Our testers were immediately drawn to the good looks and technical appearance of the new 2019 La Sportiva Shadow. They found the stiffer flexing successor to the predecessor Sparkle 2.0 to be a top-shelf hiker-skinner and that it packed some punch with its upright and spring-loaded flex feel. They found that the fit improved greatly with liner molding but said that the heel remained a bit roomier than expected for secure skiing and skinning.
The toebox and forefoot is noticeably roomy, testers agreed, and they felt that while liner molding evened the fit elsewhere in the lower boot, they wished that the heel pocket was a little more aggressive—so generally a fit they said favored the thicker-footed tourer. The closure system was difficult to figure out, they said, but they agreed that the final result was a good lock-down and release for transitions between skiing and skinning.
They said that the hiking and touring mode was one of the category best, appreciating the ease of the release switch and the comfortable and long-feeling stride it enabled. They also liked how the Shadow skied, but several mentioned that the upright and stiff cuff put them a bit on their heels and they suggested that perhaps a little additional heel lift or rear spoiler shim might help.
The design of the Pegasus Plus buckle system has elevated boot closure to an art form, but testers agreed that it is overly complicated and virtually impossible to manage with gloves on.
“When I saw the Shadow I had to try it on because it's so beautiful! The stock wrap liner is great--I think this would be a great option for a higher volume foot. Once the EZTour buckle system is set-up, it's easy to transition to and from walk mode.” --
“Roomy, almost wide, forefoot and toebox. Stiff, neutral feeling cuff. Better for a wider foot--definitely the techiest boot and very cool looking.” --
“Good looking and very light. Actually skis pretty well--the boot holds an edge when asked to. The touring range of motion is great!” -- Karin Riley
“The heel pocket seems huge--in a touring boot I want a snug heel pocket to prevent heel lift and blisters! The buckles are pretty tricky to maneuver and get dialed in, even without gloves on.” --
“Pressure pain bilateral medial malleoli. [[editor's translation: both inside ankle bones hurt.]]” --
“Although the buckles look great and have great functionality for hiking, they are hard to get buckled.” -- Karin Riley