While the 2018 Scarpa Maestrale RS is the same in name, it debuts a completely new shell construction, closure system and liner. The unique Evo V-Frame cuff utilizes stiff Grilamid plastic in an open cross-membered weave to increase stiffness, shave weight and allow for moisture venting. This rigid and light framework is linked to a rock solid carbon-strand infused Grilamid lower shell via the new Speedlock Plus metal-on-metal cuff release mechanism for a highly transmissive connection between foot and leg to ski.
Testers liked the revisions on the Maestrale's shell shape and Intuition Cross Fit Pro Flex G liner. They noted that it was more open than in the past, and more in line with the stated 101 mm last width. A few testers felt the lower boot was a little boxy with some pressure at the instep and ankle pockets prior to full-thermo liner molding, which evened-up the fit a bit there. The cuff rides slightly low on the leg, so it's particularly well suited to shorter skiers and larger calves.
Testers liked the lateral connectivity with the ski, rolling edge to edge smoothly. The lateral cuff angles struck testers as slightly knock-kneed, which detuned the power to the edge for some but made for a loose and slashy style in soft snow off-piste. Testers were not as excited with the new Maestrale RS's forward flex character, which they said collapsed under heavy loads unpredictably. Combined with the lowish cuff, this diminished the boot's hard-charging potential and rendered it a better match for side to side movers. The Maestrale RS still excels in uphill battles—light weight, long and friction-free range of motion in touring mode still make this one a top choice for skin track junkies.
The new pulley-wire loop lower buckle of the Wave Closure system was a fiddle-around initially but works well and appeals to a minimalist ethos. The ratchet strap style 45-degree middle buckle will appeal or offend depending on one's preference for ratchet strap buckles, but it is functional for retaining the instep. The ISO 9523 tech-compatible rockered sole is clad with the Vibram Cayman Pro lugged outsole.
“Flex was inconsistent and sketchy.” -- Andrew Orlich