Scarpa F1 Alpine Touring Boot ReviewJanuary 22, 2019
- Super lightweight
- Large amount of cuff rotation in walk mode
- BOA system is quick, easy, secure, and light
- Solid fit right out of the box
- Squeaky when it flexes
- Challenging to drive fat skis
- Walk mechanism can ice up in deep snow
The F1 may be a lightweight dedicated touring boot but Scarpa spared no expense cramming it with features. From the grippy Vibram UFO Eva soles to the Intuition Pro Flex Evo liners for comfort, the F1 is feature rich. The BOA closure system, Fast Buckle Closure power strap and Grilamid, Carbon Core and Pebax construction keep things light, while the F1 Lever provides a huge 62-degrees range of motion in walk mode. To ensure that the F1 can perform on the down, Scarpa designed them with a flex rating of 95. While not super stiff, the F1s surprised us with how well they could still perform which raised questions about the accuracy of the flex rating.
Scarpa has always been known to have some of the best fitting boots in the business and the F1s are no exception. The Intuition Pro Flex Evo liners are of course Thermo-moldable for a custom fit but right out of the box the F1s were just plain comfortable without any pinches or hot spots. A quick liner cook and insertion of some custom footbeds and the F1s provided optimal foothold with a nice deep heel pocket and plenty of room up front in the toe box.
Weighing in at just 5.5 pounds, the F1s are one of the lightest boots I’ve ever reviewed. This is mainly due to the shell’s Carbon Core and use of grilamid along with a smooth-flexing Pebax tongue and HPA cuff material. These space-age materials can’t take all the credit, however, Scarpa also did away with all but one buckle by replacing two buckles on the forefoot with a single BOA closure system. Up top, the Fast Buckle Closure (which is essentially a beefy power strap) is the sole buckle which continues to minimize the F1s weight.
Given the F1s minimal weight, it’s not really designed for powering fat skis in variable snow conditions. While it will get you down the mountain, there are better boots out there for this task, such as Scarpa’s Maestrale RS which have a flex rating of 125 compared to the95 of the F1s. Given this much lower flex rating I was surprised at just how much power the F1 could provide, while not a daily driver boot by any means, the F1 is more of a backcountry machine built for lap after lap after lap.
This is where Scarpa’s F1 boots shine. The F1 lever on the spine of the boot provides quick access to the boot’s 62-degrees of cuff rotation. Even without having to unbuckle the Fast Buckle Closure or the power strap above that, the F1 provides a really large range of motion in walk mode. Release the Fast Buckle Closure and this improves even more. No need to unbuckle the boot completely, well, you actually just did because the F1 only has the solitary Fast Buckle Closure as the lower BOA closure systems is responsible for forefoot hold only. The full cuff rotation is split pretty evenly between front and back flex with a little more going towards the back of the boot to facilitate longer strides and steeper skin tracks.
Given the F1s 5.5-pound weight and 62-degrees of cuff rotation, it’s easy to understand why it’s been designed from the ground up to be a voracious climber for backcountry skiers. With a flex rating of just 95, it’s not the stiffest touring boot out there and hence, not ideal for the variable snow conditions and challenging terrain you may find in bounds at the resort. The F1 is a ski touring machine, designed to climb easily with proficient turns on the way down. It will ski anything but without the weight to back it up, it’s simply not a quiver-of-one boot.
Brad Steele is the co-creator of BackcountrySkiingCanada.com, a one-stop-shop for skiers and riders seeking timely, on-the-money information. BackcountrySkiingCanada.com is where you’ll find route descriptions, product reviews, guides, videos, comps and other like minded people who are as amped on ski touring as you are.