Here’s a testament to the contemporary age of ski touring gear: one night last week, I imagined an ideal boot. This boot would be light enough for the long tours I mostly embark on, but more robust than the 1000g boots I typically wear. It’d have enough power to drive a 100mm underfoot ski without overpowering an 85 underfoot ski. It would walk exceptionally well, be comfortable enough for big days and be capable of enough power transfer to show up on demanding descents.
The next day, I got to try out that very boot. It seems the folks at Fischer had similar ambitions in thinking up the 2021-22 Fischer Transalp. It is light-ish (1280g for 26), stiff for its class (approximately 120 flex), powerful enough to drive a larger ski, compatible with a minimal tech binding or burlier hybrid like the Shift, and easy to transition between efficient walk mode and stiff, sturdy ski mode.
I first met the Transalp at a parking lot of the west side of Eisenhower Tunnel. My legs were wobbly from 2.5 hours of white knuckled driving in blowing and sloshing snow and I was happy to finally get out of the truck. At least the 24.5 women’s Tour model of the Transalp fit well, though it took some finagling to adjust the buckles as I shuffled into position on the skin track between skiing legend Mike Hattrup and a small handful of safely distanced media folk.
It was a day of low expectations for skiing. Our guide, Rocky Mountain Guides owner Peter Krainz kept reminding the group in his playful Austrian accent that really, we were just out for a walk. The tundra we approached was wind scoured, peppered with rocks and bushes, and had enough fresh swirling snow on top to turn the rocks into unwitting core shots. The most important thing was to see how the Transalp toured, he reminded us. Right, but we all secretly hoped for at least a few decent turns.
The Transalp could be considered a goldilocks of boots. It definitely seems like that’s what Fischer was going for when they set out to innovate. As Hattrup tells it, he wanted to bridge the gap between the hard charging Ranger Free and the lighter, ski mountaineering and big mission oriented Travers. He wanted the quintessential in between that could fill in for either boot, but also proudly stand on its own as a better touring sibling to the former, and a harder charging sibling to the latter. (Sidenote: for those who recall the Transalp Vacuum TS, which was discontinued, the new Transalp is a full redesign.)
To do that Fischer, modeled the Transalp after the Travers, but much beefed up. The Transalp is a sleek shoe with two buckles and a power strap and a simple flip lever for walk/ski mode. The Pro model — the lightest and priciest — is comprised of PBax Rnew shell and cuff, for a stiff but progressive flex. Pebax Rnew mirrors many of the qualities that have turned lightweight boot makers on to Grilamid in recent years including similar weight to stiffness, and boot fitting and punching compliance. But it also has the advantage of increased durability and a performance feel more lively and responsive than Grilamid.
The powerstrap is static, reinforced with a camming buckle and quick release-pull for touring ease. The top buckle is light but sturdy and over the foot is the Z buckle quickly becoming standard issue in touring boots. It tightens evenly across the entire forefoot while saving weight. The boot also features a plush, fully featured Alpine Light liner with reinforcements, and a water proof half-gaiter that stops below the ankle. The gaiter provides extra warmth but also prevents moisture from getting to your liner. Above the forefoot, the shell has a narrow u-shaped cut-out, along with a little button to press the liner tongue into place (similar to how the Travers manages the liner with the Boa system). I’m not sure if Fischer intended this, but I found that cut-out to offer additional flex in walk mode, which was welcome and made me feel less like I was tromping around in a plastic boot.
Last of all, the Transalp has Dynafit certified tech fittings and a rubber sole compatible with the Salomon Shift, Fritschi Tecton and Marker Duke PT. You might be tempted to think the Transalp wants to be your every touring boot, and you might be right.
(Two other models are offered, the Tour and the TS, each of which steps down $100 in MSRP. The main difference is the use of TPU in the cuff and higher weight penalty. The women’s version, which I tried, is only available in the Tour version.)
Touring and skiing performance
So, how does it do in the field? In addition to the Eisenhower Tunnel tour, I’ve since taken the boots out on low angle powder runs here in the Roaring Fork Valley, and had one day of lift rides. I’ve found it walks well for a boot of that stiffness/weight stature. On the website, Fischer claims the range of motion is the same as the Fischer Travers — a whopping 80 degrees — but the liner is quite substantial. My guess is that the usable ROM is closer to 65 degrees, still competitive for this class of boot. The thick liner was cushy and decently comfortable for a straight out of the box fit. The last is listed at 100mm for a 26, though it’s slightly less for my women’s 24.5. I have since heat-molded the liners to create more space in the toe box but no other mods have been needed so far and the liners were easy to work with.
When it’s time to ski, transitions are a smooth and fluid flick of the two buckles and the spring-loaded walk-ski lever. Hattrup said he likes to loosen his power strap for walking and then give a quick tug to ski, but I didn’t find that necessary. I kept as tight as I would for skiing all day. I also found I could really ratchet down the top buckle without creating pressure points, likely due to the thick cushion, but also the way the buckle distributed pressure.
As for skiing, pickings were slim off of Eisenhower, but luckily skiing with a guide does bring a modicum of insurance for finding soft snow. Peter successfully led us to short filled-in patches between rockier bands. On the first run, I immediately noticed the boot’s overall sturdiness and the way it naturally prompted me to weight the middle of the ski. The lurking sharks kept us all to more conservative skiing, but when I did push the boot a little more I found it pleasantly responsive to more pressure. Finally on the last run, the sun did poke its shy head above the clouds and we got a quality powder run to cap off the day.
On subsequent days out, I notice two big differences between the Transalp and my lighter boots. One: The 16 degree forward lean (which can be increased with optional velcro spoiler) felt aggressive and steep for my geometry and attunement to more relaxed touring shoes. This can be decreased to 13 degrees by flipping around the spacer under the walk-ski lever. I’ll update thoughts on the forward lean once I spend some time in the more upright setting.
Two: With snugged-up buckles, these boots are stiff. So much so, I had to keep the top buckle on the loosest setting for the steep but soft bumps at Aspen Highlands. Some of this was probably due also to the aggressive forward lean (to be updated) but overall I found the downhill performance a significant step above the lighter boots; it will take some getting used to. Skiers accustomed to stiffer, more powerful boots will likely find this welcome.
Comparisons and concluding thoughts
A few comparisons: At 1280 grams for the 26 Pro model (1270g for the 24.5 W Tour I am testing), the Transalp rests in several in-betweens beyond its own Fischer family. Consider the Dynafit Pro Tour (1400g) and the TLT8 (1130g), and the Scarpa Maestrale RS (1450g) and the F1 LT (1020g). I found the Transalp more comfortable with a wider range of usable motion than the TLT8s, but certainly not as comfortable and easy to walk in as the F1 LT. Similarly, it skied notably stiffer than both the TLT8 and F1 LT. The downhill performance is comparable to Pro Tours I’ve demoed. (I haven’t skied the Maestrale — or Gea for that matter — so no comparo there yet but I’ve included for weight and category reference.)
For harder skiing tourers who want to lose a few grams off of the bigger midweight boots, the Transalp could be the boot for you. It checks the requisite boxes of relatively efficient uphill and stiff, powerful downhill without tallying too much mass on the scale. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review later this spring.
Weight: Transalp Pro 1280g (26), Women’s Tour 1270g (24.5)
Sizes available: Pro 22.5 – 30.5, Women’s Tour 22.5 – 27.5
Flex: approximately 120
Material: Pro — Pebax Rnew shell and cuff, Tour — Pebax Rnew shell, TPU cuff
Forward Lean: 16 degrees
Sole: Full rubber w. standard tech inserts
Crampon compatibility: Automatic
Price: $850 (Pro), $750 (Tour, W Tour), $650 TS
Available to purchase Fall 2021.
Manasseh Franklin is a writer, editor and big fan of walking uphill. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and especially enjoys writing about glaciers. Find her other work in Alpinist, Adventure Journal, Rock and Ice, Aspen Sojourner, AFAR, Trail Runner and Western Confluence.
I really welcome this type of boot. It seems to be most useful for ‘regular Joe/Jane’ tourers, who want one boot to do it all (Fitting in Frame/Shift/Duke PT, even AT compatible alpine bindings as well as tech bindings), who want something that is supportive enough for bigger skis and poor snow, but still uphill focused.
I would like to see a shift in reviews of these types of boots, more on use-ability than on some numbers. Rather than focusing on weight and range of motion, how is the resistance/comfort of cuff flex while striding?
I believe that the excessive focus on weight and range of motion is a holdover from the past, when light boots, with high range of motion had much better striding than the heavier, limited ones. So, those two numbers became proxies for uphill performce.
However, once we get past 60 degrees or so, for most people, extra range of motion is less critical. What does matter to everyone, is the resistance/friction in those first 60 degrees.
And how about walking on bare ground? Some boots are much better than others. Crampon use?
I like how you talked about transitions and the tongue button, ‘ease of use’ things like those are a key aspect of performance in this category.
Slim — I did get the sense this boot is super accessible for, as you sa, ‘regular Joe/Jane’ tourers. It’s solid, capable and not overly complicated.
To speak to the resistance and comfort in walk mode, there is very little noticable resistance when the cuff is flexed forward. When flexed back, I do feel some resistance at the end of my forward stride, especially when walking on flats.
Full crampon compatibility. I’ve edited the specs to reflect that.
I know they don’t want to tell us but I’d love to know what a ‘full redesign’ is compared to my existing pair of transalps (that I am very fond of less a slightly more relaxed skiing position than I like). Boots are big money now and I’d be down to try the new model but I’d love a ‘why’
This looks like a winner of a boot. Sturdiness is something I value a lot. Soles look like they will stand up to volcano walking, too. Any thoughts on how it compares to a Backland Carbon? I find them moderately stiff and definitely durable, although a little lighter.
Kam — definitely sturdy, and I should be able to report on the sole durability with a little more time out. On paper, the Transalp would be stiffer and more robust than the Backland. Probably doesn’t walk quite as well, but the ease of motion on the Backland is pretty exceptional. We’ll see if we can’t get a more concrete comparison later this season.
I’d like to hear Wildsnow’s thoughts on how this boot compares to the Zero G Pro. That was the top of my purchase list for a do it all unicorn boot that’s light and tours well, but skis well too. This new Fischer seems like a real competitor to the Tecnica.
Josh, I ski the TZGPT all winter, and the lighter older cousin of this boot, the Travers Carbon, all spring.
Based on this review, I would anticipate the Transalp to fit right in the middle. Much better walking than the Zero G, because well… It doesn’t walk that well, especially when compared to the Travers Carbon… But the Travers also doesn’t ski amazing, and the Zero G sure does. I suspect that I personally would rather own the Transalp rather than my Zero G, as the increase in walk, will outweigh the decrease in performance, personally…
Interesting. Thanks for the input. I’m on Backland Carbons right now. Much like you and your Travers Carbons, I love the walkability, but often wish for a little more oomph from the boot on the downhill. The Zero G seems like one of the better options for a little heavier and better skiing, but not full on 1500+ gram beef boot. It’s exciting to see Fischer join in with another option that tries to split the difference between up and down performance in the 1250-1350 gram range.
I have been trying and modding different boots for the last 7 years as I am 6ft7 tall and weight around 105kg with my gear on, having skinny legs and feet: maestrales, dynafit beast, sportiva sideral, K2 pinnacle… And finally purchased the zero g pro Tour which seems to be the right boot i have been looking for so long. Tight fit, great on the downhill (even on Armada magic J and line vision 108) but still not too bad on the uphill. The transitioning at the top is a bit fiddly though. So far I have been impressed.
The comparison to the new Fischers that Kyle made has me curious now if that would be an even better do-it-all boot.
I agree with everything Matt said about the Zero Gs. I am around 200 lbs all geared up and love how they ski and tour. I have about 80 days on mine and really only negative is just the fiddly transition (and the somewhat wimpy liner, which I just replaced with new stock liners after wearing a few holes around my heel). Not that big of deal, but if there is a boot that skis just as well, in the same weight range, and is not so fiddly I want to try it. So I am very interested in the Transalp.
Kyle and Josh — I think you’re spot on. I haven’t skied the Zero G personally so didn’t want to speak pre-emptively but in thinking about wanting a bigger boot I did consider the Zero G but didn’t want to step up so much in weight. I think the Transalp could be the right alternative for that boot that’s just enough more, without the bigger weight penalty.
Looks great. I would love to know if
1) There is any sort of lip that keeps the booster strap from riding up and off the top of the cuff? (Also, can that strap be removed easily?)
2) What’s the heel pocket like? Tight? Loose?
Thanks! I keep waiting for a boot like this but each year I’m disappointed because one or the other of these issues is not addressed.
Eric Steig — I haven’t had issues yet with the booster strap riding up and off the top of the cuff. I think there’s enough cuff above it that it stays pretty well in position. I’ll check to see how the strap could be removed.
Heel pocket might be a more personal take. I’d say it’s probably more on the narrow side because of how it fits my heel, but I can try to get some measurements.
Thanks Manasseh! Look forward to hearing more.
I’ve been theorizing for years about how nice an F1 RS would be aaaaand.. this is pretty much it. Good weight range, simple, durable moving parts, beefy powerstrap. Seems about right!
Do we know if the lower on this boot is identical to the Travers CS? Same last?
Thanks for the review!! Curious what the bsl on the 24.5 is.
Christian: the BSL is 274 for the 24.5
Manesseh, I think the Transalp could fit the slot between the travers and the zero g, but maybe not simply for weight, as the zero g is a pretty light boot. I think ROM, and transition ease will be where the transalp really shines brighter than the zero g.
I’m new to ski touring, and I’m looking for my first boot (as well as all the other equipment). This seams to be the ideal split between up- and downhill performance. However, I’m planning for a trip in about three weeks time and can’t wait for the release next fall. Is there any competing options you would recommend trying that is available this season?
While I can’t speak from personal experience on most of these, the Scarpa F1 is roughly the same weight class with a reputation for balancing the up and down. For a little extra weight on the downhill-oriented side, you could also look at the Technica Zero G Tour Pro, Scarpa Maestrale RS, Dynafit Hoji, or Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 XTD. I loved the original Maestrale RS as an all-around first touring boot, and the newer versions of that boot and its competition all walk better than the original. Manasseh’s comparison with lighter touring boots is great too if you’re leaning that direction. For a first setup, I’d simply prioritize finding a boot that fits your foot well because all the little puts and takes for each boot hardly matter if your feet hurt.
Thanks for a great answer, KB! All the boots you mentioned seems to be relevant options to look for at my local ski shop. I will definitely try them on to find one that fits me well!
Is the booster strap mandatory for this to boot to ski well? Manasseh, why did you not loosen the booster strap while skinning? I hate the hassle of pulling up inner gaiters to tighten booster straps every lap, which is why I really like my Travers with one mid cuff buckle, although I realize it’s probably one of the reasons it makes the Travers less capable on the downhill.
As some others have alluded to, I’d love to hear about how this stacks up against the F1 (regular, not LT). Specifically, does this slot in between the Zero G and F1 (walk better than zero g, ski better than F1), or is it more complementary to one of those options?
Full Pebax on the pro is an exciting development in terms of ski performance. And if this offers similar walking capabilities to the F1 with less lateral distortion and comparable linear flex, this could be a really exciting and intriguing boot.
Again, no experience with an F1 LT, but the regular F1 seems to be their target. That boot is almost the all-rounder to span 85mm underfoot to 110 underfoot, but it lacks a certain amount of power for the wider boards. If this can drive the big skis, it’ll be a compelling story (that will probably still continue to be overshadowed in north American markets).
The people (meaning me) want to know! Hope to see a follow up. Fischer boots seem to always be so specific and purpose-driven, I’d love to see where this stacks on the proverbial boot wall.
will, and others: For sure. I spent 3 seasons on the F1 and will say hands down the F1 tours more comfortably with a greater usable range of motion, but the Transalp skis better. When I was using the F1 exclusively, I frequently wanted more boot and can confidently say the Transalp offers that. You do get the slight trade off in touring though. For instance, I did the GT (quite comfortably!) in the F1 and I wouldn’t consider of doing it in the Transalp.
I’ve been able to try the Transalps on a few days for touring (~8000′ of touring), so I can share some thoughts.
For background, I’ve mostly skied the older version of the Backland Carbon (with removable tongue) for the last 3 years and I love it. I ski that boot without the tongue most of the time, but will throw the tongue in if I’m skiing something over 100mm waist or I plan to jump off things.
For me the Transalp range of motion feels quite inferior to the Backland (sans tongue), but is better than the Backland if you were to try to go uphill with the tongue in.
Downhill performance is better in the Transalp than the Backland with the tongue. I’d probably choose this boot if I planned to ski wider skis on a given day (over 100-105mm) and wanted to ski a bit more aggressively. I do still ski pagoda tour 112s with the backlands and no tongue if I’m just doing some mellow pow skiing all day.
As for fit, it’s certainly wider than the Backland and as it packs out I will need to add padding to take up volume. The heel pocket does feel fairly secure with my narrow heel.
I am a 26.5 in both boots and the BSL is 294mm on the Transalp vs 288mm on the Backland. I thought this would mean a little too much length. Actually, the internal dimensions for the Transalp feels shorter than the Backland, which has been slightly annoying, but I hope it will improve as the liner packs out. Thicker shell material I imagine?
One of the biggest annoyances for me has actually been the increased difficulty in getting my BD Dawn Patrol pants to fit over the top of the cuff for the Transalp. I tore the gaiter while transitioning on day 1. Also the U cutout in the shell does allow the foot to flex forward more in tour mode which is nice, but did actually start to cut into my foot a bit by the end of the tour.
Overall, I think that this boot will work very well for someone who wants something slightly lighter than the Hawx or Maestrale, has a better range of motion and skis downhill in the same ballpark.
In comparison to the Zero G, they are in a very similar weightclass, but the Transalp has a better range of motion and the downhill performance is similar. The liner is also far superior to the Zero G liner. My 26.5 Transalp with an orange superfeet insole (needing to take up volume) and having the spoiler weighs in at 1350 grams.
Steve, is it the shell or the liner of the Transalp that feels shorter than your Backland (did you happen to do a shell fit comparison?)? Did you mold the liners? Any chance you can break down the weight by liner and shell? With these needing the internal gaiter, will it be more difficult to use an aftermarket (AKA Intuition) liner? Thanks!
Hey Justin, yes, based on the shell fit the internal length was shorter. I did not mold the liners, especially since too much space was already going to be a concern for me. I measured the difference in length between the 26.5 backland and the 26.5 transalp to be about 2-3mm.
I was borrowing a friends scale, so I can’t give you the shell and liner separate breakdown. If I can get it back I’ll follow up.
I don’t think an aftermarket liner would be to big of an issue, especially because the cuff can rotate all the way behind the boot, so it’s fairly easy to get the liner in and out.
Last width – I am on the wider side ( my foot last is 104mm) in MP 28.5 . reaidng the review this seems slimmer ( any idea on if this can be punched /tweaked to fit wider size foot?
Is the Transalp Pro replacing the CS travers in Fall 21?
1) There is any sort of lip that keeps the booster strap from riding up and off the top of the cuff? (Also, can that strap be removed easily?)
Hey Eric, you could easily solve this problem with a Chicago screw and a thin straw like sleeve to keep the rim of the screw off the front of the tongue.
Ted D. Well sure. But if I’m going to spend $850, I’d rather have this addressed already. Scarpa F1 addresses both things with great elegance, but fits me poorly.
Hello, I’m now on Fischer Travers and Transalp carbon waist 90 176 cm and choosing new boot for more versatile set up when planning downhill oriented tours. I’m considering Maestrale (the orange one, not RS or XT), Fischer Transalp (mainly cause I believe they make boots form my feet since I was I child) and Salomon X ALP (S/LAB considered but ROM too limited). Do you have any experience with Salomon X/ALP vs Maestrale/Transalp?
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