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Feb 14 2017

Review: Scarpa’s NEW F1 AT boot

Scarpa's improved F1.

Scarpa’s improved F1.

As much as I liked the concept of Scarpa’s F1 Evo the automatic mode switch seemed a bit too gimmicky. Scarpa’s lawyers agreed. This year’s revised F1 keeps everything else that was great about the F1 and replaces the mode switch with a simple, reliable, manual lever on the spine of the heel. Which makes this year’s F1 even more desirable than its predecessor.

Tour Mode

In revising the F1 Scarpa polished nearly all the details to create a boot that is simply a delight to tour in. The most obvious is the cuff range of motion, a solid 25 degrees to the rear and 35 forward. That’s not marketing ROM but real mobility with your foot in the boot. Adding to that is how little resistance there is to movement, the practical measure of touring mobility and the one that delivers a long stride.

Plenty of mobility allowed  in the F1's cuff.

Plenty of mobility allowed in the F1′s cuff.

Switching modes is done by unlatching and lifting the touring lever on the spine of the heel, a move that requires either bare hands or a tactile glove to allow you to feel when you’ve grabbed the pull tab at the base of the lever. To maximize the freedom possible you will also want to release the buckled velcro cuff strap, and reset the top power strap. I’m a big fan of buckled power straps so the only criticism I have of this boot for touring is that the top power strap isn’t buckled also. If I were a racer it might matter, but even if I were it would be an insignificant improvement to my sluggish pace.

Less obvious is the location of the toe inserts, 6mm aft of the normal location. This puts the touring pivot at the tip of your big toe, not out in front. This isn’t a change you’ll notice except on a long day, and even then, it’s only a subtle improvement. What this really means is the lip of the toe isn’t deep enough to allow these boots to be used with traditional alpine bindings – ever.

Besides excellent touring mobility, the other thing you’ll notice immediately is how light the F1 is; less than 3 pounds per foot – 2 pounds, 11 ounces (1230 g) to be exact for a size 27 boot.

Turning Power

The F1 is lean but not a mean turning machine. Scarpa rates the flex index at only 95 which is admittedly soft, however on the slopes it definitely feels stiffer than that. This is due to a carbon reinforced polyamide lower shell that delivers solid torsional rigidity in spite of a cuff that lacks metal buckles. The cuff is built with the same stiff polyamide for a stiff feel, but the pebax tongue yields a progressive flex. Unless you’re bashing bumps the F1 feels solid on firm snow and is a delight in the conditions that warrant earning your turns – soft untracked snow. If the snow is challenging, don’t blame the boot for lack of control, blame the skill of the driver.

Fit

When you first lay eyes on the F1 its svelte appearance suggests it is for low volume feet only. Put your feet in it though and you’ll find that it really does have 102mm of width in the forefoot, allowing nominally wide feet to fit comfortably. If that isn’t enough, worry not because polyamide (think Grilamid) punches easily and beautifully for a skilled bootfitter. More important is the adjustability of the lower shell to a large range of foot volumes thanks to the BOA lacing system. With the BOA system I’ve found that it tends to apply greater pressure closer to the tightening knob. In this case, that is directly over your instep, which improves foot retention at the heel. It also allows for easier micro adjustment of tension than standard buckles.

Summary

Within the limit that this boot is not built for downhill speed, but for covering a lot of ground with adequate downhill chops the F1 is a great ski mountaineering boot with a lot of versatility. It looks narrow, and will blow your mind that anything that light can even drive a ski on fifty degree windboard, but if you have the skill to even consider such a small boot, you’ll be happy with the performance.

Scarpa
F1
MSRP: $700
Weight/boot (sz. 27.0): 1230 g – 2 lbs., 11 oz.
Sizes available (mondo): 24.5 – 31.0

© 2017
 

  • skier6

    Is it easier to get your foot in and out of the boot? I had a pair of the first Tronic ones, in size 28.5 and it was painful putting them on or off. Once the boots were on my foot they were comfortable. I returned the boots because of this fit issue, before the recall.

  • Adam

    It’s much easier. I started with the original Tronic version in a 26.0 (same as every other Scarpa boot) and couldn’t even put them on, even after cutting the gusset. The new version is a piece of cake.

  • skier6

    Thanks Adam !