The boot world’s version of the woman who goes around lamenting her girth while easily slinking into a size 4. It’s not the medium-width fit Scarpa claims. Testers all agreed that it is one hell of a ripping, narrow-fitting, lightweight hiker.
It will take some work to get it to fit perfectly but it’s worth the effort, testers concluded. They say full molding of the Intuition Speed Ride Women's liner is required if you expect to have a shot at wearing the Freedom SL in comfort. Even after custom molding most of our testers still needed a little more bootfitter-made room in the lower to accommodate bony prominences. How the boot is classified as a 101 was bewildering to them. What was not at all puzzling was their affinity for the snug and lightweight grip on their feet.
The cuff fit drew mixed reviews. Testers felt it was both a little low on the leg and fairly narrow in fit. Our taller women over-powered it and said it felt softer than its billed 120 flex. Large calf testers couldn't get it buckled, so they moved on. The lightweight Pebax construction and lightweight Intuition liner were noticeably featherweight on the foot, testers said.
The power generated by the carbon fiber rail molded into the lower shell base was evident to testers. They said it turned a lightweight Pebax backcountry boot into a race-capable boot that easily put a ski on edge and jammed it through the arc on even the hardest snow.
The performance fit of the Intuition liner and close grip of the shell combine for laser-accurate steering moves and turn transitions. Many testers had issues with the lateral cuff geometry of the Freedom SL, citing its bowlegged set-up which loaded them with a lot of inside edge bias. That made it difficult to engage the little toe edge and rendered their skis a little hooky. A cuff adjustment, at least, will be required for most to achieve a balanced position.
The Ride Power Block hike mode release mechanism is straightforward, bomb-proof and easily switched. It allows for a massive amount of unhindered, smooth travel both fore and aft while hiking or skinning. Best in the category by far, testers said.
The lateral cuff adjuster can negate some of that out-of-the-box grippy inside edge feel. The forward lean angle is also adjustable. Comes stock with rockered, tech-compatible Vibram soles; an alpine sole set is optional ($39.99). Depending on your taste, you may have to ski past the cosmetic scheme. One tester said the raspberry-colored design looked like a skin disease.
“Really great range of motion in walk mode—solid and stable on edge.” -- Emily Poore
“If you want one boot that performs uphill and in the resort you've found it.” -- Julia Carr
“Very narrow fit—hugs a slender foot well. Extremely reactive in all conditions.” -- Filomena ' Mena' Dardani
“Can handle any terrain with finesse—aggressive and responsive.” -- Emma Christensen
“Love how quick to the edge they are—easy to steer, agile and poppy.” -- Liz Elling
“Surprisingly good skiing boot! Better than past years'.” -- Kristina "Rev" Revello
“Medium volume my a$$! I need the jaws of life to get me out of here!” -- Emily Poore
“Prior to liner molding it's too tight with hotspots galore.” -- Emma Christensen
“Torture dominatrix for your feet!” -- Liz Elling
“It's paint job looks like a disease.” -- Kristina "Rev" Revello
“Stock set-up is over-flexed and over-edged. Made my knees hurt and thighs burn.” --