The much lauded Scarpa Maestrale family of boots has spawned another offspring. And it's a prodigy. The Scarpa Maestrale RS is one of the few current "make a good thing better" claims that holds water. We are about halfway through our season here (or the best part of it anyway) and the Maestrale RS keeps on giving. The new version of the RS is stiffer (130 flex rating, rather than 120) has a greater range of motion (a whopping 60°, up from 30) and it's also 5 oz lighter—per boot. Nice.
Note that the Maestrale RS is "big brother" to the regular Maestrale which is only 10g lighter yet has a flex rating of 110, rather than the RS's 130. I say go for the RS.
Before we dive in, know that we have tested and reviewed many Scarpa AT boots over the years. If you fancy, read all about the Scarpa Maestrale RS, Scarpa Maestrale, and Scarpa Rush. We also reviewed one of Scarpa's top 'o the line backpackiog boots, which we loved, called the Scarpa Kinesis GTX Pro.
The Maestrale RS has been majorly upgraded and features a more aggressive look. Click on the arrow in the orange bar below this image to read (and see) all the nitty gritty.
Inside side view.
Two of the best features appear here. The super beefy power strap (with thumb hole for reefing on it) and the buckle holder bar (in yellow) that keeps the buckle from flopping around on the uptrack.
Here is the "z" or "wave" cable system across the forefoot which enables a single motion, full coverage buckle. The little wheels on the buckle proper perform an ingenious "cam" type function. The only downside? Sometimes the cable gets caught under the black plastic flap and is tough to dig out.
This is the Scarpa signature buckle. It keeps your heel down and contributes to the overall solid fit of the boot (and many others in the Scarpa line-up).
Pictured here is the external ski/walk mode lever. It snaps up and down, no problem. Because it's external, field repair may be more easy. Note that the Scarpa-branded pulls on the end of the levers tend to break down and explode with use. Perhaps a more durable cord material could be considered. Also, the ski/walk mechanism gets iced up occasionally which can make for a pain getting into a secure ski mode.
The Maestrale RSs have Dynafit Certified inserts. These are the only way to go if you ski tech bindings (which you should). Look for the orange toe bracket on new boots (on any brand). Note the little notch under the hole too. That's the Quick Step Insert which makes getting into you bindings a little easier.
Other than a slight steampunk look, it's unclear to me what the benefits of the aptly named "air ventilation" chainmail-type material on the boot's back cuff is. I think it's another way to keep the weight down—more than it ventilating in any way.
Vibram Cayman PRO soles. Good for the occasional scramble on rock and good grip on hardpack and icy stuff. Vibram have got soles dialed. It's what they make.
Intuition liners are the best. Hands down. If my boots don't come with 'em, I tend to chuck the stock liner and slip these in. Warm, very comfortable, and stiff where you need them, these are great liners. Careful though, try them once and you'll never go back.
Everybody in the ski business is making big claims these days and the good people at Scarpa were no exception when they released these boots. Could this model really be such an improvement on the previous Maestrale RS? Lighter? Stiffer? Betterer? The weight-to-stiffness ratio is a significant criteria and often involves a sacrifice on either side. The Maestrale RS manages to be stiffer and lighter than its earlier best-selling RS iteration. No sacrifice here. Scarpa's claim is credible!
I have skied the regular Maestrales, the earlier Maestrale RS's and now these. They have the same comfort that Scarpa is famous for—they just weigh less and feel stiffer. Bravo. Oh.. almost forgot: at 60 degrees, the range of motion is amazing on the uptrack.
I always found the earlier Maestrales a little fussy to get in and out of. This version is a slight improvement but I still find myself getting caught up in the tongue/liner interface.
The Scarpa Maestrale is not a super light boot, but it is one of the lightest 130 flex rated boots out there (just look at our comparison chart). Remember that flex ratings tend to be a little arbitrary and are best for evaluating various boot flexes within a brand's line. For example, the Dynafit Vulcan that we reviewed (and still run) has a 130 flex but it feels a little more stiff than the RS—and it's more heavy. The Maestrale RS is for skiers who don't want to go super light and sacrifice the feeling of control on the down. If you liked the earlier RS, you'll love the new RS. And, maybe most importantly, If you can only spring for one pair of touring boots, the RS is a good call.
FIT. Note that Scarpa boot shells break on the full size. In other words, if you are a 27.5 mondo like me, you'll be in a 28 shell and you may have a little volume to address when fitting. The liners are different for full and half sizes but I have found that the 28 shell size is a factor for me. This is not the case with the F1s which fit me like a glove right out of the box.
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.