Scarpa Freedom SL First Look

Post by blogger | November 18, 2013      

Just when the snow started flying in the PNW this fall, a pair of Scarpa’s new Freedom boots showed up at my door. With pow season around the corner, burly backcountry boots are the ticket for the kind of riding I like to do. (Note: Freedom comes in two models. SL is the significantly lighter weight version with Pebax and carbon construction, regular Freedom does not have a thermo liner and is molded from PU plastic instead of Pebax. They rate SL as a 120 flex and regular Freedom at 110, we suspect they’re both virtually the same stiffness, depending on how the liner fits you and the boot is buckled.)

Scarpa's Freedom AT boot. Note the plastic "seal" on the front tech fittings. All fittings manufactured by Dynafit now are sold with it.

I’ve wrung out the Freedom on a few recent trips. They are an interesting boot — definitely a strong evolution on the beefier side of the AT boot spectrum. Scarpa has taken a stiff overlap boot and attempted to make it walk as well as possible at reasonable weight (claimed at 63 ounces per single of size 27, so 4 pounds per boot, verified weight coming as soon as scale is working.). Verdict: they work. This in comparison to many of the stiffer AT boots out there that attempt to use tongue (cabrio) type shell construction and make it stiffer — with varying degrees of success in both how such boots walk and how they ski.

Testing the boots on Mt. Baker, after Halloween. The stiffness proved to be ideal when packing a bit of extra weight, though at 300 pounds of skier mass the claimed 120 flex felt more like 95. Photo Jason Davis.

Scarpa Freedom comes with a boot board in the shell, probably the lightest AT boot out there with this feature. The boot board is made out of closed cell foam rather than hard plastic like many, possibly to save weight and add warmth. Boot boards are one of the best features you can have for tuning fit. Make it thicker, grind it down thinner, throw it away -- your choice.

Scarpa Freedom SL has 24 degrees of motion in walk mode. In real life, with a liner and foot inside, it's slightly less, closer to 20, with lots of resistance at the far ends of the range but still very walkable.

Walk mode is a new design. It is built for durability and to reduce play.

The sole is removable. The AT version features tech fittings and a burly Vibram sole.

Intuition makes the liners for all of Scarpa's boots. Freedom liners are a custom design, similar to many alpine boots.

It’s known within the industry that Scarpa Freedom has knocked it out of the park in terms of sales. As far as I can tell by skiing the boot as well as examining it, I’m not surprised. In coming weeks I’ll give this boot more of a test and eventually a real review. Meanwhile, if you’re shopping and have a line on your list for “new stiffer AT boot,” perhaps you can fill that line.

Shop for Scarpa Freedom ski mountaineering boot.



33 Responses to “Scarpa Freedom SL First Look”

  1. James November 18th, 2013 12:07 pm

    Packing 300 pounds there Louie? The cafeteria carbos must have caught up with you. Good first look (or maybe not).

  2. Mike Alkaitis November 18th, 2013 12:22 pm

    My pair weighs 8lbs 4oz (4lbs 2oz per boot) in a size 27.

  3. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2013 12:25 pm

    Thanks Mike, is that with stock footbeds in liners?

  4. David B November 18th, 2013 7:04 pm

    I want. This boot would suit my skiing needs perfectly in the one boot.

    My only concern is the width. I can’t try one on as they are not for sale in Australia, so I’ll have to wait until I head up north. Hopefully they’ll fit the bill.

    Any idea how they react to blowing the shell to accommodate extra width requirement at the fifth metatarsal?

  5. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2013 7:29 pm

    They’re Pebax, which is difficult to heat mold. But it can be done. Interior grinding might work as well since the shell is probably fairly thick. Lou

  6. Drew Tabke November 18th, 2013 8:05 pm

    All those meals at the WWU Union finally caught up to Louie.

    How is the volume in this boot? I found Masestrales to be very high volume on top of foot. Does this fit carry on to this series of boots?

  7. Dan November 18th, 2013 9:49 pm

    My size 28 are 4lb 4oz per boot (1923g). Super comfortable out of the box, lots of room for my overly high instep. I found the Freedom SL to fit even better/roomier than the Maestrale on the top of the foot. I couldn’t come close to getting my foot comfortable in the La Sportiva Spectre, as much as I wanted to like that boot.

  8. Phil November 19th, 2013 2:26 am

    Not the right place to post, but still somehow wildsnow-related…

    A new ski mountaineering movie by Sebastien Montaz came out in November. Apart from the ridiculously insane lines they ski and the stunning views of the Alps, what struck me most was they were all using tech bindings.

    There is of course the weight factor, but still, seeing this makes an obvious statement for tech bindings, against all the “beefier” offerings out there (I’m looking at you, Marker)

    Trailer is here if you’re interested:

  9. Phil November 19th, 2013 6:02 am

    One thing that would be interesting, although hard to see in the video (see last comment), is what type of boots the skiers are wearing.

    I wouldn’t bet they all use beefier boots (similar to the Scarpa Freedom). Knowing what their background is (alpinism, ski-mo race, trail running), they are probably sending this descents in super-light-one-buckle-boots and still manage to make it look good…

  10. John Lee Pettimore November 19th, 2013 7:38 am

    Sole lenght on size 27, anyone?

  11. Dan November 19th, 2013 4:31 pm

    BSL on the 27 is 307mm:;jsessionid=31AFBA671E3E9370BC39692790C26B7F.jvm1?dataResourceId=SkibootSoleLength13

    One other observation: Out-of-the-box the canting is really noticeable towards a lateral lean (i.e. bow legged). Easily fixed with the cuff alignment rivet, but I haven’t had any other boots with that much outward lean from the factory.

  12. Mike Alkaitis November 20th, 2013 10:37 am

    Lou- that is with the stock liners and footbeds. I assume when I add custom footbeds they will be slightly heavier.

  13. BWise November 20th, 2013 8:21 pm

    The quality if product photography is really impressive in this post.

  14. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2013 5:53 am

    Thanks BWise, we take our photography seriously and strive to keep improving how we present all images, as well as our writing. Glad you noticed. Lou

  15. Dave C December 15th, 2013 3:21 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on these new boots!

    Couldn’t find much in the way of reviews in the UK (where I live) .Your efforts, Lou, to ensure this is both an informative and up-to-date site for skiers have yet again proved their worth. Cheers to one and all!

  16. Tim Rosenberg December 17th, 2013 6:50 am

    Picking up a pair of these on saturday – replacing salomon quest, had a lot of problems with the walk / ski mode unlocking at random last season so time to move on…. I’ll post some thoughts when I’ve got some miles in them

  17. Lou Dawson December 17th, 2013 7:01 am

    Thanks Tim, looking forward to your take. Lou

  18. dimitri January 6th, 2014 1:53 pm

    Was down at my local shop today, they stock most of the Scarpa range, the owner they are selling shed loads of the Freedom. I’m looking at the TLT6 at the moment but he suggested i wait because Scarpa are unveiling an, as he put it “TLT6 killer” in a few weeks. Finding it strange there is no mention it anywhere on the net…

    Lou et all: Has anyone heard or seen any evidence of this? oww, he said it would have a blue shell.. that being the most important detail of course 😀

  19. Lou Dawson January 6th, 2014 2:00 pm

    “Unveiling” is a lot different than “killing.” Yes, Scarpa has some new boots they’ve controlled information on, but all will be revealed during show time, OR and ISP, perhaps a bit before.

    I find it strange that a shop owner would suggest a customer defer buying good boots on sale for a boot that won’t even be sold till next fall, and has not had any consumer vetting.

    In fact, I’m wondering if this comment is a troll?


  20. dimitri January 6th, 2014 2:25 pm

    wonder away Lou, until then i might have to wait for a boot that fits better, even the Vulcan on me has had several block-out trips, im unsure if i’d ever get the tlt6 to fit correctly.. maybe he didn’t want to sell me a boot that he knew wouldn’t fit?

    P.S. What part of my question was considered trouble, are you having issues keeping track of all your binding confidentiality agreements manufactures:oops:

  21. louis dawson January 6th, 2014 2:32 pm

    D, no big deal I just thougt it odd that a shop would not try and get you into some boots that would make you happy, now. As for agreements, in the end we only have our reputation. Lou

  22. dimitri January 6th, 2014 2:36 pm

    the guy knows i have waaay too much gear already not to be happy 😀

    really weird, there is literally nothing, zip, rumor mill etc, anywhere online. Until now of course!

  23. louis dawson January 6th, 2014 2:41 pm

    Good information control and perhaps people are just a little bit tired of gossip.

  24. Dave C January 6th, 2014 5:27 pm

    Finally got to try the Freedom SL boots today…after a bit of a search – as most common sizes sold out in our area of the UK.

    I tried several boots, including the K2 Pinnacle and Scott Cosmos. Have to say for my foot shape I found the Freedom SL very comfortable…and I liked the positive latch action. Runner-up was the Scott. Great boot – and it’s light p- but the interleaving of the boot shell seemed a bit fiddly compared with the freestyle designed Scarpa. A very different boot – I know…and I’d be happy to ski in either boot.

    For me they knocked the K2 boot into third place…not helped by a spot of cramp in my left calf whilst wearing them for a walk around the shop…

  25. Tim Rosenberg January 7th, 2014 1:19 am

    JUst skiied 14 days in these – mostly (sadly) dancing around rocks and figuring out the best way down a mix of wind slab and porridge… thoughts are as follows… seemed a very stiff boot at first but a lot of that was due to the fact that they (for me at least) are too upright in the middle setting. Once I’d adjusted to a more forward stance I’d say these are about the same stiffness as the salomon quest they replaced – a little too soft for charging around on piste, but spot on for back country. Liners packed down v quickly – went back to the fitter and put some wedges in to take care of that. Overall, very impressed with the comfort/weight of the boots, do feel that I’m going to need to spend more time tweaking them than I have previous boots.

  26. db February 11th, 2014 8:04 am

    Sizing help!? Just got Freedom SL’s in 27.0. I’m a 10.5 in shoes (left foot is tad longer). I currently have 2009 F1’s in 27.0 (306mm) all with a stock fit, no beds, fit great. I also have Dalbello Kryptons in 27.0 (317mm) with superfeet good fit. The initial fit of the Freedom SL is pretty toe tight with no liner work. I can get about a finger behind heel with shell only. I purchased these online so I’m trying to make a final decision as to size up to 28.0, which would equal my current dalbello shell of 317mm for a little added comfort while touring or, keep the 27 and get the liner work done and “hope” I will get a little more comfort? Unfortunately where I live there is no reliable boot-fitter with regard to boots of this sort.

  27. Tim Rosenberg February 11th, 2014 8:07 am

    go tight and get the liner fitted.

  28. Lou Dawson February 11th, 2014 8:48 am

    Ditto on what Tim said, unless you tour a lot in very cold conditions. In that case I’d go for a larger shell fit. One finger behind the heel is definitely on the small side, but you’re buying a beef boot for performance, correct? If you go for a “touring” fit I’d think you’d tend to go more for a “touring” boot such as Scarpa Maestrale RS.

    By the way, when buying boots online I recommend buying two pair if in doubt about size. Contemplate at home then send one pair back once you decide for sure. Even in this case, perhaps order the other boots so you have them there and can compare fits. Doing this the way you’re doing it seems you’re like trying to figure out the price of tea in China by looking at the cost of potatoes in Brazil.

  29. Mike x February 14th, 2014 7:38 am

    I am a little confused. I have just bought a pair of freedom SLs only to be told that the spare alpine soles are not available. The bootfitter said that I could ski the supplied sole with alpine bindings, is this true and if so why bother to produce an alpine sole?

  30. Lou Dawson February 14th, 2014 7:49 am

    If my bootfitter told me that, I’d be confused as well. Sounds like a call to the source would probably be better than me trying to be Scarpa customer support, as I don’t know for sure about product availability. Their Euro/Flash website doesn’t allow easy linking to their contact section, which is what I’d normally do in a blog comment, but here is their phone number from their contact form:

    Office: 303-998-2895

    As for using the soles with alpine bindings, easy to evaluate on the workbench. They’ll either fit, or they won’t — and once they fit, they’ll either have too much friction due to how they interface with the binding AFD regions, or they won’t.


  31. Tim Rosenberg February 14th, 2014 7:53 am

    You can, but not in all bindings – it depends on how the anti-friction device in your bindings works…. I use Salomon STH bindings in most of my alpine skis, these have a mechanical AFD and work OK with Vibram soles – you need to be very careful how you set up the binding though. Have you checked with Scarpa direct re the soles? I had no problems getting them.

  32. db February 14th, 2014 8:10 am

    Mike x , I just purchased mine online for $35. If you google ‘Scarpa Vibram Mountain Piste Sole’ you should find what your looking for.

  33. Lou Dawson February 14th, 2014 11:12 am

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