2018 SCARPA Gea RS — New, Improved and Tested


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 16, 2018      

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

Side by side

Side by side — new Gea RS on the right.

Who loves boots that fit just right? Me, me, ME! After trying numerous models, four years ago I became the owner of SCARPA Gea RS and loved them from day one. As I mentioned in my overview of women’s boots at Outdoor Retailer last year, my feet don’t like ski boots. My wide forefoot aches and hurts in most boots. The process of fitting ski boots might be my least favorite part about skiing. It seems to get more time consuming and frustrating each time I do it.

I got an opportunity to test a pair of pre-production SCARPA Gea RS 2 boots last spring and just got a production pair early this winter. Since Louie already did an amazing job describing the differences between versions of the men’s Maestrale,, I will focus more on the fit of the RS V2 as well as the differences I have noticed compared to my older adored pair of Gea RS. (Note: Gea is basically the same boot as Maestrale, with the main difference purported to be the flex. If you ask me, I say the biggest difference is the color.)

SCARPA flex for Maestral and Gea (manufacturer’s specs)

  • Maestrale RS, 130 flex
  • Gea RS, 120 flex
  • Maestrale, 110 flex
  • Gea, 100 flex
  • First things first, the sizing (BSL) is the same as the previous Gea.

    Punch-a-mole.

    Punch-a-mole.

    Next, let’s talk about fit. I got the boots molded and spent a few hours wearing them around the house to find any hotspots to punch. For me it tends to be in the place where my foot is widest: the “sixth toe” area primarily. When it came to getting the right punches in, I gotta give Greg Louie at Evo Seattle a big shout-out – I appreciate his patience and all his help to get my feet into a happy state!

    The punches on these boots are a bit more noticeable than the previous Gea. I think the reason for this is the Grilamid shell construction of the boot; the thinner, lighter plastic is quite the art to punch! I ended up punching both boots in the widest part of my forefoot area. A very similar experience that I had with the original Gea RS. One thing to note, since the new boot version does have carbon areas in the shell, the spots that have carbon will not be as easy to punch. The black carbon plastic is easy to see. Take a close look at where your common pressure points are and if they happen to be near or on those spots, these boots are probably not be for you. (This is mostly an issue for people who need punches in the heel area of the boot.)

    The new liner (left) and the previous (right).

    The new liner (left) and the previous (right).

    A few other things to highlight; I personally do not use the lace feature of the liner – but it is still available, same as on older models. The move from four to three buckles I am a fan of, since I found the 4th lower buckle redundant and I never used it.

    The one frustrating aspect that I noticed over time is it was easy to misalign the plastic parts of the tongue and shell when buckling up, this has caused a bit of wear and tear, as well as slight bending in the plastic. Make sure you pay attention to which piece goes below and which one goes under when bucking in. This is actually written on the boots. I know it sounds simple, but I somehow ended up screwing this up more than once. User error or a con on the Gea? Probably a bit of both.

    I will not miss the broken tongue hinges of the old version, but I will miss how simple it was to get the liner in and out. On the Gea V2, I struggle to get the liner back into the boot, even if I am wearing it.There might be a trick or a better way to do it that I haven’t figured out. I’ll report back if I come up with anything. I have heard from other new RS owners that they struggle with this as well.

    The lower weight is definitely noticeable. I love the increase in the range of motion in the walk mechanism, the boots feel like bunny slippers for uphill travel. It’s incredible – yet, it doesn’t stop there. Switching into ski mode, it gets better.

    New lean lock on right.

    New lean lock on right.

    I did not notice a difference in stiffness between the old and the new Gea RS. I’d say in my opinion they are right about the same. However, flexing the new Gea RS actually felt a lot more “natural,” which I think it due to the new style of the carbon infused Grilamid plastic. The flex is more progressive compared to the old RS. For me, the boot skis about 100% better than before: it’s more responsive, it has more control, it feels more forgiving on my shins. I am not sure if it’s due to its shedded weight or the feel of the new plastic, but I absolutely love skiing this boot in all terrain and conditions.

    I’ve skied my previous Gea for four years which to me shows that Scarpa makes a durable product. I did experience broken hinges, which I actually never ended up replacing, as this didn’t impact the performance of the boot. I expect the same durability from the V2, which to me justifies the priceyness of the boot.

    Bottom line: Switching to the new Gea RS boot is worth all the headaches of the boot fitting process. The upgraded features you get with the newer version will leave you happier and more efficient on both the up and the down. Gea RS lovers out there — this boot is the upgrade you have been looking for. Never tried the Gea before? This would be a perfect first pair to start with!

    SCARPA Gea RS, manufacturer’s specs:

  • Size: 22.5 – 27 (half sizes)
  • Weight: 1260 g; 2 lbs 13 oz (1/2 pair, size 25)
  • Shell, Cuff, Tongue: Carbon Grilamid, Grilamid, Pebax
  • Liner: Intuition Cross Fit Pro Flex G
  • Last: 101mm
  • Flex: 120
  • Ski/walk mode: Speed Lock Plus
  • Closure: 3 buckles + finger strap
  • Forward lean: 16° +/- 2°
  • Range of motion: 60° (23 more than its predecessor)
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • MSRP: $795
  • Shop for SCARPA boots at Cripple Creek Backcountry.



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    Comments

    12 Responses to “2018 SCARPA Gea RS — New, Improved and Tested”

    1. DJ February 16th, 2018 8:29 am

      I (male) switched from the Maestrale RS to the new Maestrale V2 this season and I agree that the changes made to this family of boots are mostly positive. I completely concur that getting the liner back in is challenging – the most difficult I have experienced in 30 years. The “upgrade” I really don’t like is the new lean-lock level. It is simple, exposed, probably bomber – but I struggle to get it into ski mode if there is any snow or ice on the horizontal pin. Sometimes I think I am in, but I am only partway in, and can release back to walk mode on the first turn.

    2. Mike February 16th, 2018 8:54 am

      I had some trouble with the lean-lock in the new version at first. I found it was not the snow at the horizontal pin that jammed it up but snow under the lever just below the hinge of the lean-lock lever. If there is any resistance when I flip it down it seems clearing the snow just below the hinge has fixed it right away.

    3. benwls February 16th, 2018 2:46 pm

      All lean/lock switches can have icing issues. When it is exposed, as on these Scarpas, it is easy to take care of. I much prefer the new switch to the old.

    4. Nick February 16th, 2018 5:27 pm

      I have a REALLY high arch and getting my foot into some boots (e.g. my overlap alpine boots) is a real struggle – almost impossible if the shell is too cold. I find my old Maestrales easy to get into. I have heard conflicting reports about the new ones – any comment?

    5. Crazy Horse February 16th, 2018 5:59 pm

      Hi Julia,
      I have a very high volume instep & forefoot— much as you describe in your case. I find the new RS literally impossible to get into in the showroom. Been looking for a lightly used example of the old model Maestrale RS in my size with little success after having gone through several unsatisfactory AT boots.

      Any mods you’ve done to make entry easier?

      Not all new technology is an advance!

      The irony is that Lange WC plug boots have served me well for resort use and racing for 25 years. First pair were fitted by Tommy Moe’s World Cup technician, to put a date tag on them! They have enough meat to be punched and re-shaped to almost any needed form, and a sole designed to grind to the proper cant angle. Certainly never will be confused with an AT boot on the scale!

    6. Dabu February 17th, 2018 4:00 pm

      Regarding ease of entry I am somewhat surprised that folks are having trouble. After dozens of other AT boots over the years heavily modified for my super high volume EEEE feet my new Maestrale RS boots are the easiest to get on and off that I’ve had. My punches required a few tries but they are the best boots I’ve ever used. Yes, like bunny slippers on the tour and resort boots on the down (not quite like Lange plugs, but all things are relative).

    7. Andy February 17th, 2018 5:12 pm

      I just got the Freedom RS 130s (cause I am not a small person and wanted a little more beefiness). It’s taken a little fitting fun/pain but I think I have them close to dialed in with a surefeet insole and fittings at Le Feet in Winterpark.

      All that said, I wish I had just gone with the Maestrale RS’ because of the three piece design. They are just more comfortable, albeit a little more flexible.

      The boa + three piece is really nice.

    8. Julia February 17th, 2018 7:28 pm

      Thanks everyone for the comments!

      I have experienced problems with the lean/lock switch when I had the pre-production pair of Gea’s, but now that I got the final version, I haven’t had issues yet. I do agree with benwls’s comment, it really depends on the temp and the snow, any mechanism can be impacted. Lately it’s been warmer in the pnw, so no icing problems for me yet this year! I do make it a point to cover as much of the mechanism as I can with my ski pants, which seems to help out quite a bit!

      Nick –

      It’s definitely not as easy as it was with the swinging tongue on the old Gea but I found that if I pull the shell back, away from the liner, that makes the boot fairly easy to get into.

      Crazy Horse –

      Boot struggles are the worst! I have not had any big trouble getting my foot into the Gea – mostly just punch wiork to resolve pressure spots. No real mods on my end.
      If you’d like to give the Scarpa’s another try – one recommendation is to go up a shell size, but keep the smaller size liner. Sometimes moving up a shell size gives a bit more room in the right places.
      As far as other brands, I found Scott’s to be the widest boot on the market. I’d check out any of their touring models if you haven’t yet.

    9. See March 11th, 2018 10:57 am

      I’m thinking about getting some new Maestrales but the issue re. getting the liners in and out of the shells seems like a major pita. I recently checked out a pair, and this could be a deal breaker for me. So I guess I’m repeating Julia’s question— is there a trick to getting the liners in and out, or is this just the price one pays not to have to carry a couple of the old style hinges in the repair kit? Is this another example of sacrificing usability in favor of reduced customer service requests/idiot proofing? Has anyone figured out a mod to solve this apparent problem?

    10. Duncan March 11th, 2018 8:28 pm

      How common is the difficult liner in and out problem? Size 27, Sole insole, and zero issues. I find it helps to leave the shell in ski mode.

    11. snowbot March 12th, 2018 7:46 am

      I switched from original Maestrales to this year’s versions and have had minor issues with both the lean lock and getting the liner back into the boot.

      The lock issue does seem to involve snow at the hinge; I’ve been able to avert problems while skiing by flexing hard forward while stationary. If the lock pops out, clean the mechanism. If it doesn’t, it won’t while skiing.

      The liner-in problem is inconsistent. Haven’t quite figured the exact trick for opening the shell and pushing the liner in. I rarely take the liners out (both shells and liners on boot dryer) so it’s no deal breaker.

      Boots tour even better than the previous version, the toe closure system is much better, and it skis as well or better than the previous version. I did adjust the forward lean to the most upright position.

    12. See March 12th, 2018 6:58 pm

      To be clear, my experience with the new Maestrales is limited to messing around with a couple pairs in the shop for about half an hour, and I think I probably had the cuffs unlocked when putting the liners back in. But it was still more of a struggle than I’m used to, and I’ve stuffed quite a few ski boot liners into boots over the years. This may seem like a trivial issue (which I guess it is, in many cases) but I’m old and lazy and my hands hurt, and I don’t relish the prospect of dealing with this every morning after having pulled the liners to dry on a hut trip, for example (or, even worse, while sitting in the door of a tent). I guess I would get better at it with practice, and maybe the tongues would loosen up after a while (although it doesn’t seem likely, looking at them). So this really is an issue about which I’d like to get some more information before I drop big bucks on a pair, which I’m seriously considering.





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