La Sportiva Ski Boots – Model Iterations and Clever Solutions

Post by blogger | January 16, 2017      
New Synchro and Shadow 1.5 kilo class freeride touring boots  from Sportiva.

New Synchro and Shadow 1.5 kilo class freeride touring boots from Sportiva.

Report from Outdoor Retailer: La Sportiva will boast new or substantially versioned boot models beginning fall 2017. Synchro is a stiffer “125 flex” iteration of venerable Spectre (will continue), with the intriguing 2 piece tongue release system pictured below. Women’s version is the Shadow. On the lightweight ski touring side, their new Sideral 2.1 (women’s Starlet 2.1), Raceborg and Sytron continue the evolution of Sportiva’s flagship 2-buckle offerings. Improved buckles and various changes in shell thickness are said to make all their boots ski better while giving you uphill performance.

Snynchro claimed weight in 27.5 is 1550 grams. Excellent for the freeride touring category. (We see no reason why with modern materials and engineering there really need be any ski touring boot heavier than about one kilo per foot, and we expect to see the freeride offerings continue to lose mass as carbon and other composite wizardry is used ever more wisely).

Another newish is an upgraded Spitfire model, their “crossover” boot that works for ski mountaineering racing or general uber-light touring. An external one-motion lean lock mode changer continues as the Spitfire claim to fame, along with Trab TR2 binding compatibility. Nice boot. We’d like to see _all_ Sportiva boots use external lean locks. 2019?

Dropping down the weight scale, the men’s and women’s boot “Sytron” is just one step heavier than a full-on skimo race boot (their pricy carbon Stratos and new Raceborg). Anything with the suffix “tron” has to be exceptional, right?

Sytron women (right) and men, flipping the lean lock down closes the buckle.

Sytron women (right) and men, flipping the lean lock down closes the buckle. This sort of ‘one motion’ feature is probably over rated for touring, but if it works, it does make your day less fiddly.

All Sportiva boots for next season have a subtle improvement to the “Fast Lock” buckles that’ll make them easier to disengage. We like the Fast Locks, but they do have a funny way of getting caught in their anchors once in a while. Sounds like that little annoyance is history.

Interestingly, Sportiva worked with Trab to build their own “S4” tech insert — a clone of the Dynafit “Quick Step” feature. We are not fans of this as the extended height of the insert gets in the way of having enough sole rubber. What is more, easy entry can encourage novices to click in when they’ve got ice clogging their boot inserts, leading to brief moments of flight with somewhat immediate and surprising landings that may help their orthopedic surgeon afford a chalet in Davos.

Two piece tongue is not an entirely new concept, difference is Sportiva makes the tongue lock together in downhill mode.

Two piece tongue of the Synchro is not an entirely new concept, difference is Sportiva has the tongue lock together in downhill mode via the visible tab and socket, yet near totally release forward resistance while touring. This worked during carpet testing, quite impressive for something so simple. We’ve been wondering for years when someone would come up with a tongue lock that features minimal weight and complexity. Looking forward to testing.

New Sportiva Synchro available fall of 2017 has solution for stiff tongue in touring mode.

New Sportiva Synchro available fall of 2017 has solution for stiff tongue in touring mode.

Sportiva S4 tech fitting is intended to be the uber step-in solution. We're not convinced.

Sportiva S4 tech fitting is intended to be the uber step-in solution, but is used only in the Sportiva ski mountaineering race boots because it compromises sole thicknesses. We’re delighted about that as we don’t prefer the way these sorts of fittings take away sole material, and we don’t like the way they encourage novices to clip in without properly clearing ice or dirt.

This sample version of Synchro is equipped with basic tech fittings.

This sample version of Synchro is equipped with basic crossover tech fittings (work with all tech bindings, including Trab TR2) such as those used with Spectre 2.0. We are confused as to which boots will have the S4 fitting, and we are also attempting to gain other secret tech fitting knowledge we can then relate in a gear blogger frenzy.

List of what’ll be available in Sportiva boots next season (2017-2018):
– Stratos Hi-Cube (existing, thousands of dollars, elite race boot, has S4 tech fittings.)
– Raceborg (new, replaces Syborg, same tech at Stratos only scaffo is Grilamid, has S4 tech fittings.)
– Sytron (new, closer to a race boot than a touring boot, carbon reinforced plastic cuff, has S4 tech fittings.)
– Spitfire 2.1 (newish, claimed 90 flex, touring or citizen racing, regular tech fittings.)
– Sideral & Starlet, 2.1 (lightweight touring boot in the one-kilo class)
– Synchro & Shadow (entirely new, flagship freeride touring, 4 buckle class)
– Spectre & Sparkle, 2.1 (existing, freeride touring, slightly lighter and softer than Synchro)


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20 Responses to “La Sportiva Ski Boots – Model Iterations and Clever Solutions”

  1. Pablo January 16th, 2017 10:28 am

    That split tonges looks very nice!
    As far as I know, that split Synchro’s tongues will be available as a spare parts and will be changeables with the original Spectre’s tonges…I could be a nice option to improve your old Spectres in the case you have ones..

  2. VT skier January 16th, 2017 2:32 pm

    Will my Spectre boots (last years model, black ones) work ok with the ATK Raider 12 2.0 binding?
    I have heard that some of the non Dynafit toe inserts don’t have the proper dimensions, for the ATK ski brake, at the toe to function properly.

  3. Lou2 January 16th, 2017 2:57 pm

    You need to test on workbench. Lou

  4. Lou2 January 16th, 2017 3:17 pm

    Typo in post, touring boots want to be 1 kilo not 1.5!

  5. See January 16th, 2017 7:26 pm

    I wonder if climbing around on rocks could cause those extended toe fittings to work loose. Might be interesting to whack them a few times with a hammer and see what happens, in the interest of science.

  6. Kristian January 17th, 2017 7:28 am

    VT Skier – I am using last years model black Spectre boots with ATK Raider 14s. Also adjust the bindings forward and use La Sportiva Spitfire 2.0 boots for longer tours and climbs. Keep a small L Angle Torx 15 with your gear to make length adjustments.

  7. Wookie1974 January 17th, 2017 7:33 am

    Oh those Italian colorways. I love them.

    Too bad these things have always been too wide for my feet.

  8. Kristian January 17th, 2017 7:38 am

    Press announcement says that the La Sportiva Vapor Nano skis are updated next year to lengths 168, 178, 190 with tip shape and rocker changes resulting in longer turning radius.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 January 17th, 2017 12:29 pm

    I clarified information about which boots have the S4 toe tech insert. Just the race boots, so those racers don’t fumble. We’re glad they’re not in the other boots as they compromise sole material thickness. Lou

  10. Kristian January 17th, 2017 2:22 pm

    Hope that I am wrong, but the S4 toe tech insert look scary dangerous for rock scrambling or climbing. Weighting a boot step on either toe corner looks like it would slip off and send you tumbling. I hope that La Sportiva will test for that.

  11. Andy M. January 18th, 2017 10:11 pm

    What’s the last width on the Synchro?

    I like the elimination of the front buckle on the new Maestrale RS2, but as someone who has a wide forefoot and likes stiff boots, I can’t be too picky on design…

  12. Bruce Goodlad January 20th, 2017 6:31 am

    But will they just disintegrate like a Spectre. As a guide I have seen more problems with Spectres than any other boot.

  13. Lou2 January 20th, 2017 7:32 am

    Bruce, if you’re going to slag, how about some details on problems, and subsequent solutions? Helping the community and all that sort of thing… Thanks, Lou

  14. VT skier January 22nd, 2017 9:10 am

    Thanks Kristian,
    I will probably buy the ATX 12 2.0 bindings now with that information..

  15. VT skier January 22nd, 2017 9:11 am

    I meant ATK Raider 12s !!

  16. Bruce Goodlad January 27th, 2017 5:39 am

    HI Lou

    Sorry that was a bit through away and I should have given more details and experiences so here goes.

    How about multiple buckle failures, screws come out and the buckels fall off, multiple (10 clients and counting) who have had the ski / skin lock out fail during a tour. La Sportiva would not replace the boots in any cases and just offered a cheap replacement boot when the repair also failed boot. Personally I love La Sportivas mountaineering foot wear it the best fit for me but build quality on the spectre in my (perhaps limited experience) Guiding 100+ days a year on skis has been a bit disappointing and La Sportiva have been a bit slow to help my clients address the problem. One aspirant guide simply through his in the bin at the end of a course as a one month old pair of boots wouldn’t stay in ski mode and 3 of the buckles had fallen off and Sportiva wouldn’t help out. Maybe we have just been unlucky? Looks like you guys in the US are have a great season, can you send some snow to the Alps please. All the best Bruce

  17. Darin Berdinka April 18th, 2017 9:43 am

    So someone needs to come out in defense of the Spectre. Yes the buckles can loosen and the lean lock can (will) go all wonky on you at some point. But the occasional use of a screwdriver and maybe a once a year squirt of bike lube into the lean lock mechanism and your problems are solved. I don’t ski a hundred days a year but I’m probably approaching a 100 days on my pair and they’ve held up. Always thought they were an excellent balance of stiffness, range of motion, fit and price. Excited to upgrade to the Synchro (and a pair of Trab tr2s) for next season.

  18. Jared September 27th, 2017 11:18 am

    Any word on when the Synchro tongue may be available separately to modify existing Spectres ?

  19. Joth October 21st, 2017 4:31 pm

    Hi, thanks for this review. Can anyone comment on the fit of the syborgs/Sportiva boots in general? I’m usually a 27 (black diamond quadrant, scarpa maestrale) and I find scarpas to be narrow/high in the mid foot. How do Sportiva boots compare?

  20. Thomas January 26th, 2018 8:40 pm

    My old Dalbello Virus tour’s have a great tongue split/ lock that has worked flawlessly for many years.

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