Even Lange is joining the backcountry next year with their announcement of the XT boot. To which I can only say, sheesh, what took you so long? My very first pair of boots in the backcountry were Langes paired with Ramer bindings. That may have been why I had such a favorable impression of Ramer’s, because I had such good boots for downhill performance.
Ask almost anyone who is first getting in to the backcountry, especially if they’re a young ripper, and they’ll make it clear they’re only hiking for the turns. For them it’s totally about the down. Alpine companies are obviously waking up to that, but Lange, it seems, has been very slow to join the club.
The XT has all the basic features you would expect in a randonnée boot, like a cuff that locks forward at ~20° but releases for walking comfort. The cuff buckles have a touring latch that allows the buckles to open wide but not let go. No tech fittings yet and hopefully Lange won’t drag their feet in seeing the value of adding those to future offerings. In the meantime, the boot at least has lugged soles for grip while scrambling over talus.
The biggest thing Lange is potentially offering with the XT is the classic Lange fit which translates in to superior control and power. The jury is out on that last feature, but theoretically the promise is there with a shell stiffness rating of 130 and Lange’s reputation for fit. It’s been over 25 years since I last wore Lange boots but at least their posters still suggest they are the ultimate in comfort.
Four new AT boots for 12/13