Scarpa Maestrale 1.0 review and use test
Who am I?
52 year old 5' 10" size 8.5/9.0 street shoe. Black Diamond Convert + Dynafit TLT Radical 260 Scarpa Maestrale 1.0 used 6 times late season Vermont.
Previous boot: Black Diamond Factor
Out of the box the Maestrale fit my left foot nearly perfectly. A little tight on the instep but perfect length. Per usual the right boot was tight (I'm about a 1/4 size larger right foot). Thermo forming helped with the fit of the left boot and had a substantial (unexpected) improvement on the feel of the tongue for both. The right boot was still tight - but after skiing it a few times I still think I got the right size.
Flex - on the way up
Coming from the Factor you would think that the climbing performance would have been amazingly improved between the two but what I found was that on the steep uphill I wasn't taking advantage of the improved flex of the Maestrale. Kicking steps and huffing up very steep skin tracks didn't feel dramatically different from the Factor. What I found instead was that hiking on flat was amazing, as was skinning on less steep approaches.
Flex - on the way down
I was pretty concerned about getting a boot that would be too soft for a wide ski like the Convert (105mm underfoot). What I found was the the Maestrale is more buckle "flex dependent" than any other boot I've owned. If you look closely at the inside of the boot there is an engagement notch between the upper and lower portion of the shell. This, combined with the fairly soft flex of the orange material, means that if the buckles aren't tightened all around well the boot can feel floppy on the way down. Once I figured this out, I found that by thoroughly tightening the buckles and power strap I could make the boot feel close to the Factor stiffness (110). Given that I've been skiing warm spring weather only (60F+) I think that winter stiffness will be fine even for a 105mm ski.
Overall craftsmanship is pretty amazing. The intuition liner is all it is made out to be - warm and perfectly "dense". Buckles to have a tendency to rotate when loosened - i'll want to use some loctite to hold them in place once I sort out exactly where i want them to be. Hiking and climbing performance are excellent and for the sort of 1-2 hour approach followed by 20 minutes of great moderately steep descents that I have in Vermont, i think I've found the perfect boot...