Posted on April 09 2016
The Daily Driver boot is perfect for the ski tourer that is looking for only one boot to do it all. They are an excellent blent of tour-ability, with light weight shells that are made to go up the mountain, but with stiffer plastic and designs to still give you great power and control on the way down.
Scarpa Maestrale and are back for their 6th victory lap as the best selling alpine touring boot in the country. The intuition heat moldible liner in every boot provides instant comfort right out of the box and even better hit when customized to your foot. The Maestrale comes in at about 100 on the always arbitrary flex index while the RS comes in just about it for bigger and more aggressive riders. With a decent walk mode and comfortable last there is nothing new here from Scarpa, but the Meastrale proves the statement if it ain't broke don't fix it.
The La Sportiva Spectre is back with some improvements from the previous years. In the past one of the biggest complaints came from the plastic softening overtime in the heal cup leading to some extra flex and an overall softer feel. The new Spectre has beefed up the plastic in key places without significantly increasing the weight of the boot. The walk mode is comparable to the lighter two buckle boots, but its four buckles guarantees a securer feel for the downhill performance. At 103 across the forefoot this is one of the widest and highest volume touring boots out there. Beware of the pinch on top of the foot that hits over half the people that try the Spectre. It can easily be rectified by heating the plastic and bending it outward.
The Salomon Mtn Explore may only have two buckles, but it is the only boot on the list here that offers and an alpine overlap constructions, greatly increasing the downhill fun. It is not light enough to compete with the other 2 buckle boots out there but it is right in the midweight range of the other Daily Drivers. It has a great forward articulation providing most of its range of motion, but the backwards flex leaves much to be desired. This is a great boot if you hammer on steeper skin tracks but will be a little clunky on flat approaches. It only claims a 98 last but through all our testing it definitely feels much wider.
The Radical has been an all around boot for Dynafit that has received little tweaks throughout the years in both name and design. There is not much impressive about this boot besides the price, but for the entry level ski touring it is comfortable and will take you anywhere you need to go.