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Nov 24 2017

Review: Scarpa Maestrale RS2
—a worthy upgrade

Scarpa's Maestrale-RS for 2018.

Scarpa’s Maestrale-RS for 2018.

Although Scarpa put in a little overtime to improve the performance of their legendary Maestrale boot line, the part they tout the most in this second version (RS2) is the improvement you’ll notice the least — the lateral stiffness. There’s no denying the torsional rigidity of the boot has been improved by infusing the back half of the scafa with carbon for maximum power transfer. However, the plain Maestrale, like its predecessor was already plenty stiff for most conditions thanks to a Grilamid lower shell. Thankfully Scarpa did not make the tongue of the boot from Grilamid also, but instead used Pebax, allowing for some progressive give to the forward flex, making these boots a delight to drive the fall line in. Even though the increased lateral stiffness is noticeable, unless you plan on running gates with these boots, the improvement, though welcome, pales compared to the degree of noticeable improvement in Maestrale’s touring performance.

Better Cuff ROM

Sweet range of motion for a boot that can also deliver solid turns in funky snow and at speed.

Sweet range of motion for a boot that can also deliver solid turns in funky snow and at speed.

Again, not to over state it because if you want ultimate touring performance you should be looking at Scarpa’s Alien. However, the new Maestrale increases rear cuff motion relative to its predecessor by a solid 5 degrees. Now I’ll admit 5° doesn’t sound like much but when you’re skinning it feels like a huge difference, which, in the end, is all that matters. You can get more ROM in an AT cuff, but that’s a different sort of boot for a different sort of tour. It is also worth mentioning that if you completely unbuckle the cuff buckle you can get even more range backward. Combined with a soft flex zone above the heel on the Intuition liner and there is little doubt you will find the new Maestrale lets you walk faster so you can relax longer at the top waiting for your friends on tele gear.

While I didn’t weight it, manufacturers published specs show this upgraded Maestrale-RS2 is a full 5 ounces lighter per foot. Like the touring ROM, that’s something you can notice immediately, and long term. One of the ways Scarpa trimmed weight was to pare down the material used on the cuff, using a ribbed, or skeletal structure to maintain rigidity. Scarpa seals the holes left behind with Outdry, which blocks water without and helps to vent sweat within.

Fewer Buckles

Scarpas Wave Closure front buckle.

Scarpas Wave Closure front buckle.

The other place you’ll notice a change is with the buckles. If you judge the turning power of a boot by counting buckles the Maestrale comes up short. The lone buckle on the lower shell pulls a wave-shaped cable that tightens your forefoot and instep simultaneously. Depending on your foot shape, that may or may not be okay. My own personal preference is to not rely on these buckles for ski control. Instead, I count on Scarpa’s classic instep strap to pull my heel into base of the boot, simultaneously holding the lower leg firm. Thus, the lower “wave buckle” was adequate for me and it should be evident when trying on if it will work for you.

Simple, reliable ladder lock on the lone cuff buckle.

Simple, reliable ladder lock on the lone cuff buckle.

To reinforce power transfer from the top of the boot there’s a wide power strap above the lone cuff buckle. Buckle counters might be disappointed but the carbon infusion more than makes up for the loss of vestigial hardware. On the cuff buckle Scarpa includes a simple, effective buckle lock for holding the wire in the ladder without it flopping around when you open the buckle to loosen the cuff for walking.

Mode Switch

Simple and easy, yielding less flex resistance but a tad harder to reach.

Simple and easy, yielding less flex resistance but a tad harder to reach.

If there was an issue with the Maestrale it is the mode switch. Mind you it is simple and easy to lift up to release the cuff, or flip back down and lock it in place so overall it’s a good switch. My picaune gripe is with the tab at the end of the switch that was consistently hard to grab with gloves on; it was small and noticeably lower than the older mode swith. Once I had a grip on it lifting the lever was easy; getting to that point was less convenient than the previous version.

Fit

As mentioned above, Scarpa’s trademark instep buckle makes the Maestrale an easy fit for most feet. The last is 101 mm wide which will accommodate most feet, but typically not E width. If you fit the instep but feel squished at the forefoot, in the hands of an experienced bootfitter, the Grilamid shell punches easily to expand width for bunions or sixth toes. For most folks, simply having a tongued, heat moldable Intuition® liner is all the customization necessary to get a great fit.

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the few who doesn’t need a stiffer boot, just a newer one or one with better touring performance you only need to shell out for a regular Maestrale. If you tend to ski fast or might use this boot at the resort too, the Gea-RS2/Maestrale-RS2 is your ticket.

Scarpa

New, improved Maestrale RS.

New, improved Maestrale RS.

Maestrale-RS2
MSRP: $795
Weight/boot (sz 27): 3 lb., 1 oz. • 1410 g
Size Range (mondo): 24.5–32.0
Gea RS

Gea RS

Gea-RS2
MSRP: $795
Weight/boot (sz 25): 2 lb., 13 oz. • 1260 g
Size Range (mondo): 22.5–27.0
Maestrale

Maestrale

Maestrale2
MSRP: $695
Weight/boot (sz 27): 3 lb., 1 oz. • 1410 g
Size Range (mondo): 24.5–32.0
Gea

Gea

Gea2
MSRP: $695
Weight/boot (sz 25): 2 lb., 13 oz. • 1260 g
Size Range (mondo): 22.5–27.0

© 2017


  • Colin Maher

    Does anybody else see the two-part lower shell in the RS2 boots as potential for an amazing tele boot? Keep the stiff rear carbon/grilamid part in black, replace the white grilamid with a pebax bellows NTN-compatible piece with inserts.