Scarpa proves once again that more sustainably sourced boot plastics can be used in a boot that skis well, testers said, giving their performance-approval to the all new 4-Quattro XT, a first of its kind for a production-molded GripWalk sole rather than a removable plate. The result is a pared-down, high-efficiency ski-tour combo unit that skis way stronger than expected, given its heft, according to testers who hammered on it and its softer sibling 4-Quattro SL everywhere they could. Testers were intrigued by the molded-on Presa GripWalk sole, which added to the boot's low-on-the-snow feel and hyper-transmissive nature--why not, they said, wondering if more boots would follow suit.
What did not surprise testers about the 4-Quattro XT? The characteristic, long-ranging Scarpa stride when the cuff is released remains intact with this new boot, testers said. The quality of cuff rotation is tops, with a smooth, frictionless feel that paired well with a GripWalky roll underfoot. They were not surprised by the light weight feel of the 4-Quattro--they've come to expect that when Scarpa makes a Freeride boot it will tour as long and well as its BC brethren within the brand.
What surprised the test team was how strongly this micro boot put a ski on edge and held it there through a variety of terrain changes, snow conditions, speeds and varied radius of turn. In addition to power and stability, testers said it was quick--in fact, its Quickness score was its highest. This was a downhill skiing machine by all accounts, and testers said it was transmissive of movement energy, perhaps to a fault. This is a semi-rigid ride (did someone say carbon-Grilamid insert?) that communicates skier inputs immediately to the ski, but also lacks much dampness or shock absorption. The no-bootboard lower boot construction puts the foot in very direct contact with the ski, and there is little room for liner bulk and padding to mitigate the shocks coming back at the skier at high speeds on firm surfaces. Testers say the best way to soften the rigid ride is to find some softer, untracked snow--put one foot after the other in the right direction and...problem solved.
Fit-wise testers thought that the shell shape and cuff did an admirable job of mirroring the anatomical contours of the foot and leg, but that lack of room for a liner left testers with a firm, flat feel against bony bits here and there. They almost universally mentioned a need for a full liner cook (duh), but thought that some minor shell work in typical spots would increase creature comfort and allow the spartan liner to do its thing more effectively. As a fit side-note, we also tested the slightly softer 4-Quattro SL and testers concurred that it was virtually indistinguishable from the XT in flex feel and edge power. However, the SL's liner gave it a substantially more-snug fit throughout the lower boot--for the lower volume foot, the SL's 100-buck discount with zero performance loss may be a happy windfall there.