Maestrale RS – Perl Says “Best Boots Ever”

Post by blogger | February 7, 2013      
Bob's Maestrale RS with an add-in wrap liner from Intuition.

Bob's Maestrale RS with an add-in wrap liner from Intuition.

I can’t seem to swing a dead cat with out hitting white these days, both in the form of snow that is finally coming our way in Colorado, and all of the white boots I’m surrounded by. You’d think the the manufacturers must have all used the same bin of plastic pellets to make their boots (perhaps they did, it’s Montebelluna after all). Yet despite the confusion of white, one shoe has stood out. So far the Scarpa Maestrale RS has become the go-to boot I grab as I head out the door.

Yep, for those of us in the trenches, who work cat, heli or patrol and recreate on tours long and short, sidecountry, hike to terrain in bounds, ride lifts and want the best weight-to-performance ratio, the Maestrale RS is in my opinion the shoe of choice.

It wasn’t all that long ago that to achieve the kind of ski performance offered by the RS you had to strap on eight to ten pounds of beef and forego significant cuff articulation. Between better materials and engineering, downhill performance once reserved for those heavy boots is now combined with superb cuff mobility in touring mode. With RS this is all wrapped in to one neat 7lb. package (give or take a few ounces). Plus, due to a standard DIN sole you have the freedom to choose between tech or frame bindings per your whim on any given day. (9523 touring boot standard, not alpine, simply meaning it’s not a short trimmed sole and will function in a binding such as a Fritschi Diamir.)

Scarpa RS employs the unique axial hinged tongue design that defines the Maestrale series. Obviously Scarpa feels this adds to the performance of the boot and all evidence seems to support their theory (idea being that the lower part of the tongue is solidly anchored to the boot shoe, rather than floating in a small tab at the toe). That said, the side hinged tongue does make getting in and out of the boot a bit more difficult than some boots. It requires a very specific sequence of events which when employed makes it easy to slide in and out. After a few days the magic sequence becomes second nature and only a minor inconvenience. But try and short change the process and you will just frustrate yourself with pinched fingers and too much time penalty.

I went all-in with new boots this year when I sold all of my last season’s boots at the local swaps this fall. My first day of skiing this season was also my first day on the RS. So much for that old familiar feeling. Right off, compared to other AT boots I’ve owned I noticed I was in a stiffer boot that begs for modern ski technique. Forget the a-frame and knee angulation because these babies reward parallel legs, lateral motion and hip angulation. Just tip and turn. At first the stiffness was unnerving for my 128 pounds. I felt a bit defensive and on my heels. The next day I put a heel lift in under the liner and all of a sudden I was in the driver’s seat: power, agility, responsiveness with a nice progressive flex all rolled into one.

But early season in Aspen meant being relegated to man made snow and groomers only. What about once you get off the artificial piste and onto Mother Nature’s natural surface? Luckily the ski gods smiled on me with a quick one day trip to Targhee where the early season conditions were faring much better. Skiing the variables of natural snow and a variety of terrain requires subtlety and finesse as well as power. The RS answered the call allowing for all of the adjustments I needed to make for the snow and terrain I encountered.

Most importantly is powder. Yes, even with Colorado’s dry winter we’re getting in some pow days now that wetter (ha) February has rolled around. The RS once again proved subtle providing support while adjusting fore/aft balance, making quick moves in the trees or letting them run in the wide open. When the snow felt supportive I could drive the skis from the front of the boots, and when necessary I could stand in the neutral sweet spot and let the Maestrale’s keep me there without a fight.

I really appreciate that Scarpa uses the highest quality Intuition liners for their boots. The liner in the RS is no exception. That said, I did switch to my Intuition Powerwrap liners in short order due to my very skinny lower legs, ankles and heels. The Powerwrap takes up the extra space, while the stock liner would not. I have no doubt the extra material between my leg and the front of the boot made them stiffer and put me in a more upright position. Hence the heel lift.

Beyond my own fooling around with liners, comments regarding fit and performance have been universal from everyone I have talked to that has skied the RS. From my normal up front and skinny in the back feet, to my business partners wide feet and my friend with the ugliest feet in Aspen, all have been able to get an adequate fit (albeit my circle knows the importance of working with a boot fitter and custom liners when necessary). All of us have commented on the RS being stiffer than what we were used to and glad for the enhanced performance.

Here is a good testimony to sum it up: After borrowing my boots over the course of a couple of days, my business partner at Aspen Powder Tours proclaimed “these are real boots” and promptly ordered a pair. He’s probably owned 75 pairs of boots over a lengthy career, and skied in three times that many. ‘Nuff said.

Shop for Scarpa Maestrale RS backcountry skiing boot.

(Guest blogger Bob Perlmutter and his wife Sue live in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, where Bob manages Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, a snowcat skiing operation. Bob has sought adventure skiing over the past thirty years, in the nearby Elk Mountains as well as locales around the world. Presently, he is reeling it in close to home and enjoying his biggest adventure yet, fatherhood.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


86 Responses to “Maestrale RS – Perl Says “Best Boots Ever””

  1. Lee Lau February 7th, 2013 10:24 am

    Of the boots I’ve tried wo boot companies stand out far from the pack for touring boots. Scarpa is most definitely one of them

  2. Mark W February 7th, 2013 11:50 am

    Maestrale RS has the Cayman sole by Vibram, which is not DIN certified like Scarpa’s Ride sole, but yes, it does interface fine with plate style AT bindings as well as tech bindings.

  3. Tom Gos February 7th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Bob, you mention comparrison with other boots you have used, for context, how about a short run down on the other boots you have been skiing in recent years?

  4. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 12:54 pm

    Mark, we’re just referring to the DIN touring boot sole shape standard, mainly alluding to the fact that this boot will work in frame bindings. Lou

  5. Dave Field February 7th, 2013 3:06 pm

    Hi Bob, I couldn’t help but notice the green tint to your powerwrap liners. By any chance are these the intuition version from a Dalbello Krypton? The reason I ask is I have the Krypton liners and they appear to be a smidge taller than the factory silver and black intuition powerwraps. I appreciate the extra height as they seem to interact better with the velcro powerstrap. I had issues with shin bang using the stock tongue intuition liners in my Scarpas.

  6. Jed February 7th, 2013 6:25 pm

    I’ve been rocking the RS boots a week or two now, after two seasons in the original orange Maestrales. The RS is indeed considerably stiffer. With little to no noticeable sacrifice in tour-ability.

    One note of caution, however, on what we may eventually call the obsolete tour/ski mode “bar”. Like most AT boots up to recently, the Maestrale family uses a steel bar connecting cuff and lower boot. A latch essentially grabs the bar when in ski mode, while the bar slides back and forth in the cuff in tour mode. Dynafit has changed this up, and it looks like others are trying different approaches as well. (see Lou’s freeride tour boot overview…) Reason for the omission being, that the bar offers some measure of inherent friction while in tour mode.

    However, and here’s the word of caution, the friction in these Maestrale boots (both orange and white and presumably the women’s models and 3-buckle versions) is far greater when new than after a tour or two. So, shop trials of, say, a Dynafit Mercury vs a Maestrale (Or Vulcan vs RS?) will reveal a considerable difference in cuff mobility. But a few hundred flex cycles in tour mode will narrow the tour-mode-friction gap quite a bit.

    I’d argue even that the gap in cuff mobility between barred and bar-free boots, once the mechanism breaks in, is much less than it is made out to be. Primarily on account of the store-trial phenomenon. In the end, of course, fit matters. But don’t be turned off of these boots with more traditional ski/tour mechanisms on account of the in-store experience. Make sense?

  7. PowderGangster February 7th, 2013 7:30 pm

    Power Wraps and those boots would make a serious in bounds weapon. I find them plenty responsive and stiff with a regular pro tour liner…. Make me want to try throwing my power wraps in there and blast them in bounds.

    One thing I would say is that the lightweight boots is that durability is an issue. If you use sleds for access or do lots of scrambling the boot plastic is soft. With about 40 days mine are showing some pretty good wear.

  8. Bob Perlmutter February 7th, 2013 10:09 pm

    Hi Tom, my reference to seeing white everywhere these days includes the Dynafit Mercury and Garmont Cosmos. Prior to this season I spent the past number of years on multiple pairs of Garmont Axons and part of last season on a Scarpa Rush for uphilling fitness. Specifically, while I thought the Cosmos was a very well conceived boot with a great fit for my foot, I found it a bit too soft to use as a one boot quiver. For me, if it was relegated to touring only with a beefier boot for all other uses, it would fit right in to the program. The Dynafit Mercury is another boot with amazing performance in a 7lb. package. Frankly, I haven’t had the time to fine tune the fit and haven’t been overly motivated given how easy it is to grab the RS and go!

  9. Bob Perlmutter February 7th, 2013 10:37 pm

    Hi Dave, yes that is the Dalbello branded Intuition Powerwrap liner. I honestly haven’t paid enough attention as to any difference in height between the factory vs. Dalbello version. That said, one of the attractions for me with the Powerwrap is the extended height. Combined with the two overlapping layers of foam, it provides more padding and disperses pressure over my shins much better than a tongue liner.

  10. Bob Perlmutter February 7th, 2013 10:40 pm

    Hi PowderGangster, I wholeheartedly encourage you to throw your Powerwrap liners in your RS and up the ante! You’ll never look back.

  11. AK.Joe February 8th, 2013 12:03 am

    Bob / Lou,

    Two questions: I was confused by the mention of “due to a standard DIN sole you have the freedom to choose between tech or frame bindings as per your whim on any given day.” This boot looks like it has a tech sole? No?

    The related question: can you provide your thoughts on reduction of consistent release values with a rubber tech sole in a Marker frame binding (ie Tour F12 with Cochise tech. sole) vs a DIN sole. Some binding techs say it is significant, others say, small issue, no problem. I know the binding is not certified for DIN standard release with a tech binding, but in practical terms (not legal ones), is this a problem?

    Many thanks

  12. Magnus February 8th, 2013 1:22 am

    No mention of how it tours? I bought the RS based on good fit vs the Mercury which felt dangerously tight on the instep. I figured touring stride and feel would be good on both, mostly based on great reviews of the orange maestrale. Used the RS for 6 touring days (about 1000 meter vertical tours) and felt that there was so much forward resistance due to the stiff tounge, that i basically had a better touring feel with my Titans. The RS force my knee back and makes it difficult to put weight on my heels since it’s diffucult to angle my ankle forward. There must be a significant difference from the original maestrale tounge which had the inmolded softer plastic at the instep fold. It was most noticable when scrambling on rocks, and booting and using crampons. Still a great boot, loved the downhill, but no touring slipper! Probably quite individual though. I sold it.

  13. damian February 8th, 2013 4:52 am

    I found that the orange Maestrale v.2 hardware to fell off/broke. Repeatedly. And it lost significant fit and performance after the tongue lost its curvature around the boot. Is the RS any stronger after 100+ days of use? My 300+ day old Radiums ski infinitely better than my 150 day old Maestrale mangos. I’d like the Maestrale line more if I didn’t have to pay full retail for my shoes, and could treat them as seasonal consumables. Because they are good when new, but they do not go the distance with a full season of usage and need to be replaced once a year. That aint good enough.

  14. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 5:49 am

    AK, a boot sole conforming to ISO and DIN standard 9523 can have tech fittings. “Sole” is sort of a misnomer, as ISO 9523 is really just the shape of the lower boot area that interfaces with a touring binding such as a Diamir.

    You can see the DIN/ISO 9523 standard in the following blog post.

    Maestrale (and nearly any AT boot that doesn’t have a “trimmed” sole such as TLT5) has a DIN 9523 sole.

    There is no standard for tech fittings, but they can be present.

    To answer your question about rubber soles interacting with frame bindings. If the binding has a sliding AFD and is adjusted properly, I see no more trouble with rubber soles than with dirty alpine boot soles. In other words, not a big deal. That said, if you’re using frame bindings and have AT boots with a sole that has the hardened areas to interact with the binding, so much the better.


  15. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 5:53 am

    Damian, this review is for the Maestrale RS, not the original Maestrale. They’re different boots. Thus, I don’t understand the point of your comment other than to give us your experience with a discontinued product.


  16. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 6:01 am

    Gangster, that’s a good point about wear. An issue that will never go away so long as AT boots are made to be lighter weight rather than clunky.

    Alpine boots get pretty messed up as well when used for snowmobiling and rock scrambling. In fact, since an alpine sole and binding are so sensitive to the shape and condition of the boot sole, I’d be willing to bet an alpine boot could get messed up just as fast — come to think of it.


  17. Lee Lau February 8th, 2013 8:58 am

    Magnus. Too late for you but Maestrale RS toured as well as Maestrale if you slackened off all the buckles. I left the top buckle undone and the powerstrap undone to get that same touring stride.

    Damian. 30+ days on RS; have checked the hardware and none of the hardware needed retightening. Appears that has been fixed. No appreciable wear on bootsole or upper.

  18. Bob Perlmutter February 8th, 2013 11:45 am

    Hi Magnus, yeah, like Lee Lau said. My experience on the uphill with the RS is very positive. I leave the two lower buckles undone and the two upper buckles latched on the catch but in the open position with the powerstrap barely engaged. Basically the same as I have done with every other boot for the last hundred years. I have skinned, booted and walked in the RS and it feels like a very natural stride. Not quite as much so as the Rush but there is no comparison in the downhill performance between the two boots. Certainly no TLT5 but I’m looking at the RS as a one boot quiver which a TLT5, Rush or other similar 5-6lb. boots could never accomplish.

  19. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 11:47 am

    I just reviewed the DIN/ISO standard for AT boots, 9523:2008.

    It says: “Boot sole interface areas with the binding — The boot sole interface areas … In the toe interface area and in the heel interface area there shall be no gaps > 10 mm between two studs in any direction. ”

    The areas this applies to are pretty small, a left/right band at the toe corresponding to AFDs, and a small patch at the boot heel that doesn’t even go out to the sole edges. Again, very easy for most boots to comply.

    I bring this up because any “normally” shaped AT boot has the “DIN” sole shape in terms of how the toe and heel fit in a frame bindings, but some boots might lack the requirement for a sole/binding interface. As it is, the interface standard is quite liberal, allowing a two centimeter gap between sole lugs. I’m pretty sure the Scarpa sole adheres to this standard, so I’ll continue to call it a DIN sole.

  20. Harry February 8th, 2013 3:09 pm

    In other DIN/ISO news at least two non touring alpine bindings will be available next year that are indemnified for both DIN/ISO 9523 and DIN/ISO 5355, one of which may be priced below $200. It makes it much less expensive to mount of resort only skis with bindings that are compatible with AT soles

    I am very excited that products are being made available to make having only one boot across a large quiver of skis easier. If these bindings become widely adopted it could ease a transition to more AT like rockered toes on alpine boots, and help blur the lines further between equipment for resort/sidecountry/backcountry.

    In my experience boots like the RS, or even the orange Maestrale are sufficient for both my inbounds and touring needs, and are a lot easier to chase my 4 year old around the bunny slope in.

    I hope these advances and boots like the RS make skiing more enjoyable for everyone.

  21. damian February 8th, 2013 3:14 pm

    Lou – until I hear otherwise, I assume that the RS will have the same limited durability as the orange model in terms of hardware, and possibly the curve/’fit’ of the tongue around the shell.

    I know of several people who have had ongoing durability problems with the orange boot, and they are equally as dubious about the RS. Many people simply see the RS as the orange boot in white with different stiffer plastic and so expect that it will inherit most of the same problems.

    For those of us who use boots often and pay full price, this matters.

    You seem a little snarky 🙂

  22. Ted February 8th, 2013 4:10 pm

    Harry- I’ve seen the Marker Lord, can you share the other binding model you are hinting at that is AT boot compatible?

  23. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 4:10 pm

    Sometimes, I’m human. I guess that means I get snarky. Or, perhaps I’m just trying to quickly get a point across in the middle of getting the snowmobile loaded up for the weekend.

    When someone is dubious about a product, that means nothing in terms of the product. It just means they’re dubious.

    The RS hardware is totally different. This is not a big mystery and most people have heard this by now. Not sure why you have not, but now, you are hearing it!

    As for price, believe me, no matter what price we pay here we care about our gear not falling apart.

    There, the snark has spoken. (grin)


  24. Harry February 8th, 2013 4:54 pm

    It is a Tyrolia with the toe based off the Adrenaline binding. I skied it the other day with a 5355 sole, and it has a more substantial adjustment range than the griffon or squire toes when it comes to toe height, but it is a similar style of adjustment ramp.

    I was told it was compatible with both alpine and touring soles. I wasn’t able to button anyone down on their definition of a touring sole. The people I spoke with meant 9523, although I don’t think they are up on the nuances of sole standards outside the alpine world. The literature, which doesn’t reference any DIN/ISO #s isn’t clear on it. It is possible they are referring to their new rockered sole which is an add on to their two new lines of hikeable, interchangeable sole boots. Their touring sole does not have tech fittings, and the boots themselves are heavy.

    The AFD is mechanical. Until I am told specifically that is is DIN/ISO 9523 and not just whatever their version is compatible, a la Salomon Guardian, I am just very excited. I’ll save giddy for after confirmation.

    Either way its a good binding that undercuts the Griffon by $30 MAP.

  25. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 5:06 pm

    Harry, one glitch with all this is that technically a product is not DIN/ISO of any sort until it is certified as such. Many of the AT boots out there seem to be doing fine staying true to 9523:1980 but appear to not bother with the hassle and expense of certification. Or if they do, I’m not seeing it stamped on the boot., which is required in the standard. Can’t blame them. As has been said here many times, standards can be good — except when they’re not. Lou

  26. Harry February 8th, 2013 6:01 pm

    That and anything with the protrusion from the quickstep fitting from Dynafit is non standard as well with ISO 9523:2008 (first update since 1990) IIRC. I am not willing to pay 90 swiss francs for the .pdf download to check

    It is a very gray area right now as actual litigation from binding related lawsuits has been very minimal for some time. Back in the 80’s it was lawsuits left and right, but there was great confidence to sell product from a shop standpoint because a crack legal team from Marker/Look/Tyrolia/Salomon or whoever would jump in and take care of all costs or penalties, so long as we had some form of documentation that a certified technician installed and checked the binding. Those legal teams were so successful in preventing negative judgments against shops and manufactures that suits became rare. That is what indemnification got the shop.

    I know that based on the level of confidence shops have in the binding companies, many shops don’t even torque test new bindings, (my shop does, we are paranoid, but are we paranoid enough?) and a lot of small shops do not have the equipment to do so if they wanted to, or haven’t had their system calibrated yearly as they should to maintain high level of accuracy as stated in the guidelines from VSSE. I don’t know the guidelines for the cool WIntersteiger boot testing robot. Basically the whole system is a lot sloppier nationwide than it was 15 years ago.

    So its a slippery slope on what a shop is willing to be confident a binding company will stand behind. At the moment most people I know are confident so long as there isn’t a big sticker or hang tag saying it is not compatible. We feel Marker will stand behind us with a Titan or Maestrale sole, heck they even changed the wings on their tour bindings so the quicksteps won’t mess them up.

    The same would be true for Tyrolia.

    In conclusion as long as nothing advises us not to do something, and the product is advertised as being compatible, actual certification or not, the current mindset is roll with it. No on AT sole and Guardian. No on TLT5 in plate binding, and no on non 5355ish boots in downhill bindings. Otherwise fair game.

    Tech bindings give us ulcers. I don’t know anyone who is counting on much aide from the current tech bindings companies when it comes to litigation, we just hope that the small volume (compared to alpine) that are sold go to knowledgeable and cool enough people that don’t sue us in event of injury. Even retaining a lawyer to defend a suit that has no merit would put many shops under.

    YMMV on all claims about shops their practices and the legal enviroment, this is only my personal observation and experience.

  27. Mark Worley February 9th, 2013 6:50 am

    Thanks for extensive clarification on DIN sole minutiae. I didn’t intend to stir things up. Thanks for a great review. I might have to give this boot a longer look.

  28. Lou Dawson February 9th, 2013 6:58 am

    Mark, I appreciated the incentive. Even got a full copy of the latest standard to review. Pretty interesting.

  29. Mark W February 9th, 2013 8:58 am

    If you have a PDF you could email me, I’d be happy to see it. Geek time!

  30. Bob Perlmutter February 9th, 2013 10:49 am

    I’m going to leave all of the technical mumbo jumbo up to you guys. I’m going skiing!

  31. Matt February 9th, 2013 12:54 pm

    The Maestrale RS has a great walk mode, but I found this boot to have durablity issues, the lambo hatch door for the tongue seems like a great idea, but the hinges on the tongue are made with cheap mm thick aluminum which broke with only ten days use. Also the boots seem really soft even thought they have 120 flex I have a feeling I will tear these boots to shreds i guess i still need beef boots.

  32. powdergangster February 9th, 2013 1:37 pm


    The wraps are going in. What was your perception in terms of tourability with the stiffer liner vs stock?

  33. Sarah February 9th, 2013 2:29 pm

    Please stop referring to ski boots as shoes. You sound like a douche.

  34. Buck February 9th, 2013 2:42 pm

    Sarah, if you’re really picky there might be some douchey sounding things in the writing/comments, but your comment tops them all by a mile – pure douche. Well done!

  35. Bob Perlmutter February 9th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Hi PowderGangster, you probably lose a little on the uphill but the gain in fit and performance more than makes up for it. As I mentioned prior, I leave all of the buckles in the open position for maximum looseness but on the catch so they don’t flop around. I adjust the powerstrap so the velcro is just barely engaged again for maximum looseness and to not flop around. It’s the same thing I’ve done with every boot I’ve owned for the past 30+ years and they all seem to ski and walk about the same on that basis. Yesterday I skinned up the same place as two days prior yet with a different pair of skis(heavier). I noticed the difference in weight on my feet far more than I ever have going from one liner to another as long as I hang loose as described above.

  36. Jailhouse Hopkins February 9th, 2013 4:33 pm

    My current shoes are Radiums but when these shoes are done, the next shoes will probably be these shoes cuz they sure are some nice looking shoes!

  37. Gart February 11th, 2013 3:55 pm

    Bob, Thanks for the excelent review. I have been skiing in the Skookum for the last three years with a power wrap liner. I use it in bounds and bc. I do like it be it can be a bit soft on hard snow. At times when pressured it will collaps like a bellows in the foot and ankle. Have you skied the Skookum? Are you able to compare? Do you think this boot would ski better especially on firmer snow?

  38. Bob Perlmutter February 11th, 2013 9:44 pm

    Hi Gart, I have skied the Skookum and in it’s day it was a worthy boot but those days have come and gone. I am confident you will find the RS to be superior in every aspect of performance be it up or down. The RS is stiffer laterally, forward, a more lively and responsive material, more precise fit, better walk mode, lighter and last but not least way better looking. Did I leave anything out? Well, you get the point.

  39. etto February 13th, 2013 2:05 pm

    I’ve come to the conclusion that however much I want them to my TLT 5 Mountains can’t always power the skis I use. So I’m considering getting either the Maestrale or the Maestrale RS (also tried on the Cosmos, but with those tech fittings it’s a no go). Now I’m very much in doubt about which Maestrale version to get. I don’t weigh much (about 60kg / 133lbs in my birthday suit). Is there any chance the RS would be too stiff for me? (yes, yes, skiing style and everything aside) I’d mostly use them on K2 Coombacks, in non-powdery conditions.

    The TLT-5s I use for pure touring, while these would be for more lift-based, but still off-piste. Price is not an issue, as I can get them for about the same.

  40. Lou Dawson February 13th, 2013 2:16 pm

    Etto, I don’t think the RS would be too stiff… Lou

  41. etto February 13th, 2013 2:18 pm

    Thanks for an amazingly swift reply, Lou!
    Ordered! (I know they fit)

  42. Lou Dawson February 13th, 2013 2:36 pm

    Tells you what I’m up too, sitting here doing my job, or at least one aspect of it (grin).

  43. Magnus February 19th, 2013 9:33 am

    Bob, and Lee, I always tour with all buckles open, so I did that with the RS as well. Now, after checking a pair of RS in the store, I wonder if they made any changes in the production cause the tounges on my pair were super stiff and really hard to bend. the shop ones were softer for sure.

  44. Lou Dawson February 19th, 2013 9:44 am

    Now that more RS testing has commenced, we’ve ascertained two things:
    1. The hardware on the boot is definitely stronger and more durable.
    2. it’s still possible to break the hinges on the tongue. This has become rare enough to not be what we consider an issue, but nonetheless happens. It has happened to Bob after 40 days of use.

    Just clarifying the little snarky (grin) exchange with Damian above. This is definitely a different boot than the mango colored Maestrale, with different hardware. But the unusual side hinged tongue does get some stress that can work the hardware, perhaps from when it’s opened and closed during normal entry and exit, but possibly from when the lower buckles are tight and it’s skied hard. Or perhaps both these things. As Bob told me, a boot really shouldn’t break after 40 days. On the other hand, the boot can still be skied with a broken tongue hinge.

    Sadly, the RS tounge hinges are secured by rivets instead of threaded fasteners (I’m looking at the women’s version here at HQ), so repair will require drilling out the rivet and so on. I was hoping to report that the repair is as easy as grabbing a hex wrench and some loctite. But I was wrong.

    Apologies to Damian if I was snarky. I wasn’t into comparing nearly entirely different products with their most similarity in their name. On the other hand, his suspicion about the durability of the hardware was valid.

    Bob is evaluating and in contact with Scarpa about this. We’ll report more once we figure out how the repair is don, and get Scarpa’s take. My suspicion is the hinges still need to be stronger, and I have to admit to some surprise that beta testing by Scarpa didn’t pick up on this a long time ago — and fix it.

  45. Harry March 1st, 2013 5:28 pm

    Regarding the $199 MAP dual sole compatible binding from Tyrolia that I had been reliably informed (regional sales rep) would be indemnified for both 9523 and 5355, I have been more reliably informed that it will be only 5355 compatible, from the horses (product managers mouth(email)).

    Sorry if I got anyone to excited about the product. I think it is still a good binding and an excellent and $30 less alternative the the best selling binding alpine out there (Griffon, according to Marker’s sales numbers)

    We will be quadrupling, if not more, our Lord preseason order because of it.

    If there are people who want this binding next year, I would recommend purchasing it from your local ski shop early, as I predict the units brought to the US will not greatly exceed the pre-season orders. It might be tough to special order past mid Oct.

  46. Tom March 3rd, 2013 11:51 pm

    Hi I am presently trying to decide between the Scarpa Maestrale RS or the Dynafit Vulcan. I have some of the ugliest feet for ski boots ever found. Bumps on the side like the start of Sixth toe and a high in step with all the necessary spurs. The width of the boot last is very important as you can understand. I have varying information about the size of the forefoot last on he Vulcans from 100 to 103 and 101 for the Maestrales. I fit a 28.5 boot.
    If you could shed so light on my dilemma my feet and I would be for ever grateful.

  47. Marsh March 5th, 2013 11:38 am

    The axle for the ski/walk switch on my right Maestrale RS bent after a few days of use so that the pin would no longer engage when the switch was set to ski mode.

    Vancouver Ski and Board Services provided a stop-gap fix (the pin would randomly lock even if the switch was set to walk mode), but my replacement parts still haven’t come in from Scarpa and yesterday the ski/walk switch on my left boot failed as well.

    Is this a common problem? I’m an aggressive skier on steep BC terrain but perhaps I spend too much time in the back seat and am too hard on my boots.

  48. Lou Dawson March 5th, 2013 11:44 am

    Hi Marsh, I’d honestly not heard of this, but it’s not surprising. Let’s all remember that if we want lightweight gear, it’s not necessarily as tough as beefier gear. Sounds like you might simply need a stronger boot. On the other hand, that part would be easier to make stronger. Lou

  49. etto March 18th, 2013 4:58 am

    Just thought I’d share mye experience with these boots after about a week of skiing them every day. First, and to many most important: I’m super happy with how they ski! They also tour well, but the transition is a bit of a pain compared to my trusty TLT 5s, even using the tongue on the TLTs! For each boot I need to adjust all the four buckles and the powerstrap, which is quite time consuming. Except for the heel retention buckle none of them “remember” their positions like on the dynafit boots. The buckles stow well while touring though, and their placement is good wrt to boot packing. The liner is super, using my custom molded footbeds. Not a single sore spot on my feet after intensive use!

    I was a bit sceptical of the design of the tongue as that seemed to be a problem to many people using this boot. But guys, really, it is super easy. If you find this difficult/awkward I would be more concerned with you being able to operate a beacon or putting together a shovel…

    The colours are horrendous in real life too, but who cares 🙂

  50. Lou Dawson March 18th, 2013 7:01 am

    Etto, good point about operating a beacon (grin). Same thing goes for tech bindings. Lou

  51. Bill H March 18th, 2013 10:26 am

    Ditto to Etto’s,

    Have been skiing and hiking in these boots all season in both lift-absent and lift-present terrain. No complaints. Did a medial ankle punch on both (I need this in every boot I’ve ever had). The punch has held fine in this plastic (so there’s hope maybe for Tom up above if he needs to punch that 6th toe).

    Only hardware malfunction to report is the cant/cuff alignment rivet fell out of one on a tour. (I did not lock-tite anything after purchase). Called Scarpa in Boulder and they dropped two extra replacement bolts in the mail which arrived in two days, no charge.

    They ski well: if you are chasing your friends through day-after resort chop at GS-speeds and skipping off the tops of old bumps, yes, you can easily tell they aren’t stiff and powerful like an alpine boot. On a tour, with flat snow surface (either soft or firm), you’ll never care, you can ski ’em hard just fine.

  52. Dane April 20th, 2013 8:30 pm

    Anyone have a size comparison of what fits your feet against a Vulcan/One or TLT and the RS? Thanks!

  53. Lee Lau April 20th, 2013 8:46 pm

    Dane – I fit a size 27 in all those boots. The lasts are similar but obviously not identical

  54. Dane April 20th, 2013 9:42 pm

    Thanks Lee, I am a 29 in the TLT and a 28 in the One ans Zero with more of a ski boot fit in the 28s and a climbing boot fit in the TLTs.. Any furthe suggestions?

  55. Tommy August 8th, 2013 4:50 pm

    This will be my first pair of AT boots. Curious about sizing. I measure a 28.5 in the shop. Does one downsize at all like they do with alpine boots? Or run with the true measurement. I am not able to try these on as I live in the flat land midwest. Thanks

  56. Lou Dawson August 8th, 2013 5:47 pm

    How do you jokers like the new 3-column layout? A little more emphasis on the content, gradually consolidating the advertising — but please explore those advertisers to help us out!

    Will gradually refine the design over coming weeks, then perhaps totally change it sometime next winter.


  57. Lou Dawson August 8th, 2013 5:49 pm

    Tommy, if you fit your alpine boots with performance fit, try that with your AT boots if you have the services of a boot fitter. Otherwise, do not downsize. You can always do a mail swap once or twice. Really tricky to get the right size AT boot without help from a fitter, unless you have previous experience.

    Give us an idea of your intended use and the boot models you’re looking at and perhaps we can be more specific.

    Thanks for dropping by.


  58. Tommy August 8th, 2013 7:46 pm

    Thanks Lou.
    Well I have been schooled on boot fitting years ago when I worked in various ski shops in my youth. I am familiar with the shell fitting etc. I was a racer in my youth so I enjoy the performance fit. I still work in a little shop in the summer and I can get my hands on Scarpa, Garmont and Black Diamond boots at good guy pricing. I wish I could get Dynafit gear, as I am planning on the Radical ST bindings after reading your reviews.

    This will be a pretty dedicated backcountry set up. I will have some Lange XT for my resort boots. Yet I am still willing to go for the stiffer boots for the down hill performance.

    I have looked at this Scarpa Maestrale RS or Orange version. I tried on some Garmont Radiums as well. That is my search so far. Thanks for any other recommendations.
    I will be skiing on some skis 107 under foot as well.


  59. David September 11th, 2013 11:18 pm

    Any follow on the Feb 19 post re hinges and repair when broken? Thanks.

  60. Fraser October 24th, 2013 3:17 pm

    I read above the conversation about DIN sole compatibility etc, but am unable to figure out if the Maestrale RS could be modified to be compatible with the new Dynafit Beast? In other words will you be able to screw on the new Dynafit heel insert? Thanks

  61. Mike November 25th, 2013 6:34 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I recently replaced my walkmodes with the updated and improved bar. I want to mod the old ones to try and see if I can replicate the progressive flex of my Raichle Comp Flexons. My thesis is to remove the metal between the two pin holes to create a slot on the walk bar instead of just two ski positions. By doing so the front flex of the boot would be solely dependent on the stiffness of the tongue and would not be influenced from the back of the boot until hitting the end of the slot, where the high forward lean position is currently. Hopefully the boot would have a more progressive flex than it does currently and still be extremely stiff in all other directions than forward. Any thoughts on this? Have you tried this technique before? Again this will be tried on old bars so I don’t mind ruining one. Thanks for any advice,

    Mike from Golden B.C.

  62. Lou Dawson November 25th, 2013 8:08 pm

    Mike, I’d not tried that but I’ll bet it would work. The main thing with lean locks is that they provide a stop to the rear when engaged, in terms of how they hold front pressure it’s a matter of personal taste. Lou

  63. Lou Dawson November 25th, 2013 8:38 pm

    Fraser, sure.

  64. Phil Shaw November 25th, 2013 11:04 pm

    I’m a complete novice (as in, I have never…) backcountry skier, with lots of years under my belt on lift serviced terrain. I am sitting with my well over standard width feet (right foot is 120 mm wide) in my new Maestrale RS boots, and just wish to comment on their workability.

    I had the benefit of a superb and experienced Vancouver bootfitter, and I can vouch for his success at punching and volume expanding these shells like nobody’s business. He did mention that they were a tricky material to work with, and that he had to expand them so much that he was close to opening a gap between the shell and the tongue, but the end result seems likely to be a comfort and performance success.

  65. Wydaho December 30th, 2013 4:30 pm

    I just received my RSs via UPS as none of the 6 shops near me stock a 31.0. Tried them on and they seem to fit very snug, especially across the top of the arch. My question is, will they loosen up here or will a good boot fitter be able to help me out?

    Also, any thoughts on a quality boot fitter around Jackson Hole/Teton Valley

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  66. Tom December 31st, 2013 10:08 am

    My new RS’s were also tight across the instep. I had the intuition liners heated at a shop and now they fit great. Took care of the pressure from the instep buckle. Also have them molded with the toe bumbers and your toes will thank you. Definately worth getting them heat molded.

    happy skiing

  67. Drew / 1000-oaks December 31st, 2013 8:36 pm


    My high insteps were a no-go even after molding, so I removed the tongues from the liners, cut the stitching on one side, and ground about 1/4″ of foam (feathered out to the sides) out of the instep area. Still snug, but love the boots now!

  68. Lou Dawson January 1st, 2014 6:04 am

    Pro boot fitter technique!

  69. Brad September 25th, 2014 11:36 pm

    Hey Lou and gang, any word on how the new 2015 models will differ from the old? Thanks!

  70. Brad October 1st, 2014 1:03 pm

    Anyone have any comment on the new 2014/2015 Maestrale RS?

  71. Tjaard October 20th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Has anyone used the (white) Maestrale RS in non tech bindings?
    If so, which ones, and did you get correct release?

  72. etto October 20th, 2014 2:43 pm

    I have successfully(?) fallen and had the skis release properly using the Maestrale RS in Marker Tours. You need to adjust them correctly, so that the sliding plates/AFD works as intended. Particularly important because of the rubber soles.

  73. Tjaard October 21st, 2014 12:02 pm

    Were you able to get the AFD in the toe to the required distance?
    I ask because I read of someone with the Marker Lord who could not, and thought the tour might use a similar toe.

  74. etto October 21st, 2014 12:49 pm

    Tjaard, this was some time ago, but I can’t remember any such problem.

  75. Lou Dawson 2 October 21st, 2014 1:40 pm

    Etto, I seriously doubt there is a problem with the height of the AFD on the Marker Tour bindings, used with Maestrale RS. Lou

  76. etto October 21st, 2014 1:42 pm

    Lou #2, yes, as I said, I can’t remember having any problems with the AFD adjustment.

  77. Tjaard October 21st, 2014 4:11 pm

    I ask because I want to use my new, comfy Maestrale RS on my inbounds skis too(Line SFBacon).
    Taking into consideration Lou’s previous comments about the performance of alpine bindings I though Salomon Warden AT compatible bindings would be a good choice for that ski with this boot.
    When my tech talked to Salomon, they said no. When he mounted my wife’s Garmont Deliriums on the Warden bindings the release was not at the expected value. When I called Salomon they said probably yes. When I called Scarpa they said no on using the Maestrales in any ‘alpine’ binding, even the AT compatible ones.
    It seems the issue might be the large gap between the lugs(bigger than the 10mm max. mentioned by Lou).
    Yet Etto points out he successfully used the boot with a Marker Tour binding.

    So it seems the only thing that is certain is that tech bindings should work well.

  78. Lou Dawson 2 October 21st, 2014 4:15 pm

    Sheesh. First, you’re going to get a CYA answer from nearly anyone who is in business. The only true answer is the “not expected value” results of the check. Lou

  79. swissiphic October 21st, 2014 6:53 pm

    ghetto options available to make it maybe work…at own risk of course. fill the lug gaps with shoe goo, file it flat with a body file, sand it smooth? probably won’t lose to much real world hiking traction if the forwardmost lugs are still serrated.

  80. Mike October 25th, 2014 7:14 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I have a question on shell size. Is a 24.5 Maestrale RS shell the same as a 24.5 Gea RS shell? Is it just the liner that makes the Gea a women’s specific fit or are they two completely different shells?


  81. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2014 7:35 pm

    Mike, the shell is probably the same size (length inside), liner might be cut low at the calf. As for how different the shells are other than length, you’d need to ask a good retailer or perhaps Scarpa. We’ve had Gea kicking around here, but we’ve never had the same size in a Maestrale so we can’t compare on the bench. ‘best, Lou

  82. Tiefschnee December 13th, 2014 3:17 pm

    I was an inbounds Alpine skier. Ten years ago I started tele and skied 3/4 backcountry 1/4 inbounds for most of that time. Now I need new boots and it seems the opportune time to go AT. This site has been enormously helpful as I consider the which boots? / which bindings? questions. I really appreciate the knowledge shared here as well as the respectful atmosphere. Thanks Lou and you other contributors!

  83. Lou Dawson 2 December 13th, 2014 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging words! Helps!

  84. George December 13th, 2014 5:40 pm

    @ Tiefschnee – As a former avid tele skier I would encourage you to go with a light boot (Maestrale or Dynafit TLT 6), Dynafit Radical binding and a ski that compliments your 3/4 BC. The boots are all about proper fit and articulation. The binding choice can be easy if you choose Dynafit. The ski choices are crazy good. If you like your current tele skis, slap on some Dynafit bindings. I have a pair of old K2 Anti Piste Tele with Dynafit bindings that are great.

  85. Tiefschnee December 15th, 2014 11:08 am

    George, thanks for the tips. Interestingly, a couple of days ago I narrowed the boot choice down to either Maetstrale RS or TLT 6.

  86. Jeff December 29th, 2014 10:22 am

    Any sense of whether previously discussed Maestrale RS durability issues (eg, the tongue hinge) have been addressed in the 2015 model? I am debating between the Maestrale RS and the Freedom (PU version with an Intuition liner to hopefully get the weight down). I do about 80 / 20 resort / tour and want light boots, but something that will hold up for a while (skiing several times per week). I have kind of ruled out the Freedom SL based on what I discern to be a weird flex feel (stiff, but in an abrupt and unnatural sense).

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