Sparkle 2.0 Women’s Ski Touring Boot — Tested

Post by blogger | February 26, 2018      

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

La Sportiva Sparkle 2.0

La Sportiva Sparkle 2.0

A ski boot is a critical piece of equipment that affects ski performance, but it sure is tricky to find a boot that fits comfortably and still gives you solid contact with your planks.

If you’re shopping for a performance ski touring boot, La Sportiva’s women’s Sparkle is worth a look. It’s light compared to the beefier AT boots out there, but performs as well as any 4 buckle boot I’ve skied.

I weigh 120 pounds so the Sparkle with a stated flex of 115 gives me the perfect amount of stiffness for this class of boot. A rigid cuff vertebra and latch provide forward/backward flex resistance in downhill mode. The accordion hinge in the tongue adds a nice amount of progressive flex.

Carbon reinforced Grilamid vertebra.

Carbon reinforced Grilamid vertebra.

Accordion  hinged tongue flexes comfortably while touring and provides progressive flex in downhill mode.

Accordion hinged tongue flexes comfortably while touring and provides progressive flex in downhill mode.

The buckle hinges took some getting used to. At first it was fiddley to snap them into place. But once I practised and got them adjusted, they work. A threaded nutt on the cable makes it easy to dial in a precise tension. Now when I put on the boot, I snap the buckles into place and lift the levers for walking and uphill mode. For downhill, I simply snap the levers down and I’m ready to go.

Snap in the green "Pegasus" when you put on the boots. Clamp the black levers down for skiing; up for touring.

Snap the green “Pegasus” latches when you put on the boots. Clamp the black levers down for skiing (left boot); up for touring (right).

My shoe size is between an 8.5 and 9. Because my forefoot is slightly wide, I usually wear a 9 in a street shoe. But I’ve noticed that I get a much better performance fit in a smaller ski boot, so this winter I’ve sized down to 24.5.

In the Sparkles, a 24.5 gives me a snug heel pocket but it took a bit of work to get the toe box right. After punching out the Grilamid shell and heat molding the liner, the fit is concise and serves me well. A detailed report about my fitting process here.

Some boots have a plushy liner that feels yummy when you try them on at the shop but beware, it’s like icing a pastry with sugarless frosting to disguise an otherwise bland and tasteless concoction. The Sparkle’s liner, on the other hand, is made with denser foam. What it lacks in gooshy cush, it makes up for in performance.

The Sparkles are comfortable on the uphill and makes me feel like Michaela swooping on the down. I notice good side to side transfer. I have strong contact with my skis, no heel movement and excellent purchase when rolling edge to edge.

Overall, I’m psyched.

Spoiler is adjustable up and down for calf comfort, or completely removable.

Spoiler is adjustable up and down for calf comfort, or completely removable.

Markings for tech toe step in is  handy.

Markings for tech toe step-in are handy.

Small marks next to end of tongue for alignment adjustment.

Small marks next to end of tongue for alignment adjustment.

La Sportiva's heat moldable S2 liner has accordion zone for flex when touring. Foam is firm enough to deliver performance when skiing downhill.

La Sportiva’s heat moldable S2 liner has accordion zone for flex when touring. Foam is firm enough to deliver performance when skiing downhill.

Sparkles are compatible with Tech, AT & Trab TR2.

Sparkles are compatible with Tech, AT & Trab TR2.

La Sportiva Sparkles will have new graphics next year but otherwise 2018/2019 Sparkles will be unchanged.

Sparkle 2.0 specs:

  • Weight (one boot and liner, size 24.5) 1286 g (WildSnow verified)
  • Weight (one shell, no liner, size 24.5) 1062 (WildSnow verified)
  • Available sizes: 23 – 26.5
  • Shell, tongue: Grilamid®
  • Cuff: Pebax®
  • Vertebra: Carbon reinforced Grilamid®
  • Liner: S2 liner
  • Sole: Vibram®
  • Range of motion: 60°
  • Forward lean: 3 positions (12°, 14°, 16°)
  • Buckles: 4, and optional power strap
  • Flex: 115 (my boots actually felt a little softer than 115)
  • Last width: 102.5 (my toe box felt narrower but the Grilamid® punched out easily)
  • Binding compatibility: Tech, AT & TR2
  • MSRP: $679


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    7 Responses to “Sparkle 2.0 Women’s Ski Touring Boot — Tested”

    1. VT skier February 26th, 2018 3:05 pm

      I have the earlier La Sportiva Spectres, (black ones) and have noticed the new Spectre/Sparkle 2.0 do not have the cuff cant adjustment anymore.
      Too bad, for those of us who need a cant mechanism for a proper fit.
      Any boot fitters out here who can retrofit a cuff cant mechanism to my new Scarpa F-1s?

    2. XXX_er February 26th, 2018 4:24 pm

      I used to think i could never buy another ski boot without cuff cant due to knock knees/flat feet but a good foot bed seemed to deal with those problems in my Vulcans which have no cuff cant

    3. Lisa Dawson February 26th, 2018 4:26 pm

      VT, you’re right. The Sparkles don’t have a cuff cant adjustment. A good boot fitter should know how to adjust the cant using spacer materials. Good luck.

    4. Dabe February 27th, 2018 12:08 pm

      Have you skied them in a TR2 Lisa?

    5. Lenka K. February 27th, 2018 1:17 pm

      “Gooshy cush”. Great expression!

      Unfortunately, I’m a victim of goooshycushization of women’s skiboots in the Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro W. The men’s version has a solid Palau liner, whereas the women’s version comes with a soft in-house liner that neither allows for precise ski control (you press the boot forward, nothing happens for a while as the soft & thick liner compresses, then finally the impulse reaches the shell & the ski reacts, yikes), nor guarantee warm feet (the thick liner doesn’t breathe, gets wet quickly and in cold temps leads to cold feet). Fortunately, I won’t have to deal with this liner for much longer, as it is already beginning to disintegrate after about 20! outings.

    6. Chris K February 28th, 2018 11:48 am

      “Sparkle”? Seriously?

    7. Lisa Dawson February 28th, 2018 11:59 am

      Dabe, no, not the TR2. I’ve skied them in Dynafit Speed Radicals and G3 Ions.

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