Scarpa Freedom Freeride Backcountry Touring Boot Debut


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Find a pair of Scarpa Freedom Backcountry boots here.
Scarpa has fired an explosive salvo in the freeride touring boot wars with their new Freedom model. I fitted a pair last night and am skiing them today with a flock of media hacks planning on invading some obscure ski resort in Utah. Thing is, Scarpa doesn’t have to do a whole lot of brain washing regarding these shoes, they’re truly cool. Some factoids and photos:

boot

Freedom, by Scarpa, Includes carbon fiber, tech fittings, swap sole, free pivot cuff and so much more.

- Low Volume.
- Shell sole construction = insulated PU boot board > carbon core technology co-injected.
- Swappable soles. Boot will be sold with tour sole that has tech fittings.
- Inserts reinforced with steel plates.
- In touring mode, only connection between lower and upper boot is boot cuff rivets on side. Lean lock bar has been removed to allow 27 degrees of movement freedom (20 degrees forward 7 back). They’re calling this feature “free motion.” Not exactly a new earth shattering idea, but definitely competitive with other brands that offer similar freedom of cuff movement. (Hint hint this will be almost 100% something that is transferred across the line).
- The boot is Pebax. Thickness ranges 3 to 6 mm throughout boot.
- Lateral lean angle of last is 2 degrees to “enable preload of the boot from the base up.” (This is on the medial side). We assume this means the cuff is “pre canted.” For those who don’t need any canting or want more, a cuff alignment rivet is indeed included.
- Zipped buckle on lower closures (no rivet below the buckle allows easier entry into boot as this boot is a true overlap).
- Flat boot board (inside of shell under your foot) solves numerous fit problems.

- Weight is 1799 g (63 oz), one boot size 27.
- Excellent MSRP: $769 for Pebax and $599 for PU.

Official story: Well known professional skier Chris Davenport met Scarpa at OR last winter and spoke with them about what he was interested in. Then while in Alaska in April, skiing with some “product skiers,” they discussed their ideas. He then flew directly to Italy, iPad PowerPoint in hand, and presented Scarpa with his ideas. Upon hearing his spiel they handed him a prototype which was exactly everything he wanted — sort of like Cinderella perfectly fitting that shoe. The rest is now history, and we have what looks to be something exceptional.

back

Freedom boot has an incredibly beefy lean lock that totally disengages in tour mode. Only one forward lean setting in the field, but adjusts at home to three different settings. Very good.

inside

Inside view showing some of the hybrid carbon construction. This thing is STIFF.

Catalog specs for Scarpa Freedom backcountry skiing freeride touring boot.

Catalog specs for Scarpa Freedom backcountry skiing freeride touring boot.

Brief Boot Review:

A one day demo was provided by Scarpa NA at Snowbird Resort. The conditions were hard pack under bluebird skies with a temperature of 20F warming up to 45F in the afternoon. I was paired with Kastle’s BMX 108 in a 188 length. The group I skied with was a hard charging bunch from 8am till early afternoon led by Chris Davenport. For the morning I was in the Pebax Freedom with Intuition liners. I noticed my immediate need to buckle the forefoot of the boot to the max whilst attempting to do the same on the upper boot. The power transfer was immediate and the lack of weight in the boots were apparent as the skis underfoot were no lightweight. At lunch I swapped into the PU version of the boot and immediately noticed a roomier toe box. I believe this was due to the nature of the Intuition liners further molding to my foot although other testers noted similar feelings. The PU boot similar to the Pebax forced me to buckle my forefoot to their max. For the days conditions the PU boot seemed to stay stiff throughout the afternoon as the Pebax gradually got softer throughout the morning. When I looked around at fellow testers I believe these boots will be for market segment of hard charging individuals who skis equally as pressing at the resort and in the slackcountry.
Note:I did not tour or hike in either version of the boot throughout the day.

Find a pair of Scarpa Freedom Backcountry boots here.

Comments

52 Responses to “Scarpa Freedom Freeride Backcountry Touring Boot Debut”

  1. Tom Gos January 21st, 2013 9:10 am

    I’m excited to see some new “beef” boots for next season, it might be time to retire the Titans. Kind of interesting that they went with pebax on this, I wonder what the PU version will weigh, at that price the PU may be the real sleeper (and stiffer for us big guys). Also can’t wait to learn more about similar products from K2, Lange, and possibly Salomon.

  2. Clarky January 21st, 2013 9:47 am

    Good to hear they removed that stupid bump from the footboard

  3. Joe Risi January 21st, 2013 10:50 am

    Indeed they did!

    PU weighs 4lbs 7 oz. in a size 27

    FYI Christoph Nussbaumer was the lead design on the boot for the last 2 years.

  4. Dave January 21st, 2013 11:16 am

    That looks like a well-designed beef boot. I hope the overlap – as opposed to tongue – design allows for increasing the instep volume. Low volume is the only thing keeping me out of Scarpa boots.

  5. Nexus6 January 21st, 2013 11:34 am

    Dave, I’ve always thought of Scarpa as a high volume boot? Too high volume for me anyway.

    Description of this boot says “low volume”. I’m hoping it’s a performance fit especially around the key ankle/heel pocket area. Seems like so many AT boots are lacking there.

    BTW, anyone actually had these or the new K2 boot on their feet yet?

    Any info on the liner on the Scarpa? Intuition hopefully?

  6. Joe Risi January 21st, 2013 11:43 am

    There on my feet right now…

    It is 100% a performance fit. Great ankle hold.

    The Pebax boot uses a thermo mold Intuition liner specifically made for the boot.

    INstandard fit liner will be in the PU boot.

  7. Lou Dawson January 21st, 2013 11:48 am

    Italians ski uphill too fast. This is a fairly light boot but adds enough weight to possibly slow them down. That will be a major relief. Lou

  8. Nexus6 January 21st, 2013 11:53 am

    Great to hear Intuition is standard, makes the boot $180 cheaper than Dynafit Titan’s since you don’t need to just throw out the stock liner =)

    Joe, it appears that the removable sole block comes up onto the front of the toe similar to the Dynafit Titan/ZZeus design? Makes toe shell punches a real PITA.

    How’s the forefoot volume?

  9. steveo January 21st, 2013 11:55 am

    What does Scarpa put the flex at? 130? Is there a last measurement available? I am currently skiing in and loving the Scarpa Hurricane – good weight, great performance, some tourability, and a wide forefoot that fits me perfectly. This looks like a winner!

  10. Joe Risi January 21st, 2013 12:09 pm

    The last is 101.

    As everyone knows in Europe they don’t use Flex ratings. I just asked the Euros and got an eye roll back at me.

    But they say its near a 120 for the Pebax. Take that for what ever its worth.

    Nexus the Italians say punching is not a problem.

    The toe box overall feels very much akin to a race ski boot. Cristof works with Atomic on their race boots so there are a few parallels there.

  11. Nexus6 January 21st, 2013 12:21 pm

    Ugg, sucks to hear the last is so wide. Seriously, that is NOT a performance fit or low volume at all unless you’ve got flippers.

    What’s up with all the 100+ mm AT boots? Right now it appears K2 is the only one with a 97mm boot with tech fittings.

  12. steveo January 21st, 2013 1:38 pm

    Yeah, flex ratings are pretty bogus. They are somewhat relelvant across a manufacturers line though. The old pebax Hurricane is rated at 125, the Mobe is 130 I think. So this boot sound pretty similar.

    101mm last sounds about right for my flippers:)

    Thanks Joe.

  13. Andy January 21st, 2013 2:09 pm

    Nexus6: The Cochise Pro 130 is a 97mm last and has tech soles available. At my size (25/25.5 mondo) they usually tighten that up. People whine about Factors being boats, but the 25.5 fits me perfectly and I fit a 25.5 TLT5 (notoriously narrow) perfectly as well. That’s why you shouldn’t try boots on over the innermet.

  14. Nexus6 January 21st, 2013 2:29 pm

    Andy, very true about not trying on boots on the Internet. Cochise Pro 130 is actually a good example of this. Even though it’s a stated 98mm (not 97mm) last when I tried one on (not over the Internet) it fit quite a bit wider than say a 97mm Lange and the instep and ankle are ginormous. TLT 5 is perfect for my chicken feet and is my light touring boot.

    Now if someone would just make a true low volume freeride touring boot I’d be in heaven. Lange XT LV is close, but no tech fitting. Holding out hope for the 97mm K2′s. I think boot fitting long, skinny chicken feet (29 length, C width, skinny ankles) is way worse than for those of you with flippers. You can always make a boot wider, but can’t make it narrower. Ugg, back to my cold, heavy race plugs for now.

  15. Andy January 21st, 2013 5:21 pm

    @Nexus6: Good catch on the Cochise last! It must be that extra MM that makes them too big ;). I had the same experience with the Cochise fit. Most people say you need to size down from other boots with that line. Haven’t had a chance to try that. I’ve seen the non-touring K2s on people’s feet at Alpental in WA, but none of the touring boots…

  16. duchebg January 21st, 2013 6:17 pm

    “flock of media hacks”, i laughed, yet, ironic-ly so..

  17. Chris January 21st, 2013 7:13 pm

    Hey guys,
    We just had an amazing day at Snowbird with the above stated “media hacks”. This is a true low-volume, high-performance boot made for the expert skier looking to get the most out of their ski day, both on the resort and in the backcountry. Check out more info here- courtesy of our good friends at Bentgate Mountaineering… http://blog.bentgate.com/ And thanks Joe for the review and the awesome turns today.

  18. Harry January 21st, 2013 8:48 pm

    I wouldn’t get to worked up about the 101mm last number. Aside from the forefoot last measurement not being a good indicator of a performance fit, most AT boots are being referenced in the size 27 shell, whereas most alpine boots are referenced in a size 26 shell. Assuming a standard 1.5 to 2mm last width change with the shell change that makes this a near enough as makes no difference 99mm shell in alpine terms, unless Scarpa has chose to reference its other specs in the 27 shell and the last width in 26, and since companies can do whatever they want nothing is stopping them.

    That being said most “98mm” class shells that I sell, which like 55″ screen tv are nominal measurement with much variation from company to company, model to model, will require some forefoot modifications for ideal fit. A tiny punch for the first met head, or a grind so the front of the little toe doesn’t fold under, or extending the forefoot width pocket farther back to match the shape of the foot.

    My customers that give the best feedback indicate that when they are looking for a performance fit it is about energy transfer and quick responsiveness. Over the last few years balance and snow feel have become important dimensions of fit as well, and the forefoot last measurement has gone down in importance.

    An example from the alpine world would be Atomic’s new line of raceboots, they move the curve of the outer shell well farther down and flatten it out to allow the foot to relax more, increasing snow feel. It makes the effective width slightly wider than the list 98mm, but works well for many.

    For the last few generations of beef boots from AT companies I feel that the design of the fit has lagged greatly behind the current generation of alpine boots, in the shape of the last, the boot board shapes, cuff alignment adjustment and in some cases some dreadful liners that are surpassed by $299 package boots.

    I have great hope the new Scarpa as well as the new BD boots will reverse this trend.

  19. Craig R. Steury January 21st, 2013 8:57 pm

    I have the same questions concerning how “low” is low-volume. For example, how does the heel area compare with the Maestrale? I’m having a very difficult time getting it to fit my skinny ankles/heel, even after an expert boot-fitting, l-pads etc. btw – what does a “last of 101″ mean exactly?

  20. Harry January 21st, 2013 9:13 pm

    Craig,

    In the tradition of internet bootfitters, I will speculate wildly about a possible solution to your problem, w/o having adequate information, then tell you that doing it can do more harm then good.

    Heel hold can be a misnomer, the search for a vise like grip that prevents upward movement leads to much discomfort. Rather than trying to press your foot down into the heel cavity, a good tactic is to bring the boot board up to the natural position your heel wants to be in when flexing the boot. Sticking a heel wedge under the liner is one way to do so. If you get the heel comfortably located vertically with a wedge, and then have a footbed/liner combo that locates it laterally, you should have good control.

    The downside on any boot you need to hike in is that it can result in much less comfortable walking.

    Of course if you heel hold is fine and you just have super skinny legs that the cuff of the boot and the top of the liner aren’t holding tight enough, then there is no spec that is an easy reference guide for you, the forefoot last and the minimum wrap diameter are not directly related, although lower volume boots will often have a lower volume cuff closure as well.

  21. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2013 1:08 am

    Craig,

    I have the same problem as you – extremly skinny heels. I tried to improve the heelfit for example by sticking pieces of a stiff carpet (or fabric designed to be sticked on the downside of chairs to protect the floor from scratches) on the inside of the shell, so it gets narrower. That works for a short time, but then the liner gets thinner in the areas that are in contact with the sticked material and so the effect is gone.
    I´d be really glad of more advices how to solve the problem “skinny heels” (Lou gave me some already, see the post “tlt 6″)!!!

    Harry, how can one achieve lateral fixation? And where can I purchase such wedges?

    I´d apreciate any help, thank you!

  22. XXX_er January 22nd, 2013 8:49 am

    if you^^ got skinny ankles try the mercury

  23. Bjorn Naylor January 22nd, 2013 9:56 am

    For skinny pins The One is good as well. Sweet ankle/heel interface.

  24. brent hansen January 22nd, 2013 9:56 am

    Don’t go the heel lift route. It has been the quick tourist bootfit (double secret) trick for years and has no effect other than putting your heel up and out of the manufacturers heel space. It also makes the hill steeper if you think about it.
    what other sport do we wear high heels to participate? Sorry to rant but I have seen so many heel lift fixes come through my shop causing lots of other problems. In our experience the thickest intuition liner and punching solves most boot problems. Esp heel looseness. Very important to have a shop that gets them hot enough when the liner is moulded. Svst sells the power wrap and Ski Tek in Ketchum Idaho has our own design intuition liner that is the thickest on the market. They do make the boot a bit stiffer.
    Just my three bits-Cheers

  25. Sam F January 22nd, 2013 10:37 am

    I hate to say it, but they need to get someone else too come up with color schemes. Whats with all these neon puke patterns?

    Looks like an awsome boot for sure, quality, well lasted, pebax overlap touring boots are becomeing old hat. But, i still like them. As for fit issues this boot should have a great deal of bootfitting potential. Think of it this way, a nylon tongue boot my be light, but i bet in most cases a good boot fitter could drop a shell size in a boot like this much easier, and with better results. one shell size will negate a bit of weight, and fit and flex trump technology, in my book.

  26. Nexus6 January 22nd, 2013 11:40 am

    Well, I feel somewhat responsible for this thread turning into a speculative Interwebs boot fitting session, but since it has …

    Brent, you are correct about heel lifts being the quick tourist fix for ankle volume issues. However they also serve another purpose which is relieving tendon and calf muscle tension for people with limited dorsiflexion by increasing the boot board ramp angle.

    As for the 101mm last measured at a 27 mondo. This is another place where some standardization from the boot makers could really help.

  27. Joe Risi January 22nd, 2013 6:25 pm

    @Sam the colors actually change under different light.

    They are not that bright under normal light.

  28. Harry January 22nd, 2013 6:33 pm

    In defense of the heel wedge.

    While they are not a panacea for all boot woes they are a critical tool for changing fit. Proper use of heel wedges change the effective angle of the boot board well within the variation of boot design and do not negate the factory intended heel pocket.

    If you compare modern boot design there is on average less ramp than if you took an average 10 years ago, for most people this is a good thing, for some it is not.

    The addition of a simple heel wedge changes where your heel sits in the heel pocket, the instep volume, the instep to heel distance, your weight distribution between ball of foot and heel, where your ankle bones sit, the tension on your achilles, the starting or “neutral” point for pronation within the boot when upright, and other factors. Obviously using the wedge to cure a woe in one of those areas can easily throw another one out of wack.

    The use of a heel wedge under any circumstance presupposes that there is a problem in one of those areas, and a wedge is an inexpensive way to make a change that may help, may hurt, or may have no effect. If you are still in the boot selection process and one boot fits great w/o a wedge, and the other needs one to make it fit, then by all means go the no wedge route.

    As for sports where changing the level of the heel is used to change fit, off the top of my head I can think of running, hiking, and figure skates. We don’t use wedges in those cases because it is easier to grab a different shoe, boot or skate that has a different ramp built into it. In ski boots, and especially AT boots, we have much more limited choices, all of them rigid plastic.

    Do I use them on tourist? Heck yes, if a tourist comes into my shop and doesn’t want to spend big bucks to make a boot feel better, wedges take a few minutes to try and cost a few dollars that I can eat if they don’t work. Many times they do, and many times a boot is too far from right for them to make a difference. Ones boots feel as good as the quality of feedback your give your fitter.

  29. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2013 6:42 pm

    Harry, I think your best point is that, yeah, the heel wedge is so easy to try, why not? But I’d agree with others that it can easily mess things up, especially by increasing ramp in some systems that already have too much ramp angle. The detrimental effect of too much ramp may not be imeditaly obvious, but can manifest in later knee or ankle problems after extended use. Lou

  30. Erik Erikson January 23rd, 2013 1:04 am

    At first, thanks for all the information and adivices that I could gather from you all! In my opinion “wildsnow” ist by far the best blog and information source on backcountry-skiing I´ve ever heard of.
    Concerning the heel-wedge: I really don´t see, why your heelfit should get better by using such a device ?! As far as I can see, the heel comes just up in an area of the shell where this is WIDER than close to the bottom of the shell. So the fixation of the heel is achieved by a tigther fixation of the forefoot / instep?
    Has no one ever tried to stick a peace of foam-pad or something like this directly on the outside of the liner exactly where the heel is located?This should be the obvious method to deal with a too narrow heel, shouldnt it?

  31. Harry January 23rd, 2013 5:43 am

    Lou,

    Yup.

  32. Gary January 29th, 2013 10:42 am

    Joe, Did you ski these boots? How were they? Do you think this is a good touring/mountieering boot or would you say just ski area/sidecountry?

  33. Joe Risi January 29th, 2013 1:35 pm

    @Gary I did ski these boots for one day at Snowbird. I updated the post with my observations.

    Thus far I would say the intended purpose is a hard charging resort/slackcountry boot.

    I did not tour or hike in them, so I can’t comment on my thoughts in the touring/mountaineering realm.

  34. Scooby February 24th, 2013 12:14 am

    I bet they are going to sell a bazillion of this boot.

  35. Sam F February 25th, 2013 9:49 am

    Just got a chance to fiddle with this boot in JH, got to say i think ive finally found a reason to replace the radiums. walk mode, lasting, weight, and workmanship look top notch. shell should be quite punchable and the way the sole blocks attache to the boot is the cleaneast and lowest profile i have ever seen.

  36. Steve April 7th, 2013 3:53 am

    Craig,
    $.01= KwikPlastik(by JB Weld)…takes a little while to dry thoroughly but that gives you time to mod, and it can be removed or sanded easily.

  37. Gary June 3rd, 2013 9:48 am

    Do you know if the lean lock bar will be removed on the other boots next year. Would it include the Mastrale RS

  38. josh September 17th, 2013 11:45 am

    I am really interested in these boots as my resort and beefy sidecountry boot.

    I ski maestrale RS in the backcountry.

    Will there be too much overlap between these and my Maestrales?

  39. Lou Dawson September 17th, 2013 11:53 am

    Josh, there will be a bit of overlap, but these are a much more downhill performance oriented boot. The lean lock alone is way tighter and stronger, for example. I’d advise running both boots. Lou

  40. josh September 17th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Lou, I was hoping you’d say that. My resort boot has been a Cochise for the last 2 years and they just don’t fit well or feel very good. Do you think the Freedoms will have a comparable downhill performance to the Cochise?

  41. Lou Dawson September 17th, 2013 1:06 pm

    Hi Josh, sure, I’d say they’re comparable in downhill performance. Lou

  42. Drew September 28th, 2013 1:01 pm

    I’m a little confused as to the performance difference between the PU and Pebax models. Is the Pebax just lighter and more expensive, or does it actually have increased performance (i.e. stiffer)? Can’t really find much about the pros and cons of each except for the weight difference and liner difference. Anyone?

  43. Lou Dawson September 28th, 2013 1:12 pm

    Hi Drew, see our glossary:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/more/backcountry-glossary/

    The main point of using Pebax ( a form of nylon) is that a boot can be made thinner and lighter. PU (poly urethane) is the stuff most ski boots are made from, as well as nearly everything being shipped out of China (grin). Either plastic is a stiff as you want, depending on how thick as well as how the boot is designed.

    I’d say in terms of pros and cons, the only big advantage of Pebax is the weight savings. But that’s a pretty big advantage if you’re talking human powered skiing.

    Lou

  44. Lou Dawson September 28th, 2013 1:14 pm

    I’d add that PU is much easier to heat mold, for boot fitting. A joy to work with after dealing with Pebax. Lou

  45. Badgerosity October 6th, 2013 2:44 am

    Hey Lou,
    Have you heard about scarpa needing to fix something with ski/walk mechanism? Mountain Equip Coop (in O’Canada) took them off their webpage until scarpa can fix it.

  46. david October 6th, 2013 6:29 am

    Hey Badge – I just was on the MEC website and counted 11 different Scarpa boots available for purchase

  47. david October 6th, 2013 7:05 am

    oops – Freedom is missing.

  48. Harry October 9th, 2013 7:53 am

    I recieved my boots about 2 weeks ago and was blown away by them, and was ready to post a comment on here to that affect, when Scarpa said they wanted the boots back.

    Apparently on some of the early shipped boots had a problem with the ski/walk mode reverting to ski, a problem that had not shown up in testing (or something, two layers of kryptic explination between me and whoever diagnosed the problem, and now counting me three layers between that person and you).

    The solution is that all the NA boots are back at Scapra in CO, and the italians are there replacing the lower portion of the mechanism, the aluminum peice that is attached to the shell (scaffo, I guess we are saying scaffo now).

    I can say in 5 days of being super pumped about the boots and putting dozens of feet of vertical up and down my stairs, and putting in many hours of giddily walking around my house, I thought the product on my feet was great. When I get them back I’ll probably say that again in more detail.

    Props to Scarpa for getting out ahead on this before it starts happening to consumers while skiing.

  49. Lou Dawson October 9th, 2013 8:25 am

    Harry, appreciate your comment. Scarpa did such a good job with their recall it was a non-issue here so we didn’t scream about it in a blog post. All done now, I heard they’re already sending them back to the owners. As you can guess, one reason we’ve probably not done an unboxing of the retail version is our intended samples probably needed to get the lean-lock swap. Lou

  50. Conor R. December 4th, 2013 11:35 am

    Hey Lou,
    Silly question, but will the included touring soles work with Alpine Bindings too? I can’t find the alpine soles anywhere where I live, but want to use my Freedoms with my piste skis.

    Thanks!

  51. Haffi December 12th, 2013 6:29 am

    Will the Scarpa Freedom fit with the Salomon Guardian bindings. Salomon say that they’re bindings will only work for boots with WTR Technology. Does the Scarpa Mountain Plus sole have that? I just bought a pair to use with my Guardian and when I was seeking further information I saw an post about this. Should I be concerned about this or will it work?

  52. Iain January 21st, 2014 11:31 am

    Anyone know if you can fit a foam injection liner (i.e. Conform’able) inside these? I have really low volume feet and struggle with fit so almost certainly going that route but also really keen on this boot given it’s hybrid alpine/backcountry nature! But worried about the low volume part… thoughts?

    Cheers

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