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Maestrale RS Alpine Touring Boot
Scarpa is a family-owned company that's been designing mountain footwear from its home base in Asolo, Italy since 1938. So, it should come as no surprise that when Scarpa went to work redesigning one of its most successful alpine touring boots, it didn't just throw out what it's learned through the years to start from scratch, but built off a solid foundation to refine what's become one of the most reliable and versatile touring boots in the backcountry. On the surface, the revamped Maestrale RS Alpine Touring Boot doesn't appear to have a lot in common with the original Maestrale, but it's built on the same roomy 101mm last for comfort on the ascent and maintains much of the key features that have made the original Maestrale one of the most popular AT boots in the industry.
Trimming weight from an already lightweight boot is no easy feat, but Scarpa was able trim over five ounces from each boot—while making the boot stiffer in the process. This is achieved by making the shell from a lightweight Grilamid and reinforcing it with Grilamid LFT, which uses long-strand carbon fiber to increase rigidity and keep weight to a minimum. The full Grilamid cuff is vented to let body heat escape and is backed by an OutDry waterproof, breathable membrane so snow doesn't work its way through to the liner when you're breaking trail through knee-deep powder or setting the bootpack up a narrow couloir.
The original Maestrale certainly had its quirks—namely, a prone-to-freezing walk mode and hinged tongue that liked to break at inopportune situations—but the newest iteration of the Maestrale eliminates both these issues by overhauling both components. Replacing the old single-hinge tongue with a fixed split Pebax tongue gives the boot the progressive forward flex of a three-piece alpine boot, and the friction-free walk mode takes the 37-degree cuff rotation of the original Maestrale and dials it up to 60 degrees. And since the metal-on-metal mechanism is external, you won't have to worry about the walk mode icing up when it's really cold out. One of the more unique features on the Maestrale is the boot's cable-style buckle that works similarly to a self-equalizing anchor to evenly distribute pressure along the tongue for a responsive, powerful feel during the descent.
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