The SCARPA 4-Quattro aims to be a downhill ski boot that can still tour uphill. I hopped aboard a pair for a downhill day for this early preview.
The hybrid ski boot market is rapidly growing. Ski boots like the Tecnica Cochise Pro W and Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech GW give downhill skiers a powerful, performance-oriented boot that can still tour uphill.
And while these boots are still far from being true “quiver killers,” they give skiers who mostly ride in the resort a nice option if they want to dabble in backcountry days.
But with the 4-Quattro, SCARPA edges ever closer to a do-it-all boot. This is a very early review, and I plan to update it with more impressions as the season wears on.
In short: The SCARPA 4-Quattro XT ($800) is remarkably stiff for a boot that can still perform uphill. It gives expert skiers a capable downhill boot that will transition nicely into backcountry touring with a downhill focus. SCARPA also claims this boot could be a great choice for snow professionals. That may be true, but the boots have a permanently-fixed GripWalk sole, which leaves questions of longevity for those who guide and work on the mountains. The boot comes in one other model for men and two for women.
SCARPA 4-Quattro XT: All-Mountain Quiver Killer?
Recreational downhill skiers have some excellent choices in boots these days. And at the leading edge of technology, we find hybrid boots like the 4-Quattro.
SCARPA claims this boot, which comes in a 130-flex XT version, 120-flex SL, 115-flex women’s XT, and 100-flex women’s SL, lets you “choose your adventure for the day without needing to swap boots.”
On paper, that makes sense. The 4-Quattro is compatible with pintech bindings, as well as GripWalk (ISO 23223) alpine bindings.
Its claimed weight is just under 3 pounds per boot (my size 27 test pair weighed 3 pounds, 4.6 ounces per boot on my scale), making it almost exactly the same as the venerable Maestrale RS and on par with many alpine touring boots.
For touring, it allows ankle range of motion up to 61 degrees, which is sufficient for most situations and, indeed, better than even touring-dedicated boots of 5 or 6 years ago.
In terms of downhill performance, the claimed 130 flex of the Quattro XT is bold. Touring boots have aimed at this threshold for years. But given the somewhat qualitative measure, most serious skiers doubt that any touring boots have achieved a true 130 flex when compared to their pure alpine equivalent.
Could SCARPA, by adding a 4th buckle, some smart engineering, and clever uses of carbon and Grilamid, get close?
SCARPA 4-Quattro Ski Boot Review: Click In And Rip
This section will be brief as I’m still early in the testing stages of this boot. But after my first day of downhill in them, I’m very optimistic.
My first impression of this boot is that SCARPA has crafted a gorgeous product. Out of the box, the boot screams quality manufacturing.
The magnesium buckles with cable attachments take a moment to get used to, but they quickly earned my admiration for ease of adjustment and smooth operation. The burly strap, which uses a hook and ratcheting strap system, is slightly harder to use than those based on Velcro. But it should provide a lot of power and help achieve that elusively high flex rating.
Stepping into the boot, I immediately thought it was lower volume than previous SCARPA boots. While the 100mm last has a nice wide toe box and is fairly average through the middle, the instep feels quite low.
For the record, I have a pretty average foot and don’t have a lot of fitting issues. My foot is slightly wide, but that’s about all.
I tested a size 27, which is a half-size up from most of my ski boots, and I’m glad I did. I think this boot does run a little smaller than the size would indicate.
As the boots were shipped to my house, I did not have time to heat mold the Intuition liners before my first day on the mountain. I’ll update this with impressions after I do so.
At the base of Copper Mountain, I buckled the 4-Quattro for the first time and stepped into my Marker Griffon bindings mounted on a pair of very popular Nordica Enforcer 94 skis. I rode the lift to the top, made a few turns, and stopped. My right foot was very snug and losing circulation.
I loosened it up fully and gave the foot a few minutes to recover. I wiggled around in the liner and clipped the boot shut as loose as possible.
Woosh! I was skiing, and darn, did it feel good. With packed powder and ice, it was genuinely early season in Colorado. But by the end of the run, I could tell the 4-Quattro would be able to handle the big, heavy Enforcers as well as the variable snow conditions.
Several runs later, and I am impressed. The 4-Quattro broke in a little after a few runs, giving my feet the space they needed to circulate well. With temps in the low 20s, I didn’t notice any cold in my toes.
On steep terrain, the boot drove the ski like a champ. The low-volume fit resulted in nice, precise turns and plenty of power. I’ll admit that at 5’8″ tall and 150 pounds, the boot was nice and stiff.
While they aim to compete with the likes of my Nordica Promachine 130-flex alpine boots, I think they’re probably a little softer. But they’re darned close.
My impression is that this is one very stiff and powerful boot, one that most expert skiers will appreciate and be able to press into some seriously aggressive skiing.
SCARPA 4-Quattro Ski Boot Specs
- Best use: Downhill skiing, backcountry skiing
- Skill level: Advanced
- Flex index: 130 (men’s XT), 120 (men’s SL), 115 (women’s XT), 100 (women’s SL)
- Walk mode range of motion: 61 degrees
- Liner: Intuition Lightweight, heat moldable (thermo-formable)
- Last width: 100 mm
- Number of buckles: 4
- Boot sole type: GripWalk (ISO 23223) with Tech Inserts
- Gender: Men’s, women’s
- RECCO reflector: Yes
A Boot For Snow Professionals?
SCARPA notes in its marketing copy that this boot could be a choice for snow professionals. And while it certainly has the chops in terms of ski performance, weight, and mobility, some have questioned the durability of the soles, which, unlike some other models, cannot be removed and replaced.
I have clearly not tested these enough yet to comment on durability, but I did want to call out one concern I’ve seen raised in forums.
Update: SCARPA reached out about this shortly after publication and noted that, to the brand, the fixed, full-length sole is a selling point and the only one like it on the market. It claims that the TPU sole is extremely durable. But importantly, the fact that it doesn’t have bolts and such is part of how the brand builds a boot like this and keeps it so light. I’ll update this with further testing.
For now, that’s all I can say about the 4-Quattro. I’m hoping to get it touring in the next week or two, and I will add more commentary about the uphill performance once I do. As I already like this boot a lot, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of days in it through the year of ski testing. If you’re seeing this note, more details are coming soon.
If you’re in the market now, I think this boot has a whole lot of potential. But definitely do get your feet in a pair. They seem to run a little small, and the lower volume may be snug for some folks.
It’s also a really expensive ski boot, ringing in at $800 for the XT version. But if it fits and your wallet can handle the hit, this boot will likely get you down the mountain with power and still let you move well uphill.