The 2021/2022 Lange XT3 Tour Pro was tested in the men’s Backcountry category by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.
This is Lange’s first foray into the true Backcountry boot category, with a fully rockered Vibram ISO 9523 sole and a lightweight full-thermo EVA liner, and testers seemed a little unsure of this newcomer to the category. It was really blue, and while it had flipped its bottom buckle a different direction to try to pass amongst the granola crunchers it looked an awful lot like a four-buckle alpine boot. Then upon fit and on-snow testing there was both a surprise and a sense of relief—the surprise was that this Lange actually felt light enough to pass in the BC group and its range of motion in touring mode fit right in with the category’s best. The sense of relief was that the XT3 still skied like a 130-flex Lange.
Testers couldn’t tell if this was an open-narrow or a snug medium, but it’s a 99mm last, so it’s exactly as it should be. The seamless moccasin-style liner wraps the toes and forefoot in a cozy glove that allows the foot to expand into a comfy, balanced place on the floor of the boot—testers loved it and wanted to swap it into other Lange models. The new full-thermo liner had a tendency to crumple-down around the heel and ankle upon entry if testers didn’t use the dual liner pull loops to their advantage, and some testers found that leaving the liner on and stuffing the whole works into the shell was super easy. The Velcro tongue retainer and liner laces made for a customizable fit against the shin and through the instep that improved the instep feel for testers while touring. Testers had no fit complaints, and on a 1-5 scale for fit zones, every one was a 2 or a 3. A couple testers mentioned that the toebox felt a little more snug than they’d like for touring but this was without heat molding the liner with toe-caps, so we figure it’ll be fine.
The fact that this boot dominated the performance categories of the Backcountry category was not a surprise, but testers were curious to see if Lange had managed to go down a very bad path. Nope, the XT3 Tour Pro managed to muscle its way into the BC club and ski with every bit as much power and snap as a fixed cuff RX 130. No, really, testers were impressed with the stability and torsional resistance this lightweight could manage while pressing against a fat ski at speed through a variety of different terrain and snow conditions. Some Backcountry boots fit okay and tour great but can’t ski their way out of a wet paper bag. Other BC boots reward your efforts on the descent but the fit, touring range of motion and weight make you suffer to earn it. Very few fit the human foot and leg properly, allow a long and natural stride with minimal weight and then manage to crush the downhill—this is one of those few.
A Dual Core Grilamid shell and Dual Core Lyftran polypropylene cuff are pretty cool features for a company that prides itself on the skiing power of polyurethane and polyether plastic. That the XT3 Tour Pro maintains a mono-injected design for straightforward bootfitting solutions is similarly a cool feature. All the typical backcountry stuff, like Dynafit tech inserts, a Vibram rubber rockered, lugged outsole and an EVA full-thermo liner are on board and testers found it all to be functional and fine. They liked the simple, unassuming 40mm Velcro strap for its conspicuous lack of tricky dangly bullshit. However, testers don’t understand the allure of a humped internal bootboard—Vibram they like for shock absorption, a lump in the middle of the arch doesn’t make anything rockered for better touring, it just makes it lumpy. But then again, that’s what a grinder is for and it might open a little instep height for those already high arches!