Scarpa Freedom SL Review

November 8, 2013
Scarpa Freedom SL
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
89
Cuff flex/Consistency
9
Tourability
9
Power
7
Buckle ergonomics
7
Liner fit and finish
8
Value
9

The Good

  • Very smooth, progressive flex index (120)
  • Walk mode provides maximum tourability
  • Very light and nimble for making quick work of bootpacks, or tackling long slogs
  • Sold with your choice of tech fittings or alpine soles

The Bad

  • Tongue liner can get jammed up when taking off boots
  • Not quite as stiff as you’d think
  • Buckles are a little clunky
THE VERDICT

The Freedom SL is a serious one-boot quiver if there ever was one. It can drive big skis in any condition, AND it’ll tour as good as just about any dedicated alpine touring boot.

FULL REVIEW

Scarpa built this boot from the ground up with serious input from big mountain pro Chris Davenport. I had about twenty days on this boot, some of which were skiing the boots with Chris. He makes decent turns.

The Freedom has a slightly higher cuff, more like an alpine boot than AT, so it’s got plenty of machismo. That said, the Freedom SL wasn’t that stiff, but what it had was a very smooth predictable fore/aft flex index that’s in the 120-flex range, which I found plenty stiff for my skiing expectations. Even in crap conditions where the snow density was inverted, and buying turns was expensive, the Freedoms gave me what I paid for, which is to say a satisfying turn despite poor conditions.

The higher cuff assisted in chargeability because there was more contact real estate between my leg and the shell, making it easier to transfer drive. And, laterally, I felt like I could peel to the left or right as if I was wearing sharpened hockey skates. I thought it performed similarly to Scarpa’s Hurricane Pro (one of my favorite boots), except this boot toured way better.

Scarpa’s official claim is that the range of motion is 27 degrees, whereas I’m officially calling it awesome. I will say the tongue did get caught up in the overlap shell when I put on the boots, and was a bit of a pain in the ass. But whatever.

Using an Intuition tongue liner, the Freedom kept off a lot unnecessary weight without sacrificing any comfort. And, in conjunction with their carbon core technology, the boots weigh in at just under eight pounds per pair (size 27). The heated Intuitions filled in the void between me and the shell, securing my heels, ankles, and forefeet—creating a performance fit that never gave me issues during testing.

For downhilling purposes, I will always prefer an overlap liner. But with touring in the equation, the tongue liner strode well on flats or steep tracks, and being that versatility is one of the Freedom’s highest virtue, the tongue liner worked fine for me, especially in walk mode.

The buckles? They worked. By design they were a little grabby, and got clogged a bit when I took the boots off, but for the most part, the micro-adjustability was enough to dial them in and not have any problems.

 


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