Review: Scarpa 4-Quattro XT

A universal truth: skiing ain’t cheap. A pair of ski boots for the resort is expensive, let alone two for your backcountry quiver. And if you spend your days lapping lifts and skinning switchbacks, you know that ski boots wield the power to make or break a day on the slopes. I’d been roughing it in the backcountry the past three years with resort boots that just happen to also have toe pins and walk mode. So, when I heard the ambidextrous claims of the women’s Scarpa 4-Quattro XT boot, I knew I had to try ’em out for myself.

Plainly, this is one heck of a boot. Crossover boots typically make technical sacrifices to appease the demands of both inbound and out-of-bounds skiing. But not these bad boys. The stiffer 115 flex allows for increased precision and control on the mountain, so I can tackle steeper, more demanding terrain with the confidence of a downhill boot on my feet. The construction mirrors that of a traditional resort-specific boot, with shell overlap, four sturdy buckles, and a beefy top strap. When I clamp down the buckles, my foot nestles into the heel comfortably without cutting off circulation on my instep, which is a persistent problem with many boots on the market.

Scarpa kept weight in mind with these boots. When I first laid hands on the 4-Quattro XTs, I couldn’t believe how light they were for a crossover boot. The carbon shell cuts down on weight without sacrificing the integrity and stiffness needed in a ski boot. And walking uphill is nothing but a dream. The walk mode is that of a backcountry-specific boot, with 61 degrees of cuff rotation when engaged, ensuring a comfortable range of motion when skinning or boot-packing. The pin sockets at the toe of the boot are deep and brawny, making it easy to clip into backcountry bindings on the first try. When it’s time to transition for the downhill, the boots lock into ski mode with an easy flip of a sturdy lever—securing the pieces together.

Even more, these boots come pre-kitted with some of the best features in the ski-boot market, including Grip Walk, Intuition liners, a Booster Strap, Ortholite Insoles, and Recco. A word of warning: the boots are narrow. I have narrow feet, so the shape works well for me, but it might be a deal-breaker for the wide-soled skier. All in all, a great boot for the resort and backcountry lovers.

Available online; $800.