Head Raptor 130 RS

Model Year
2014-15
Category
Frontside
Last Width
96
Flex Index
130 (120-130-140)
Price (MSRP)
$750.00USD

This isn't an exact copy of the boots you see Ted Ligety blistering World Cup GS courses in but they're close enough that you will get a feel for what it's like to ski like him. Perhaps that's a stretch, but there is something about this boot that instantly elevates one's skiing to another level. Testers were so unanimously fired up about the Raptor that the really hard part was figuring out how to pare down the positive comments into a review too small to do the boot justice. The Raptor 130 RS garnered more Best-of-Test accolades than any other model in our test. 

Already accomplished skiers who spend enough time on firm smooth surfaces driving a properly matched carving stick (read: narrow waisted and stiff) will immediately appreciate the power and sensitivity of the Raptor design and architecture. Its solid sole, rigid bootboard, four-buckle overlap polyurethane construction and firm liner all combine for one purpose: transmit skier movements to ski immediately, the delay seemingly measured in nano-seconds. Good technical skiers will love this about the Raptor's personality—aspiring piste pros will love how this boot improves their skiing (when they get it right) but will find the 130 RS a bit unforgiving of mistakes.

The chain of command works both ways with a hard driver like the Raptor. It will send messages upward from the snow surface too, bucking those ill-prepared for the terrain changes that come at higher speeds. The softer 115 RS version of the big daddy we tested would be a good option for lighter and less aggressive skiers looking for the same narrow fit and similar feel on snow.

The Raptor 130 RS is the narrowest lasted boot we tested at 96mm (measured on reference size 26.5).  Surprisingly, although it received consistently tight fit tension marks by our test team—a good thing for a boot in this category—there was no whining about any extreme discomfort or crush fit zones. But this is a boot that will require a bootfitter's skills to get the shell away from bony parts that protrude on the foot.  That's just the cost of doing business in this category for all those save the few with unblemished and very narrow feet.

The flex feel of the Raptor is even and firm—it's all of a legit 130 flex even in its non-pinned, out-of-box 120 setting, which is where most of skiers will leave it. The boot's "rear support tuning" spine can be drilled and bolted creating two-step stiffer settings—a great option for taller, heavier skiers who routinely crush other boots.

The off-the-shelf stance settings are right where the majority of our testers wanted them. The fore-aft angle was just forward enough without the rear Velcro spoiler installed (it now comes loose in the box where it belongs, not on the liner as it had previously) and its side-to-side set up gave testers access to inside and outside edges with plenty of power. No complaints means no problems, we think.

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
23.0, 23.5, 24.0...29.5, 30.5
Hike Mode 
No
Heat Moldable Liner 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow

Kudos

  • “Powerstrap is amazing. Hands down the best boot here.” -- Stacy Crumpler
  • “Absolutely dominant. Surprising comfort given the snug fit.” -- James Donahue
  • “Building strong edge angles is a picnic. The stance is beyond flawless.” -- Marc Stewart
  • “Beautiful blend of fit and flex that expert skiers will appreciate when high speed carving.” -- Larry "Laurent" Smith
  • “As much power as mere mortals could want or use.” -- Scott Blackwell
  • “No wonder so many World Cup racers are in Raptors. They don't make 'em more solid than this.” -- Mason Tuor
  • “They got everything right.” -- Charlie Bradley
  • “Continues to dominate podiums and our test.” -- Dallas Goldsmith
  • “Quick, powerful, best feel for the snow in category.” -- Kevin Gabriel
  • “Pinpoint precision. Held me perfect in every spot.” --

Caveats

  • “I hate the buckles. Takes both hands to latch.” -- Kevin Gabriel
  • “Find out your bootfitter's favorite beer and block out some bonding time.” --
  • “On a cold day it's a two beer boot—drink two beers by the fire before you try to take it off.” -- Keith Holmquist

This boot available at...

Seattle, WA
Portland, OR
Teton VIllage, WY

Special thanks to all of our sponsors!

Platinum

Gold

Silver