The 2019/2020 Lange XT Free 130 LV was tested in the men's On-Off Area narrow category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.
The most “real boot like” of the Freeride group, testers said over and over—both for fit and for downhill performance. One tester praised the snug but hotspot-free fit by saying the boot felt poured around his foot and ankle. Testers said that there was no sacrifice made on the edge power and stability side of things for having a hike mode and tech compatibility, making it a great choice for aspirational tourers and those who demand true alpine performance. It lacks huge touring range-of-motion, but nobody cared.
Testers were aligned on the fact that the LV moniker is a little exaggerated—they say it's sort of the opposite of a mullet, in that this one is all business in the back and a party in the front! Tight and right rearfoot with a relaxed fit forefoot and toebox—testers said, nice! At any rate, average feet shouldn't be scared away by the 97 mm labeling. Testers like the lightweight, cushioned Ultralon liner (full thermo-moldable) and said that the fit was firm enough in control areas without feeling harsh. Testers liked the fairly tall instep fit—good for blood flow and maintaining warm feet while touring, they said. Entry to the XT Free 130 LV was no problem for testers this year who mentioned considering using the liner as a lace-up (laces come in the box) for slick entry and for further customizing the fit.
For the weight and the mobility features here you won't do much better for a solid descender. Testers liked the Lange-family stance angles—slightly upright but with enough travel of flex to move through the downhill power band and find dynamic balance turn to turn. The Dual Core Grilamid lower boot proved surprisingly strong on edge, testers agreed, who easily found a stable platform in the midst of deep carves at speed. A few testers mentioned the boot's previous jittery, overly springy feel seemed tamed this year and highly ready to dominate in off-piste sorties. Testers were still a bit unimpressed with the touring range of motion—not great to the rear and fairly limited in forward travel, but most were willing to trade that for real-boot fit and performance in a lightweight package.
In addition to a full-thermo Ultralon liner, removable rear spoiler, easy to actuate Power V-Lock cuff release, rockered GripWalk soles and Dynafit-certified tech fittings, the XT Free 130 LV also sports grippy mid-arch cladding for secure scrambling and boot-packing.
“Nice solid feel that's also very balanced and smooth. Tons of edge power but very precise. The taller cuff gives you great control and accurate steering. Easy to put on, easy to use walk mode, light weight and with the option for a tech binding—Best of Category for me!” -- Pat Sullivan
“Smooth feeling interior. It's on par with on-area boots for fit and comfort. It has a solid initial fit and good ski reaction from the very first turn. Well-postured geometry in this boot. Despite an initially soft flex-feel, this boot came alive on the hill. Delightful engagement with the ski—like an ATV with good road handling character. The blend of balanced geometry and light, resilient material delivers a well-oiled quickness. This boot appears like a normal Alpine boot. Many touring boots look different by design, but this one appeals to the conventional skier.” -- Bob Gleason
“It has a really awesome, narrow fit for the back half with a little more room in the toebox. Has a great flex feel—it's super against the shin and generally fits like a boot should, no problems. My first perfect score--great boot. No flaws for me.” -- Mark Elling
“Nice, hugging fit--a bit tight but so good! What a great boot—the power transmutation is wonderful--just feels so good to ski it. Quickness? Yes, finally an On-Off Area boot that responded! It's got an easy to use walk-hike mode, it's tech and/or Alpine compatible--powerful, responsive and it can tour! This and the Fischer Ranger Free 130 are my top picks. ” -- Adam Tutskey