The 2019/2020 K2 Recon 130 MV was tested in the men's All-Mountain Traditional medium width category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.
Among the new generation of lighter weight alpine boots, testers say the Recon 130 MV best manages to channel old-school edge power and a damp feel for the snow. The crisp feeling thin shell wall polyurethane remains easy to peel apart for entry and exit (many of this new crop don’t!) and testers said its plush and curvy liner offered enough padding for a cushioned and contained feel throughout. Some felt it overly snug on the top of the foot initially but said it settled in quickly.
The Recon 130 MV was an instant hit with testers for its unmistakably medium width fit profile—their fit impressions were dominated by 3's (the medium width ideal) with some 4's mixed into the fit scores for the toebox and forefoot. Ultra comfy without giving up on a proper grip around the foot, they said, noting that the liner was a nice blend of cushion with real substance that didn't let the shell feel too close to the foot nor give the sense that it would pack out in short order. There was nothing, on initial try-on, to indicate that the boot was especially light (other than its lack of heft)—it just felt like a good boot. Easy entry, good functional buckles, no surprises, testers said.
The boot's light weight is certainly evident when it's picked up, and then again when walking. While skiing, the lightness was noticeable only in that the boot moved quickly and accurately underfoot for such a luxury S.U.V. comfort level, testers said. Of the five scores that make up a boot's total, the Recon 130 MV's highest score was for Edge Power and Stability—not exactly what you'd expect for a lightened-up thin shell wall model, but testers said this was the real deal. They cited a very flat, well planted feel from foot to boot floor to ski at every edge angle which translated to massive plank bending power and deep, slashing carves.
K2 built the Recon with four different stiffnesses of polyurethane in a variety of different shell wall thickness--going very thin where possible for weight reduction but keeping things thick in areas critical for power and stability. Testers thought they accomplished this mission and were appreciative of the bootfitting-centric material that will support all common heat stretches and grinds (where the shell wall is thick enough). Still at play for K2 boots is the Powerfuse Spyne, which links the cuff to lower shell in a firm but slightly elastic fashion—not blocked and locked but neither is it free to dump forward. The K2 dual upper cuff alignment system is still effective and still a bit of a puzzle for first-timers, though now they are anchored internally with regular T-nuts (bootfitters in the know thank you for that, K2) and the Recons also have cantable soles. The PrecisionFit liners are still full-thermo Ultralon affairs, but now they are anatomically sculpted and, testers said, vastly superior to K2 liners of the past. The Recon shell is designed to be wholly moldable by wearing after an oven-cook, which we tested. The shape and volume change was dramatic but easily over-done. Testers suggest molding the liner first, then later consider oven cooking the shell if the overall fit still feels too tight.
“Very close out of the box fit for my foot. I like that you can tell the difference between this boot and the 97mm version. The fit of this boot is very nicely done in relative to my foot shape. The solid fit tension was maintained as soon as I started moving on snow. Not too cush, not too harsh, just right. The stance angles on this model worked very well for me—edge power felt very good, especially on deepest edge angles at highest speeds. Light weight with good foot hold made this boot quick in edge turnover and foot steering. Heat moldability of a PU boot is a cool feature.” -- Jim Schaffner
“A medium category boot through and through. Consistent, firm and uniform fit tension with the spacious toebox. I'd be happy to have this toebox on bitter cold days! Real progressive flex--bouncy, springy--snaps to center lickety-split! Fairly gutsy for being so light weight--handled a full spectrum of turn styles and speeds exceedingly well. Perfect blend of power and feel. It's looking like K2 is making great improvements to their line IMO. A real surprise.” -- Marc Stewart
“Home run for K2! This one is going to sell itself with its great, slightly roomy medium fit--the new fit benchmark for the category maybe. Totally dialed stance-wise and flex-wise. Great skiing boot--strong as an ox--will pair well with a Pinnacle 105. It has a stable and very flat, neutral-feeling platform underfoot when the skis are on edge. The Recon MV may be more stable than rapid fire quick but it rolls 'em over and points 'em where intended. Convenience? Easy on, easy closure, easy fit, easy skiing--that's pretty convenient.” -- Mark Elling
“Not out of balance but lacks accuracy of other boots. Perfect score for comfort, demerits for performance. Not for the quick—for lazy punters.” -- Jackson Hogen