La Sportiva Spectre 1.0 2.0 Comparo Review

Post by blogger | September 13, 2016      
La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 is easily one of the better power-weight ratio shoes out there.

La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 is easily one of the better power-weight ratio shoes out there.

La Sportiva Spectre backcountry skimo boot

La Sportiva Spectre 1 was a good effort. Low shell over the arch and a modicum of bulging during flex were downsides. Qubbles aside, they served a lot of backcountry skiers.

La Sportiva’s freshman “light beef” Spectra 4-buckle “1.0” ski touring boot was a solid performer from the start, what with a few fit glitches and since resolved first-run bugs. Version 2.0 is nearly identical. In our view, what’s said to be a “5 percent” increase in stiffness is real, though not something every skier needs to be concerned about.

A few other Spectre 2 changes and improvements are of interest as well, but nothing apocalyptic. Most importantly in my view, a bit more vertical toe volume is important, and the low shell above the arch of the foot has been fixed. We don’t mind the color scheme, but prefered the less garish motif of the original dark version. Cuff alignment rivet is gone; not an issue for most skiers and perhaps one less thing to fail, but some folks truly need cuff alignment. Overall, WildSnow kudos to Sportiva for well executed incremental improvements.

Weight is virtually the same, the liners are pretty much identical so for a more telling comparison I weighed without liners. Old is 41.4 ounces per boot, new is 42.7, a difference of 1.3 ounces, 37 grams. Where does that stand in the backcountry boot spectrum? We would not call Spectre THE lightest 4 buckle boot out there, but it’s in the exalted pantheon of several lightest. For example, we’ve got one well known brand here that weighs in at 41 ounces for their 4-buckle cabrio shell in the same size as our evaluation Sportivas.

Where is the beef?

Where is the beef? Ski touring boots such as Spectre depend on rear spine for forward-back stiffness in downhill mode. Problem is that forces are thus transferred to the cuff pivot points, with subsequent bulging reducing effective stiffness. Spectre 2.0 adds a bit more ‘yoke’ structure in that area thus reducing bulging and increasing stiffness with nearly no added weight.

Cuff spine is beefed by filling in a few of the skeleton holes.

Cuff spine is beefed by filling in a few of the skeleton holes.

Tongue attachment still includes interesting angle adjustment.

Tongue attachment still includes interesting angle adjustment. This doesn’t add weight or durability issues, so why not?

Version 1 had a low area above your toes, fixed here.

Version 1 has a low area above your toes that required modification for some skiers, fixed here.

Area above foot arch has a bit more height, better fit for most.

Area above foot arch has a bit more height, better fit for most skiers.

In terms of fit, we are mystified as to why the power strap doesn't locate as well as with version 1.

In terms of fit, we are mystified as to why the ver 2 power strap doesn’t locate as well as with version 1. It tends to locate so high as to possibly slip up and over the tongue, and clearly introduces a rather harsh transition from the top of the tongue to your shin. I did a bunch of measurements and couldn’t find anything that specifically dictated this. Boot fitting tip: it appears that simply flipping the power straps upside down would locate them about 5 mm lower (due to an indentation in the rear of the strap). Doing so would perhaps locate the straps perfectly at the front of the tongue. Indeed, one wonders, did Sportiva design these perfectly, and the factory printed and installed the straps upside down? Mysteries of ski touring never cease.

Spring loaded hinges that hold buckles open are obviously beefed, nice.

Spring loaded hinges that hold buckles open are obviously beefed, nice. We’ve always liked the innovative Sportiva buckles, nice to see improvements ongoing. That said, the adjustment barrels are identical to version 1, thus trouble with them gradually loosing will still be something to deal with. If you can work without doing much adjustment a bit of thread locker can help. Funny thing, the cables appear ever so slightly thicker than ver 1, but overall they measure out the same with my digital calipers. Perhaps it’s better quality cable with a tighter weave that makes it appear more substantial. Another mystery of the universe?

Standard generic tech fitting to left, tech-Trab fitting in ver 2 is interesting. Extensive testing in WildSnow Labs shows  gives it a pass.

Standard generic tech fitting to left, tech-Trab fitting in ver 2 is interesting. Extensive testing in WildSnow Labs shows gives it a pass. See our instrumented testing.

Tech-Trab heel uses a totally standard tech fitting, combined with additional metalics to the side for compatibility with Trab.

Tech-Trab heel uses a totally standard tech fitting, combined with additional metallics to the side for compatibility with Trab TR2 ski touring binding.

Almost forgot the liners, as they’re pretty much clones. Version 2 has a slightly smaller flex zone at the instep. Presumably, that gives a small increase in beef or simply reduces tendency for the tongue to pinch down on your foot due to the softer flex-zone padding of ver 1. In my opinion, either liner is fine.

Shop for La Sportiva Spectre. Hint: Version 1 is on sale and still a viable choice.


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33 Responses to “La Sportiva Spectre 1.0 2.0 Comparo Review”

  1. Eric Steig September 14th, 2016 7:49 am

    Pretty neat to have one boot that could use both Trab and standard tech bindings.

    Speaking of bindings, I see MEC is selling the Atomic Backland binding this year, so they are available in North America now. Any word on reliability?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 September 14th, 2016 8:42 am

    Hi Eric, the tech-trab fittings are quite nicely done. A bit of a yawner to some folks, but always nice to have options in the industry. Getting the toe fittings to work with both Trab and classic tech could not have been easy, judging from how we still even see “regular” tech fittings now and then that don’t work well.

    Atomic Backland we’ve tested has been fine. It doesn’t offer anything revolutionary IMHO but most certainly is an option for a ski touring binding. It’ll be wonderful for shops selling Atomic as they now have a fully vertical ski touring product line, skis-bindings-boots.


  3. Alex R October 24th, 2016 1:51 am

    I´m on the market for an new touring boot and currently my top candidates are the MNT Lab, which I already tried out twice in a shop and fits pretty well, and teh Zero G Pro, which I still have to hold in my hands.

    Could you anyone tell whether the Spectre 2 stiffness plays anywhere near the league of the 2 models above?

    Las winter I tore an achilles tendon crashing into a snow wall by zero sight and quite moderate speed while wearing a zZero4 – which I promptly sold afterwards.
    I´m quite sure that it wouldn´happen with a stiffer shoe like the Cochise 130, which I also use.
    Since i have slim feet the choice of suitable shoes is farther reduced.

    Thanks for any contribute.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2016 7:55 am

    Alex, you’re trying to compare a “tongue” boot, Spectre, with an “overlap” boot, Zero G. It’s not apples to apples. Depending on your specific bone sizes and ankle ergonomics, you might find a firmly buckled overlap boot provides more of the forward stiffness you are looking for, or you might prefer the feel and stiffness of the tongue boot. A carpet test can help, if you have other boots to compare (like the ones you got hurt in.

    I have to say, if you’re buying boots for the purpose of crashing into snow walls in zero visibility, a stiffer boot will possibly just transfer that energy to other injuries.

    Also, if you really want a big difference from your Zero, I don’t understand, why not simply use your Cochise 130?

  5. Alex R October 24th, 2016 8:08 am


    many thanks for the reply.
    I´m aware that tongue and overlap boots behave somehow differently, but they still are two sort of apples, aren´t they?

    I indeed intend to use the Cochise for skinning too and I´m really no weight weenie, but for some tours and going with some people the weight of some 2,1kg/shoe could be too much.
    “if you’re buying boots for the *purpose* of crashing into snow walls in zero visibility,”
    Well I´m not sure I´d call it “purpose” 🙂
    In my case it was not that big crash, really, the TLT Vertical binding set to around 7 did actually release, so such an injury comes quite surprising (and disappointing) to me.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2016 8:34 am

    The ergonomic motion that causes ruptured achilles doesn’t necessarily release binding, and indeed, a stiffer boot will perhaps trigger binding release before tendon injury. Very complex. Main point, no binding/boot combination is 100% injury free.

    If you’re touring with people using 1 kg shoes, and you’re hauling freeride touring gear, indeed, that can be inappropriate. On the other hand, if you can keep up then you’re stronger than they are and have bragging rights. And when you hit the vertical snow wall as they watch, you can just laugh (smile).


  7. Alex R October 24th, 2016 8:41 am

    Thanks Lou, I´ll mark your words 🙂

  8. mike carville October 29th, 2016 4:41 pm

    How is does the downhill preference compare to Vulcan?

  9. Michael Papenfus November 3rd, 2016 6:13 pm

    Great Comparison Review,
    I love these side-by-side reviews of updated product lines.
    Question. I just picked up a pair of these in Version 1 and now deciding on bindings.
    I am leaning towards the Vipec 12s. Are these boots compatible with these bindings. I saw a comment somewhere on your site they they may not be. Can you or any of readers comment?


  10. brunoschull November 28th, 2016 6:55 am

    Last week I went boot shopping, and had the chance to try on the La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 and the Technica Zero Guide side by side. Fit is so specific it’s perhaps not relevant, but the La Sportiva seemed to fit me better. It seemed larger volume overall, especially in the toes and over the instep, which is important for me, because I will do some ice and alpine climbing with these boots, and I need to keep my toes warm and comfy.

    At the same time, I was surprised by how supportive and stiff the La Sportiva boots felt when locked down. I wanted to try the Tecnica boots because I need all the help with my skiing that I can get, and I thought they would be really strong, but they actually did not feel nearly as supportive as the La Sportivas. The Tecnicas felt much more “spongy” leaning forward and pressing my shins into the front of the boot. I played around with the buckles, and the position of the tongue, and I got it to feel a little more supportive, but not as strong as I expected.

    Maybe this is just the difference between a boot with a rigid rear skeleton vs an overlap construction, but the give of the Tecnica did not feel like progressive flex; it just felt like less boot. The La Sportiva also seemed to offer much more support in the backward direction and farther up my leg. I checked the height of both boots, and they looked about they same height, but, again, the La Sportiva seemed to have much more support.

    Another surprise, when unlocked, the Tecnica forward rotation felt more friction-free than the La Sportiva. With the La Spotiva, you have to compress the bellows on the tongue every time you step, and you can feel (and hear) this squishy plastic compression. Not a big deal but noticeable. The Tecnica offered relatively unimpeded forward rotation. Backwards, however, the Tecnica hits a hard stop relatively quickly.

    The La Sportiva has much more rearward range of motion. In the end, I bought the La Sportiva. More toe room and comfort for climbing. Maybe more support for skiing Definitely better range of motion. Lighter. I also really like that you can remove the powerstrap, and both sides of the buckles, with screws (I usually take off the lowest buckle). Finally, I like how the buckles fold flat when they are open, so you can wear the boots with the buckles open, and they still fit comfortably under pants.

    Anyway, I hope this helps anybody trying to make a decision.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 November 28th, 2016 7:03 am

    Thanks Bruno, very nice comparo.

    Regarding the walk mode feel, huge factor in this is the Sportiva is a “tongue” boot while the Tecnica is overlap. Overlap boots can easily have better forward feel while walking. Solution with tongue boots is to experiment with exact buckle positions while climbing, and even make a vertical cut in the upper part of the shell tongue so it flexes easier. Dynafit’s solution of a removable tongue was perhaps the best in theory, but too fiddly and they’ve eliminated that with the TLT 7, which depends on the strength of the boot spine and pivot “yoke” to provide rigidity when locked, rather than stiffness of tongue. Somewhat of an eternal battle until boot designs go beyond what they were doing 40 years ago. Lou

  12. VT skier November 28th, 2016 8:28 am

    Michael Papenfus
    You asked about compatibility issues with La Sportiva Spectre 1.0. I have the same boots; comfortable, though I had some hotspots around ball of ankle on both sides. Easily punched out shell a bit..
    The boot is not compatible with the old Speed Turn bindings, I have as the area of boot sole under toe binds against crampon slot. This only happens with boot flat on ski in tour mode. So I may have to cut away the nylon crampon slot (or an area of boot sole). One other possibility is to try the thicker Vertical nylon base plate under the Speed Tour metal toe frame. This may raise the toe pins high enough so boot clears the crampon slot.

    Spectre 1.0 boot works fine with Radical 2.0 , Ion LT and Vertical ST bindings, all of which I own..;)

  13. Bob November 28th, 2016 8:53 am

    Michael Papenfus
    There appears to be some confusion regarding the Spectre 1.0 and compatibility with the new black Vipec binding. Black Diamond says maybe if you grind the sole of the boot so it does not bind with the spring housing on the toe piece. Direct contact with Fritchi says yes they are compatible, but Fritchi’s own compatibility video shows the Spectre 1.0 as being incompatible. LaSportiva USA told me that the new Spectre 2.0 had a bit less rocker on the sole so perhaps the new boot will be “more” compatible.

  14. Bruno Schull November 30th, 2016 12:41 am

    Spectre 2.0 question. I’ve been playing around with my new boots. I have a question. The top buckle of the boots, or the plastic under the top buckle, has a long, floppy, yellow extension, that somewhat supports the cable and latch. The plastic extension does not seem to be involved in the support of the boot–what does it do? Does it help the buckle lie flat when open? I was thinking of removing that piece of plastic–you know, I can really feel it slowing me down.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 November 30th, 2016 8:19 am

    Hi Bruno, I’m pretty sure that just keeps the cable buckle from dangling in the breeze when it’s unbuckled. It clearly has nothing to do with enhancing downhill ski performance near as I can tell. I’d use it for a while if I were you. Lou

  16. Konrad December 18th, 2016 1:50 am

    It is worth to swap my Black Diamond Factory 130 to this nice Spectre 2.0 for loosing more than 1kg ? I believe that for uphill – Yes, but for a downhill? This is a question 🙂

    On the paper stiffenes is similar 130 vs. 125 (info on la sportive www)

    My ski – armada jj plus marker kingpin

  17. Konrad December 18th, 2016 5:18 am

    What to do ?

    It’s worth to swap my Black Diamond Factory 130 to this nice Spectre 2.0 for loosing more than 1kg?

    I believe that for uphill Yes but for downhill. .. ?

    I rather prefere go down and my ski: armada jj with marker kingpin

  18. Bob December 19th, 2016 12:10 pm

    Any one have feedback on durability regarding the Spectre 2? Online reports talk about broken buckles, broken tongue and soles that don’t last more than a month. Any feedback?

  19. MONTI8 January 10th, 2017 1:42 pm


    Thanks for your posts, really useful 🙂

    Is the Spectre 2.0 compatible with powerinserts from Dynafit? Im thinking on buying one for the beast 14.


  20. Deepdescents January 14th, 2017 10:40 am

    The Spectre 2.0 is NOT compatible with the Beast Binding. The “power inserts” do not work.

  21. Ian February 2nd, 2017 11:47 pm

    not sure if it’s too late, but Spectre 1.0 and Fritschi Vipec 12 TÜV are compatible, I’ve been using them since 2015.

  22. Kerry February 12th, 2017 2:01 pm

    Will the la sportiva specture 2.0 work with marker king pins? Anyone using that combo or with 1.0?

  23. Naum March 25th, 2017 3:33 am

    I wonder if canting option is still present?

  24. Lou Dawson 2 March 25th, 2017 6:15 am

    No cuff angle adjustment in Sportiva ski boots new models. Lou

  25. Naum March 25th, 2017 7:39 am

    that is a big minus…

  26. Adam April 6th, 2017 6:05 pm

    Hmmm… my GF just got a set of the Sparkle 2.0 and the Trab heelpieces seem to make them not work with her Beast 14s. at least that’s what Deepdescents says and I seem to agree after the eyeball test.

    Has anyone run a Beast binding w/o the fitting on the heel? Other option is removing the Trab fittings and making the beast thing work somehow.

  27. Lou 2 April 7th, 2017 6:27 am

    Adam, if the Trab fittings were ground off you could probably attach the Beast “horseshoe” fitting. Don’t run Beast without the correct boot heel fitting. Lou

  28. VT skier April 7th, 2017 1:47 pm

    Just a heads up. I have the Spectre 1.0 and I had to grind down the boot sole lugs in toe area, so the boot can work with the new Salomon Atomic Backland MTN binding.
    The empty boot heel still sits maybe 6 mm above the heel base plate, resting on the crampon inserts, so I could remove more rubber in the boot sole..

    This is only an issue when you want to use the binding touring with boot flat on the ski. Just wondered if anyone else had noticed this issue.

  29. SeanS October 18th, 2017 1:36 pm

    Michael Papenfus and Bob:

    I know this response comes long after the initial discussion but wanted to chime in on the Spectre (1.0) and Vipec (blk) compatibility.
    Yes, they are compatible. I use them together and regard both very highly.
    But to ensure the Vipec functions as intended you will want to file away some of the rockered sole at the ball of the foot to give proper clearance. This was not difficult but did result in my removing a solid chunk of the vibram soles in a small area.
    The 2.0 reportedly is a bit less pronounced in rocker. I would still ensure clearance is adequate per Vipec manual and file away if necessary.

  30. Dabe October 29th, 2017 8:40 pm

    Kerry, yes compatible with kingpin. that’s mentioned in the post about the new synchro boot I believe.

    Also if you have this boot and are not using a tr2, you’re definitely missing out.

  31. Pavel Sova January 10th, 2018 12:00 pm

    I have original Spectre 1.0 and like many other people experience maleolus (inner ankle) bone pain in this boot. Does Spectre 2 have a bit more room in that area?

  32. Chris Beh January 10th, 2018 2:31 pm

    Pavel, there is an easy fix for that. Either you or a boot fitter heat up the lower shell around the opening and then shove a 1.5 liter wine bottle in to spread the opening, let the shell cool with the wine bottle in place. Worked like a charm for my boots and the same problem. Bob Egeland of Boulder Orthotics did that for me and solved the issue. No grinding involved. The problem was corrected on the 2.0s. But if your 1.0s aren’t worn out it is worth a try. Hope that helps.

  33. Pavel Sova January 10th, 2018 6:30 pm

    Thanks, glad to hear that this is the method — I have been doing exactly that (big Costco wine bottle, first I drink the wine, not in one sitting:). But the plastic seems to have some memory so it goes back after a few days. Maybe I need to heat it up bit more.

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