Scarpa Spirit 4 Ski Boot — Close Look


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

In the world of beefy Dynafit compatible AT boots, Scarpa Spirit 4 takes the prize for their feature set. We recently got a pair for the WildSnow boot-scope. Check ‘em out.

Spirit 4 backcountry skiing boots
Constructed with a “Dual Density” molding process, Spirit 4 ends up with a skeletal effect in the shell not unlike what other boot brands are providing. This type of construction saves weight, thankfully, as these shoes still come in at 67.5 oz (single size 28), placing them slightly lighter than Garmont’s Axon but heavier than many other rando boots. See our weights page for more.

Spirit 4 backcountry skiing boots
Let’s start with the liner. Spirit 4 comes with a lasted, dual density wrap-around Intuition thermo liner that’s easily matches top alpine boots in quality and beef. Height of liner is adequate, though we’d like to see a centimeter or so more rise in the back for better transition to the adjustable spoiler that Velcros to the rear of the liner. This “Liner Support,” (object shown in photo above) is a clever gadget. Very easy to adjust and a snap to remove. We suspect it’ll also ease calf-bite as it moves with the liner rather than being part of the boot back.

Spirit 4 backcountry skiing boots
And features. Clockwise from lower left corner:

1. Any real ski boot should have a cuff alignment (cant) system. Not everyone needs this, but the adjustable cuff pivot adds only grams of weight and is incredibly important for skiers with alignment problems.

2. Forward cuff angle tune is less critical but nonetheless appreciated, and is integrated with the lean lock in ingenious fashion.

3. Some skiers like having a boot buckle over their ankle bend rather than their instep. Scarpa calls this no-brainer their “Heel Retention System.” We suppose (or at least hope) other boot brands have good excuses for not locating their buckle in this way. Kudos to Scarpa for doing so.

4. So density and strength of shell plastic is less an issue, Scarpa attaches the lower buckles with this nicely engineered yoke arrangement. What’s more, all buckles, the lower buckle anchors AND THE CUFF PIVOTS are removable with hand tools. This is huge. I can’t tell you how many times in boot fitting I’ve had to grind out cuff rivets then replace — all for want of something with threads on it. Downside is that threads can loosen, but I’m pretty sure that’s why they make a product called thread locker. A++ on this feature!

5. Last arrow points to the dual density plastic, which Scarpa uses in significant enough quantities for it to be more than cosmetic.

We should also mention that inside the cuff you’ll find flex limiters (stops), as you will with most other stiffer AT boots these days. These are another nice customization feature as they can be ground off for an easier flex.

Spirit 4 backcountry skiing boots
For its coup de grâce, Spirit 4 comes with two tongues. The regular version (on right) is articulated and provides little more forward support than that provided by the boot buckles and cuff. Nonetheless it skis fine for many and does contribute to a comfortable walk mode. If you want more beef, swap in the appropriately colored black tongue that’s as stiff as a steel shovel blade (same tongue as used with the beefy Hurricane model). As one of the originators of this concept for enhancing Scarpa AT boot performance with tongue swapping (see historical Frankenboot), we applaud Scarpa for providing this option as a commercial feature rather than assuming we’ll all continue to burrow through ski shop trash for old boot tongues (though a bit of dumpster diving can always lighten up the day.)

What else? As always, our gripe with Scarpa boots is the high arch and lack of a flat boot-board under the foot. To help with that, Scarpa AT boots ship with a heel block in the shell you can swap for a 4 mm shim that slips into the heel area and runs the length of the boot. You can use this shim simply to take up volume, or a boot fitter could remove material over the arch area to create a flatter boot-board (or add material for even more radical fit adjustment). For Spirit 4 the shim is available as an aftermarket accessory.

In all, we’re highly impressed by Spirit 4 and have to hand it the prize as the most versatile and fit customizable heavy duty AT boot we’ve seen yet. Just the removable fasteners alone won an instant place in our hearts, and the other features are sweet icing.

Comments

83 Responses to “Scarpa Spirit 4 Ski Boot — Close Look”

  1. Todd December 24th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Long time reader first time writer! I picked up a pair of these last week to replace my Garmont Mega Rides, didn’t heat the liners and went up on the south side of Mt. Hood. After an hour in the boots It felt like I’d been climbing with a tennis ball under each arch to the point I had to turn around and ski down quickly. I’m assuming this is due to the high arch mentioned in your review – headed to a boot fitter ASAP – any reccomendations in the Portland area? (new resident)

    Great web site – Merry Christmas!
    -todd

  2. Tim December 24th, 2007 8:20 pm

    Lou, the boot looks good.

    How does it ski in relation to the Axon and Zzero?

  3. Stewart December 25th, 2007 9:23 am

    I’m wondering how they fit in comparison to my Mega-rides. My long narrow foot and chicken legs have never got along with Scarpas in the past. Has anything changed?

  4. Lou December 26th, 2007 7:51 am

    Stewart, same last as far as I can tell, but they sell that boot-board now that’ll fill some volume. As always, everyone’s feet are different so we can all be glad that every brand of boot doesn’t fit the same.

    Todd, any competent boot fitter should be able to get them feeling great. You might want to make sure you get that boot-board from Scarpa so the fitter has something to work with. I don’t know of fitters in Portland, but they shouldn’t be too hard to find.

  5. goatboy December 26th, 2007 10:40 am

    Hi Lou, & merry Christmas !

    I might be be imagining this, but…was there an old post about how to reduce the 2 stops in the forward-lean-lock into a 1 stop mechanism? Cannot seem to find it now. And if that is because you never made it : Is this possible?

  6. Lou December 26th, 2007 11:50 am

    Hi Goat, you are not imagining things. That was mentioned in one of the old Frankenboot articles on WildSnow, before we had a blog. I don’t recall providing details, but here are a few:

    It’s really quite simple: Remove mechanism, weld hole shut with care, replace mechanism. Only works for upper hole as far as I know, because doing it to lower hole would probably weaken the metal and thus cause it to bend or break in that location while locked in the upper hole.

    lean lock is more difficult to remove in some boots than others. I do this mod quite a bit as I HATE having two settings and ending up in the one I’m not used to right before a hairy descent or on tired legs.

  7. Lee Lau December 27th, 2007 1:17 pm

    Stewart.

    I fit Megarides. I never used to be able to fit Scarpas without substantial modifications. I can fit the Scarpa without the Intuition liner being molded. Given how good the Intuitions are after molding, I’m confident that the Scarpa would be a great fit. BTW – I have flat feet that are relatively wide.

  8. Mike December 27th, 2007 6:19 pm

    Looking at Spirit4 boots as a future stiffer replacement for my Lowa Struktura GTX, I cannot help not having confidence in the two upper buckles.
    What’s your opinion about those ? Are they able to sustain 3-4 seasons of intensive use (maybe occasionally at the resort) ?

    My experience says that especially the top buckle sustains significant forces in descents, and a plastic piece there might be a potential failure point.

  9. Lou December 27th, 2007 6:44 pm

    Mike, I’ve not heard much about the durability of those buckles. The smaller version on a pair of F1s here at WildSnow did fail, but the buckles on Louie’s Spirit 3s have held up fine. They’d be incredibly easy to replace. All that said, lets keep in mind that these are not alpine boots. They’re still ski mountaineering boots.

  10. Lee Lau December 27th, 2007 11:57 pm

    Mike,

    Those two buckles are a weak link but to keep it in perspective, I had those same buckles on tele boots and they lasted over 100 days of skiing before the ridges got sufficiently worn that they could no longer stay in place when engaged tightly. They are easily replaced

  11. Lou December 28th, 2007 8:05 am

    Thanks for your take Lee.

  12. Tim December 28th, 2007 11:25 pm

    Lou,

    Are you going to ski those bad boys and talk about it? Or just take the buckles on and off? ;-)

  13. Lou December 29th, 2007 9:37 am

    Good one Tim (grin). We’ll have full ski performance reviews of everything eventually, but with a bit of delay because of Europe trip. As many of you know, when we test a boot we don’t just force them on our feet and go suffer around the hill for a few hours at a demo, but rather go through the whole process of boot fitting, liner molding, etc. Thus, our boot reviews don’t exactly happen at a scorching pace. Nonetheless we’re on it, and will report. Perhaps I can even hasten the Spirit 4 on-snow by getting my son to crank out some turns on them. He’s a more agro skier than I am anyway, so might be a better tester.

  14. Michael December 30th, 2007 12:28 am

    As for a great boot fitter in Portland, try the folks at The Mountain Shop. Knowledgeable, friendly and seem to take particular delight in solving tough fit problems.

  15. Randy January 4th, 2008 12:07 am

    Lou-
    In the past I have had problems with the inside felt material in Intuition liners coming unglued from the foam and then hanging loose – like dead skin, around my heels leading to blisters. this tends to happen after a few full days of skining uphill. Do you know the liners on these boots or any other brands of liners that have fixed this? Thanks in advance.

  16. Marc January 25th, 2008 7:41 am

    Lou-
    Just a note on your weight comparos: You’ve got the Spirit 4 in a size 28 listed as 131mm. I think it should read 311mm, but I’m not totally sure.
    -Marc

  17. Lou January 25th, 2008 7:50 am

    Marc, thanks, major typo…

  18. Rob January 29th, 2008 6:46 am

    These boots are great. The black tounge is key. While they are a little more awkward to hike in with the black tounge they ski so much better. The hinged tounge is just too soft – if you ski aggreesive in the front seat the boot with the hinged tounge just folds over and it feels like you could just rip your foot and liner out of the boot. The spirit 4 changes all of that.

    I dont like high arched shoes and I dont think my spirit 4 ‘s have a high arch’s so I am not sure what that is all about?

    I do think there needs to be a flat foot board or at least some type of sole on the liner. Now that my boots are packed out I need something to take up volume. So how do I get ahold of a pair of those vloume eating foot boards you speak of Lou? (Yet another really hard to get, ski shop has no idea what i am talking about, part)

  19. Lou January 29th, 2008 8:22 am

    Rob, I’ve spoken with Scarp about the shell last with arch, and they say most people don’t have a problem with it, so you’re in that class. I report from experience, the shell last has too high an arch for me, so I write about it. Other’s have told me they have a problem with it so I’m not the only one, but it’s just one of many factors and not a big deal.

    As for the boot board, it’s perhaps a fall 2008 item? I’d call Scarpa NA customer service and get the lowdown.

  20. Craig January 29th, 2008 2:50 pm

    Hi Lou, I share the concerns about the top two ratcheting buckles. My girlfriend just ordered a pair of the Diva’s (it’s the women’s version of the Sprirt 4 for those not familiar). Scarpa used a traditional buckle for the 4th buckle of the Divas. Based on that, I was wondering if the top buckle on the Spririt 4 can be replaced with a traditional non-ratcheting buckle. Do you know? Thanks, Craig

  21. Jeff Keller February 5th, 2008 11:37 am

    Hi Lou, just got the spirit in a 285. I am a size 11 to 11.5 in street shoes. This imy first time in A.T. boots. THEY FEEL HUGE. Don’t know if it is just because I’m used to my alpine boots vice like fit or they are truely too big. I shell fit them and they seem to be about right(little more than one finger but not two). Do you think that the boot board would solve the volume problem? If so, would a boot fitter have them on hand?

  22. Lou February 5th, 2008 12:20 pm

    Jeff, so you molded the liner? If so, and with a shell fit like that, you indeed might need something to take up volume. A boot fitter will have the generic version of a spacer to take up volume, which could be use for experimentation or perhaps as a final solution.

    All that said, they will not feel like your alpine boots, but you should be able to get a fit that feels reasonable in terms of skiing downhill.

  23. Cody February 7th, 2008 9:00 am

    Hi Lou,
    Two part question. I’m on a budget and trying to increase the downhill performance of my Scarpa Matrix boots. I’m wondering if the new Scarpa stiffer black tounges will work on the Matrix boot and if so, are they available aftermarket? Also, are the aftermarket “Intuition” liners stiffer than the older Scarpa red/gray wrap around liners? Thanks.

  24. Lou February 7th, 2008 9:22 am

    Cody, the black tongue works in almost any tongue style boot, albeit sometimes with a bit of carving. It would probably increase the downhill performance of the Matrix. Call Scarpa NA customer service to check on availability. I have a pair of aftermarket Scarpa/Intuition liners here, and they are a bit stiffer than the older red/grey liners.

    Please let us know how it goes.

  25. Andy February 12th, 2008 5:26 pm

    Lou,
    I ski a T1 in a 28. Wondering if you or anyone else knows whether the the Spirit 4 in a 28 will fit the same? No shops near me carry it so I’m flying a little blind. Thanks, Andy

  26. berto February 13th, 2008 12:08 pm

    I am demoing Axon’s and spirit 4′s in the next few weeks. I am looking for something for both inbounds and out (I own some straight up alpine boots, but they are old and may not be with us much longer). Like Andy, I also telemark (take it easy on me Lou) and have some T1′s, but am looking to AT when the conditions are more challenging.
    Two questions:
    1. Are the Axon’s a better inbounds boots than the Spirit 4′s?
    2. Is there any chance the Spirit 4′s will fit my narrow foot?
    The Axon’s sound more like what I am looking for, but I’m really hoping the Spirit 4′s work because of the price tag.

  27. Lou February 13th, 2008 6:45 pm

    Berto, I’d not venture to say which boot is “better.” I’d buy by fit. As for how they fit, just work that when you demo, no way to predict it.

  28. Lou February 13th, 2008 6:45 pm

    Andy, I’d say give the 28 a go.

  29. George T February 14th, 2008 4:57 am

    Lou, based on your reviews, my feet fitting in Scarpas (T-2, T-1) and great pricing I just ordered the Matrix from one of your sponsors. The price was $280 @ backcountry.com. At that price I passed on Spirit 4s and decided to go with the Matrix. Is this a one-time super aggressive pricing or is Scarpa discontinuing the Matrix?
    I have never seen 50% off on Scarpas before.
    My plan is to move my F-Freeride bindings over to a pair of Salomon Pocket Rockets (174) or old Volkl Snoranger lights (190). Which ski would you recommend as my one AT setup? Thanks, George

  30. Lou February 14th, 2008 7:45 am

    George, I was very happy with my Matrix boots, used them all of last season, easily more than 100 days. As for discounts, it’s hard to know why they come about. If the Matrix is discontinued, I wouldn’t worry about it. The only thing that could break would be the buckles and they’re pretty standard.

  31. Gil P February 15th, 2008 6:51 pm

    Just got back from trying the fit of SP4′s compared to last year’s Tornado Pro – 28.5 Tornado fits just right w/ boot boards under the liner and superfeet inside the liner, the 4s’ were too loose fitted out the same way. Is it reasonable to think that dropping down to a 28 will fix this? (BD didn’t have a 28 to try?)

  32. Jeremy February 28th, 2008 9:18 pm

    I just got some Spirit 4′s, I am having problems, any ideas? I have never had issues with any boots, Dynafit, Rossi, T2′s etc. Basically I feel like the cant is WAY off. I can’t get a good edge and my knees feel like they are pushing out. I did find they have 2 forward lock angles so that should help the feeling I had of being back on my skis. Orignially I thought the bindings were mounted wrong, they are boot center and correct. Black Diamond is sending me out some of the bed things, I am hoping a local boot fitter in Tahoe can help me make these work since I have Freerides on Gotomas and Dyanfite bindings on some Barron G’s and want to use the same boots.

  33. Lou February 28th, 2008 10:00 pm

    Jeremy, you might need to clarify. Cant generally means the side to side alignment of your lower leg, and does influence your edging, but I don’t know what you mean by “pushing out.” Do you mean you feel like you’re bow legged. If so, then it could indeed be a cant issue and if you don’t know how to adjust then best to see a boot fitter.

    Your Dynafits are going to feel different than the Freerides, they have more ramp angle (toe lower than heel), so when you switch it may feel funny till you get used to the different angle.

  34. Jason April 3rd, 2008 1:04 pm

    Just received my scarpa boot boards, and was wondering if there are any precautions/techniques for removing the stock heel insert, as well as whether it is necessary to somehow affix the boot board to the shell with tape or adhesive.

    Thanks!

  35. Lou April 3rd, 2008 2:12 pm

    Jason, I don’t recall anything tricky. Let us know how it goes.

  36. ted d April 3rd, 2008 4:22 pm

    Jeremy- Don’t know about the spirits, but the older scarpa laser/magic has a much higher heel to forefoot height than most boots. This can have a very negative effect on balance. Everyone is different, but I would try shimming the forefoot 1/8″ before doing anything else. The fore aft (sagittal) plane needs to be balanced before the side to side(frontal) plane. T2′s are much flatter than most scarpa AT boots in this area. After adjusting this then I would next look at the binding angles as Lou suggests. Most tele bindings are pretty flat, the fritschti is is higher with the dynafit higher(heel to toe) higher yet. The fore aft balance can certainly afect knee tracking. If adjusting these areas doesn’t help with you knee tracking out , try moving the cuff angle all the way to the medial side. Finally if your knee is still tracking out you need under binding cants thick side out to bring your knee in. I really doubt you’ll need the last if you haven’t needed it before. Good luck, boot balance issues are miserable.

  37. jenna April 14th, 2008 11:18 am

    i ski the gormont she ride, they are way too soft and wide. i have a narrow foot (lange is my boot). i’m looking for a high performance women’s at boot, maybe the scarpa diva or garmont xena. any advice? thanks
    jenna

  38. Lou April 14th, 2008 2:26 pm

    Jenna, first, anyone who’s honest and knows boots will tell you to forget having a “women’s” boot unless absolutely necessary. In other words, just shop by shell fit, see if you can fit the upper cuff to your calf, and off you go. Another thing, if your boots are fitting wide, make sure you’re not using too large a shell size.

    I’ve always felt the Garmonts were a somewhat narrow boot, are the women’s lasted ones different? If so, perhaps a men’s Garmont for you?

  39. Bruno May 19th, 2008 3:54 pm

    Lou, how does the boot board affect the use of custom insoles (corks)?

    I assume I’d have no choice but to shim or grind to get it flat. I have a high instep and loss of volume might be an issue so I’m guessing I’d probably have to grind.

    Lee Lau’s review says that their intuition liner is thinner underneath specifically for the use of insoles. Seems like the boot board would’ve been a better place to make the first adjustment.

  40. Lou May 19th, 2008 4:33 pm

    Hi Bruno, the boot board simply takes up volume. Some people will need it, some not. Key would be to try your insoles without, then if more volume is needed try using it.

    As for grinding the boot board, again, no need for guesswork. Just try it without and use if necessary.

  41. Fernando May 29th, 2008 4:33 pm

    Lou (or anyone)
    Can you comment on backward cuff flex/motion? From pictures it seems like
    you won’t be able to stand up right on your skeleton.
    Thanks

  42. Lou May 29th, 2008 4:50 pm

    I didn’t see any more problem with that than other AT boots…

  43. Justin August 12th, 2008 1:08 pm

    I have been skiing on the Scarpa Tornado Pro boots for a couple seasons now, and they’re great. However, I am putting together a lighter touring setup with the Dynafit TLT binding, so I will need to get a Dynafit compatible boot. I am trying to decide between the Scarpa Spirit 4 and the new Garmont Radium. The Spirit 4 ratcheting upper buckle discussion here is definitely a concern of mine, and I’m also wondering about the uphill comfort of the Radium. Any thoughts?

  44. Chad September 10th, 2008 5:22 pm

    Can you reccomend a great bootfitter in Seattle? Great article!!

  45. 4frntrider October 1st, 2008 9:52 pm

    lou
    i have a pair of spirit 4′s that i am paying on. i love the dynafit design and function, yet i want something that will stand up to aggressive riding. are the spirit 4′s silvretta compatible? i’m not a big dude (5’7, 160), but if i can rock the dynafits, i will.

  46. Mike December 5th, 2008 9:53 am

    Hi,
    do you know if the Spirit 4 (or other Scarpa touring ski boot) shares the same shell for full and full + 1/2 mondopoint sizes (for example for 28 and 28.5) ?
    According to their published size chart, it seems that 28.5 shares the same shell with 29, which seems quite odd.
    Any hint ?

    Thanks

  47. Lou December 5th, 2008 10:31 am

    Mike, you just have to go by their chart. All boot makers have several mondo sizes per shell size, so they can run fewer molds. This is why shell fitting is so important. Sometimes what seems like the correct fit in a liner will result in too large or small of a shell, and you’ll be better off customizing a liner to fit a different shell.

  48. john December 27th, 2008 1:39 pm

    On the Scarpa Diva, is there any way to lessen the forward lean in walk mode? I can’t stand up straight. It’s painful while touring.

  49. Bruce February 19th, 2009 11:21 am

    Can’t decide between spirit 3 or spirit 4…

    Is there really a weight savings?
    This years scarpa catalog published weight for spirit 4 is 3lb 15oz and 3lb 14oz for the spirit 3 – last years catalog says the spirit 4 is 4lb 1oz and 3lb 10oz for the spirit 3!
    Scarpa customer service can’t explain the difference…

    Stiffness difference?
    This year catalog has a stiffness index – spirit 3 and 4 are the same using the tour tongue
    Scarpa customer service confirmed they are the same including them both being stiffer if using the ski tongue which comes std with the spirit 4. They did not say the pbax was stiffer for the spirit 4 despite most reviews out there stating it is stiffer. Who’s right?

    Does the extra buckle really help?
    The geometry and way the spirit 3 front buckle attaches to the boot makes me wonder if an additional buckle really help?

    6′ 1″
    180lbs
    175 BD Kilowatts
    Fritschi Freeride bindings
    Advance skier, (black diamond, but not double black)
    Backcountry skiing mostly, would use at resort on powder day only; prefer to use carving ski and alpine boots at resort on most days
    Lake Tahoe region

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!!!

  50. Lou February 19th, 2009 11:26 am

    I’d just go for the Spirit 3, in my opinion the fourth buckle is usually just cosmetic. Fit the boots well, and make sure your ramp angle and forward lean aren’t too different from your alpine boots, so you can switch back and forth without it feeling weird.

  51. Bruce February 19th, 2009 11:55 am

    Lou,
    How does one set the ramp angle?
    Bindings are already mounted using standard process.
    I was planning to go to Cosmos boot fitting in Truckee, never used before but suppose to be best boot fitter around – is the ramp angle something that is accomplished in the footbed? Also, what do you know about the Scarpa Boot boards? Aside from reducing volume do they add any ramp?

    Thanks Again,

    Bruce

  52. Lou February 19th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Ramp angle can be changed by shimming either binding or footbed, or both. The Scarpa boot boards appear to add little or no ramp, but could easily be modified to serve.

  53. brent rubey February 21st, 2009 4:34 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I’m trying to figure out the best forward lean adjustment for my spirit 4′s.
    I started off with the max forward, figuring it would give me the best performance, but lately I ‘ve tried a more upright stance, figuring it will allow me to conserve a little more energy. Problem is, when I’ve skied in steep deep snow lately, whenever I tried to flex the boots and get into an athletic stance, the more upright boot just drives the tips down.

    Should I just go back to the more forward stance or something in between?

    What are the advantages of more/less forward lean?

    Thanks,
    Brent

  54. Sean February 22nd, 2009 9:36 am

    Brent, I’m not pretending to speak for Lou here… just offering my own thoughts.

    The best forward lean for you will depend on your particular anatomy, the ramp angle of your boot/binding/ski interface, and the stance you use for whatever type of turning you do. It’s usually pretty individualized. Standing taller is good if you can stack up your bones to good effect, but you can do that only if you’re properly aligned laterally and fore/aft. If you need alignment correction, standing tall will feel artificial until things are flattened for you laterally and fore/aft.

    Brent, if you live in Missoula I think we know each other from when I was active at 1st Pres church. If that’s true we should ski together some time.

  55. brent February 22nd, 2009 12:57 pm

    Hi Sean,

    I never lived in missoula, but have visited and consider it a beautiful place. I feel like my alignment is really good and the goal with the more upright angle was to feel that efficient body stacking and to ski with more of a patient and upright “guide style”, than my more aggressive alpine stance.

    It worked fine until I got into some nice steep/deep/heavy/technical stuff on mt tallac here in tahoe. I found myself wanting to get low and athletic to make controlled safe turns down a hanging snowfield, but when I did that the skis tips just buried as I pressured the cuff forward. (I’m skiing BD verdicts with dynafits). I think part of the “issue” is the stiffness of the skis. When I put pressure forward the tips respond instantly, just as the tail responds instantly when I pressure through my heels.

    sounds like I should get back out in a deep day and try different angles till it feels just right.

    love to hear any more comments.

    B

  56. brent February 23rd, 2009 9:34 am

    Lou,

    got any comments on my question?

    Thanks,
    Brent

  57. Lou February 23rd, 2009 9:44 am

    First thing that comes to my mind is that the stiffer the boot, the less pressure it takes to do the same thing. Sometimes that requires relearning subtle moves.

    Also, in my opinion, a boot can easily be too stiff. But what do I know, as I’m not auditioning for ski movies.

    As for forward lean, just experiment and start by matching what you used before.

    Anyone else have any forward lean setting tips?

  58. Alex February 24th, 2009 5:26 pm

    Lou,
    Is the Intuition liner (thermo or not) better/stiffer than a clasic Cordura liner like this?
    http://www.sport-conrad.com/index.asp?lang_id=ENG&disp=artikel&art_nr=74609423

  59. Lou February 24th, 2009 6:01 pm

    Alex, it’s probably not stiffer. The term “better” is pretty subjective… Intuition would be lighter and warmer than a non thermo liner…

  60. Alex February 25th, 2009 12:33 am

    I meant the Intuition liner is wrap around and the cordura liner is with a cord/string, like a mountain boot. Does it makes a difference , in your opinion?

  61. Lou February 25th, 2009 7:00 am

    Alex, yes, some folks really need that laceup liner, which gives a different sometimes more solid feel on the down, and can prevent blisters on the up because the liner holds to the foot better. So yes, it does make a difference. If one needs that difference, now that’s another question. Me, I prefer the non-lace liners, both tongue style and wrap.

  62. dan July 24th, 2009 7:48 pm

    400 DAY REVIEW

    I’ve been skiing in the PNW lately, quite a place to ski, I got the Spirit4s late last May. They have been great boots, initially a little troubleing because of the curvey arch design of the foot board – I fixed this by inserting a flat foot board with padding under the forefoot – so that it would be a level foot board – thus giveing my foot bed a flat foundation to rest on.
    The liners are awesome – better than standard intuition liners because of the added stiff areas on the shin and on the backside. Although I did end up taping padding to the heel because they were starting to pack out and I have narrow heels.
    The Shells have withstood well – although – the tourmode switch pieces click loudly now when I walk in tour mode, the rubber soles have severely worn down, and I have had several buckles fall off. One of them I was able to rivet back on (the upper shin buckle) but one of the “heel retention syestem” buckles feel off when I was boot packing in volcanic choss and I lost it. Most all the buckles are very loose and on the point of striping their rivets. This wear and tear affect is contrary to the initial fear people held that the segmented buckle bands were the weak link – it turned out for me that the actually buckles themselves were the weak link. I am still skiing them, I just use a orange ski strap to compensate for the lost “heel retention buckle”.
    Soon after getting these boots, I replaced the stock strap with a booster strap (but I didn’t screw it on – so as to save weight — but this proved problematic when the strap became icy from powder and my heat…)
    I would like to see Scarpa along with other AT boot manufacturers make boots with flat foot boards – if you through in a footbed on top of the arched foot board that comes with the Spirit4 – you are doubleing the arch that the foot bed has – not what the maker of the foot bed had in mind – and not comfortable on your feet….

  63. Lou July 24th, 2009 8:44 pm

    Great info and feedback Dan, thanks! Yeah, it is just so ridiculous for a boot maker to assume everyone has the same arch… I wish they’d quit that, funny they persist…

  64. Blair Mitten October 14th, 2009 12:23 pm

    I have read a comment on the MEC website that larger sized Spirit 4 boots are difficult to use wuth Dynafit toes? Has anyone else noticed this?

  65. Jim Proctor December 20th, 2009 1:09 pm

    Re Blair’s comment: Size 28 Scarpa 4 with Dynafit bindings worked well for one backcountry trip. The right boot started separating from the binding this winter. I never hit a tree or headered off a cliff, but slammed down hard three or four times just trying to get back to the truck. My dealer had heard of the issue, as mentioned. Something about placement changes in the boot’s metal pivot points. He filed the plastic shoulder around the metal dimples, to allow more positive contact between the binding “male” points and the “female” boot divits. Skied fine yesterday until about 1pm, then the right ski came off again, and again, and again.
    I am a hurting unit today
    The dealer asked me “what will make your happy ?” Essentially he’s giving me new G3 Spitfires and a set of Fritzi Freerides.
    He can find nothing obviously wrong with the bindings or the boots. Clearly something is not seating correctly.
    Fortunately he will not have to find me a new spinal cord or cruciate ligament. However, this has got to be an issue. One other customer, and my step-son, both with the same setup and in larger size Scarpa 4s, have had their ski come off on bunny hill like conditions, and have stopped using the Dynafits.
    We now have zero confidence in the Scarpa/Dynafit (or G3 version.}
    Feedback ? :biggrin:

  66. Jim January 2nd, 2010 1:11 pm

    Hi all, a couple of questions if I may. First off, which is wider in terms of toe-space – the spirit 4′s or Garmont Radiums? I’m skiing an old set of blue Denali’s just now and get some rubbing on a tailors bunion I have (deep joy….) so am looking for a new boot to try. Secondly – which stock liner between the scarpa or garmont would be warmest? Cheers, Jim

  67. Lou January 2nd, 2010 1:17 pm

    Jim, I’d give that to the Spirit 4. That said, toe width is also a function of what size boot you pick, meaning if you happen to fit better in the larger shell of one brand, the toe space in that shell could equal that of a smaller shell of another brand that’s known for toe space. Does that make any sense (grin)?

    Also know that Spirit 4 has a boot board that can be shaved to lower your foot a bit, which can change fit, sometimes making the boot feel larger, sometimes smaller, depending on the shape of your foot.

    Scarpa and Garmont liners are similar in warmth, and the more volume the warmer…

  68. Jim January 2nd, 2010 1:33 pm

    Cheers Lou. Very useful, and yep I get what you’re saying. Time to go try some boots on. Any suggestions of a good fitter in SLC who I can get some Spirit 4′s from? I’m heading over the pond from blighty next week for a couple of weeks skiing based from SLC, and it would seem rude to not get some shiny new gear whilst I’m over……..

  69. Lou January 2nd, 2010 1:49 pm

    Jim, good idea, spend your money here and help us out!

  70. Paul January 11th, 2010 4:15 pm

    Lou, I am leaving for the Haute Route in April and am having trouble deciding on a new pair of boots.

    I tested the Garmont Radium’s but they made my feet go numb in the toe area (could have been a half size too small). I tried on a pair of the Skookum’s in the stoor and the felt great, but I am worried they are a bit too burly for a long hut tour. I don’t want to sacrifice too much ski performance – I am 6.0 180lbs but don’t go flying off of cliffs…

    I know that a good boot fitter can do wonders with any boot, do you have a recommendation on boot? Scarpa Spirit 4 vs. Radium vs. Skookum? Also, do you recommend any boot fitters in the Aspen area? Thank you for your feedback,

  71. Mike January 11th, 2010 4:50 pm

    Hey Paul. I just upgraded? from the Megarides to the Radiums and intially when trying on the Radium in the store I was surprised how tight they were compared to the same size Megaride. So I put my old Megaride liner in the Radium boot and everything was good. Then after having them thermo-moulded, the new liner in the Radium feel great. I guess I’m trying to say they’re going to feel a lot nicer after you heat them up!

  72. Lou January 11th, 2010 8:10 pm

    Mike, let me repeat for the thousandth time, trying on boots in the shop without molding them will frequently tell you little to nothing about the actual fit. It’s a joke, and if the shop isn’t making that clear it’s one more reason people might as well just mail order boots based on their best guess.

    I don’t really know what the solution is to the problem of shop employees succumbing to the wishes of customers who want to try on boots without molding. But the retail gurus out there must be able to come up with some solutions.

    Ski boots are expensive. Trying them on without liner molding is like test driving a Porsche with the tires over inflated, and evaluating how it corners with the tires in that condition.

  73. Jan Wellford January 11th, 2010 8:52 pm

    “Trying them on without liner molding is like test driving a Porsche with the tires over inflated, and evaluating how it corners with the tires in that condition.”

    Let’s not get too crazy Lou–if a customer wanted to try on three boots and insisted we mold them all I’d be working with that customer for an hour and a half minimum (and the customer would likely be in severe discomfort after the second molding).

    Instead I think the best approach for a retailer is to try on all boots that might fit the bill without molding, choose the one that’s closest to fitting well out of the box (ignoring tightness in the toes and other snug but not painful areas), and then molding that one. If it doesn’t fit well after molding and easy boot-fitting tricks then one could try molding the next best boot (but that hardly ever happens).

  74. Lou January 11th, 2010 11:13 pm

    Mold one for one foot, one for the other. That’s two for the price of one! And how long does it take to stick a boot on a blower stack, then buckle it on a customer’s foot for a quick take? Sell the guy a headlamp while he’s waiting, or at least a PLB!

  75. Sean March 9th, 2010 11:08 am

    I skied these for the last year, then I had a buckle blowout, that is when I looked at the buckle design, and returned the boot, as I do not like the design. I am a mechanical engineer, and was distressed at the rivets as the buckle pivot. the failure was dramatic as well. I swapped to the Dynafit ZZero U-TF , because of the traditional buckle system, and a great, extremely comfortable fit. I was very distressed about the buckle failing, it really got my goat…

  76. Jim March 16th, 2010 1:55 pm

    I note on the Spirit 4 the toe tech insert has is smaller metal rim around the hole than my wifes BD’s Shivas, and looks a bit cheezier. I hope the pin doesn’t mess up the plastic.

  77. Lou March 16th, 2010 2:01 pm

    Jim, keep your eye on those inserts, and do a release check. Really, one should keep an eye on all inserts till you’re sure they’re working correctly, not wearing prematurely, etc.

  78. Jim April 12th, 2010 4:10 pm

    The plastic around the metal pin holes continues to wear after just a few tours. Scarpa says its not a problem, but it makes false engagement of the pin into plastic rather than metal more likely. I filled in some epoxy. We’ll see how that works.

    Under the 4th buckle attachment on the inside of the shell is a square indentation with sharp edges that hurt the metatarsal little toe bone, so I filled that in with some epoxy and tape as well, and seems a bit better. Seems they ought to smooth that in the mold.

    I had a bit of a hard time locking the Dynafit toe piece into tour mode. My wife’s seems to lock into her BD’s no problem. I wonder if its the added width/4mm back geometry?

  79. Brad January 18th, 2011 3:05 am

    I have a pair of Spirit 4s that were given to me by a friend but i never received the ski tongue, do you know if the ski tongue available from scarpa is the same tongue in question here, as i feel it would make a significant difference, cheers

  80. Sean January 18th, 2011 7:40 am

    It Looks like the right tongue for the boot to be at 110 flex that you are calling the ski tongue. I would Send scarpa a note and ask there customer service about the tongue and if it is truly fits the spirit 4. It looks like the stiff flex tongue i have on my spirit 4′s and i would guess that it is at a 85% certainty, as it is listed as Alpine Touring and Freeride maybe they have one stiff tongue for their full 08 AT and FR line.

  81. Brad January 18th, 2011 4:23 pm

    THANKS SEAN!

  82. Craig March 21st, 2011 9:38 am

    I just tried on two pairs of boots and can’t decide on either. I was excited to try the Spirit 4′s based on what I have read about the boot’s adjustability. But what I’ve found is that the high arch is very uncomfortable. The comment above about feeling like walking on tennis balls is exactly what I’m feeling. You’ve mentioned to fix this you can get Scarpa’s 4mm shims? I haven’t been able to find those anywhere and my ski shop doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I also tried on the BD Methods which seemed to fit better out of the box though they give me a lot of pressure on my ankles which I don’t like. The scarpa’s feel like a more well constructed boot compared to the flimsy plastic feeling of the bd’s so I’m tempted to stick with scarpas and go through some massive boot-fitting procedures. Do you have an opinion on the Methods that would sway me more toward the Spirit 4s?

  83. Lou March 21st, 2011 10:09 am

    Craig, the ‘shim’ refered to is the Scarpa boot board, sort of like an insole that goes below your liner inside the shell. Call Scarpa customer service and see if they have that for Spirit 4, my memory on that is vague. There are other fixes for the high arch, but they’re time consuming and don’t always work. All this said, the Methods are nice as well, and it is axiomatic with boot shopping that you buy the boots that fit you best out of the box unless you’re super experienced with boot mods, working with boot fitter, etc….

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