This year’s Winter Outdoor Retailer / Snow Show was a bit underwhelming. There wasn’t as much new and innovative kit to check out as I’ve come to expect. And unfortunately footwear was no exception though there were definitely a few highlights. Five Ten and Lowa, didn’t have anything new for winter while other brands such as Salewa weren’t even at the show. However, that’s not to say that there wasn’t any cool new foot related gear at all! Scarpa had a bunch of great new stuff and some sic updates to existing lines. La Sportiva and Mammut also had a few things to check out. Let’s start with winter footwear and work our way through summer alpine and wrap up with rock shoes.
La Sportiva Mons Cube – New:
Technically the new Mons Cube was released at the November show but, seeing as I wasn’t there, we hadn’t yet covered it. It’s basically a triple boot: outer, inner bootie & liner sock thing. Unfortunately the model at the show didn’t have the inner sock for some reason). This newest iteration of Mons follows in La Sportiva’s standard naming schema: Start with a GTX version, move onto an EVO and then a CUBE.
Upgrades from the EVO include a wrap-around zipper to improve durability and ease of use. Some cutting-edge 3mm Primaloft Gold Aerogel insulation (a pressure resistant, uber warm insulation that’s really starting to take off in the outdoor industry) for added warmth. A sweet dual-zone (upper & lower) Boa lacing system and of course the addition of some inserts on the toe that allow the boots to be clipped into the toe piece of a tech binding. Of course it’s not a ski boot so there’s no heel inserts but the tech toe will be a great feature for people doing long cold traverses on skis. Lastly, the sole features a Combination of Vibram® Litebase and Vibram® MorFlex® Expanded EVA to drop some weight while maximizing thermal insulation. It still has abrasion resistance where it’s needed though as a mainly snow and ice walking boot I doubt users wear the soles out very often. MSRP: $1,199 USD.
Scarpa Phantom 8000 – Updated:
It seems to be a great season for new 8000m boots as Scarpa’s also updated their high altitude / polar exploration offering, the Phantom 8000. Improvements over the current version include a new smaller zipper with slightly modified geometry for easier use. It’s also 9% lighter which works out to about 133g in a size 42. The insulation in the sole, gaiter and liner have all been upgraded with very specific insulation used in different areas to maximize warmth. This includes some Aerogel underfoot, Primaloft 600 in the all-new liner bootie, Primaloft 200 in the gaiter, etc. It’s quite an impressive list of insulations over its 18-layer construction, each targeted to specific areas.
As can be seen from the photos the exterior fabric on the lower boot has also been upgraded. The new fabric is an abrasion resistant material called PU Tek. The upper part of the gaiter is still Shoeller S-Tech but it’s been given a new striped appearance to match the rand. A look that Scarpa has extended across all their new / upgraded alpine/Mountaineering boots. MSRP $1,199 USD.
Scarpa Phantom Tech – Updated:
The popular Phantom Tech is also getting an upgrade for 2019. This ice and mixed climbing boot not only gets the sexy new striped look that Scarpa’s adopted for their alpine boots but is also lighter and easier to walk in. The Fall 2019 version will weigh in at 730g, that’s 12% or 100g lighter than the current model (for a size 42). This was done by updating the materials and insulations used in the construction of the boot. As on the Phantom 8000 this includes a new abrasion resistant exterior fabric on the lower boot with a unique honeycomb look.
The updated Tech also has a new sole: the Vibram Precision Tech Roll Sole. The idea is that a more natural and ergonomic rocker will improve walking efficiency on approaches and translate into energy savings on a long day. As for underfoot materials, the ultralight insert has been dropped and the outsole sports the durable Mont compound rubber. This was done to address some rubber durability concerns that some users were experiencing.
A new zipper that wraps up the outside of the boot is is replacing the old spiral style. This change in geometry combined with a new and slightly smaller zipper makes a big difference when putting the boots on. The new zipper is quick and amazingly easy to use. Lastly, Scarpa’s reducing the price with an MSRP of $699 USD for these bad boys!
The Phantom 6000’s don’t seem to be getting a facelift this year but I’m definitely expecting one soon!
Scarpa Ribelle HD – New:
Scarpa is adding to the Ribelle line with the introduction of the new Ribelle HD. Like the Ribelle Tech OD, which is basically a running shoe crossed with an alpine boot, the HD version is focused on providing fast and light performance in the mountains. Just with a slightly more traditional and ankle supporting design.
The new HD has a 2D PU midsole, a lighter option than a regular PU midsole. Scarpa’s new Sock-Fit XT construction is utilized which means that the flex-point and tongue are made from a single piece of S-Tech Shoeller. Similar to the Tech OD just without the gaiter. 2.6mm of Perwanger suede is used on the upper for durability. This suede has been embossed with a very lightweight TPU exoskeleton for a little extra support. A full wrap-around rand and rubber toe finishes the upper.
The same Vibram Precision Tech Roll Sole that we found on the Phantom Tech is also used on the new HD to provide an efficient underfoot rocker. And of course, as a mountaineering boot, the HD has a rear TPU crampon insert for semi-auto crampons. Weighing in at 690g/boot for a size 42 the HD is definitely heavier than the Tech OD but it also offers much more support and durability. MSRP: $359 USD.
Scarpa Furia Air – New:
First the Furia, then the Furia S and now the Furia Air. This soft and supple performance rock shoe is designed to provide exceptional sensitivity in a very lightweight package. At 150g (size 40) this new Furia Air is 25% lighter than any other rock shoe in Scarpa’s line! That weight savings hasn’t come at the cost of durability though as it still sports a 3.5mm Vibram XS Grip rubber outsole!
The upper is made of a perforated microfiber outer fabric which is been bonded to another interior microfiber fabric to create a thin but supportive sock-like fit. A new active-tension rand design called MLT is paired with a minimalist Flexan midsole for power and support while maintaining sensitivity.
The toe box features a high-tech leather-like material called Alcantara which is supposed to mold to the shape of the wearers foot over time for a custom fit. The heel pocket is supported by a single piece of rubber to absorb tension but flex to reduce pressure over the Achilles tendon. The result is an amazingly light and sensitive performance shoe. MSRP: $199 USD.
Mammut Taiss Light Mid GTX – Updated:
Mammut introduced the Taiss Light Mid GTX alpine climbing / light mountaineering boots last summer at the OR Show so I expect that they’re in stores by now. However, they have thankfully updated the colors for 2019! So instead of just a black (mens) and a white (womens) version they’ll be available in a few brighter flavors as shown in the photos. For more info on the actual boot check out my write-up from the summer show here.
Well that’s it for climbing and mountaineering related footwear for the Winter 2019 Outdoor Retailer show. Stay tuned for more show reports.
Special Thanks to Raf at TheAlpineStart for providing a few photos of the Phantom 8000. I seemed to have lost mine in the shuffle.