Everyone has that one backcountry boot that strikes a near-perfect balance between weight, stiffness, downhill performance and walk mode; that boot, for me, is quickly becoming the Scarpa F1 LT. Luckily the boot fits right out of the box, which is one reason I went out and bought a second pair before the price jumped anymore. My first pair was offered to me by SkiUphill to test out as my Fischer Travers Carbon Ski Boot started to wear out. I have used the Scarpa F1 LTs for over 100 days in the backcountry, and I’m super stoked to still be using them.
These boots come in around 1000g, depending on size. You aren’t going to get much lighter for a boot unless you get a straight-up skimo racing boot. This weight seems to be the new norm for boots of this category/type, so that shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone at this point.
Going For a Walk
The walk mode here is excellent, probably just as good as the Fischer Travers and much better than most other boots I’ve tried. I can head into the gas station, drive to the trailhead and almost forget I’m not wearing a shoe when I get home. The Boa system allows you to tighten the ankle/lower section while in walk mode, leading to fewer hot spots and blisters than most buckle systems. Gliding flats for extended periods of time is a breeze too.
Climbing rock in the F1LTs is a bit better than in the Fischer Travers due to the position of the Boa dial. I did notice on occasion that the Boa on the Fischer would get in the way, it wasn’t a dealbreaker, of course, but the center position of the F1 LT Boa dial is better. Although I’m sure most won’t care about this point, I noticed it.
Speaking of the Boa system, I recently broke the wire, which led me to buy a second pair while it was getting fixed. When I posted about this on social media, I got a lot of DMs saying that Boa Systems suck. I disagree with this position as the Boa allows you to tighten your boot to a better fit and is easier to deal with than most strap/buckle systems. I used these boots for over 100 days before the wire snapped, I’ve had traditional boot buckles break in less time too, so I don’t see this system as less durable. In general, I prefer a Boa over a buckle. If you don’t, this could be a deal breaker.
These boots ski better than any boot in the same weight class I have used. The lower shell doesn’t flex under pressure, and the upper cuff feels solid. I have assumed that the skeleton-like structure of the boot was created specifically to give the boot better downhill performance while keeping the weight down. The Boa wires come up a bit higher on the ankle than most I’ve tried, which helps hold the foot in place better. The only thing that could improve the downhill experience would be a slightly higher cuff, which I’ve heard people comment on, but so far, I’ve been fine with it.
These boots are not cheap, but you know the old saying, and it’s true in this case. You get what you pay for. I get a lot of free gear, and I could have got a different pair of boots for free, but I decided to buy another pair of these. Money is an afterthought when it comes to fitting and functioning boots.
Your Next Boot?
If you’re looking for a lightweight backcountry boot that walks and skis exceptionally well, look no further. Price aside, there is little reason to buy a different boot as long as this one fits you. And in the end, purchasing a boot is that simple. If it fits out of the box, it’s the boot for you.