2020 Gear Test Week: With boots, is less more?

Editor Lucy Higgins tests new kicks at the 2020 Gear Test Week. [Photo] Louise Lintilhac

In recent years, AT boots have sported all manner of buckle systems, from the Boa cinch to the traditional four-buckle lock-down. Each method is geared toward a particular use; the Scarpa Alien RS’s no-buckle Speed Lock system aims for rapid ascents while the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro takes the recognizable shape of a downhill-charging race boot with added range of motion and weight savings.

To learn more about what our Gear Test Week group looks for in a boot, we asked testers why they prefer stepping into certain systems. Here are their initial thoughts on the 2020 AT boot lineup.

“I look for the more sturdy boots, a boot with a little substance,” says editor Lucy Higgins of her boot proclivities. “I want to feel secure on the down, and if we’re talking fractions of a pound for weight savings on the up, I’d rather look for a boot that has my back on the descent.” And of what she’s looking forward to from this year’s test, Higgins notes that she’s excited to try the wider range of boots at the 2020 test that fit her 23 mondo-sized foot. “It’s exciting to see companies realizing that women are a part of the backcountry ski industry and that we’re here to stay.”

Tester Dana Allen looks forward to the 2020 boot selection. [Photo] Tyler Cohen

Tester Dana Allen shares Higgins’s excitement for the boot lineup at this year’s test and notes, “The boots are all pretty lightweight these days, but companies seem to be maximizing the flex-to-weight ratio much better than years past.” Allen also notes that sometimes it’s what’s on the inside that counts, saying, “Liner quality was generally high for the boots at this year’s test, and I’m stoked to see that everything seems to be heat moldable.”

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