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Scarpa F1 EVO Touring Boot 2014-15 - Teton Tested

Written by Lee - Instagram

Update

*****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

SCARPA Voluntary and Precautionary Recall of F1 Evo ski boots with Tronic System

Feb. 2, 2015 – SCARPA has elected to voluntarily recall all F1 EVO ski boots.

SCARPA is asking all retailers and consumers who have purchased Fall 2014 F1 Evo ski boots with the Tronic System to cease using them immediately and return them to SCARPA as soon as possible for a refund.

It appears that given a rare combination of conditions and circumstances, the boot may unexpectedly switch from ski mode to walk mode, which increases the skier’s likelihood of falling.

For North American consumers, please cease using the boots immediately and return them as soon as possible to the point of original purchase for a refund. For North American dealers, please cease any further sales of the boots and contact SCARPA at (866) 998-2895 to set up a return and refund.

Thank you in advance, and SCARPA apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused our customers or retailers. ****

Introduction

For the 2014-15 ski season Scarpa released the new-look Scarpa F1 EVO touring boot. Its intended audience are touring-focused skiers who want light-weight gear coupled with decent downhill performance. The boot is a complete makeover of the older F1. It boldly incorporates different technologies such as; (i) a cable BOA style closure; (ii) a "Tronic" automatic system which converts the boot from walk to ski mode just by clicking into bindings; and (iii) carbon spine construction to promote stiffness.

The bottom line is that the Scarpa F1 Evo will undoubtedly be a boot that will spark opinions; some will love it - some will debunk it. Arguably as stiff as the older mango Maestrale the boot will be almost 350g lighter per foot. At a MSRP of USD 699 the boot is reasonably priced for something so light and stiff; time will tell whether the F1 Evo will also be durable. The Scarpa F1 Evo will be in sizes 24.5-31 men's and 21.5-27 women's.

About Lee

I weigh 160 lbs and ski mainly in the Coast and Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. I only had 6 days on the F1 EVO in variable snow ranging from cold sastrugi to pow to hardpack to soft corn snow (unseasonably warm temperatures) so my impressions are exceedingly preliminary and tempered by cautious optimism. My skiing is usually in high moisture-content snow. Accordingly, my preference is for bigger skis and relatively stiff boots. Personally I own a pair of Dynafit Vulcans and Scarpa Maestrale RS touring boots but have had the opportunity to test a wide variety of boots that are now too numerous to count. So if you have a question comparing the F1 EVO to other boots ask in the article comments and I will try to answer.


Scarpa F1 Evo side profile .


BOOT CONSTRUCTION AND FEATURES

The Scarpa F1 Evo shares the same cabrio construction of the Maestrale but with a soft flexible tongue replacing the stiff plastic of the other Scarpa boot. Forefoot boot closures are via BOA type metal laces actuated by a rotating clasp. Ankle/cuff closures are via two pieces of webbing. Thin plastic is used for boot construction combined with carbon construction at various key locations. A carbon-fiber piece runs the length of the foot, underfoot, and wraps around the side of the foot up to the ankle hinge point, so that the carbon underfoot connects directly to the upper cuff. According to Scarpa carbon was used in this way (versus in the cuff) so that you get lateral stiffness and transfer of power to the ski edge, but still have the progressive forward flex in the cuff that skiers are looking for.

Cuff and forefoot are in two pieces joined by a lean-lock walk mode mechanism; a traditional method of constructing touring boots. The factory set forward lean is a fairly forward 18 degrees but by adjusting two cuff screws the forward lean is adjustable +/- 2 degrees.

It's worthwhile noting that the boot are designed specifically for tech bindings so the Scarpa F1 EVO won't work with frames bindings such as the Duke, Guardian or Diarmir. This allowed tech toe fittings to be set 6mm back from standard which allows for a somewhat more natural touring stride. The downside is that the effective bootsolelength is shorter than expected (eg my test 27.0 pair has a BSL of 296mm; as opposed to 304mm for a 27 Maestrale RS); a consideration for those who don't want to remount bindings.

The size 27 Scarpa F1 Evo tested actual weight was 1160g. The included Intuition Liner was 233g


The Scarpa F1 Evo has a remarkable walk mode tilting back approximately 40 degrees resulting in approximately 58 degrees of cuff articulation. Carbon is visible in the lower boot's panels. From the boot's stiffness that carbon isn't just for looks

Note the cabrio hinged tongue shared by other models such as Maestrale. Also note the Boa metal cable lacing system; the round dial on the boot cinches up the lacing but undoes everything with just one action.

Two velcro straps cinch the upper foot. The middle massive velcro strap cinches tight with a cammed buckle and, to me, provided almost all the support necessary. The upper strap is a standard power strap for the upper cuff that I left snug but not tight.

Pictured is the "Tronic" automatic ski to walk mechanism. The two tabs at the heel piece move in up when you stick the heel piece into a binding for ski mode. The tabs' movement engages the boot's ski/walk mode mechanism into ski mode. Reverse the action to go back to walk mode. Then undo the BOA laces with one motion and the forefoot webbing with another motion and your boot transition is done.


FIT

The Scarpa F1 Evo might look narrow in store but it's a generic neutral shape. Of note, there's no arch bump, the included boot-board is flat. I don't have last measurements but, while the F1 Evo has a neutral toe-box that fit a flat-footed Asian just fine, in no way is the F1 Evo as wide as the older Spirit 3 or 4. In terms of heel hold, I found the F1 Evo not to be a performance fit but rather more tuned for the average. The heel is anatomical so if it fits right out of the box (as I did) you will find it to cinch tight.. In terms of instep, chicken legs and ankles will probably have to play with Bontex pads to take up space as again, the fit is tuned for the average foot.

I did find the Boa system to work well. My experience is that boots with thin plastic can deform if you hit them hard with camming buckles (the plastic gets squashed). The Boa's laces when tightened seemed to distribute pressure evenly so there weren't hot spots. My only concern is durability but perhaps that's the perception of seeing those thin laces on the boot's outer; time will tell if my concerns are warranted..

To sum it up think of the F1 Evo's fit as tuned to fit the median foot. My generic foot fit almost perfectly with minimal tweaking and with comfort. If you're looking for rando type performance cramped toes with savage clamping on heels look to do a lot of custom fitting.


The Scarpa F1 Evo's factory set cuff lean is 18 degrees which I found a bit forward. A flat removeable boot board makes for a neutral starting point for bootfitters

Cuff lean can be adjusted +/- 2 degrees - see the fasteners just above the walk mechanism.

Intuition-inside liner (accept no substitutes!) is a customized version of the Pro-tour liner for Scarpa with different foam thicknesses.


REVIEW

The Scarpa F1 Evo tours shockingly well. Frankly I would have been staggered to report otherwise. What's not to like about a boot this light, with this good a walk mode (the touring stride is practically friction free). In this respect it's a worthy successor to the F1 name. The only criticism I have is that due to the Tronic system it isn't possible to go into walk mode when the boot is locked down in the binding. I occasionally flip my boots into walk mode on flattish approaches where I can shuffle along somewhat so it would be nice to see some sort of feature which allowed a manual changeover.

Transitions when using this boot can be astoundingly fast depending on user setup. I tend to leave my power straps quite loose and it's no exception with thie F1 Evo. Consequently switching from walk to ski entals turning the Boa dial and doing up the mdidle webbing buckle then stepping in for fiddle-free transitions.

In terms of downhill performance this more recent F1 iteration kicks the ass of the older bellowed F1. Instead of the limp vagueness of the older boot the F1 Evo is staggeringly laterally stiff. Lateral stiffness is something that's hard to assess in carpet-testing in ski shop showrooms and tends to show up when you lay your skis (and boots down sideways at speed). In this aspect of boot performance I'd go as far as to say that the F1 Evo is as stiff as the orange/mango Scarpa Maestrale.

This is high praise indeed but I would caveat that the Scarpa F1 Evo, to me, skis very abruptly. It's an on/off boot in terms of fore/aft stiffness. The F1 Evo is not overly forgiving and I found it best to drive the boots and skis from the cuff when one encountered variable snow. The factory lean setting in particular moves body position overly forward perhaps contributing to that lack of forgiveness. Accordingly I found my comfort with the F1 Evo to grow in the couple of days I had the boot set all the way back to a 16 deg forward lean setting. So caveat my criticism with the knowledge that I was just beginning to tune it for my skiing preferences.

Another caveat is theoretical. Tech bindings can insta-tele when mounted on soft skis - ie the soft ski hits a depression, the ski compresses and decambers, and the boot comes out of the binding. If that happens the F1 Evo will go into walk mode. With a boot with such a remarkable walk mode this will likely result in an impressive tomahawk. This is all very theoretical as I didn't have the opportunity to test my G3 Spitfire, Dynafit Vertical, Scarpa F1 Evo in icy moguls to test for insta-tele performance but one should be aware that the "Tronic" automatic walk mode/ski mode feature has that potential downside.


Great booting comfort. Fantastic skiing performance too especially given the weight. Unfortunately meadowskipping pictures were deleted so photo evidence will have to wait

Remarkable walking stride

Crampons with straps which can work with truncated toe bails will work. Per Scarpa Flex Lock or Spirlock system from Petzl, Race or G1 from Grivel, Universal system from Camp, Strap System from BD will work. It's not clear that all semi-automatic crampons will work but best for you to try yourself. 


Some must read links to complete the review

From The Column: Teton Tested

thanksfor the review Lee and good timing. I’ve been considering these or this yrs spectre’s. weight looks fairly similar. any thoughts on comparative ski performance? wondering how the fit would compare to my freedoms(or your rs’s) as well? just a touch less room for the 6th toe it sounds. really like my freedoms and am tempted to stay with scarpa for my lighter option as well

    to clarify- f1 performance vs spectre . f1 fit vs freedom

      It’s probably just a bit tighter than the Freedom in the toe and in terms of heel hold it’s more anatomical.  And the Freedom was even more anatomically fitted than the RS.  For reference in the RS I had to use padding to take up some space in heel and instep whereas none are needed in the Freedom or F1

      F1 is definitely not as stiff as the RS or the Freedom.  Freedom is the stiffest.  The F1 is fairly stiff laterally but not in the same league as either boot.

      I’d put the Spectre and F1 in the same league stiffness wise and both were very comparable for walking.  The Spectre of course fits very differently.  But note I looked at last years Spectre; not this years.

        much appreciated. I should find a pair to try on

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