The 2018 Scarpa Freedom SL 120 WMN returned unchanged this season and still impressed testers with its combination of light weight, huge touring range-of-motion and downhill skiing prowess. There are few boots in the all-mountain hike-mode category that can match that synergy.
Testers place the Freedom SL 120 WMN on the narrow side of the medium group, and point out that the front half of the lower boot fits like a lot of narrow lasts, while the ankle pockets and heel were more relaxed. The cuff is a bit narrow—not ideal for thick calves, testers said—and the tongue has a firm feel against the shin at boot top. All of these fit specifics were evened-out somewhat with full-molding of the Intuition liner, but a few testers mentioned that some shell work would probably be required at the forefoot for most medium-width feet.
The Freedom SL boots are characterized by a snappy flex feel and a strong move to the inside edge. The Pebax Rnew shell and cuff construction accounts for the snappy, elastic energy feel of the boot's flex—that's the nature of Pebax. The edge power testers feel comes from a slightly bowlegged cuff geometry and an "over-molded" carbon fiber rail in the sole of the lower shell—inside-edgy and stiff underfoot added up to trenches for testers, even on hard snow. Many testers mentioned needing a cuff adjustment to make the cuff angles slightly more neutral for their stances.
The simplicity and functionality of the Freedom SL's hike mode mechanism is a category benchmark. The range of travel in hike mode is long and without 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 SL boots for men and women come fitted with tech-compatible Vibram Mountain Plus soles, though alpine Vibram Mountain Piste soles are available for purchase.
“Any lady who does a little on and off area skiing will want this boot.” -- Julia Carr
“Even though this boot hasn't changed much in four years it's still best-in-class!” -- Kimberly Kinney
“Moved to the edge without an issue—stiff but progressive flex.” -- Lee Ann Ross
“Great balance, power and quickness.” -- Melodie Buell
“Super quick! Excellent hike mode!” -- Patti Zuber
“Tons of range of motion in walk mode.” -- Kelsey Holmer