Two years ago we thought the first generation Ranger was Fischer’s best boot ever and one of the best boots in our test. Last year, with the arrival of its wider brother Ranger One, we thought Fischer had two of its best boots ever and two of the best in our test. This year the Ranger 130 returns with a fortified lower shell to increase its power and stability without substantially affecting weight and simultaneously improve its already smooth range of motion in walk mode. This year's update also comes with a stronger cam-buckle power strap and a revised liner. Testers have always loved how well it cradles the foot and leg—if a little like that uncle’s too-hard handshake on the lower leg and ankles…a bit too tight but you kind of like it too.
It still fits the way you'd expect a 99 mm last should—snug side of the medium group. This remains a close-to-anatomy shell design with a thin, fully moldable liner for some minimally cushioned separation between foot and shell, leg and cuff. Testers say it fits with an anatomically contoured python-like grip, especially though the lower leg shaft and into the heel and ankle pockets where the fit tension was fairly aggressive. Testers who had the liner molded found the fit relaxed there, but this is no wide side of medium last bucket—it's more like a Recaro bucket seat for the feet.
Where to start? When you first pick up the boot you realize it's out of the ordinary. The sleek look, smooth finish and featherweight feel in hand (1600 grams) set it apart from others in the hike mode category. The first buckle-up provides a performance fit feel, and then the search for the hike mode switch leads to the discovery of the stealthiest touring flip switch on the market. Barely the size of a beetle wing, a smooth flip of the lever engages a thin interior cable which releases the cuff seamlessly (will it stand the test of time, a few tester wondered initially, and so far it has). And then the easy stroll to the skis begins, with long and unhindered strides enabled by friction-free and wide-ranging cuff rotation, both rearward and forward in equal measure. When veteran testers prepare to test an on-off area boot that weighs so little and walks so well, we naturally ready ourselves for a worthless downhill experience. So, imagine our collective surprise when we find that the Ranger 130 has absolutely ripped in test after test! Stable through high speed crud laps, sensitive in untracked pow, commanding to the edge when arcing trenches on piste. Testers couldn't find its performance Achilles heel—though it maintained one hell of a grip on theirs.
The Ranger 130 comes with GripWalk soles installed, which adds to its easy walking game. Tech compatible with Dynafit tech fittings, this sidecountry/Freeride boot might easily compete with true Backcountry boots—which we have tested-out in the past by entering it in our Backcountry category test as well, where it won. Two liner pull loops and a new bomb-proof cam-buckle power strap are the extent of the features menu, and we are a little disappointed that there isn't a lateral cuff adjustment, but often those are sacrificed in the name of better cuff rotation in hike mode, which is available here in spades.
“Overall right fit with tall upper cuff. Surprisingly agile. Will perform great of piste. Easy to engage walk mode. Buckles are easy to fasten. Grip walk soles are nice. ” -- Pat Sullivan
“I would walk a mile for a camel in this boot. A roomy enough fit for touring and I was amazed by how well the boot skied. Ingenious, sneaky, implementation of the walk mode.” -- Greg Hoffmann
“This boot fits amazing! Loved it. A little snug in the heel, but probably cured with easy liner cook. Stance is comfy and nice. Not too forward, rear support feels perfect. Holy f#*!. Thanks Fischer, best boot in category.” -- Kevin Gabriel
“Painful on outside ankle bone, styloid and outside of heel.” -- Jim Schaffner