The holy grail of alpine touring ski boot design is how to combine the power and stiffness of a downhill boot with the light weight and range of motion of a touring boot. One boot that can do it all is truly elusive, but luckily La Sportiva has their Spectre 2.0 as a basis from which to start designing. The Spectre is the only AT boot to win our coveted Gear of the Year Award, not once but twice. Yup, it’s that good and the new Synchro is just as good, only in a different way. The Synchro is stiffer with a 125 flex rating but what is more impressive is that this is achieved with only an additional 80 grams of weight for the pair. How’d they do that? With an ultra-lightweight nylon polymer Grilamid lower shell and a Pebax cuff supported by a carbon-reinforced Grilamid vertebra. As high-tech as this all sounds, it just means that the Synchro is a serious free-ride / ski mountaineering boot that delivers the power of a downhill boot with the lightness and mobility of an AT boot. In fact, this is the stiffest boot La Sportiva has ever made and since the rest of the Synchro is made of Grilimid the pair only weighs 3.1kg or 6lb 8 oz for the size 27.5.
Check out the Synchro’s specs in the following video overview:
Built on a roomy 102.5mm last, the La Sportiva Synchro’s have plenty of room in the toe box while providing a good foot hold and overall comfortable fit. Their thermo-moldable overlap Ultralon foam liners are warm and provide great support, more so than those in other La Sportiva boots. No matter you foot shape, average or wide the Synchro’s will fit well after a good liner cook and fitting by a professional boot fitter.
The modified Pegasus Plus Buckle locking system is slightly different than the cam version found on the Spectre boots but still provide the micro-adjustability with out having to undo the buckles. While these new Pegasus buckles have a steeper learning curve than most they do provide a strong hold with minimal weight for each of the Synchro’s four buckles.
One of the secrets to the Synchro’s 50° flex is the integration of a 2-layer tongue which locks together in ski mode but moves independently in touring mode. It provides power and stiffness on the down and flexibility when walking up with out impeding the boots cuff rotation. The other is the Synchros shell design, as it has a natural huge flex in walk mode and by splitting the tongue is able to take full advantage of this as the tongue is where most of the added stiffness in the boot comes from
On the bottom of the Synchro’s is a full Vibram outsole with two rubber compounds to marry grip and durability. The traction provided is necessary for summiting rocky peaks and navigating slick cafeteria floors alike. The tech fittings in the toe and heel of the boots are compatible with Tech, Alpine touring and TR2 bindings.
Trying to design a better touring boot than the Spectre 2.0’s is a challenging task. While the Synchro AT Boots are not meant to be a direct competitor, they are meant to be a stiffer more solid free-ride/ski mountaineering boot, and this they achieve in spades. If you are looking for a single AT boot that you could use to ski the resort and then tour all day out of bounds with, this is it. While the Spectre 2.0’s are more of a pure ski touring boot that can occasionally ski the resort, I would not want them to be my only ski boot. The Synchro’s on the other hand, can easily be the only boot you need. Since they are only 80 grams heavier per pair over the Spectre 2.0’s, weight really is not an issue—especially given that you get 125 flex rating compared to 115 in the Spectre 2.0’s. If, however, you are looking to be as light and efficient as possible in the backcountry then the Spectre 2.0’s are the boot for you. The Spectre 2.0’s are (minimally) lighter and provide 10° more cuff rotation which is very much appreciated on the up track.
To really understand the advantages of the Synchro AT Boots relative to the Spectre 2.0’s I decided to compare them head on and ski them both,…. at once. Yup, I put one boot on each foot and went touring for the day. Sure, I got a few strange looks but it was all in the name of gear testing and I knew that this would let their respective advantages shine. I immediately noticed that the Synchro Boots had a harder fit given that they used an overlap liner versus the Spectre 2.0’s traditional liner with a tongue. The Synchro’s also provided a little extra volume over all and about the same room in the toe box as the Spectre 2.0’s. While skinning up in walk mode I could feel less give or flex and I attributed this to the liner since they had no flex point nor tongue. Sure the tongue in the shell was stiffer but since it split in two as you walked it didn’t really impede things. While the Synchro’s had more interior volume (which I would attribute to the liner again) I did find I had a few hot spots mid foot after a few hours of touring. The Spectre 2.0’s simply fit my foot better right out of the box. Given that my foot is fairly average with a solid arch I am pretty confident saying that either boot would fit most people fairly well.
Up hill efficiency had the Spectre 2.0’s performing marginally better than the Synchro’s given that their tongue has a large soft flex zone. The Synchros are more solid with less flex in walk mode even though they use a unique split tongue design. The 10° additional cuff rotation in the Spectre 2.0’s was noticeable and missed in the Synchro’s.
Where the Synchro’s really had an advantage over the Spectre 2.0’s was on the down. They provided much more performance and power to drive my skis from start to finish. A solid flex and overall stiffer shell was evident and preferred. The Synchro made the Spectre 2.0 feel like an AT boot and the Spectre 2.0 made the Synchro feel like a hard charging all mountain slayer. If you are looking for a single boot that can do it all with confidence or a boot that’s comparable to the Scarpa Maestrale, then the La Sportiva Synchro is it.
Price: $879CAN / $758.95US
Sizes: 25 - 31.5 in half sizes
Weight: 1550g / 3lbs 4oz (half pair, size 27.5)
Cuff Rotation: 50˙
Forward lean: 3 preset positions (12°/14°/16°)
Cuff Rotation 2/2
Quality / Price 2/2
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