The 2018 Scarpa Freedom RS 130 returns unchanged this season to reclaim its spot as one of a very few boots in the On-Off Area category to match the downhill muscle of a fixed-cuff boot and the touring range of motion of a backcountry long tripper. Is it the perfect all-mountain boot then? Almost, said testers who found a few minor flaws with the fit and stance. Read on.
Last Width 101: according to our crew this ain't no 101. The Freedom RS 130 fits like most of the narrow class boots we tested, with a particularly tight toebox, forefoot and heel. The cuff fits tall along the leg and has an abruptly firm feel on the shin at boot top. So, it's not an easy peasy medium fit out of the box. However, heat molding the Intuition liner helped even-out the feel here, although testers said that for most average feet, some shell work will probably still be required to open up some space for the ball of foot's width.
Impressive is the word here. Pebax Rnew (the more enviro-friendly Castor bean oil based stuff) plastic in the lower shell with an over-molded carbon fiber rail in the boot sole sets the powerful foundation for energy transmission to the ski. Add to that a stiff Grilamid upper cuff linked to the lower with a bombproof metal-to-metal cuff release mechanism and you've got a powerful beast of a boot that's packaged with much less weight that similarly strong skiers. It's got a snappy, resilient flex feel say testers who loved the way the boot loaded the juice on skis of any width. The cuff's a bit tipped out (bowlegged) as well, said testers, which gives the set-up a bias on the inside edges—good for railing carves on-piste, but a bit hooky and unpredictable in the junk, testers said.
The simplicity and functionality of the Freedom RS's hike mode mechanism is a category benchmark. The range of travel in hike mode is long and without much resistance both forward and rearward. It's these qualities that separate it from its competition for skiers who are serious about actually using this for tours off-area. The Freedom RS 130 comes fitted with rockered, tech-compatible Vibram Mountain Plus soles, though alpine Vibram Mountain Piste soles are available for purchase.
“There are many boots trying to fill this niche, but the Freedom RS is still one of the best.” -- Eric Kipp
“Race boot personality in a backcountry body—hard to believe a boot this light can offer so much muscle!” -- Marc Stewart
“Good edge power—very supportive cuff.” -- Andrew Orlich
“Great boot for narrow feet.” --
“Unbelievable snappiness! Will easily drive any ski.” --
“Hard to get into.” --