Scarpa Maestrale — Light Stiff 4-Buckle Backcountry Skiing Boot

Post by blogger | May 7, 2010      

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Four-buckle boots are viewed by many backcountry skiers as the minimum required touring boot for hard-charging downhill turns. While I can’t say I agree with this characterization (my Spirit 3’s were plenty of boot), at 1,510 grams Scarpa Maestrale will be the lightest 4-buckle boot made when it comes out next fall. Thus, we can have one more buckle with no weight penalty, so why not?

Lee testing the Maestrale backcountry skiing boot.

Lee testing the Maestrale backcountry skiing boot.

My test Maestrales weighed a total of 1510g per boot (Scarpa claims 1516g). The included liner is basically Intuition’s Pro-Tour liner without laces and weighs 220g – you really can’t get much lighter than that. The shells weigh 1290g). To compare against other 4-buckle boots, my old soldier Garmont Megarides weigh 1640g per boot while my Dynafit ZZeus boot (both boots have Intuitions) are 1780g. Other boot weights.

Maestrale backcountry skiing boot

Closeup of Maestrale front toebox shows the Dynafit brand easy-step in tech fittings & removable-with-tools magnesium buckles.

Scarpa achieved weight savings with Maestrale with astounding attention to detail. For example:

* Scarpa shaved plastic in the forefoot and heel but designed in raised areas/ribs in those same areas to keep the boot stiff yet light.
* Buckles and a lot of the mounting hardware are magnesium.
* A waterproof/breathable mesh material covers part of the heel.
* Sole material was also shaved from the side to save weight. Scarpa’s experience was that most wear was at the heel and toe and this was left untouched

Rear shot of the Maestrale

Rear shot of the Maestrale shows the stiffening black plastic ribs & the water-breathable material.

Fit and technical details
I have a traditional Asian foot; which means that my forefoot is wider then most and I don’t have any arch to speak of. The Maestrale has a new mold and has a bit less forefoot volume than the Spirit 4 and 3 (I have asked for a last size measurement from Scarpa). I fit a 27.0 Mastreale very well with the stock liner once it was cooked (the liner was thermo-molded in an Intuition-supplied blower-style oven). Unlike the Skookum, Spirit 4 and 3 where I had to cinch forefoot buckles very tight to get a good fit, I only had to moderately tighten Maestrale buckles to obtain good downhill ski performance.

The new tongue design is the most readily apparent departure from previous Scarpas. The hinged tongue is said to make entry and exit easier (a boon in overnight trips). The tongue is also a partial overlap (its held on with clips on one side) so it distributes downhill ski forces accordingly and gives the user a bit more volume adjustment.

More technical tidbits:

* Scarpa continues a laudable tradition of user-serviceable & removable buckles & mounting hardware.
* Licensed Dynafit quick-step tech fittings.
* In tour mode the boot can recline to minus 15 degrees from vertical.
* Two ski modes: 18 & 22 degrees.
* There is a hinge on the top buckle to assist in keeping it in place while transitioning from ski to tour mode
* No removable bootboard (reduces ability to customize but saves weight).
* Instead of a velcro power strap included is Scarpa’s “dynamic power strap” which is wider, has neoprene but is lighter than a Booster strap (as it replaces the metal cam with velcro).
* Interior rivets are recessed so they no longer abrade the liner.
* Cuff has a cant rivet.

 Maestrale's tongue flips opens to the side

Maestrale tongue flips opens to the side to facilitate getting in and out (useful for cold weather).

Backcountry skiing boot from Scarpa

Maestrale interior. Note the recessed interior rivets--nice attention to detail.

On Snow Performance – Skiing
I put Maestrale in the 18 degree lean mode while skiing. I would rate Maestrale’s stiffness as comparable to the Spirit 4 with its stock touring tongue; perhaps slightly stiffer. Fore & aft and laterally it is reasonably stiff. The boot is definitely noticeably stiffer than my Megarides and my old Spirit 3s (yet quite a bit lighter). Even so, this boot is certainly not in the same category as my stiffer Dynafit ZZeus boots or the stiffest-in-class four-buckle Dynafit Titans.

If there is anything mildly negative about the Maestrales, it might be that it doesn’t quite ski like an overlap boot and has that same slight harshness of power transmission characteristic of tongue boots. Also, while indeed plenty of boot, and I found it to be a step below the beef you need to rail groomers.

Ski mountaineering boots

Comparison of rear cuff heights (from L to R: Dynafit DNA, Garmont Megaride, Scarpa Shaka, Maestrale and Dynafit Titan. The ruler is held level on the Titan's liner. The tallest boot shell is the Titan followed closely by the Shaka and Maestrale.

Backcountry sking boots comparison

Comparison of fronts of all boots show that they are all very comparable except for Dynafit DNA.

On Snow Performance – touring
I used my own Intuition Protour liners when testing the Maestrale while touring (Scarpa OE liners are identical in design). This is, by far, the best four-buckle touring boot I have ever had the pleasure of putting on my feet. That is perhaps unsurprising, as everything about Maestrale is functionally designed to make it state-of-art: incredible range of fore-aft motion, free-floating cuff, superior Intuition liner, lack of mass.

Maestrale walk ski mode switch.

Maestrale walk ski mode switch.

Touring mode cuff movement for backcountry skiing.

Maestrale has a best in class free-floating cuff among four-buckle boots--a barcalounger minus 15 degrees!

In my opinion Maestrale is now the clear leader in the light-weight four buckle boot category. The boot will be shipped in a size range of size: 24.5 – 31. Reversing an ugly trend of rising prices, the MSRP of Maestrale is USD $ 599. Available next fall or early winter.

Author’s Bias
I weigh 160 lbs and ski mainly in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia in the Vancouver/Whistler/Squamish area. I often travel to the Selkirks, the Monashees and to other touring destinations in B.C. However, my skiing is usually in fairly high moisture-content snow. Accordingly, my preference is for bigger skis and boots. I ski about a 100 days a season. About 70% of my skiing involves some touring. I’ve used a variety of boots, and if you have a question about the Maestrales and want a comparison to other boots please leave questions in the comments section below.

Review of the Scarpa Maestrale alpine touring boot from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

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(Guest blogger Lee Lau is an avid skier and outdoorsman embarking on many adventures with his loving, and sometimes concerned wife, Sharon. He has over fifteen years of experience backcountry skiing and dabbles in mountaineering. In the “off-season” he is occasionally found working in his day job as an intellectual property lawyer when he is not mountain biking. As a resident of Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Lee’s playground extends mainly to Western Canada, including South West B.C. and the Selkirks.)



178 Responses to “Scarpa Maestrale — Light Stiff 4-Buckle Backcountry Skiing Boot”

  1. ScottP May 7th, 2010 11:15 am

    What skis were you driving with these boots when you were testing then?

  2. Jordo May 7th, 2010 11:44 am

    Comparable stiffness to the Spirit 4 with a good weight savings? Damn it, I was hoping these things would suck so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy them next year.

    Lee, does the thickness of the sole rubber under the toe inserts appear to be less than than of the Spirits? Maybe it just looks that way due to the quick step in inserts.

  3. Tom Kennedy May 7th, 2010 12:45 pm

    Does it have canting, meaning a screw to turn at the ankle rivet? My Zzeros don’t, and I wish they did.

  4. Lee Lau May 7th, 2010 12:52 pm

    Tom – it has canting

    Jordo – yeah. Hard to believe actually but Scarpa really thought this through. The Spirit 4 was on the heavy side in the weight class and not really that stiff (until you added the black stiff tongue). The sole rubber thickness is less thick than the Spirits because of the quick step insert fitting. I’d have to long term test this boot to figure out how quickly it would wear.

    Scott – I skied them with Atomic TMex – 84 mm underfoot. Just skied them off Mt Baker yesterday actually in breakable crust up high and pow below and they worked very well. Comfortable even on the up

  5. Matt Kinney May 7th, 2010 1:31 pm

    I am skiing a 4-buckle telemark boot/w power strap (BD Push) for the first time this season and find the “fiddle factor” off the charts on the transition from uphill skinning to downhill skiing They are a pain when perched on a rock looking down a couloir in AK winter weather wishing life was easier and powder deeper as you rip your skins off and know its time to….. “fiddle” with the boots. Boot adjustments is the most time-consuming part of the “transition”. There is rarely “time for tea” on a summit in Alaska. Its typically pretty quick or you get real cold, real fast. A few minutes can make a difference in wether you ski down with nearly frozen fingers or not.

    Actually when you add the power strap this means you have 10 separate adjustment to make on you boots after removing skins. That is a lot of fiddling.

    I started with shoe string leather boots and have come up through plastic boots with 1, 2, 3 and now 4 buckles. 4 is too many buckles especially if you tour uphill with all the buckles loose. Then there are bib cuffs that won’t fit over the boot unless all the buckles are buckled. I enjoy the DH performance of 4 buckles very much, but if I could wave my wand for something it would be two buckles with a power strap and the DH performance of a 4-buckler. (there was a white two buckle AT boot featured here at Wildsnow recently that looked real sweet).

    4 buckles are hard to deal with at transitions and many times you get to cold or whatever by the time you get around to going down, don’t get your boots fit and tight, or buckles set right, etc…. And they are impossible with mittens on. I base this observation on applied experience with literally hundreds of transitions just this season alone. A 4-buckler for resort skiing may make sense or in a warmer mountain climate for touring for turns. I have my “transition” down pretty pat for good reasons and 4 buckles suck. Maybe I am just whining. Something to think about as weight is as much of a factor as “fiddling”. I am stuck with them, so they will have to do. Right now we have spring happening so it is not a factor at all in golfing conditions

    I am sure the boot rides DH well, but perhaps more should be related in reviews about how easy a boot is adjusted during the transition and how much time it may take dependent on, bib cuffs, boot cuff-size and number of buckles… IMHO


  6. Dan Powers May 7th, 2010 2:05 pm

    Lee, how much more performance do you think you get from having two buckles over your foot. My Scarpa Matrix just have one there, and I hardly tighten it as it is. Seems to me like the extra buckle is just one more thing to fiddle with, as Matt was suggesting.

  7. Lou May 7th, 2010 2:16 pm

    I’ll add the cant rivet to the specs.

  8. Jonathan Shefftz May 7th, 2010 2:30 pm

    “(there was a white two buckle AT boot featured here at Wildsnow recently that looked real sweet)”
    That’s the Dynafit DyNA — absolutely astounding performance:weight ratio. The TLT5 will add several more ounces but also add a few niceties. Will be interesting too see how the cf version compares in skiing performance to these boots with more buckles (and more weight).
    Anyway, nice to see both Scarpa and BD are joining Dynafit in producing touring-oriented boots for next season. For awhile I was starting to wonder if that market segment was going to be neglected by everyone except for Dynafit.

  9. Lou May 7th, 2010 3:52 pm

    My crystal ball said the beef boot market was going to get saturated by next year and the pendulum would swing back to boots designed for lots of vertical and long miles.

  10. Lee Lau May 7th, 2010 5:06 pm

    Dan – personally I get no more information from having one buckle over the foot vs two. I actually talked to Chris (Scarpa NA product manager for the boot) and asked him if you could remove that fourth buckle as Scarpa so kindly allows you to do so with minimal fuss- just turn some allen keys.

    Chris said that to ski Maestrale with the lowest buckle removed ideally that third buckle would be re-positioned lower. So that’s a callout to garage engineers.

    I would feel pretty bad about drilling holes in a demo pair of boots so I didn’t ski with the lowest buckle removed or drill holes in the boot. but just for weight weenie’ism I bet you could lose a few grams off this boot by removing the buckle.

    and this segues nicely into Matt’s question

  11. Lee Lau May 7th, 2010 5:20 pm


    OK lots of good observations and let me try to get to them in some sort of semblance of order

    I like this one particularly

    Matt said: “I am sure the boot rides DH well, but perhaps more should be related in reviews about how easy a boot is adjusted during the transition and how much time it may take dependent on, bib cuffs, boot cuff-size and number of buckles… IMHO”.

    That’s a good point & I’ll try to do that in the future. Problem is that personally I don’t mess around with boot buckles a lot – more on that in my response below. So I’ve always thought of that as a personal preference thing. You hit the nail on the head that a 4 buckle boot has much more ferkle factor than a 3 buckle than a 2 buckle and so forth

    Matt further said “4 buckles are hard to deal with at transitions and many times you get to cold or whatever by the time you get around to going down, don’t get your boots fit and tight, or buckles set right, etc…. And they are impossible with mittens on. I base this observation on applied experience with literally hundreds of transitions just this season alone. A 4-buckler for resort skiing may make sense or in a warmer mountain climate for touring for turns. I have my “transition” down pretty pat for good reasons and 4 buckles suck. ”

    For ME (emphasis deliberate), I have all buckles loose (ie all buckles on loosest setting) and power strap snug but not tight when touring. When skiing, I tighten instep buckle, top toe buckle. I don’t touch the bottom toe buckle, or the power strap. I realize that’s a bit quirky but I’ve never really bothered with the bottom toe buckles much on any touring boots I’ve owned (different stories for alpine boots). So lucky me – I have two adjustments.

    and that’s why I’ve never really thought about it. But your comment is more generally topical to ALL four-buckle boots and not just Maestrale. If someone else’s personal preference is to snug all 4 buckles and the power strap then obviously there is a lot more fiddle factor – and that person should then consider that in their purchase considerations

  12. Jonathan Shefftz May 7th, 2010 5:30 pm

    “For ME (emphasis deliberate), I have all buckles loose (ie all buckles on loosest setting) and power strap snug but not tight when touring.”
    — If I’m understanding that correctly, then you really need to note that in your reviews when you assess a boot’s touring ability. For those of us who always keep the two upper buckles and the power strap completely undone (well, back when I used the Zzero4, before I switched to the DyNA), that makes a big difference in terms of touring assessment.

  13. Lee Lau May 7th, 2010 5:42 pm

    Jon – I meant that the power strap hangs loose. I don’t leave it undone because I don’t want the velcro flopping around but I snug it up – by that I mean I don’t have it dragging around on the snow. Does that make more sense?

    If not – hopefully the picture included in the picture makes more sense. A tight power strap won’t let me do that.

  14. Jordo May 7th, 2010 8:02 pm

    Lee, did you note the bsl in the 27? Hoping they’ll fit my Classics w/o a remount . . .

  15. Bar Barrique May 7th, 2010 10:00 pm

    Thanks Lee for another fine review. Looks like a nice boot that tours well (a big priority for me), performs well, and, sells for a reasonable price. One thing that I would like to see is a user adjustable one position forward lean setting. Like the posters above, I find that it is often hard to linger at the top of a cold wind swept ridge, and, fiddle with buckles, forward lean adjustments etc.

  16. Eric Steig May 7th, 2010 10:31 pm

    So, I know I sound like a broken record, and I know the Virus doesn’t have the official Dynafit fittings (though I’ve had zero problems with mine) but.. it doesn’t look like this new Scarpa boot compares. Virus has three buckles, and no powerstrap — totally uncessary due to position of top buckle — but I’m sure it is just as stiff. Buckles are very fiddle free. And the key thing is the rearward travel in tour mode is huge AND doesn’t require unbuckling anything (and for really great rearward travel, just loosen the top buckle, but don’t unbuckle it. The design is great for that).

    My question is: why is the Virus apparently not appealing to the tradiational AT/telemark crowd, but only to downhillers who want to be cool ATers?

    What am I missing here? Why aren’t more of you guys going for the Virus? I love them.

  17. Lee Lau May 7th, 2010 10:36 pm

    Jordo, – its 307mm

    Bar – I like the less forward lean adjustment. To get into that, I would stand upright; bend down and put the ski mode on. To get into the most forward lean position I would have to go an extra step – ie pressure boots forward then put the boots into ski mode

  18. Lee Lau May 7th, 2010 10:37 pm

    Eric – speaking for myself I don’t even come close to fitting the Virus. Others will have to speak to their reasons

  19. Justin May 7th, 2010 10:54 pm

    Eric – Everyone I know who has tried on the Virus was disappointed that they are quite high volume (I was expecting a low volume fit like the Krypton they are based on). My other thoughts were that the buckles seemed like a poor design. No micro adjust, and not enough range overall. Also, the don’t seem as stiff as they were supposed to be. And although the rearward cuff range of motion is great, but they don’t have much forward range of motion due to the tongue. I was bummed to try them on after waiting so long. But, I havent skied in them.

  20. Lou May 8th, 2010 3:25 am

    Eric, regarding the Virus, it’s an option but this is a Maestrale review. Also note the at least on our test samples of the Virus the rear tech fitting slots are milled incorrectly (not long enough left to right). First year product, yeah, it could be good but we’re not out in the streets running around shouting VIRUS.

  21. Magnus May 8th, 2010 8:53 am

    Nice looking boot! I’m considering a lighter weight touring boot (and ski) after touring lots on the Titan, FT12 and K2 Sidestash. That setup is just a tad too heavy for longer tours. Really great for downhill performance though.

    If I remember correctly, one tourng friendly feature of previous scarpa boots was that the tech inserts were located about 4 mm back from other brands such as Dynafit. Is this also the case with the maestrale with the quickstep-in inserts?

  22. Lee Lau May 8th, 2010 9:41 am

    Magnus – correct – the inserts are set back a bit as with other Scarpa boots

  23. Dolph May 8th, 2010 10:30 am

    Any thoughts on Maestrale vs. TLT 5?

  24. MB May 8th, 2010 11:11 am

    Nice review Lee,

    I saw these on the shelf in a busy boot room while skiing Italy’s Ortler. I wanted to “borrow” them for the afternoon for a ski test, but thought better of it and resolved to settle for examining…

    I really liked the fact that one could remove the lower buckles (both hinged buckle and notches) easily with a tool as well as rear spoiler and powerstrap. Seems like these would be easy mods to make the boot even lighter (like a less destructive version of lou’s old lower megaride buckle mod).
    Alternatively, it would be interesting to ski these – and for that matter any of next years light offerings- with a wraparound style liner.
    I for one am not optimistic about the tongue style liners, but every lightweight boot now has em!?

  25. daniel May 8th, 2010 12:10 pm

    Hi Lee,

    Does the Scarpa boot have a flat foot board like dynafits? The Spirit4s i’ve owned were good boots, but I did A LOT of messing around to build a flat platform for my footbed.

    Thanks for the great review.

  26. Mike May 8th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Lee, you say the Maestrale is a little narrower than the traditional Scarpa last. Can you compare the fit to Dynafit/Garmont boots?

  27. harpo May 8th, 2010 5:26 pm

    Mike, I talked to someone at Scarpa, and he said the last and sizing on the Maestral was identical to the last on the F1/F3.

  28. Lee Lau May 8th, 2010 7:50 pm

    Dolph – unfortunately I haven’t tried a TLT5

    MB – I haven’t tried skiing it with a wraparound liner but I’ve no doubt it would improve stiffness but possibly at the expense of tourability, Yes – I really like the way Scarpa caters to those who like to tinker with boots.

    Daniel – it’s not a flat bootboard unfortunately.

    Mike – I fit the Maestrale without issue – it fits me in size 27 at least as well as my ZZeus and Megarides (not sure if the new Garmont last is the same as the old Garmont last)

  29. Samo May 9th, 2010 11:34 am

    Hi! Does anyone have any clue haw are those compere with BD Prime or 4-bucklet Quadrant?

  30. Lee Lau May 9th, 2010 7:12 pm

    Jordo – sorry! It’s 306mm boot sole length. I think that’s very close to your Spirit 4s

  31. Jan Wellford May 9th, 2010 8:22 pm

    @Dolph (Maestrale vs. TLT5 Mountain):

    I’ve skied them both (1 resort day and one long touring day each), and find them to be very different. The TLT5 is the clear winner if you don’t figure in price, fit, or warmth, but I think the Maestrale is the better choice for a lot of skiers. Why?

    Maestrale advantages:
    1) Much warmer than TLT5, which has a thin liner and is pretty cold if you’re not moving. This is a serious issue in cold climates. I got extremely cold riding lifts in the TLT5s, and even had some trouble staying warm at times while touring. I never have a problem with Intuitions or old Scarpa PlusFits (made of the same Palau foam as TLT5 liners but much thicker)
    2) Easier to get a good fit than the TLT 5, again due to the latter’s thin liner. The thicker Intuition is much more forgiving of foot irregularities.
    3) Price: $600 vs $750? for the TLT5 Mountain or $1000? for the Performance.

    TLT5 Mountain advantages (I assume TLT Performance is even better):
    1) Tour mode is WAY better (with tongue removed, which is easy to do). Even though the Maestrale has lots of rear travel, there’s a bunch of resistance so you won’t actually achieve that travel in normal touring motion. TLT5 is resistance free: I can achieve the max range of travel without even being in the binding (feels like a sneaker).
    2) Allows for super fast transitions if skipping the tongue–this really is be a great rando race boot. Adding the tongue takes some additional time but is needed for normal skiing where you want performance and is easy to do.
    3) Significantly lighter than Maestrale.

    Both have surprisingly good downhill performance–the two feel about the same to me. Note that I unlike Lee I feel my Spirit 3s perform significantly better than either of these models, even with a softer PlusFit liner instead of an Intuition. I can rail SG turns at the resort comfortably in Spirit 3s, and wasn’t to happy doing that with either the Maestrale or TLT5. That said I don’t rail SG turns in the backcountry very often!

  32. stephen May 12th, 2010 9:56 pm

    harpo – thanks for the info, I can add these to my “ought to fit” list.

    Jan – any comments on relative fit of Maestrale and TLT 5? Nobody has said much about shape of the TLT 5/DNA boots and I have zero chance to try them on. FWIW, the Scarpa F3 last works for me, in part because the instep strap on three buckle Scarpas prevents any heel lift. I have a low volume foot behind the ball of the foot; forefoot width isn’t crucial for me.

  33. Jan Wellford May 14th, 2010 7:56 pm

    My first impressions on fit (I was skiing a 27 in both boots, and generally fit best in size 27 Scarpas. Size 10 foot, D width, high instep):

    Meastrale: Seemed to fit just like the F3. Definitely lower volume that the Spirit 3/Matrix/Laser. Still lots of instep room, which is something I love about Scarpa. Sounds like it would work well for you. Just noticed that was all covered above but I’ll leave it anyway.

    TLT5: Surprisingly comfortable fit for a boot with such a thin liner. I think Dynafit did a nice job making the last “anatomically correct” so it fit me pretty well out of the box, but was too tight to ski. I molded it and it gave me more room, but it was still quite tight over the instep and a little snug in the ball of foot. I felt a bit of a cramp most of the day but it was totally manageable (and it was a pretty long day: about 16 miles and 5600′ of vert). I bet they’ll work fine for you.

    It will be interesting to see how wider feet do. I suspect they could just try a larger shell: I’ll want to try a 28 myself before buying, and won’t be surprised if many people end up sizing the same as their foot size instead of sizing down. The heel is SNUG–it felt great after I got used to it, and there was no chance of heel slip. That’s another reason why I feel one might be able to go up a size.

  34. Brett May 15th, 2010 5:23 pm

    Great review, Lee! Which bindings are these compatible with aside from Dynafit, if any?

  35. Lee Lau May 15th, 2010 9:15 pm

    Brett- they’re compatible with Marker, Fritschi, Silvretta and Naxo alpine touring bindings

  36. stephen May 16th, 2010 2:36 am

    Thanks Jan! I was sort of hoping you’d say the heel on the TLT5 was sloppy so I could ignore them. I have a friend who’s interested too, so if he goes ahead maybe I can look at his before he moulds them. The cold feet thing is a bit off-putting though.

    The Maestrale is a definite prospect though; fit same as F3 = spot on for me.

  37. Stan Sovdat October 13th, 2010 10:48 pm

    Always Telied and now want AT, so I have no idea of what to buy. Tried on the Dynafit Zzero 3 (liked it), Dynafit TlT 5 (seems nice but will likely be too cold and was a pain to take off), BD Prime (painful in the toe and shin area). The Scarpa Maestrale seemed the best right out of the box – most comfortable, easy to walk in. I am 90 % sold but I am wondering if you still like the boots; are they durable (I do long ski tours 200 km, 3 week), does it ski well, is it comfortable, will they last for years? Should I buy it over the other boots or is there another boot I should be considering?

  38. Lou October 14th, 2010 7:40 am

    Stan, we love the boot. My son and I can easily acquire nearly any backcountry skiing AT boot, son chooses the Maestrale. As for me, I like them, but my feet tend to fit a Garmont or Dynafit last a bit better so I tend to stick with those brands, ALTHOUGH on Denali I ended up using Scarpa because of the larger toe box and thus warmer fit of the Spirit 3.

    I guess my point is it’s all in your foot shape, and your purpose. For normal touring, unless you have a lot of boot fitting experience or access to an ace boot fitter, it is always best when choosing boots to start with the one the fits best out of the box. For that reason alone it sounds like Maestrale could be your boot.

    In terms of durability, it’s probably too early to tell the whole tale but nothing lept out at me in my examinations of the boot, and I’ve not heard anything negative. Scarpas in general are very easy to repair, and Scarpa NA is super on top of customer service, so I’d give the durability issue a pass.

    Hope that helps. Anyone else? Lee?

  39. Lee Lau October 14th, 2010 11:18 am


    I wish I could add more input but there’s no snow here now and I skied the Maestrales into my last day of last season.

    I have to caveat that I love my old-solder Megarides because of the most important thing for any boot – FIT! When they finally give up the ghost the Maestrales will its replacement. I can’t figure out what’s not to like about the Maestrales

    I’d have to add one other thing about Maestrales – best value for the buck in the market right now – no question

  40. Stan Sovdat October 14th, 2010 12:21 pm

    Thank you, I appreciate your time and comments. I will be getting the Maestrales.

  41. John S October 14th, 2010 5:08 pm

    If someone is looking for a touring boot and fits the Scarpa, what’s not to love? It’s one of the least expensive boots sold, has an Intuition liner, and even with four buckles slides in at less than 1600g per boot! Wow.

    Like Lee, I have a pair of MegaRides that are dialed in perfectly. When they need replacing, I hope there is something similar to these Scarpas available. (read: priced low and light…)

    As for Garmont fit, they must have changed their lasts. My MegaRides fit very differently than the newer overlap boots.

    The TLT5 is awesome, but the price is high and the thin liner is an unknown to me. Might be awesome, but I’d like to hear how warm it is before I’d shell out (punny…) for the boot. Canadian Rockies winter skiing can be durned chilly…

  42. stevenjo October 22nd, 2010 12:43 pm

    Hi all, new to the forum and looking for advice:

    My current AT setup is my first, and had to double as a resort and backcountry quiver of one. This includes Fritchi Freerides, Volkl Mantras (older 94 mm waist) and Garmont Adrenalins. Now that I am out of school and have a bit more money to invest in a dedicated backcountry setup I will be remounting the mantras with a tech/dynafit binding and buying a pair of tech compatible, touring friendly boots – based on this discussion I will try on the Maestrales

    My biggest complaint about my Adrenalins (only backcountry boot ever skied) wasn’t so much the softer feel (or weight while climbing) but much more the ‘backseat’ feel that would often prevent me from getting forward and driving the boots. Even after playing around with the forward lean and even using them on downhill bindings (acknowledging the Fritchis add to this problem), I’ve always had the same problem.

    As I seek out new boots I’d welcome Lee or Lou’s , or anyone else’s, thoughts/recommendations as they relate the Maestrales or other boots. Food for thought, my ski partner had the same problem with his old Scarpa Denali’s but has not with his current Scarpa Spirit 3. Finally, I’m 6 ft, 160 lbs, racing background – non-hucker, but like do like to ski fast 😳 . Foot is very low volume, narrow heel, BUT normal forefoot.


  43. Lee Lau October 22nd, 2010 1:24 pm


    The Adrenalines were one of the worst boots I’ve had the displeasure of trying. Their walk mode was terrible. The boot was stiff (for its time) but in the way a brick is stiff – very little feel for the snow. In short, almost any modern boot you try is better than the Adrenaline. A beefed up modified Megaride was better than the Adrenaline. Sorry if anyone reading this is offended but this is my opinion and I’m not inclined to sugar-coat this.

    You’re light but given that you liked the Adrenaline and if you want a one-boot to do it all maybe try different boots of course including the Maestrale. It’ll be softer than the Adrenaline though so keep that in mind.

  44. Lou October 22nd, 2010 2:12 pm

    Most of the “back seat” problem people had over the years was because they’d try to switch to a boot with less ramp and cuff angle then they were used to. The resulting change in body position and timing made for a bad feeling of being in the “back seat.” I used to help a lot of people with this, and in almost every instance if we adjusted ramp and cuff closer to what they were used to the problem went away. Just thought I’d get that out there.

    As for boot stiffness and flex, that’s a different story and some boots will never feel good to a given person because they’re simply too soft or too stiff.

    Check out this post about tuning and checking boot angles:

  45. Pavel Sova October 22nd, 2010 2:14 pm

    I just got Maestrales and I like them a lot. Disclaimer: I skied them only once and cannot compare with many other boots. I bought them in Marmot Mt. Works (Bellevue, WA), where I was originally going to take a serious look at BD Quadrants.

    The Quadrants seemed a bit too burly to me so the they suggested to look at Maestrales. I was impressed by weight of Maestrale (lack of it) and range of motion, especially backwards – the picture above shows it well; much greater than Quadrants (I am not saying Quadrants are bad, just not my style). After skiing them once on a late summer/fall snow I can say I felt more confident driving my skis than in my previous 3-buckle boots; they are after all 4-buckle and quite tall.

    Overall I am really happy with these boots and can’t wait for some real snow – thanks go to Lee for his excellent review.

    The guy at the store (Eric?) said they are replacing Spirit 3 and 4; not sure this is true.

  46. stevenjo October 22nd, 2010 3:16 pm

    Thanks to all for the re.

    Lee, I agree whole-heartedly with the brick analogy and your overall take on these boots is validating since I’ve always struggled with them but – like many firsts – didn’t know any better. The thought of climbing (or skiing for that matter) one more PNW volcanoe with these things is enough to spend the remainder of my ski days in the lodge.

    Lou, thanks for the link – this sounds very akin to my issues since last winter I purchased a pair of alpine boots for the resort but was going back to my Garmont’s for backcountry. As I build out my separate BC and Resort rigs, is this an issue I can take up with my local shop who may have specific equipment to ensure continuity between the rigs, or should I fabricate something similar to your slope meter/tri-square? I assume your simply placing it on the footbed to measure the ramp angle and not worrying about the forward lean on the cuff? (FYI my local shop told me not to bother with removing the front plate on the Fritschi’s bc it wouldn’t make enough of a difference – should I question their competence?)

    Paval thanks for your thoughts on the Masetrale. I’m hoping to try them on this weekend when I get to the ‘big city’ this weekend (Portland OR) but would welcome any more thoughts as the year progresses and snow begins to fall.

    Thanks to all and think snow,

  47. Lou October 22nd, 2010 3:53 pm

    Removing the front plate of the Fritschi can make a big difference by the time the influence of that gets to your heel and to your tibia. Basic geometry. Work with a boot fitter, not a shop employee. What are the employee’s credentials? Do they really know much more than you do?

    And yes, the first thing you do is check ramp angle. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same in your different boots, but getting them closer can make switching back and forth easier. After that is tuned, check cuff angle in relation to ramp. Same thing applies.

  48. Alan October 31st, 2010 2:40 am

    I’ve just bought a pair of these but I cannot find any way of adjusting the foward lean to 18 or 22 degrees as you mention. From “walk” mode the boot shaft only locks into one position on the metal bar when going to “ski” mode, and I can’t see any way that this could be adjustable. Any ideas?

  49. Lou October 31st, 2010 1:56 pm

    Alan, with most Scarpas there are two hidden holes in the vertical forward lean bar that’s part of the walk/ski mechanism. To click in to the one with more lean, you buckle boot like you were going to alpine ski but leave the boot in walk mode, then jam your knee and shin forward to max lean, then click the walk mode switch to ski mode, then let the cuff rotate back. This should make the mechanism click into the hole with more lean. Let us know how it works.

  50. Alan November 1st, 2010 12:30 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Well well, you’re right. Not exactly spelled out in the manual is it!
    (My previous Tornados have a micro adjustment for lean at the top of the cuff).

    Thanks a lot


  51. Tim November 6th, 2010 6:24 pm

    Lee, in your opinion, how would these work with a wider ski such as a Sidestash, or Coomback?

    Just tried these on at a local shop, and the fit for me is stellar. AMAZING walk function.

    Anyone info on the Mobe???

  52. Lee Lau November 6th, 2010 6:31 pm


    I think it could drive a wide ski just fine in pow. In hardpack or variable snow (my codeword for breakable crust) – I’d be guessing on that so hesitate to answer. Fit is NUMBER ONE criteria of course so that’s good news for you! Mobe’s are coming next week but I’m probably a week or two away from skiing and don’t do carpet tests.

  53. Justin November 16th, 2010 11:18 pm

    Hey Lou, how about some feedback on the Maestrale from Louie (sounds like he’s been using them for a while). By the way, how the heck do you pronounce “Maestrale”?

  54. John S November 16th, 2010 11:29 pm

    From what I’ve read so far, you pronounce it…


  55. Maki November 18th, 2010 2:28 pm
  56. ricx November 24th, 2010 3:33 pm

    Great review, but what about the dynafit zzero 4u-tf ? does it compare to the maestrale ? i have to make a choice between zzero and maestral and i cant do a choice ? my bigest concern is with the higher clip on the maestral who seems alone on the leg. which one is more stiff ?
    sorry for my english

  57. Lee Lau November 25th, 2010 12:34 pm

    ricx – no problem with the English. I perfectly understand. The ZZero 4u-tf is supposed to be stiffer than the ZZero 4C TF which I did ski. I thought the Maestrale and ZZero 4C were very similar in performance with Maestrale perhaps having a very slight edge in downhill performance but better in touring uphill. I would then GUESS (but I don’t know for sure) that the Maestrale and ZZero 4U-TF would be almost the same.

    The buckles/clips on the Maestrales weren’t a problem

    So the choice would be which is a better fit and what is a better price.

  58. Edward November 28th, 2010 7:55 pm

    Haven’t been on skis in over 15 years (not on a snowboard in over 10 years), no backcountry experience, but HELLA stoked to get back on some planks. Have found this site to be immensely helpful in looking at different boot options! I’m going to be picking up some used skis, specifically some 2007 Volkl Gotamas with last year’s Frischi Freerides, 176 cm length. A bit about me physically, I’m 185 pounds, 5 foot 9.

    I’m looking for something I can tour with, as this is an AT setup, if a bit heavy, but at the same time would like some relative enjoyment of going pretty hard on groomers for the time being. My general rationale is that this season I won’t be going too balls out on the groomers due to the amount of time since I was last on skis, so I’m going with a solid AT boot to last me for a few seasons, and if I’m really feeling the hankering for increased performance on groomers I’ll go for a DH boot (and likely new skis and bindings to match). For now, though, I’m going for BC fun times, with the options to also enjoy myself on lifts and groomers on the days I can’t get out into the fresh stuff.

    Suffice to say, in terms of boots I’ve tried on there’s the Tecnica Agent AT which I rather enjoyed, though the shop only had it in 27 (I’m a 25.5). I’ve also tried on the Full Tilt High Five, I think 26, and the Full Tilt Mary Jane in 25.5, which fit quite nicely without doing anything to the liner or shell. As such, I’m looking into 25.5 boots, and stumbled upon the Garmont Radium Thermo AT, which got me into doing some additional research, and becoming much, much more interested in the Maestrale, particularly given the price point and features.

    Just curious how you’d compare the performance of the Maestrale to dedicated mid-range DH boots like the High Fives/Mary Janes, and also the feel of the Agent. I definitely noticed the stiffness difference between the Agent and the HF/MJ, but really liked the walk function of the Agent, hence why I’m not particularly sold on a DH boot. Given I know I want an AT boot for the future, the Maestrales are definitely at the top of the list as a first boot for now, and I’m curious how they might compare to the ones I’ve already tried on out of box.

    Thanks a lot and sorry for the HUGE amount of text!

  59. Lee Lau November 29th, 2010 12:27 pm

    Edward – I have no specific experience with any of those alpine boots you mention.

    My own alpine boot was soft and I made it softer by removing the plugs. The Maestrale is considerably softer than my soft alpine boot. The Maestrale should be softer than the Radium. My take on Maestrale is that it would be an acceptable groomer boot for lighter guys like you or I but a terrific powder skiing boot (whether touring or inbounds).

    I SUSPECT (emphasis on speculation) that Maestrale would feel like a slipper compared to those alpine boots you mention

  60. stevenjo November 29th, 2010 1:57 pm

    I recently purchased the maestrale’s (27) and just put in two limited bc days and thought I’d share my initial impressions.

    Little about me: 6′ 160lbs, skinny calves, very low volume foot, narrow heel, BUT normal arch and forefoot width. I was touring my resort setup with marker barron’s on first gen. BD Verdicts (180). I was skiing new Cascade snow meaning that it was fresh and light for our area. Finally I had NOT molded the liners yet (got them in the mail day I hit the road for thanksgiving) and these will be a dedicated AT boot so I weight tourablity more than downhill performance.

    Initial impressions are that I’m very satisfied with my purchase.

    Definitely the weight, cuff movement, and Scarpa’s ankle buckle (new to me). Both days had a mile or two of flat skinning and the rear cuff articulation put a smile on my face – the stride felt more natural than other boots, including BD Prime, which I only walked around in the shop. Uphill was also comfortable and the ratcheting buckle around the ankle area was very helpful in keeping my heel put and blister free which has been a problem for me in the past. Don’t know what to say about the weight other than they are very light and helped offset the extra baggage from the marker bindings and bigger skis.

    The biggest drawback for me with these boots is the forefoot width. In this regard, the BD Prime’s win out (with a non-bd liner). Traditionally, I’ve had to choose between having my heel stay put and forefoot crammed in low volume boots or heel pull and forefoot room in high volume boots. With the maestrale I went with the former. For both tours I had the front buckles only tight enough to stay put but that was pushing it and my 6th toe felt ‘tolerably’ squeezed. As noted above, I have not yet molded these liners and will certainly be building up the 6th toe to deal with the problem during molding (food for thought: with the buckles that loose I was concerned that snow/water would make it under the tongue but this never seemed to be an issue). Other ‘cons’ are more trite.

    Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the new style tongue. It doesn’t seem to open all that easily because it gets hung up on the buckles so i ended up with a partially open tongue and fighting to get my foot in. To be fair, its simply a new system and with time I will probably figure it out.

    A last thought about drawbacks – if you can call this that – is what seems to be a lack of rocker on the sole. I haven’t hiked these at all so can’t attest with experience, but an eyeball comparison to my girlfriend’s scarpa starlite (women’s spirit) seems that her’s has more rocker on the sole. It seems strange that Scarpa would take this feature away from the new Spirit replacement that is clearly in a category of boots to be used for some degree of mountaineering. But again, I haven’t hiked these boots, only a visual observation.

    Not a lot of thoughts about this. I was mostly in powder and they skied fine. I won’t be running gates with them at the resort, but they seem to offer a solid progressive flex to drive the skis and I was more than happy with them considering their ‘tourablity’. As comparison, my last boot was the Garmont Adrenalin. It was indeed a stiffer boot, but, like many of the big four buckle AT boots out there it lacked a subtly, that the Maestrale’s have. With the Garmont I often felt like my feet were cast in concrete and struggled to flex or get out in front of them. For this reason, I’d prefer the Maestrale to the garmont for downhill as well.

    OK, that’s it. Feel free to ask any questions or clarify. Hopefully, some of you on the fence find it helpful.


  61. Lou November 29th, 2010 2:40 pm

    Steven, nice contribution, but please do another post once you mold the liner!

  62. stevenjo November 29th, 2010 2:51 pm

    Lou – good point, will do! Can you confirm that we are NOT to home-bake these liners? I’ve held off assuming this is the case but don’t know for sure.

    Probably won’t get to a shop until later in the week.

  63. Edward November 29th, 2010 3:02 pm

    Thanks a lot for your input! I’ve decided to actually go with an alpine boot, see how that goes, and switch it up to an AT boot when I have a better developed idea of what I want out of one. Time to get out and shred =)

  64. Pavel Sova November 29th, 2010 3:14 pm

    Question about the ankle strap buckle–
    I already lost one and have a hard time getting hold of people who might have a replacement (namely Scarpa N.A.). Will a buckle from Spirit 3 or 4 work (they seem to be very similar)?


  65. Lou November 29th, 2010 5:07 pm

    Steve, they can be home baked, only very conservatively. Better to just use the blower system.

  66. Derek Pedersen December 4th, 2010 9:09 am

    I am buying a at boot this year and have decided that scarpa is the boot for me. (Best fit overall) I am torn between two boots, the Maestrale and the Skookum. I am 160 lbs and live in the pnw. I tour at least 50% of the time up to date, but am thinking I will tour more once out of my alpine boot. I am a fairly aggressive skier and like to ski hard but have kind of grown out of my cliff hucking phase. I like the way both of these boots feel and having never been in an at boot on the slopes ust really have no idea what the functional difference will be between these boots. I would love to know your thoughts.

  67. Greg Louie December 4th, 2010 12:03 pm

    Derek, you can modify your skiing to make the Maestrale work for inbounds, but you’ll never soften up the Skookum enought to make it a great touring boot.

    Your feet (and shins and calves) will thank you for choosing the Maestrale (not really all that soft for a lightish boot), and if you decide to revert to cliff hucking you can always break out your alpine boots.

    There’s a certain Zen correctness in learning to ski an AT boot all the time – you feel like they have no support at first, but pretty soon you learn to stay centered all the time and let the sidecut do the work rather than pressuring the tips. The comfort factor will seal the deal.

  68. Jon Moceri December 4th, 2010 7:52 pm

    Derek, if you feel like you need more support, you can always put a stiffer liner, like the Inuition Powerwrap, in your Maestrale’s. Then you can trade out liners and put the one in that suits what you’ll be doing for the day.

    I have to agree with Greg about the “Zen correctness” and skiing an AT boot all the time. I started doing it last year with my Dynafit Zzero boots, and now I’m going more extreme with the Dynafit TLT 5 Mountain. Now I have to work on my technique just a little more.

    In fact, I just spent a day with my ski coach, Gavin Hunter with at Crystal Mountain. He thought my stance would be better with a little heel lift under my liner. We put that in and I stood up better and had better release and initiation of my turns. Skiing smoother, faster with less effort and a bigger smile, is the only way to go.

  69. Sue December 12th, 2010 2:21 pm

    I just tried on the womens version of this boot, the Gea and I was VERY impressed. I have been wanting to get a boot that is Dynafit compatible. I am an east coast skier 5’5″ 135 pounds and I’m currently in a Scarpa Denali TT that’s a few seasons old. I have used them exclusively in Fritschis with skis ranging from 83-110mm waist and 165-176cm length. I have a super skinny ankle and lower leg, normal instep and forefoot width.

    I have a few questions that have already been asked on this thread but I don’t really find any replies….the rocker in the sole appears to be much less? The lugging on the sole is much thinner? And is it capable of handling a ski 100-110mm wide in variable conditions? Flex ratings in AT boots are quite subjective, however, the Denali was touted by Scarpa to be a 90 flex and the Maestrale/Gea are supposedy 100. I would think, given the input so far, this boot can handle anything my Denali could? The fit alone makes it worth buying a pair to test 🙂


  70. Lou December 12th, 2010 8:12 pm

    Sue, yes, I don’t see why this boot wouldn’t be as good or better than the Denali. Lou

  71. Rafael Sola December 22nd, 2010 3:21 am

    Hi I’m in the market for a new AT Boot. I started in Scarpa Denali’s years ago & loved them then switched to the Garmont Mega Rides – just to get into a Dynafit compatible boot. I hated these, could never get them to fit right & they always felt super soft. So that leads me to my question, I’ve tried on both the Scarpa Mobe & the Maestrale and they both fit great. The Mobe was a fair bit stiffer but also lacked in mobility, which leads me to believe that they may not be too good uphill. I haven’t managed to try on a Dynafit ZZero 4C, but I’ve been led to believe that I would like it. I’m 5’10”, 185 lbs and a fit strong skier. I do anything from single day outings to 2 week tours. I’m worried about spending the money and being disappointed again because the boot was too soft. What are your thoughts, which is stiffer between the Dynafit ZZero & the Maestrale? Do you have any idea how the Mobe does going uphill? Again, I want everything , a light boot that tours well and can handle technical downhills on a fairly wide ski. Help!

  72. Lou December 22nd, 2010 7:14 am

    Rafael, your wish is our command. We’ll publish Lee’s Mobe review this morning, and hold off on the ZZero cant rivet how-to post till tomorrow.

  73. Lee Lau December 22nd, 2010 9:50 am


    Scarpa describes the Mobe basically as an alpine boot with touring capability and they are right. Basically I agree with your initial impression. The Mobe is the stiffest alpine touring boot I’ve ever tried. It’s stiffness compromises its tourability; it’s not bad uphill but suffers when skinning on the flats.

    What Megaride did you have? My first generation mega rides with the square block-ish buckles and supersoft tongue were slippers and very soft. My second generation replacements with the slightly more rounded buckles had a slightly stiffer tongue and was decently stiff. IMO the Megaride was a bit soft fore/aft and laterally also a bit soft. The Maestrale is about the same stiffness as the Megaride fore/aft but quite a bit stiffer laterally.

    The Dynafit ZZero 4c is pretty comparable to the Maestrale in stiffness with Maestrale perhaps having the tiniest of edges in lateral stiffness. Another boot you didnt mention is the Dynafit ZZeus which is stiffer than both Maestrale and ZZero and still has very good touring capability.

    Hope that helps. It need not be said that fit is the most important thing

  74. Rafael Sola December 22nd, 2010 11:14 am

    Thanks Lee for your input. You are correct, my Megarides were the first generation. I haven’t looked into the ZZeus but I did try the Titan, again I was a bit turned off by their weight – heaviest Dynafit boot. So I’m off to check out the ZZeus but I notice I keep getting drawn back to the weight (or lack of) of the Maestrale. Why doesn’t Dynafit publish their boot weights on the web site?!

  75. Lee Lau December 22nd, 2010 7:33 pm


    Take a look at my ZZeus and Titan reviews. You can drop significant weight with an Intuition liner. But bear in mind both those boots are also stiffer than Maestrale. My gut feel is that they type of touring you do is suited to the Maestrale.

  76. winterfiend January 14th, 2011 12:23 am

    What’s the verdict w/ the warmth of the TLT5 mountain boot? I live in Montana and don’t need boots that aren’t warm. I skied it last weekend and it skis really sftiff for what it is, but I’m worried about frost bite when it gets really cold.

  77. Rafael Sola January 14th, 2011 12:59 am

    Oh I’ve got another question that you my have an answer to. Can you get a stiffer tongue for the Maestrale boot like you could with the Spirit 4’s. If not do you know if Scarpa has plans to offer on?

  78. Greg Louie January 14th, 2011 1:38 am


    My TLT 5 Performance (lower shell should be the same, more or less) are not especially warm – the two times I’ve been out in single digit weather with wind, my feet were getting pretty cold. Not even close to the insulating ability of my Spirit 3’s, but I love them and don’t expect to have a problem in the PNW. Might not be your best choice for a quiver-of-one boot in MT.

  79. Christian January 14th, 2011 2:26 am

    Used mine in windy -15c conditions. No problem for me. Boot warmth is highly individual as fit and amount of sweat affects this greatly. I carry chemical foot warmers, but haven’t used them in this boot yet. I do however use them in the much thicker downhill boots.

  80. Lee Lau January 14th, 2011 8:40 am


    No plans for a stiffer tongue at present

  81. Matt S January 25th, 2011 4:46 pm

    Hey Lee (or anyone else),

    I apologize for asking something you’ve already had to deal with 47,000 times, but I’m having a bit of an existential crisis. If you have a moment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how well the Maestrales would work for a very conservative (short turns, slow speeds, lots of whimpering) mediocre skier (imagine how you would feel skiing them after snorting about 12 pounds of heroin; that should be a good approximation of my coordination levels) driving G3 Tonics, or equivalent skis, in the PNW. I’m 6’1″, 175, mostly flab. I’ve got Spirit 3’s and Baker SLs for spring and Zzeus’s with Tonics for winter/day tours and the Zzeus’s have been nothing but agony so far (word to the wise, kids, try the boots on with the insoles you will be skiing in. I will now light myself on fire). I’m trying to decide whether or not it’s worth replacing both boots with Maestrales. I’m worried about being underbooted with the Tonics, which is concerning given that I use that setup the most. I’ve pored over your review here, as well as your thread on TGR and the Saas Fe review and…I just don’t know. The “stiffer than Spirit 4” comment is encouraging, though.

    Any thoughts? Recommendations (other than “stop trying to find out what Hamlet would have sounded like if he had tried to take up AT”)? I know it’s tough for you to say, but your conjecture and hearsay is about all I have to go on. I would be extremely grateful.


  82. Lee Lau January 25th, 2011 5:10 pm

    Alas poor Matt (you asked for it with the Hamlet).

    It’ll be fine. The Tonic is stiff and a beefy ski but not overly stiff.

  83. stevenjo January 25th, 2011 6:30 pm

    Matt S, you reminded me that I need to add a follow up to my review on 11/29 now that I’ve had the liners molded, which by the way, took care of 90% of the width issue. I’m sure Lou could have predicted that.

    Since owning them I’ve probably put 6 decent tours on them. 1 early season tour on my BD verdicts (180s w/marker barron) in about of 1′ fresh on top of crunchy basalt/ice and the other on my volkl mantras (177s w/dynafit) in mostly shallow fresh and mixed windblown.

    For the skiing thus far they have been more than adequately stiff. They turned the BD’s (a pretty stiff ski) fine, but that was in powder. Same with the mantras, even on the windblown junk, but these were just fun turns, not mach 3 gs turns.

    As a litmus test, I was going to bring the Maestrale’s instead of my resort boots to drive the BDs for a trip to Baker anticipating that I’d be backcountry/resort 30/70. As it turned out space opened up and I brought both boots, but I was confident enough in them to consider resort skiing.

    I’ll try to actually test them at the resort and report back on how they did if interested. In the end, if the boots fit your foot I don’t think you can go wrong with the Maestrale.

  84. Rafael Sola January 26th, 2011 1:07 am

    Hey Matt, I thought I might shed some light on your question/concern. So I finally got off my wallet, took the plunge and bought the Scarpa Maestrale last week. Mainly because they fit so well, they were incredibly light and have the best mobility that I’ve tested in a touring boot. I too had concerns over how stiff they were but have no doubt that they will be excellent for the way up. Again, I’m 5’10?, 185 lbs and a fit strong skier. I managed to get out on them for the first time this past Sunday at Blackcomb. The conditions were better than I expected (after it recently rained to the top) with a bit of soft snow on top of hard pack, overall fairly grabby. I skied fairly hard all over the mountain, from steeps to groomers and found myself being happily impressed with the performance of the boot. I was on a pair of Head M88, I believe 186cm in length. Although this is not a very wide ski (by today’s standards) its fairly stiff and I picked them because I expected conditions to be fairly hard packed. I found the boot stiff enough to handily make the skis carve on hard packed (some would say icy) groomers. They handed the steeps well too, again fairly firm. They are a bit soft (certainly softer then my alpine boots) but stiffer than my old Garmont Megarides. If I were to venture a guess, I’d say a flex index of 100 to 110. I’m quite sure they’ll be a great touring boot for most conditions, short of the big wet dump days. Keep in mind of course that 90% of touring involves going up. I’ll try them again in bounds this weekend and will likely venture into the slack country so if anybody’s interested I can posts future thoughts early next week. Finally, at the risk of stating the obvious, the most important factor for you should be fit. If the shoe fits … Hope this helps.

  85. Lou January 26th, 2011 7:13 am

    Thanks Rafael! That is a very popular boot, now you know why.

  86. Matt S January 27th, 2011 2:23 pm

    Thanks Lee, StevenJo, and Rafael! Very informative and thoughtful comments. And Lee even throws in a literary reference for no additional charge. Truly a renaissance man.

    Maestrale’s sound like a great option. If anything, now I’m worried that they’re too stiff, and I won’t be able to blame my crappy skiing on them. Bummer.

    All that’s left is to decide whether it’s appropriate to own a boot who’s name I can’t pronounce.

  87. Jed Porter February 4th, 2011 12:23 pm

    Alright tinkering Maestrale fans, I got a question for ya!

    So, the weight is sweet, downhill performance above and beyond my old Megarides, weird tongue thingy makes getting in a breeze, and that cuff mobility is brilliant. Well, the cuff mobility *could* be brilliant if the ski/walk mechanism wasn’t built to such tight specs. There’s enough resistance that normal walking and touring forces don’t allow full range of motion. I know from experience that miles of touring will wear the parts against each other and leave far less resistance down the road.

    Question is, has anyone fast-tracked this process? Specifically, taken the mechanism apart and filed something down? I pulled out the 4 allen bolts to try and get at the insides, but couldn’t get it all the way apart. I know I’m treading on warranty-busting territory, but I’m not real worried about that.

    Question make sense? Any tips to get that mechanism completely dismantled? Any thoughts on what to then file down? I know people have drilled and/or filled holes in that bar to tweak the forward lean, this can’t be all that different…

    Thanks all!


  88. Marskilowski February 4th, 2011 1:17 pm

    I don’t have the feeling, that the ski/walk mechanism is some how too tight.

    If the third buckle is loose, so the tongue can bend back and forth, mine has practically none resistance.

  89. Lou February 4th, 2011 4:09 pm

    Jed, I bet it’ll loosen up faster than you think. Just use it. I’d say do some careful lubrication, but that would just delay the loosening process. If it’s ridiculously tight then something is wrong, take them back to a dealer and compare to another pair.

  90. Maki February 4th, 2011 4:18 pm

    We have two pairs of Maestrales in my family. They all showed no resistance. Then at the second day my left boot stuck in ski mode in the middle of nowhere (I let you imagine the fun of walking with a locked boot, but that’s nothing compared to getting out of it…). I sent it back to Scarpa that changed the whole ski/walk mechanism, an the new one is deadly tight. Gonna try tomorrow if it gets better with a little use, if not I’ll phone them to get an explaination.

    I tought about putting some oil in but I’m not sure pebax would like it.

    All the boots had problems of bolts getting loose, BTW.
    This boot is awesome, but they should really care a bit more about manufacturing. And I should learn to never buy release 1.0 of anything.

  91. Lou February 4th, 2011 4:24 pm

    I’d second that emotion of being very careful about being an early adopter. I have to say that I probably hype the new stuff a bit too much here, and thus contribute to the early adopter syndrome. I’ll keep working on my coverage style. New products are cool, but very frequently need consumer testing and a revamp. Seems like that will never end.

  92. pal February 8th, 2011 9:42 pm

    my maestrales walk mode also began to freeze up with a lot of friction on the metal strap; the smallest dab of white lithium grease on either side of the strap completely freed it up….

  93. Lingcod February 16th, 2011 4:01 pm

    re Maki’s comments about the Maestrale’s bolts loosening. I’ll say! My 2nd day of touring, the buckle into which the ratcheting instep strap inserts literally just fell off into the snow! No inbounds, no jumping, just skinning and skiing in 10 inches of pow. Luckily I was able to recover the male end of the bolt in the snow (sheer miracle) and the female end between the cuff and the shell was lodged in there. But come on, a very integral part of the boot just falls off in 2 days! There is just not enough thread there I guess to hold it in place. I’ll fix it with red Loctite (I hope), but had I not gotten lucky and recovered both parts of the bolt, I would have been in trouble. I recommend you keep all the hex keys with you and carry a couple extra of these bolts. Very, very disappointing for such a nice fitting, nice touring, nice skiing boot.

  94. stevenjo February 16th, 2011 4:49 pm

    RE BOLTS: Not to jump on the bandwagon here but I had a similar issue this weekend. As a caveat I was at the resort, but no jumps or bumps, just groomers, By late morning I noticed the fwd bolt holding the tongue on the right boot backed all the way out, and unfortunately I was not able to find it. The forward part of the tongue pulled up fairly significantly with the bold missing there so I had to ski back pretty gingerly to car. Later, I was able to find a replacement bolt (different than stock but at least it fit), but went ahead and checked the other bolts on both boots and was surprised to find that many where NOT snug. I’m thinking a bit of lock-tite might be in order here and all will (hopefully) be well – but this does make me question the QC on this line. Might be best for others to check on those bolts before the next outing.

    RE WALK MODE FRICTION: I have noticed the walk mode ‘stiffen’ up a bit. So far this seems most notable when trying to move with hands, but less so when on the feet because of the differences in forces generated. I’ve also noticed that the walk mechanism is pretty dirty with the road-side cinder grit we use to gravel the roads out here. I suspect that this may be at least partly the cause, but this is only conjecture until I find the time to clean it out. I’ll provide update once I do.

    Overall, still love the boots and these issues are basically just an annoyance…. at least for now.

  95. Lou February 16th, 2011 8:44 pm

    OK you guys, it does sound like Scarpa assembly process forgot the thread locker. I’d advise anyone with Maestrale to Loctite an torque all fasteners. As for the mode lock friction, yeah, grease, what a concept (grin).

  96. lingcod February 16th, 2011 8:51 pm

    Actually, there clearly is blue (medium) Loctite on the threads. I think it’s more of a design (not enough thread to bite and hold) thing. But I’ve already applied red (maximum) Loctite. Not griping, just chiming in, and I really enjoy your and your readers’ insight. It’s why I bought these boots in the first place, and outside of this annoyance, I would recommend the boots still.. Anyone want to buy my Radiums? :mrgreen:

  97. Lou February 16th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Yeah, I’d say try the red, and if that doesn’t work put a tiny dab of 5 min epoxy on the screw threads before you screw it in. The latter works every time (grin).

  98. Bar Barrique February 16th, 2011 10:53 pm

    I had the same issue; the small bolt holding the ratcheting buckle came loose (8-10 days use?). The bolt appeared to have ample thread locker “blue” on it. I couldn’t find my thread locker “red”, so I reapplied “blue”. This has held up after another 20 days (aprox.) of use. I think the problem is that; when the boots are new, the buckle is fairly tight, and, rotational movement can break the bolt loose. I think these buckles are similar or the same as other Scarpa models, so your dealer may have spares, mine does. I am thinking that I will be carrying some spare parts. Other than this problem; I am happy with the performance of the boots

  99. Lou February 17th, 2011 8:41 am

    All, it seems many of the Montebelluna boot makers put some sort of dry thread locker on their fasteners. It is indeed blue, but I’m not sure it works as well as normal liquid blue or red Loctite. I ALWAYS use blue liquid Loctite on boot fasteners.

  100. JimG February 17th, 2011 10:31 am

    I am glad I came across this thread. I have been skiing a new pair of Maestrale’s this season. Haven’t lost any buckles, but I saw these posts, got out the hex wrench and sure enough several of the fasteners were quite loose; in a few more days things would have been falling off. Thanks for the heads up. They are a great touring and skiing boot; if anyone is thinking of getting them I wouldn’t let a couple of loose bolts dissuade you; a wrench and a bit of Loctite is an easy fix.

  101. Maki February 17th, 2011 5:07 pm

    I think the Maestrale sold extremely well, in my area it was sold out before the end of december in most shops. With a lot of samples out there a few duds are to be expected, just like first generation problems. And a bad batch of thread-locker is very possible. That’s to say I’m not trying to bash Scarpa in any way. I’m quite happy with the boot and I think it will become a classic. However I see some weak points.

    The first is ski/walk mechanism. The lever axle is not sturdy as should. There is a lot of empty space between the lever and the rod. It’s easy to bend the axle making it unusable if the rod gets stuck for whatever reason. That’s what happened to me in first place. Compare to the Laser or a first generation G-Ride and you can see that in that case you cannot bend it because the lever is flush with the rod. Also in the Maestrale the lever cam profile is squarish so you have some hard points during rotation, which means it’s harder to perceive if the mechanism has a problem. I don’t know any other case of this failure, but take care when unlocking the boot, and if you feel any resistance stop immediately and double check before forcing.
    As for the friction, a good sample shows none for most part of the travel, than some when you fully open the cuff which is actually handy when you have to open the boot. The replacement I got shows some for most part of the travel and then gets nearly stuck at the end. Duds happen, but such a behavior is obvious when you put the liner in. So either they don’t care, or it is considered normal, and I’m not happy in both cases. I can put some grease, sure, but if that’s the right thing to do, why isn’t it done at the factory?

    Then the ratcheting buckle. I agree with Bar Barrique. Fact is, in this model the cuff has a lot of rotational freedom and the strap is laterally quite stiff, so the torque is transferred to the buckle. Plus the strap has sharp edges. Doing the buckle tight means compromising tourability (pain in the foot, actually) and forcing it to rotate. Doing it just snug showed abrasion signs on the orange part of the tongue (due to sharp edges of the strap and soft tongue material) after just a couple of days. Right now I just leave everything undone for the uphill, except for the top buckle which is engaged but left open: heel retention is so good that I can do it without blisters, but I feel the liner moving in the shell in the heel area.
    I think this should be fixed using two bolts or, better, with a bushing that allows the buckle to follow the movement. And going back to a round belt to avoid abrasion. I envisage a booster-like DIY solution with a bit of 3mm rope and some velcro, but I’m not in the mood to work on it.

    Here those who understand French can read about another kind of failure:
    “Mais un gros bémol après 5 sorties , un rivet de la 3ème fixation a laché, d’après le vendeur déjà plusieurs retours , problême de filetage ?!! ”
    The rivets of the ratcheting buckle have the swallowed, weaker, end on the opposite side if compared with the other buckles. I suppose they have some reason to do that, but I cannot figure out why. Mines are holding on, but “sturdy” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I look there. Probably another place worth checking regularly.

    Still in love with the boot’s performace…

  102. Stewart Matthiesen March 8th, 2011 3:53 pm

    Following this thread intently and I finally bucked up and got myself a pair on clearance. So far I love these boots and they are a huge upgrade from my old too big TLT 700s. I’ve only skied 5 days on them so far (4 BC and 1 in bounds) and haven’t noticed any loose bolts or anything but i’ll keep an eye on that.

    I am wondering though if anyone else is having arch pain from the 3rd buckle? My boots fit great after molding and are fine until after an hour or two of skiing when I start to get a cramp in my left foot arch. My left foot is a tad smaller than the right so I think the instep buckle falls just a bit farther forward on my foot and is crushing the arch a little. I think the pressure point is coming from a ridge on the underside of the boot tongue, right where the black plastic and orange plastic are welded together at the flex point. This creates a fairly prominent bump in the otherwise smooth curve from the top of the foot to the front of the ankle. I can feel it if I put the shell on without the liner and pull my foot upwards, but I can’t feel it with the liner in. Anyone else have this problem? Would it be worth it to try to grind this ridge down a tiny bit and hope I don’t compromise the plastic weld? Any other suggestions for getting ride of this arch pain (tried a couple different insoles with different arch positions)? Or just leave the instep buckle loose most of the time?

    Other than that bit of pain I love these boots feature wise (and on my right foot) so I’m really hoping i can figure this one out.

  103. Lou March 8th, 2011 4:04 pm

    Stewart, if you’re talking about the shell tongue, which is easily replaced, I’d grind away on it and if it breaks or doesn’t work, get another one. You could also try moving the instep buckle, which is trivial for a boot fitter and also easily reversed.

  104. Stewart Matthiesen March 8th, 2011 5:28 pm

    Thanks Lou, I had forgotten about that, I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world to have to replace the tongue. I may try to smooth that ridge down and see it it’s enough.

    It seems like that instep buckle would be hard to move because of the way the strap splits in the middle and lays across the bellows on the tongue. No? If I can’t figure it out on my own I’ll enlist the professionals.

  105. Lou March 8th, 2011 5:54 pm

    Stew, you are correct in that moving the buckle doesn’t have a huge effect and is limited in how far it’ll go, but it definitely makes a difference as the angle of the pull changes things, even if the strap is in the same place. Even so, first step is to mess around with the shell and the liner. I’ll bet that’s all you need to do. Lou

  106. Tony March 18th, 2011 6:54 pm

    Wanted to chime in on the screw issue. Had two come out recently. Removed them all and put blue loctite on them. Other than this issue they have been grand.

  107. Tony March 23rd, 2011 11:46 pm

    Since posting the last comment on this topic I lost another screw last weekend. Had to ski a day and a half on a comprised semi-tight boot again. Contacted Scarpa on Monday and haven’t heard back from them yet…..

  108. Lou March 24th, 2011 7:50 am

    Tony and all, I have no idea why a Locktited and tightened fastener would back out inadvertently. Lots of people I know use Maestrale and don’t have this problem, but it keeps getting reported here so no doubt some of you need a solution. I can say that the ultimate solution is probably to use a dab of epoxy on the threads for the ultimate thread locker. So if the Loctite doesn’t work, try that. The epoxy can be released by heating the fastener, if ever necessary.

    In my mechanical work, I use epoxy as a thread locker quite frequently when I have a fastener I want to make somewhat permanent and perhaps has a safety aspect or otherwise simply can NOT come undone.

  109. Kelly March 24th, 2011 9:37 am

    Well, I was the one to get this whole screw-falling-out thing going (!), but I’ll just say three more things. It’s a design issue. There just simply isn’t enough thread biting to withstand the stress on that spot. So, after my event, I took out all the similar screws, wire-brushed the factory blue thread sealer (which is not effective) and put RED loctite on all of them. Red Loctite seems to hold threads well on my bikes so it should work here too. Also, you’ll have better luck with Scarpa if you go through the dealer from whom you bought them. Mountain Gear, here in Spokane, immediately contacted Scarpa (took awhile for them to get back), and Scarpa sent me another entire buckle assembly, not just the screw. That way, if it happens again and I should lose the whole cam/buckle, I can replace the entire thing. I don’t know if Scarpa would have responded as quickly or as thoroughly or at all if it had just been me the customer calling vs a detailer who sells a lot of their boots. But Lou’s epoxy or RED Loctite should do it.

  110. Lou March 24th, 2011 9:45 am

    Kelly, thanks for the clarification. Indeed, RED Loctite on that tiny amount of thread would be the way to go, or epoxy. Blue Loctite really doesn’t have much holding power and needs some surface area to work.

  111. Tony March 31st, 2011 9:34 pm

    So a few posts above I mentioned repeated issues with my maestrale screws coming out (3 occasions). Update:

    – no response from email to scarpa
    – I called 5 business days later
    – They sent me new hardware
    – They sent me the wrong hardware
    – Now they are sending me the correct hardware

    No boots for the second weekend in a row. Friends flying in to go skiing tomorrow……

    I asked them if they could do anything i.e. have a local rep hook me up with demos. Nope. They recommended that I just “go to the hardware store”.

    Does this seem ridiculous to anyone else or am I just too needy?

  112. Maki April 1st, 2011 1:46 pm

    Tony, it looks indeed ridiculous, but unless you have lost any boot-specific part I’d just go to the hardware store, get the correct bolt and go skiing. Just keep in mind that the thread is likely a metric one.

  113. Bar Barrique April 8th, 2011 8:57 pm

    Yesterday while slogging back to the trailhead on skins, one of the metal “hinges” holding the tongue broke. After I got home, I noticed that 2 more were cracked. Looks like metal fatigue. I have about 45 days on the boots, 41 of them backcountry. It will be interesting to see if others have the same problem. It should be easy for Scarpa to use a different type of metal in the hinge.

  114. Lou April 8th, 2011 9:19 pm

    Bar, I have a feeling there might be an issue with the hinges, time will tell. It’s a cool design but pretty unique and new, so it may need a season for debugging. As mentioned, easy to fix or even upgrade, just don’t delay because Scarpa needs to see all this stuff. Talking about it here or elsewhere on anonymous web doesn’t help them all that much, as they don’t know if comments are legit or not.

  115. Bar Barrique April 8th, 2011 9:48 pm

    The shop where I purchased them has ordered new hinges. These boots were popular with the folks who work there, so, I think that this issue is going to be a “hot topic”.

  116. TyFalk April 25th, 2011 3:32 pm

    Hi Lou,
    After several problems with my Maestrale this season (walk/ski mode, cuff hinges and other hardware problems) I have finaly got the ok to get a new pair of this years Maestrales or wait a few months and get next years version. Have you seen what next years version of this boot looks like? Will it have the same hinging cuff? ect. THANKS Ty

  117. Lee Lau April 25th, 2011 3:40 pm


    Yes it will have the same hinging cuff. Unfortunately the hardware will still be the same length although I have told Scarpa that numerous people have had hardware come out (Scarpa says that it’s a rare problem but I respectfully disagree) so the fix will be still to tighten the bolts on even new boots.

    Also unfortunately no plans for a slightly stiffer tongue.

    You can get spare cuff hinges from Scarpa but they are also unchanged.

    I’ve got to confirm this but the ratcheting instep buckle might be changed slightly. Will check on that..

  118. TyFalk April 25th, 2011 3:51 pm

    Thanks for the quick response. So I assume it will be the same weight and design? Any pictures out there of it yet?

  119. Lee Lau April 25th, 2011 3:57 pm

    None that I know of Ty. I’ll ask Scarpa but if anyone has any more information please feel free to chime in

  120. Maki April 26th, 2011 1:33 pm

    I think most people tightens a loose bolt without complaining, so most shops don’t even know. And most of those who know don’t report it to Scarpa, so they may really think it’s rare. Or, they solved the problem and don’t want to admit there was one. Actually when I sent mines in to fix the ski/walk they come back with all the bolts tightened and never worked loose again. Not that I used them that much, but still…

    What I’d really like to have is a different lean angle option. I’m fine with the more forward position with Diamirs, and I suppose the more upright is ok with Verticals. But with the TLT Speeds none works. I’m using the more upright position with a modified spoiler but I’m not 100% satisfied since that position also has some slack. A single position in the middle would be perfect for me.

    It would be nice to change the ratcheting buckle because it’s too laterally stiff and helps the bolt getting loose with cuff rotation uphill and the inner side has sharp edges that erode the tongue in some cases.

    There are pictures on the web of the new 3 buckle boot derived from the Maestrale (Rush) that show a different buckle and ski/walk bar so maybe…

    About the tongue, personally I may find it a bit low, not soft.

  121. Lee Lau April 27th, 2011 10:33 pm

    OK I heard back from Scarpa

    1. Enough people had issues with hardware coming off that they are sending out replacement hardware no questions asked. The fix, as mentioned, is to use more loctite. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the 2011 – 12 Maestrales will use rivets in some places instead of the replaceable hardware. I’ll be frank and admit that I really like replaceable hardware and didn’t mind checking tightness of hardware so I’m disappointed. Suppose that’s one way to fix the issue but why not just use more factory loctite.

    2. Ratcheting buckle is unchanged. I have some Rush boots which I am trying out and will include picture of the funky instep buckle that’s in use in the pre-productions that I have. It seems that a majority of people prefer the ratcheting buckle (they can flip it open and leave it in place for quick transitions without needing to adjust) that Scarpa will leave it the same.

    3. Still no plans for stiffer or higher tongue

    @Maki, Intuition makes a Pro-tour variant with slightly higher front tongue – it’s part of their new Intuition 2.0 liner so you could try that if you want a higher tongue. Doesn’t really solve your desire for higher Maestrale tongue but you never know.

    After about 50 days of use no excessive wear on tongue from the strap

    Hope that helps

  122. Maki April 28th, 2011 1:31 pm

    Thanks for the informations Lee!

    Actually the boot is nearly perfect as is for me, and the liner is the best part. But I think the tongue isn’t particularly high and those searching for more support would be better served by a higher tongue than a stiffer one. Just a though.

    My only real gripe is the lean angle. Boots maker should realize that every binding has a different delta and every skier has a different style. The lean angle is essential to get it right, this part should be easily replaced and different lengths should be available *for purchase*. I’m offering them more money. Please take it! 🙂
    From the pictures I’ve seen Rush’s bar looks like composed by several pieces. I wonder if this means some news in this sense.
    It should also be noted that the lock mechanism is prone to lock in very low temperatures and the lever axle is quite easy to bend, I’m not the only one that had problems with this. A fix for that would be appreciated.

    About the buckle. For the first two rides I kept it slightly tightened to help avoid blisters, out of habit, and I noticed signs of abrasion soon. Later I’ve seen that for the first time in my life I can walk with all the buckles open with no blisters, so problem solved for me. Still, I don’t get why it has to be so sharp, on other models it’s rounded.

  123. Lee Lau April 28th, 2011 2:43 pm

    Thanks so much maki. It’s good to get more field information.

    fyi I’ve also sometimes when skiing lots in powder snow (been a good year in BC) had so much snow or icing up that its plugged up the walk mechanism or iced up the ankle/instep buckle strap. I carry a voile ski strap with the metal buckle which i use to chip ice out of dynafits and i also use that same strap to get ice out of the walk mech or the buckle. I haven’t bent the walk mode lever but I can see how it can happen because its long. Plus I am light so not so likely to bend it perhaps. It’s thanks to everyone who’s reported problems with the fasteners that a problem is recognized so good for all for chiming in

  124. Maki May 1st, 2011 3:01 pm

    You’re welcome Lee, when it comes to find problems I’m in the first line. 🙂

    I think there is a misunderstanding about the ski/walk problem, which is internal and not due to snow buildup. It’s the rod that gets stuck in its hole with very cold temperature. It doesn’t happen to everyone, at first I thought I got a defective part, but later I found other references so there is definitely an issue, even if not widespread. In most cases it stays in walk position and can be solved with a gentle pole whack. In my case it locked in ski position, I didn’t notice it and pulled the lever that bent the axle.

    I haven’t dismantled the part so I can’t be sure, but more than snow I think it’s sweat condensation that gets in the mechanism, maybe in the spring, and then ices up. Or maybe very tight tolerances that in some samples tend to lock due to different thermal dilatation.

  125. Lou May 1st, 2011 7:51 pm

    Louie has been having the same problem, and not just on super cold days. Happened yesterday here in Colorado. I have a feeling that judicious use of silicon spray and some tape could help, or even longer cuffs on the ski pants to protect from moisture intrusion…

  126. lingcod / kelly May 3rd, 2011 9:10 pm

    I’m 6’1″ (185cm) and 190 llbs (87 kg). I love how the Maestrale tours (other than the bolts falling out, but I fixed that), but at my height and weight I think it skis too soft (note, there is a difference in a 190 pounder saying this and my 145 pounder friends!). I believe the Maestrale’s stock Intuition liner is Intution’s Pro Tour. Is anyone using, say an Intuition Powerwrap or a Luxury Liner something burlier in their Maestrales than the stock Intuition liner? If so, what was the result? To paraphrase MarshallOlson’s comments, I’m not trying to change the way the boot /liner fits (I like it), but I am trying to change the way the boot / liner skis: i.e., trying to stiffen it up a little bit for the downhill. FYI, I only use this boot to do day and multi-day tours, use Dynafit FT 12 mounted on a 188 Coomback; I don’t use it inbounds, not on purpose anyway. Thanks.

  127. jo diamond May 4th, 2011 4:24 am


    i am about to embark on a trip up a 7500m hill in China called Mustagh Ata. we will be ski touring all the way up and i have been looking at the Scarpa Maestrales as a good boot to use – lightness and good ski-ability downhill… I was wondering what you thought about the warmth of these boots. We are likely to encounter some tough temperatures and i am interested to know if the weight saving has created any warmth issues..

    i would be grateful for any comments – and if any one has been up Muztagh, please let me know as it would be great to hear about your experiences…!!


  128. Lou May 4th, 2011 5:47 am

    Jo, it’s pretty much a given that unless you are very fast and conditions are mild, you need overboots for insurance when using ski boots at high altitude. 40 Below has some excellent offerings.

    Also, how you fit the boots has a lot to do with how warm they are. Some folks upsize one size, then use insoles and such to fill and insulate.

    For extensive discussion of this see our Denali posts about boots.

  129. stevenjo May 4th, 2011 10:12 am

    Jo – I agree with Lou that the size, and how well it lets blood circulate in the foot, will play a key role. On that note the Maestrale, in my opinion, is geared toward a lower volume foot. I had mine molded for maximum forefoot space, and haven’t had too much trouble staying warm in 20F temps, but was pretty chilly, as was my whole body, on one 2F morning in the Sierras. As an alternative, the black diamond Prime is a boot with quite a bit of forefoot space for those with larger volume feet.

  130. Lou May 4th, 2011 10:32 am

    Black Diamond definitely has a last with a nice sized toe box. During last spring’s Denali trip, my feeling was the Scarpa Spirit 3 was the best Denali skiing boot out there as it combined a good amount of volume with proven performance and reasonable weight. BD was still a bit new, but by now I think they’ve come into their own. The BD liners are nice, but for Denali you’d probably want to swap in something that was warmer, such as Intuition Pro Tour. And again, mold with toe room and bring overboots just in case.

    I found it very difficult to keep my feet warm on Denali at the higher altitudes, even though I’ve got nothing worse than average circulation in my feet. Thus, I was glad I’d spent a lot of time and money on my ski boot system, as well as sacrificing some ski performance by using an oversized boot.

    Regarding Maestrale for Denali, I’d say for Denali you’d want to wait for next season’s manufacturing run with bugs such as occasionally breaking tongue hinges taken care of. And regarding Maestrale toe volume, for an average volume foot you could just blow out the toe shell a bit and it would probably be fine, or even use stock with overboot if you’ve got good circ.

  131. Bar Barrique May 4th, 2011 11:25 pm

    I would agree that the BD efficient series shells have generous toe room, however, the liners do not seem to have the potential to fill that space. These boots could be a good choice for folks with a wider foot, but, you may need an after market liner to get the fit you need.

  132. Lou May 5th, 2011 5:29 am

    Bar, yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Aftermarket thermo liner to get the most warmth out of BD boots.

  133. Geoff May 15th, 2011 10:39 am

    Lou, did Louie ever find a solution to the icing problem on the lean/lock mechanism on his Maestrale’s?

  134. Lou May 15th, 2011 11:06 am

    Not that I know of, but he did have a problem with the tongue hinges breaking, and figured out a cool hardware store fix so he could keep on moving. He also removed the lower monster sized buckle. Louie?

  135. pal May 16th, 2011 9:42 am

    couple thoughts on maestrale

    -walk mode mechanism is not aligned properly; I noticed when I loosened the screws holding the mechanism to the boot just a bit the binding of the mechanism disappeared. Scarpa seems to have tried to address this with 2 washers under each of the lower fasteners between the mechanism housing and the plastic cuf,f but it is not enough. I added another set of washers under the lower fasteners and one set under the top ones. You have to buy longer screws, M4 x14, and trim them a bit with electrical screw trimming pliers. The parts are clearly better aligned and no binding
    – wear of the walk mechanism seems to gum up the operation, The parts were very dirty with black residue for a newish boot.
    – I added another hole to reduce forward lean, the boot is now all day comfortable. I need to be able to stand, traverse and ski lower angle slopes without constantly changing the walk/ski mode
    -. With all the buckling this boot has it seems impossible to have all buckles working; when you tighten one, one of the others ends up loose/ineffective. I am trying to decide which lower buckle to remove. I skied a day with one boot with power strap and one w/o, and didn’t notice much difference; I removed spoiler and power straps.

  136. pal May 16th, 2011 9:59 am

    – the screw and t nut attachments for buckles is not a good feature. Those things eventually will come off. Some of mine became loose even though there was clearly a bunch of loctite on them.

  137. Lou May 16th, 2011 10:12 am

    I like that nearly everything has user friendly fasteners, but they do need a better way of keeping them from loosening. Louie’s been using a dab of epoxy on the threads, that seems to work.

    Agree about the buckles, four is generally done just so the boot looks better and can be called “4 Buckle.” On smaller sizes especially, removing either the lower one or upper one can be fine. Even larger guys with larger size boots can sometimes remove a buckle and do fine. Depends on skiing style etc.

    Good point about the lean lock, I’ll take a look at Lisa’s and see how it’s holding up.


  138. Kevin May 16th, 2011 10:50 am

    Just finished work for the season and need some local ski partners… anyone around (carbondale/ RFV)
    would love to get out in the elks as much as possible

    – Kevin
    303 709 5359

  139. gonzoskijohnny May 16th, 2011 4:57 pm

    I too have noticed the iced-up cuff lock occasionally-
    like red mtn pass early spring pow, or tahoe late spring pow-
    when cool snow trailbreaing in AM packs into everything, then temps warm up in sun, then you get to ridgetops with freezing cold wind-
    methinks it is the snow melitng into the lock holes, then freezing in place.
    while skiing down with the lever flipped to lock after a few thou descent 😀 it “clicks” in- or (bravely)8O using bare hands on alu. heel piece gets it warmed up to work-
    probably some silicone sprayed in there to help make it more hydrophobic?

  140. stevenjo May 24th, 2011 10:59 pm

    Just wanted to make a note about Scarpa’s customer service. The screw on the front of the tongue backed out again (partially my fault because i used blue locktite, last time) and unfortunately lost it. As suggested by Lee, I contacted scarpa noting the lost screw and also asked for an ‘extra’ for my repair kit. Three days later I had a pack of assorted hardware including multiple tongue replacement screws and hinges. Kudos to Scarpa

    As an aside, I wanted to make a note about the hinged tongue. After a full winters use, I think they take a little extra time to get in and out of but time well invested in terms of ease, and the lifetime of the hardware. On this latter part, getting in and out of the boot the way one would with a normal tongued boot (pushing forward) puts a terrible force on those lower hinges if the respective buckles are undone. Best, to slow down, pull the rear cuff back and fold the tongue out.

  141. Mac May 31st, 2011 6:39 am


    Since you so kindly offered…I’m looking at investing in a new tech B/C set up when I get back from my deployment. I’m fairly certain I’ll be going towards a K2 Hardside or similar and a looking at either the Maestrale, Titan or Radium as my one boot / ski does all.

    I probably ski 60/40 BC/ on field, and cetainly don’t mind the odd walk in, multi-day tour but while I’m not hucking cliffs, perfomance trumps weight.

    Assuming they all fit, any thoughts on the pros and cons of the above?



  142. Lee Lau May 31st, 2011 9:49 am

    Mac – anecdotally speaking to Radium because I haven’t tried it. Titan is stiffer than Radium which is stiffer than Maestrale.

    Maestrales’ walk mode is the best of the three with Titan second and Radium third.

    Radium’s liner apparently has a short lifespan. Titan and Maestrale’s Intuition liners are better.

    Hope that helps.

  143. Mac June 1st, 2011 1:49 am


    My initial reaction was to go for the Titans, but there’s something about the beef and lack of a rockered sole which just has me wondering about those walks up the Tasman….

    Anyway, thanks for the quick reply!


  144. Daniel Landry June 18th, 2011 7:57 am

    I am trying to decide between the Dynafit Zzero 4 C TF and the Scarpa Maestrale. Which one is the stifest and wich one is the most comfortable in walking mode?

    Thanks for your help.

  145. Lee Lau June 18th, 2011 10:31 am


    I answered that very same question upthread – look at November 25th, 2010 12:34 pm

    They fit very differently

  146. Daniel Landry June 18th, 2011 8:45 pm

    Thanks Lee,

    Both boot seem very similar in performance (on the up and down). I will have to try both and see which one fits the best.

  147. Heinz Berger June 19th, 2011 4:00 pm


    best Kokanee (and many other) pix! Thanks, really appreciate your artistry! I am 68, 185 lbs., and ski on average 45+ days as CSIA instructor and tour enthusiast, all on my old Scarpa Denalis. It’s high time to renew but I’m scared to part with them due to bad new boot experiences. I want to keep my one-quiver philosophy intact, inbound-backcountry.
    Would you recommend the Maestrale, or have you any other suggestions? Fritschi Freerides are my preferred bindings.

    Thanks! Heinz

  148. Lee Lau June 19th, 2011 6:34 pm

    Thanks Heinz!

    FYI the Denalis are narrower than Maestrales so check the fit! If you’re a CSIA you’ve probably got good form and don’t need the support of a big boot so I’d suspect Maestrale would be fine for you.

  149. Tom September 9th, 2011 2:24 pm

    How’s the fit on these?
    I’ve always been comfortable in a 27.5 boot (I wear size 10 shoes), but from the Scarpa website, it looks like they’re recommending 27s.
    Any info?

  150. Lou September 9th, 2011 3:15 pm

    I’d try the 27 first…

  151. Tom September 10th, 2011 9:12 am

    Thanks. I’ll try the 27s.

  152. Bill September 26th, 2011 8:39 pm

    Lou, Louie,

    I have a similar question to Mac. I’m trying to decide between the Maestrale and the Radium. I’m comfortable that I can get a good fit out of either of them. I’ll be using them predominantly for BC/peak descents, but may get the odd area day on them. Since you have skied them and Lee hadn’t, I’m wondering if you could weigh in here.

    I’m also looking to pick up a pair of the Voile Vectors and wondered what length you’d recommend. I’m 5’11” and 160 lbs without any gear and ski pretty aggressively. Seems like anything other than the 180s would be short, but …



  153. Louie September 27th, 2011 10:00 am

    Even though the Radium and Maestrale are both 4 buckle boots, they are pretty different in how they ski and tour. Different enough that they cover two spots in my boot quiver.

    I’d say the Maestrales would work great for you, especially if you pair them with the Vector. The Radiums will definitely ski better, but the incredible walk mode and weight of the Maestrales is worth it. If you are planning on using the boots for big skis (110+ underfoot, 180+ length), or lots of charging on the resort, you might want to use the Radium instead. Try to try them out before you buy, if you can.

    Definitely go with the 180s for the Vectors. Long skis truck, short skis suck! 😀

  154. Scott October 6th, 2011 1:18 pm

    Has anyone done any mild to moderate climbing in the Maestrales? I’m thinking about the mountaineering variety (M2-4, WI2-3, maybe 4?), not the straight up WI5 stuff. Looking for that perfect boot (haha) for BC skinning, skiing and climbing that’s warm enough to hang out at the belay too.
    Any thoughts?

  155. Scott October 6th, 2011 3:17 pm

    Don’t laugh, but I’ve used my Scarpa T2 tele boots for ice climbing, like WI3-4 range. They worked, but were pretty clunky, and I got made fun of by other climbers, like comments such as, “what are you cross training or something?”

    Seems to me that an AT boot would be fine for ice, just heavier, but resistance just makes you stronger right? They’re crampon compatible. Warm. And flip the ski/walk switch, probably flexible enough too, but maybe too flexible?

  156. Scott October 6th, 2011 3:20 pm

    Also check out this post, looks like he’s wearing Scarpa Spirit 4’s for some ice climbing. Looks pretty functional to me.

  157. Scott October 6th, 2011 4:14 pm

    Most interesting… I figured it had been done. Kinda seems like the logical choice for mountaineering.

    And I spent a fortune on new tele gear and bindings last year – should have sprung for AT!! Drat.

    Now to figure out which boot might be best. Seems like the Maestrales are bound to be in the running. Hmmm.

    And thanks very much for the response!


  158. stephen October 6th, 2011 8:10 pm

    If you bought Scarpa tele boots last year the Maestrales apparently fit the same as these and the F series AT boots; the latter use the tele boot last. If you have Garmont tele boots then you need to try the Maestrales on, as both the last and shell break points are different. Older Scarpa AT boots (i.e., Spirits) use a different, higher volume last. This could be really good or really bad, depending.

    FWIW, I’ve found the T2X/T4/F3 all have identically shaped lowers, with cuffs on the F3 and T2X the same too. The liners differ, and I much prefer the tongue liners in the F3 to the overlaps in the T2X as they allow more ankle flex and create much less shin pressure when covering ground. With the F3 liners I don’t need to tape my shins, but the T2X liners remove skin if I don’t. YMMV…

  159. Jeremy October 24th, 2011 12:33 pm

    Great reviews Lee. I’m looking at replacing my 5 yr old Garmont Adrenalines. Like I’ve read in a couple of talkbacks I concur they feel like having your feet in concrete and they have always been too big for me. In pow they are ok, but anything else it is pretty grim.

    I have narrow heels and a wide fore-foot with plenty of bony-ness so finding something that fits is a challenge. I tried on the Maestrales and the fit was very nice. The walk mode was exceptional and the flex felt good as well.

    However I am concerned about their capabilites on the down. I ride aggressively on a pair of 194 cm EHP’s fitted with Fritschi Freerides and am 6′ and about 185 lbs. Any thoughts?

  160. Erin October 24th, 2011 12:44 pm

    I have a pair of Maestrales that I skied on last year and have used for the several times I have gone out so far this year. They are a great touring boot and very comfortable. I have skied them on 191 cm Atomic Access and 192 cm Atomic Bent Chetlers on everything from deep deep powder to boiler plate crust. They are great on the Access skis (100mm at the waist moderate flex) however they simply are not enough boot to drive the Bent Chetlers (123mm at the waist stiff). If it is deep powder they are okay on the big skis but anything else and the softness in the boots holds back my skiing. They are stiff enough to make the turns on hard crust on the smaller skis okay but beyond that they are just a little too soft. I am 5′ 11″ 180 pounds and ski aggressively. I also have a pair of Mobes, love them for stiffness but they are a heavy boot and make touring less enjoyable. Hope this helps.

  161. Jeremy October 25th, 2011 8:18 am

    Thanks Erin. I’ll give the Mobe a try as well.

  162. Lee Lau October 25th, 2011 12:19 pm


    Maestrale’s might be overpowered by that setup. EHPs are big burly skis. You could do it but like Erin said, it might not be the best match. I’ve used my Maestrales with BD Verdicts (97 underfoot) but on Megawatts they’re a bit of a handful (125 underfoot)

    Try the Mobe (what Erin said) or the Skookum. If you fit Maestrale, you’ll fit both those other choices. You might even fit the Dynafit offerings too.

  163. Heinz Berger November 6th, 2011 10:39 am

    From: “Heinz & Emilie Berger”
    To: “- Comments – WildSnow Blog”
    Subject: Re: [- The Backcountry Skiing Blog] New Comment On: Salomon BBR
    Date: Thursday, November 03, 2011 10:22 PM

    Hello Lee,

    just a quick question re the backcountry/piste combination skis:

    Did you ever get any feedback on the new Salomon BBR? Sounds like the ideal
    one-quiver ski that can do it all: Rip on piste and float on tour. Combined
    with the Fritschi Freeride.
    What’s your take on this? I’m the CSIA Level II guy, weigh 190 lbs and am
    six feet tall. What lenghth, etc, etc.?



  164. Lee Lau November 6th, 2011 7:40 pm

    Sorry Heinz – I don’t have the faintest idea about that ski

  165. Rock N Roll Sports November 26th, 2011 11:57 am

    Thanks for the great review! We are always stoked to see good reviews on the products that we carry in the shop! – One peice of advice that we recommend to all our customers is to take all the buckles off, lock-tight them and put them back on. Scarpa will replace the buckles if you lose them, but it is a little bit of a bummer to lose a buckle while skiing.

  166. Andy December 4th, 2011 6:19 pm

    Thanks for all of the great reviews and commentary. Like others, I am buying my first AT after doing all of my touring on Tele gear and many decades of aggressive alpine skiing. I tried a number of boots that would be tour friendly for the once a year long trip, but will be ok for the tougher snow and the days at the resort. (Here in the Wasatch there are days when you don’t want to tempt the avalanche gods)

    The Maestrale felt great out of the box on my high arch, skinny heeled, narrow ankled foot. On the carpet the forward flex seemed very soft, but the lateral stiffness was pretty good. The BD Quadrants were the only other boot I tried that seemed to work (no Mobes were I was). It is not as comfortable out of the box, but seems like ti would work with some molding, custom footbed and maybe a butterfly for heel hold. On the other had, I liked its firm, progressive flex (billed as a 120, for what its worth).

    The general opinion here seems to be that fit triumphs all and that a little more balanced stance, and skiing my age (55 but I keep forgetting) should be fine. I am 150 lbs 5’10” skiing on Coombacks. I am tempted to violate fit is first rule and work on the Quadrants, but wanted some expert advice.

  167. Lee Lau December 4th, 2011 7:31 pm


    Do you feel lucky?

    Not to be a smartass, but FIT is # 1. I would say the same thing if you told me you fit the Quadrant the best

  168. Lou December 4th, 2011 9:25 pm

    Ditto. And that’s why BD has made some excellent (I assume, knowing them) and big changes for 2012/2013 in how their liners feel during shop fitting. They’ve realized that if a customer can’t get a good fit out of the box, the customer will frequently look elsewhere. Fitting at many people as possible with the same liner has to be rocket science or at least some for of voodoo, but at least they’re trying and I suspect will have a modicum of success.

    Nonetheless, power users do tend to select shell first, then tweak the fit. To do so, in many cases you’ d better have contract with a boot fitter, or be one yourself. Thus, back to what Lee said. Ditto.

  169. stephen December 4th, 2011 9:38 pm

    Just to emphasise what Lee and Lou have said, this southern winter I tried on a pair of TLT5 boots belonging to a friend. He had always said he’d had problems with getting things to fit due to his very wide feet, and had given up on both Scarpa and Garmont as a result. I tend to have the opposite problem as I have narrow, low volume feet, but his boots were my shell size so I thought it was worth a try. I was amazed to find that his boots fitted my feet *better* than my F3s, the latter moulded by a very competent and experienced boot fitter.

    Based on this experience, I’d say getting the right shell really, really helps a lot more than you might think. (And am now considering a set of TLT5 boots.)

  170. Bar Barrique December 4th, 2011 10:34 pm

    If you have a wide high volume foot, the Quadrants with after market liners are a good option. But; if your foot has less volume, and, you find a boot that fits it well, it should probably be your first choice. I always try to find a “performance fit” shell. You can probably make the Maestrales stiffer with an Intuition overlap liner. If you are touring mostly for powder turns, the Maestrale should work, I weigh in at a similar weight, and, I am very happy.
    Just basically repeating what Lou, and, Lee said

  171. Andy December 5th, 2011 2:38 pm

    Thanks Lee, Lou, and Bar. I think your expertise matched my instinct. Perhaps some Powerwrap liners might be a mod for later but I will pull the trigger on the Maestrales at BD today. It looks like we may have more hard snow days/crust days than last year so I will let you know.

  172. stevenjo December 5th, 2011 3:42 pm

    Andy –
    Small point, but making sure the ratcheting ‘ankle’ buckle is snug/tight seems to help with the stiffness. The portion of the tongue that sits underneath that buckle is bellowed – nice for touring not descending – and deforms (straighter and wider) as you flex forward. Keeping the buckle tight seems to help keep the tongue in its more natural curve-like shape and more resistant to forward flex. Not sure if this makes sense but seems to help for me. Good luck.

  173. thomas February 9th, 2012 11:44 am

    Hey guys, I’ve been a lurker for a while and have garnered lots of good info from you guys, so thanks for that. I bought a pair of Maestrales and am very happy with them so far. The walk mode is incredible and they ski pretty darn good too. One question that I wanted to ask as a newbie to this boot, how do you adjust the forward lean between 18 and 22 degrees? I feel like one boot is in 18 and the other in 22. Lil help please! Thanks in advance.

  174. stevenjo February 10th, 2012 10:47 am

    Hard to say. It’s an annoying feature of a lot of AT boots and – like Lou – I wish they would just go with one to avoid the concern you point out.

    I’ve had the best luck doing the following: step into the bindings with heal and toe secured, lightly snug all buckles and have the walk/ski switch in ski mode. Apply strong forward pressure on the shins, then slowly pulling the walk mode switch toward walk so that you can feel it release (your shin should go forward some) and then flip back to ski mode and ease off forward pressure until you feel it lock again, hopefully in the most forward of the two lean positions. Do this a few times with strong forward pressure and another few times without and you should start to notice the difference in forward lean.

    Once you feel confident that you are in the forward most position you can take a sharpie and mark a horizontal line at the upper most part of the vertical slide bar (or whatever it is called) so that it barely shows in the far forward position and actually slides up into the switch/latch cover at the lower angle position and thus should be out of sight.

    There may be other, better, ways but this has worked for me and creates a somewhat easy way to keep each boot at the same forward lean at the transitions. Reapply sharpie as necessary, or hash with something more permanent like ginger hacksaw stroke to score the surface… if you feel confident in line’s placement.

    Good luck

  175. Lou February 10th, 2012 5:09 pm

    The sharpie method is what I recommend as well. Thanks Steven for helping out with your description of doing it!

  176. Thomas February 12th, 2012 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the responses and helpful info, Steven and Lou. I sent an email to Scarpa and this is what I received in response:

    “The switch from 18 to 22 degrees is pretty easy. The ski/walk mechanism has two predrilled holes at the 18 and 22 degree mark; it’s just a matter of figuring out which direction to approach each setting. To lock the boot into the 18 degree position, flip the lever up into walk mode, lean as far back as you can and push the cuff back. Flip the lever into ski mode and lean forward. The first click you hear is the 18 degree setting. To get into the 22 degree setting, flip the lever into walk mode, lean as far forward as the can, to the cuff’s maximum forward lean. Flip the lever back down and lean back until you hear a click. This is the 22 degree mode. ”

    I hope you guys find this as helpful as I have.

    Thanks again.

  177. Evan August 22nd, 2013 2:45 pm

    Hey, i was thinking of getting maestrale rs’s or just the maestrales for the upcoming season. My skiing is mainly backcountry touring, but usually get a few resort days as well. I am 14 years old, around 5ft 7, and around 140ish pounds. Both seem like a great boot, and i was debating whether or not the regular maestrales would be stiff enough for those resort days, and daily cliffs whether in backcountry or resort. Part of the decision would be my weight i think, as im a smaller guy, i wouldnt need quite the stiffness. The boots im coming off of are garmont grides, and they seemed a bit soft for resort.

    Thanks, Evan

  178. Lou Dawson August 22nd, 2013 3:52 pm

    Evan, no doubt, go with the RS. Lou

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