Expert Review: Scarpa Maestrale RS 125 Ski BootsPublished on 10/14/2022 · 7 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the ski boots, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2021.
Booting up to the North Ridge of Naches Peak. All photos courtesy of Nick LaRoche
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the ski boots, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2021.
The Scarpa Maestrale RS Ski Boots provide an excellent option for aggressive ski touring with some overlap into the resort. For those looking for a single boot that’s light enough for long tours without sacrificing downhill performance—look no further.
About the boots I own
- Model: 2019 Scarpa Maestrale RS
- Size: 28
- Height: 6’0” (183cm)
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Street shoe size: 12
- Experience: 14 years of skiing
- When I bought these: November 2021
- Days tested: 55
- Skis: DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP, Volkl Mantra 102, Weston Black Belt, Liberty Origin 106
- Bindings: Marker Alpinist 10, Marker KingPin 10, Marker Griffon 13 ID
- Where I’ve used it: Mt. Rainier National Park, Chinook Pass, Crystal Mountain WA; Mt. Hood, OR; Alta-Snowbird, UT
- Terrain: Backcountry and resort, on hard pack/ice, deep powder, and variable conditions
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a single boot that could do it all. Something light enough that I wouldn’t struggle uphill, but strong enough to ski inbounds as well. I also needed to have tech inserts in the front and rear, as well as an excellent walk-mode. Finally, a rockered touring sole was key, so that hiking for long periods over rock and ice wouldn’t be an issue.
Why I chose this gear
I decided to go with these particular boots for a few reasons, namely the fit, flex, weight, and sole. First thing’s first, the 101mm last and overall higher volume worked well for my foot and required only a mild amount of work with a bootfitter to become perfect. The stated flex of 125 was also important to me, since I’m a larger guy and I knew I was going to spend a ton of time at the resort. Weight-wise, the Maestrale RS is right in line with, if not lighter than, most of the downhill oriented boots on the market. And finally, the sole is a grippy Vibram rubber with a fully rockered design that makes hiking in them feel like a burly mountaineering boot. I did consider purchasing the Dalbello Lupo AX 120 or Lupo AX HD. However ,durability concerns steered me away from the AX 120, and the heavyweight AX HD was just too much to lug uphill on big-vert days.
What I love about them
- Accuracy of Claimed Stiffness: In terms of touring boots, I think the 125 stiffness rating is accurate–especially within the Scarpa brand lineup. That said, they don't feel quite as stiff as similarly rated standard alpine boots. This should come as no surprise, as they weigh about a pound per boot less than downhill-specific options of similar flex.
- Accuracy of Claimed Fit: The 101mm last-width feels spot on and once heat-molded, there is a good amount of volume to work with. It’s worth mentioning that, out of the box, the Intuition liner is very tight and heat molding is really important. This is fairly standard with Intuition liners, and once I molded them to my foot they have held their shape for a long time.
- Comfort: I have spent dozens of full days in my Maestrales without any comfort issues at all. Again, they are custom molded to my foot, so one’s mileage may vary unless they spend a little time with a bootfitter.
- Flex: I really enjoy the stiff flex of these boots, especially in the resort where I ski a little more aggressively. That said, if I were spending more than half my time at the resort, I’d be very interested to try the Maestrale XT model; they are a little heavier but they’ve also got a 4 buckle design that should be stronger downhill.
- Weight: I think ~1400g is perfect for a downhill oriented touring boot. Sure, I could shave some weight and get closer to 1000–1200g, but at that point I would be giving up a lot of vibration damping and progressive flex.
- Ease of use: The cabrio (3-piece) design of the Maestrale RS makes them fairly easy to get on and off. The walk-mode and buckles are also super fast and easy to use, making transitions just a little bit easier.
- Resort: I had a great time skiing these boots on all of my resort days last season. The only time they felt out of place was driving my Mantra 102 skis during higher speed carves–the M102s are notoriously burly and stiff. I found myself really cranking down the power strap to squeeze all of the stiffness I could out of my boots.
- Backcountry: This is where these boots shine; they are great at going uphill with a huge range of motion and are fairly light weight. They also shred downhill and are more than enough to drive any touring ski out there.
- Adjustability: The three buckles, adjustable forward lean, simple powerstrap, and intuition liners make these boots highly customizable for fit. They also hold a punch well and come with an adjustable spoiler that lets me take up a little space in the calf area.
- Walk mode: Walking in the Maestrale RS is near perfect; the range of motion forward and backward is huge and friction-free, and the laces in the liner hold my foot in place when the shell buckles are loose.
- Grip: I’ve been very impressed with the rockered Vibram sole; from rock scrambles to boot packing, to the parking lot, I’ve never really had an issue with slipping.
- Durability: I have thrashed these boots over rocks and ice since the day I bought them. With that in mind, I’d say they hold up pretty darn good. That said, after about 55 days, I have begun to worry that I’ve been destroying the toe pieces a little more than I should. In tech bindings this won’t be an issue at all, however I do wonder if the gouges will impact retention performance in my resort bindings. Another thing worth noting is early on during a tour I lost a screw and nut for the upper buckle catch and almost lost the catch all together. I was able to repair it with hardware store parts, but I’d recommend using loctite on those screws and checking them from time to time.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Park: For pure park use, I’d probably look for something with a different walk-mode design—or none at all. Although I’ve never had an issue, the latch for the walk mode seems a little light for big landings. What’s worse, if I break the walk-mode latch, I have zero forward stiffness.
- Hot spots: I’ve got a solid “sixth toe” where the outside edge of my forefoot has a little spur. This tends to get pressured by any boot I try and always requires a bootfitter to punch out that area. These boots are no different; they hold the punch well and require very little work to make them perfect.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with these boots so far has been climbing and skiing Naches Peak (near Chinook Pass, WA). We had to crampon up steep snow, scramble a knife ridge, and then ski a very steep north-facing bowl on the way out. It was a relatively quick trip, but it had everything I could want in an adventure!
Value for the money vs. other options
It seems that the Scarpa Maestrale RS boots are priced well with respect to their competition. In the world of top-tier boots with a 120+ flex, Grilamid/carbon construction, and all the touring features I could want, they fall right in line in terms of value for the money.
All-in-all, if one’s looking for a boot that tours well with strong downhill performance, the Maestrale RS is worth a look so long as they fit their foot shape.