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Feb 27 2017

Review: Scott Sports Minerva/Voodoo NTN

Scott Sports Minerva NTN - women's version of Voodoo NTN.

Scott Sports Minerva NTN – women’s version of Voodoo NTN.

Last year my review of Scott’s Voodoo NTN was considered pretty harsh by Scott Sports. I received an email from Paul Parker, Scott’s boot advisor telling me as much, and that I was unqualified to review the boot. Some of the criticism I stand behind, but I must also admit that Paul Parker’s criticism of my criticism raised a point I couldn’t deny. I knew the specific pair of Voodoos tested was too large implying that my conclusions were at least suspect. Last month I managed to get into a pair that fit better – in this case a pair of size 25.5 Minerva NTN, a Voodoo in women’s colors. When I realized the boot wasn’t just one size too large, but two, the conclusion that some of my claims were flat out erroneous was unavoidable.

In my defense I thought the boot I tested last year was only one size too big since my prior experience with this boot was in a size 26.5 (when it was called the Prophet). However, being able to squeeze into a 25.5 and be relatively comfortable without any customization meant the 27.5 Voodoo shell was way too big. An oversized shell would put the tele flex point further forward, exacerbating a phenomenon I had criticized the boot for — having a flex point that created pressure under the toes, not the metatarsals. So Paul’s argument had merit, and after skiing a size 25.5 shell, versus the former 27.5, I must admit my original assessment was wrong. With a correctly sized boot the flex point was closer to my metatarsals, though not as far back as a TX.

Thus, you should take my comments in my 2016 review about where the Scott Voodoo NTN flexes with more than a little salt. Clearly, size matters. As for the Voodoo or Minerva still having a soft bellows flex, it is, although I personally prefer that. You might not. Put another way — the NTN Minerva was as soft as a TX, which was on the opposing foot while testing. In my experience, a soft flexing NTN boot means your binding dominates the flex sensation, not the boot.

Fit

Where you still need to be careful is with the fit of the boot, which shares a high instep and a 100mm last which sounds adequately wide for tele, but in reality is the tightest 100mm width tele boot available. Crispi has the same last width but feels wider, and Scarpa wider still for similar shell sizes. The area behind the single lower buckle favors a high volume foot. (Note: To those unfamiliar, the instep is NOT your arch. The arch is defined by the contour of the bottom of your foot. The instep is the height of the top side of your foot, what you might think of as the elbow of your foot, above the arch but not the arch.) Whether or not the Voodoo/Minerva is too narrow depends not just how wide your forefoot is when weighted, but how much it wants to spread out when you “assume the position.” Even if it were a tad narrow that would be an easy fix if the bellows weren’t located exactly where you probably want to stretch the boot.

A long standing issue with Scott boots, the lack of a dedicated instep strap makes the fit issue more critical than with Scarpa or Crispi. If your foot can be held tightly in the heel pocket with only the buckle on the lower shell, this boot will work for you. If you can lift your heel with the cuff buckle undone, then you need to do some customization before you can avoid blisters.

Touring Features

Acceptable touring Range of Motion as long as you don't go far.

Acceptable touring Range of Motion as long as you don’t have long flat zones.

The cuff range of motion isn’t any different for the Minerva compared to the Voodoo; it isn’t record setting, but every little bit is appreciated. Though I didn’t compare them side by side the resistance to motion definitely felt lower with the Minerva than my memory of Voodoo’s cuff mobility, perhaps due to a less stiff plastic. As a result this isn’t the greatest boot for earning tele turns, but it’s better than no walk mode.

If you need to save weight, thank Scott for keeping the Dynafit toe inserts on these so you can match them with a pair of two pound, two-pin tele bindings. It won’t increase the cuff ROM but it will improve lateral control and touring efficiency by chopping a pound off your overall rig weight.

Buckles

One of the things Scott has improved in this year’s tele boots are the cuff buckles that feature a spring loaded wire to keep the buckle wire in the ladder when you flip the buckle open for touring. No new technology, but a good implementation of a function that is appreciated in most circumstances.

Downhill Chops

When it comes to making turns, the Minerva/Voodoo delivers excellent torsional rigidity. This has come to be a trademark feature of NTN and while it isn’t unique, it’s comforting to know these boots are no exception to the rule. The men’s Voodoo is rated as 130 flex, the women’s Minerva 120, though neither were as stiff in the cuff as an equivalently rated alpine boot. A unique part of the construction of the Minerva/Voodoo is the tongue that is an extension of the material from the scaffa (lower boot) up to and connecting directly to the cuff. So even if it isn’t quite as stiff as the rating would indicate it does result in a smooth, powerful transmission of power from your lower leg.

Conclusion

Scott Sport’s NTN Voodoo/Minerva is a good choice if you spend most of your tele time under the lifts. They deliver better than average power to your edges on icy snow. For backcountry use they might cause you consider switching to the dark side, but they tele well, so deal with the limits and stop whining about the weight and get a binding with a tech toe.

Scott-Sports
Voodoo NTN
MSRP: $700
Weight/boot (sz 27.5): 1823 g
Sizes available: 25.5-30.5 mondo

Minerva NTN
MSRP: $700
Weight/boot (sz 25.5): 1500 g
Last width (26.5): 100mm
Sizes available: 23.5-26.5 mondo

© 2017
 
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