World’s Most Popular Ski Touring Boot Is About to Get More Powerful

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Extra stiffness aims to make the Scarpa Maestrale XT one of the best backcountry ski boots on the market in 2019.

Two months ago, I was in the Daniels and Fisher clock tower in downtown Denver to meet with Kim Miller, CEO of Scarpa. He had a new product to show me — and he was stoked.

Miller at the time was giving a sneak peek at Scarpa’s new-for-2019 ski boot, the Maestrale XT. And while the brand wasn’t ready to make the announcement just yet, Miller gushed as he talked about design updates that will likely make the XT the boot for big, strong, charging backcountry skiers.

Scarpa Maestrale XT: Not Just Stiffer

Yes, it is stiffer. That’s probably the biggest difference between the XT and Scarpa’s current flagship touring boot, the Maestrale RS.

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Miller said the new XT will be 5-10 percent stiffer than the RS. That equates to a 130-plus stiffness boot.

Maestrale-RS-vs-XT
The Maestrale RS, left, and new Maestrale XT. Note the buckle configurations

But the story doesn’t end there. To achieve a stiffer boot, Scarpa redesigned the cuff and buckle configuration. The result, Miller said, is a boot that manages the stiffer progressive flex better.

“Two buckles are on the cuff now. That means the RS has a much bigger gap between the top buckle and the second. They’re both three-buckle boots, but it’s where we place the second buckle and cuff width that changes things. The XT has a wider cuff that comes down lower on the front of the boot. That’s what stops you from going farther forward on the range of motion.”

What this means for skiers is that there is more surface area on the cuff for shins to press into. This equates more comfort to accommodate the added stiffness of the new boot.

Who Should Check Out the Maestrale XT?

This boot isn’t coming to the market until fall 2019, so there’s still lots of time to read reviews once the boots get into testers’ hands — er, feet. And you’ll want to do your homework.

The XT comes with a hefty $895 price tag, a full $100 more than the Maestrale RS.

Miller said this boot will target powerful skiers driving big skis on serious terrain. If you find yourself in that camp, it may be worth the price increase.

Scarpa RS vs. XT: How They Compare

We still haven’t rested the XT, but did get a season on the RS. It’s an awesome boot.

But for those who want to nerd out on specs, here are some comparisons.

Maestrale RS vs. Maestrale XT

  • Weight (size 27): RS 3 lbs. 1 oz.; XT 3 lbs. 4.6 oz.
  • Range of motion: RS 60 degrees; XT 56 degrees
  • Flex rating: RS 125; XT 130+
  • Closure: RS 3 buckles plus finger strap; XT 3 buckles + booster active power strap
  • Forward lean: RS 16 degrees +/- 2 degrees; XT 16 degrees +/- 2 degrees
  • Liner: RS Intuition Cross Fit Pro Flex G; XT Intuition Cross Fit Pro Flex Ride

If you look at the specs, you see the numbers aren’t massively different between the RS and XT models.

But as Miller pointed out in a quick call, the brand wanted to create a progression in its family of boots. It seems to have achieved that goal with the new Maestrale XT.

I look forward to getting this boot on the snow during the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, where the boot will make its official debut.

By
Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.