conditions that truly challenge this boot, and it drives a wide range of skis from cambered skis with lots of sidecut on groomers to mid-fat skis in chopped up snow. It is a three buckle boot with a powerstrap, but the way the lower buckle uses a cable that goes back and forth across the top of the foot feels more like a true four buckle boot.
When out of ski bindings, the Vibram soles do a great job of gripping packed snow, pavement, and rock, making them easier to walk in than most any boot in this review.
This is one of the more comfortable boots to wear all day, due to the quality of the liner as well as the 101mm last, which is intended to fit most medium width feet. We find that it fits true to size in most of the foot, but it has a narrow forefoot that may be tight for some. What makes this boot easy to wear all day is the easy release latch on the buck, quickly relieving pressure on the lift or gondola, or opening up the boot cuff in the skin track.
Depending on your arch height, you may find the lower buckle to be excessively tight - our lead tester was on the last buckle setting and was on the margin of not being able to close the buckle.
The Maestrale XT features a Vibram sole with fittings for a tech binding; it does not come with now have the option to pair with a traditional alpine binding, so it must be used with a tech binding like the Black Diamond Fritschi Tecton 12 or a MNC (multi norm certified) binding. The sole is not removable, so if you walk on a lot of sharp rocks, it will degrade faster than a typical DIN block, but does provide much better traction.
The buckles are a mixture of alpine ladder lock buckles and a unique cabled buckle on the lower foot. Included is a Booster Powerstrap that allows for a performance fit.
The range of motion is truly impressive, with 56-degrees of walk mode available, double what some other models in this review boast. The lever to engage walk mode is a large metal tab that is easy to operate with gloves on.
The included liner in the Maestral XT boots is the Intuition Cross Fit Pro Flex Ride, a medium thickness liner that is warm enough to keep our feet from getting cold on all but the coldest winter days. We felt that the liner, after getting molded, is of great quality, and did not pack out quickly as some lower end or more weight conscious models might. We do feel that the narrow feeling toe box inhibited some circulation, and one of our testers found it hard to wear anything but the thinnest of ski socks, so if these fit snugly then you may want to ask your local bootfitter about enlarging the forefoot.
The Scarpa Maestrale XT is a burly boot, to be sure. It is made from a Grilamid lower and a Pebax upper, and its buckles are all of top-quality and should hold up to the rigors of use. The sole is made of Vibram rubber, which if worn over rough terrain will come off in chunks and expose the plastic below, and there is no replacement available. We find that it takes the reasonable lifespan of the boot for this to occur, however, and do not consider an unreplaceable sole cause for immediate alarm.
The Maestrale XT does not come cheap. It features high-quality craftsmanship and materials and is a proven performer, but it is an expensive boot when compared to a number of other close competitors.
The Scarpa Maestrale XT is the best ski boot in this review for those seeking to get out past the ski area boundaries, to skin and boot up to the top of a run, and not worry about diminished performance on the descent. This high-quality boot is best for equal parts in and out of bounds and has an excellent walk mode.
— Ryan Huetter