Scarpa's 4-buckle Maestrale ski boot strikes me as the true successor to the original Alpine Touring champ, the Garmont Mega Ride. While current trends in A/T gear have led steadily to ever-heavier boots, the Maestrale enters the game at a stunning six pounds, fifteen ounces per pair. But the critical question, as always, is: how does it ski
— March 9, 2011
Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents
Scott March 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm
Something you rarely see mentioned in boot reviews is durability; I know it's impossible to surmise anything about that from a test, but unless boots catastrophically fail (a la Salomon's recent foray into AT) no one seems to care much about how long the boots last. It all makes me wonder, what is a good lifetime for an AT boot? How many days/seasons do you get out of yours before they kick the bucket, so to speak? You were on those Megarides for years, are they still serviceable and you've moved on to better, or did they actually die?
Andy March 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm
You know, for me it isn't so much that gear dies as I lose confidence in it. I start looking at severe wear and age and I get spooked (boots, bindings, crampons, whatever) and that tells me it's time to get rid of it.
If you do a lot of loose talus climbing in your A/T boots, you can easily destroy the rubber soles in a season, and do significant damage to the plastic din lugs. As for liners aging, I'll tolerate a huge amount of packing out before I'll consider facing the trouble of fitting a new pair of boots.
As for those crazy old Mega Rides, I've still got them in the closet...reserved for special occasions. :)
Eric April 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm
Thanks for the review! Can I ask what your street shoe size is? I wear a 10 and Scarpa's chart puts me at a 27.0, the same size you reviewed, so I am curious if you wear 10.
I also happen to have the Garmont Radiums and Megarides, both in 27.5, though I too suffer from issues with the toe box being too stingy as many others(I just noticed Garmont widened the toe box for the Radiums recently as mentioned on Wildsnow.)
Anyway thinking of getting to get these to replace my Megarides, so am curious on size.
Andy April 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm
I'm a very typical US Men's 9 1/2. For me, the 306mm Maestrale Shell is very slightly long, but the extra room is excellent for 24-hour type pursuits.
tj December 24, 2011 at 10:39 am
Andy, I recently purchased a pair of Skookums and a pair of Maestrale's (both brand new) to test the fit and basic feel at home. I won't be skiing on either until I make a final decision about which pair to keep. I skied the Sierra High Route last May on a pair of Scarpa T1's which I really like, but determined on that trip that for my size and weight (5'7", 135 naked) that I'd probably rather have the additional power and stability of AT gear for the downhills on my backcountry treks where I'm carrying heavier packs. I'd like your opinion as to which pair (Skookum vs Maestrale) you would chose for similar types of multi day backcountry tours. Currently I'm leaning towards the Maestrale's since I don't really have to make any changes to them. The Skookums I picked up have two tongues, one more suitable for touring which makes them softer than the Maestrale's and a pair of stiffer tongues, but I'm reluctant to have to deal with changes like that in the backcountry. Your thoughts?
Andy December 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm
For multi-day stuff, I would absolutely go with the Maestrales...no hesitation.
Georg Pfarl (Austria) March 4, 2012 at 2:47 am
Great boots, for both ascent and descent, BUT:
The mentioned screw- and the ski/walk-latch-issues make them unusable for any serious tours simply because one cannot rely on them. Imagine skiing a 50° face in walking position with unfastened boots due to lost screws.
I have been using mine for two seasons now and will send them back to Scarpa. I have lost 4 screws, the screw threads of both distal screws are worn out - I had to rethread them - and both liners are worn.
Very disappointing! Would be such a great boot was it not for its lack of quality :(
Andy March 4, 2012 at 9:34 am
Georg, I haven't heard this complaint from any other sources, and I haven't experienced this problem myself. You should contact Scarpa and have them take a look at your boots. I believe Scarpa is moving away from user-removable hardware in next year's line, which has made some people unhappy. But I still suspect you got a defective pair...
Jay August 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm
Andy, have you been on a pair of dynafit TLT5's yet? I got a pair last year and couldn't be happier with them. Super light, tons of walk mode articulation and they ski great.
Andy September 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm
I haven't tried TLT's yet, but my impression talking to friends who have is that it's conceptually similar to the Maestrale, but lighter and softer. For those interested in this class of boot pay attention to the coming Fall 2013 Garmont Cosmos. It combines the climbing performance of the Maestrale with the skiing chops of a Radium, at a very competitive weight.