Testers said that skiers who place a premium on precise edging response and directly linked steering control in their hybrid touring boot should look no further--the new Scarpa 4-Quattro XT W is shockingly strong and quick on the downhill, regardless of ski width, terrain choice or rate of travel. This is a skier's Freeride boot, they said, and a skier with low-volume feet would be better suited to this somewhat mis-labeled medium. It's a minimalist's dream boot for featherweight touring in long and unimpeded strides toward soft and untracked pow, where this rigid transmitter is most happy, they said.
The test team agreed that its fit suits a lower volume foot and leg than expected for a so-called 100mm last. They said that the boot's rigid translation of body movement to ski response is belied by its rigid feel against the foot and leg--it's stiff thin plastic is only barely padded by a thin, performance-oriented liner. While this strong little boot sent major edge power messages to the ski it also received vibration and impact messaging from the snow surface and terrain inconsistencies--think track suspension, not luxury wagon cushioning.Testers said that some shell work for any hot spots (which there were a few) followed by a full liner molding session would sort out much of their creature comfort complaints, but they said this was not a bulky, padded cruiser-weight but a stripped and ripped descender that for the right kind of no-compromises side-country artist would produce stellar results. Testers agreed that the stance angles were well set for a neutral stance fore and aft as well as side to side, and they liked the cuff and tongue height against the leg, if a bit firm-feeling.
Testers liked the built-on GripWalk sole construction that takes what's essentially a backcountry-built boot and opened the doors to a broader variety of binding combinations. They thought that the built-in sole also contributed to a direct-to-snow feel which was also teamed with the lack of a removable internal bootboard which puts the skier's foot in closer contact with the ski. Testers mention that Scarpa is one of few brands to successfully utilize more environmentally friendly plastics without sacrificing skiing performance--owed largely to their use of a carbon-reinforced insert structure in the lower shell.
Testers also tested the supposedly-softer 4-Quattro SL W and found the fit and flex feel to be essentially identical, so this is another good option that comes at a $100 discount.