Testers were interested to try the all new Gea RS at this year's test. Sometimes a "new" boot is hardly revised, with perhaps a minor liner material change or some tweak to buckle styles, but this is a really, really, new Gea RS. Change is difficult for some folks, and our test team had a hard time letting go of one of their favorite backcountry boots in the Gea RS of old, but they also found new things to rally behind with this new one.
First, it's a completely different mold shape, and likely the same or very similar to the 4-Quattro boots that we tested last year. This is a stripped and ripped new boot--its shell shape is closer to the foot than its predecessor and its liner is less bulky and padded. This boot says performance in the way it addresses the foot--it's pretty damn snug they said, and especially so over the top of the foot. Where the predecessor was one of those easy-going medium fits that was universally pleasing to most feet and legs, this new one tightens the screws down a bit. For the testers who matched its fit map they discovered a newly responsive and crisp feeling Gea RS that drove a ski harder with less effort and pointed the ski exactly as directed. The Grilamid Bio lower shell and carbon core inserts in both the shell and cuff produce a highly transmissive, powerful feel.
Scarpa has always been sly with their fit metrics--pay attention to where their sizing breaks with regard to the shared shell--it's the same with the smaller half-size and the larger whole-size (i.e. a 24.5 and 25.0 share the same shell). Similarly the listed last width of their boots is often measured off their particular sample size, 27.5, rather than virtually all other brands' sample size of 26.5...this may explain the 102mm label here. Testers say it's a snug medium, not a wide. The takeaway, testers said, is that this is one for in-person try-on for a purchase, not an online roll-of-the-dice.
Testers like the revised walk mode apparatus and found it both easy and solid in its engagement. They really appreciated that the forward lean angle of the cuff could be straightened up by 2-degrees. It could also be made even more forward-leaning by the same increment but testers said that would not be needed for them. If diversity is a goal in boot feature technology, the Gea RS buckle assemblage has a global village's worth of it! The down-hooking power strap is useful for sealing the top of the cuff where one traditional buckle resides. The mid-way, 45-degree buckle is a ratchet strap and the lower closure relies on a buckle-tensioned Wave Lite cable system that does the job nicely according to testers.
“The instep fit is way tighter the previous years'--crushes it. No real adjustment to be made for that other than a liner mold. The closures are way more tricky than in the past.” -- Emily Poore