The Scarpa F1 LTs have entered the hallowed halls of our Gear of the Year winners. Hitting the power/weight sweet spot and enabling speedy transitions made it a clear choice. Not to mention the great looks and super-solid performance. Again, congratulazioni Scarpa!
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
We have been downright evangelical about the Scarpa F1 Alpine Touring Boots so, when we heard of the launch of the Scarpa F1 LT, we we super keen to check it out. The F1 LT is positioned as bringing together the best of both worlds from the Alien skimo model and the F1 that we know and love. Because we are more into light-weight touring than skimo, any comparisons we make will be between the F1 and the F1 LT.
If you want to check out a couple other relevant reviews, you can click on over to our review of the Scarpa F1 Evo we did way back in January of 2015. Our recent review of the F1 is here. Scarpa makes great skiing and hiking boots. If you want to dig back into all kinds of reviews we've done over the years, drop the word "scarpa" into the search bar at the top of the page and have a poke around.
Here below is our bud Dave from Verde PR talking about the Scarpa F1 LT at the SIA snowshow pre-COVID. To see our in-depth review of the Scarpa F1 LT, click on the arrow in the orange bar below.
As with both the Alien and the F1, the Scarpa F1 LT has a retractable cuff. Note that positioning it this way allows for easy entry.
By popping out the liner, you can see the special sauce of the F1 LT. It's like a mountaineering boot and it features a weatherproof gaiter with an elasticized collar. The only solid elements are the base of the boot and the cuff. At first it looks like it might not provide the needed suport, but it does.
This is a cool little feature I wanted to highlight. There's a pull-tab on the front of the integrated gaiter that keeps it in place with a hook and loop fastener. I tend to give it a tug up before I buckle.
Though I'd say most of the features come from the F1 model, the floating Boa closure on the forefoot comes from the Alien family. It allows for a precise closure with no pressure points. And it looks cool.
Speaking of closures, the single buckle and power strap is the same as with the F1. There is a simple four-step motion for transitions. Some people don't ski with power strap; I recommend skiing with and without to experiment. I, personally, leave my power straps on. Note the little leash clip at the bottom of the image.
Here is the Scarpa F1 LT walk mechanism, in walk then ski mode. Note that, when changing into ski mode, you should ensure you're "engaged." The slot can get snowed in and freeze up—making you think you are in ski mode, when you're not. The ski/walk design contributes to the "exoskeleton" look of the boot. Everything is on the outside, including 3D Lambda Torsion Frame.
Forgive my kitchen scale geek-out here but I was curious about the weight difference between the F1 and the F1 LT. How "LT' were the "LTs"? 270g! That's pretty darn LT—especially considering the F1 is already a light boot. The listed weight is 990g and mine were heavier, perhaps because they are protos. Lighter boots coming in the production models? Yes please...
Intuition® Cross Fit Tour LT liners are thermoformable, but they are pretty thin so the customizing is limited. I find them warm enough but I don't ski in a very cold climate. Note the spoiler on the back. It is attached with a hook and loop patch, allowing for repositioning. I left mine stock and am happy with the support it provides.
The sole is the Vibram UFO RS, hence the little alien guy next to the embossed Vibram logo. These soles are sticky rubber and I doubt they'd hold up to a lot of scrambling on rocks. Lucky for me, that's not something I do anyway.
We got the prototype version of these boots and have had them out touring in the BC Interior a handful of times. I have them paired up with DPS Wailer 100 RPs and the Dynafit ST Radical binders. It's a light set up that I tend to reach for virtually every time I go out for a tour. My enthusiasm to sample the Scarpa F1 LTs is in part because I am favouring light set-ups more and more. I'm not a very aggressive skier and I choose to ski almost always when conditions are good-to-great. Would I take the F1 LTs out on a day with an impenetrable rain/solar crust? Probably not.
The days that I have been out on the F1 LTs have been good. Three things strike me about the experience: 1) these boots are remarkably light. At a little over a kg per boot, the F1 LTs are a dream on the uptrack. 2) Kinda related to point #1, but anyway... the range of motion, at 72°, is better than any boot I have ever skied. And I've skied many, many boots. The range makes a big difference in minimizing your fatigue. With this range, there is no sensation that you are fighting every step. I recently went for a walk in a pair of Dynafit Vulcans. I love these boots but it was amazing how I felt the resistance with every step on the uptrack (related to both the weight and the range of motion). 3) The f1 LTs are pretty darn stiff. I guess it's thanks to the carbon grilamid shell but the F1 LTs are very supportive. The F1s, with a flex rating of 95, feel slightly less stiff (as they should with the F1 LTs 100 flex rating).
Other impressions: the F1 LTs don't have a progressive flex like beefier boots that are more focused on the descent. That said, with a little finesse and effort at first, I found that I could dial in these boots skiing powder and really enjoying the ride. They feel a lot more substantial than they weigh—put it that way.
In terms of the fit, I would definitely recommend trying them on at your local retailer before purchase. I have a protuberance on my big toes that made the out-of-the-box fit not work for me. See the little white dot circle on the inside foreboot in my pictures? That's where I had the boots punched out to accommodate my bumps. The last is apparently 2mm less wide than with the F1s but I didn't notice any difference.
The F1 LTs are to AT Boots what Dynafit bindings are to AT bindings. They take a little getting used to and dialling in. Once you do though, you never go back. Scarpa released an Alien RS model a couple of seasons back and, though I never skied them, their feature set leaned toward the Alien model. If you look at the spectrum of Scarpa touring boots models, the F1 LT occupies the sweet spot between the Alien RS and the F1. For me, it's a good place to be.
Price: $1,025CAN / $799US
Forward Lean: 9º / 11º / 13º +/- 2º
Range of Motion: 72°
Weight: 990g / 2lb 2.9oz (1/2 pair size 27)
Sizes: 24 – 31 (whole sizes)
Cuff Rotation 2/2
Quality / Price 2/2
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