2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Real reviews by real skiers. What a concept! Add your own today. Reviews only please, questions can be posted as replies but new threads looking for opinions should be posted to the main Telemark Talk Forum.
User avatar
Johnny
Site Admin
Posts: 2150
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:11 pm
Location: Quebec / Vermont
Ski style: Dancing with God
Favorite Skis: Redsters, Radicals, Objectives and all Asnes skis.
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska XP, Scarpa TX Comp
Occupation: Full-time ski bum

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Johnny » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:48 am

Canada... I've been buying and selling stuff worldwide for 30+ years... I didn't find any logic... Sometimes you pay duties, sometimes you don't...
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

User avatar
jyw5
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:52 am

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by jyw5 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:23 am

I believe the Quest Core is equivalent to the Rondane Core.

I can't comment too much about the Guard vs Skarvet as I only walked around in the Skarvet at the store. I think the Skarvet is good enough for the MR48 and they should be pretty comfortable.

Both Alfa boots I own are very comfortable with the Guard being very warm. I don't really know if I am skiing that much better with the Guard vs Core...I will make another comparison this fall on fresh snow. I was reluctant to even wear the Guard this summer as skiing with the Core was just fine.

Comfort is more important to me as well.

Alfa makes the highest quality boots I have ever owned.
They do stretch out a bit after 20+ days and are noticeably roomier now then when I first got them. I notice I have to lace them up tighter than when they were new. Of course, the wool footbed is probably wearing down too.

The footbeds were an awesome suggestion from here too! I got the ones from Chenna Baree and they are absolutely amazing.

I think you will be very happy with the Skarvet. The Guard might be too difficult to determine the fit without trying it on. The EU41 was very large with its stock footbed. After replacing it with Chenna Baree thickest wool footbed, it was perfect. I definitely took a chance on it and got lucky.

replace the stock footbed with a thicker wool footbed and use thin wool socks. That seems to be the most comfortable, warmest, and durable combo.

The Guard was good down to -15F (I skiied for 4-6 hours on some of these frigid days) ...way colder than I care for.

hope this helps.


and Johnny,

those pomoca skins are incredible. I got xskins and also the 62mm race 2.0 full skins which makes for a fast transition...full length polar wax / blue wax in the kick zone combo has been great too and slows me down when descending...which is much needed as the FT62 is blazing fast.

FYI, I got the matching belt too this winter from Skinalp (Italy). Check it out!



User avatar
jyw5
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:52 am

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by jyw5 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:32 am

bgregoire wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:21 am
Stephen, I believe most people who have raved about the Guard here have not themselves owned or tried the skarvet. Both are great boots. if I were you I would get the skarvets locally and be happy knowing you own one of the top NNN BC boots ever made.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That's excellent advice!



User avatar
jyw5
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:52 am

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by jyw5 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:41 am

lilcliffy wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:29 am
That terrain is super dreamy man- wow!
I love your laces.
Serious stylish customization going on there.
Your comments on the Quest Core are smart. If one finds a great cheap touring boot- cheap to replace!
Thanks! my only complaint is that the core wets out easily in wet snow and is not warm...once wet, you can have cold/frozen toes even if its 40 degrees out. I wouldnt use these for serious multiday tours. I definitely pushed the setup to the limit this summer at Hatcher Pass...managed to ski 10k vert/wk until the rain killed everything at the end of July... I always carry an extra pair of socks and approach with light trailrunners.

I skied 97 days this season...if I can find snow somewhere up high this month, I would like to make 100.



User avatar
Roelant
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 6:33 am
Location: Subarctic Scandinavian Taiga
Ski style: Backcountry in the wild, cross country on trails
Favorite Skis: Nansen, FT62, Combat NATO
Favorite boots: Crispi Bre, Scarpa T4
Occupation: Ion Counter

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Roelant » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:02 am

jyw5 wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:41 am

Thanks! my only complaint is that the core wets out easily in wet snow and is not warm...once wet, you can have cold/frozen toes even if its 40 degrees out. I wouldnt use these for serious multiday tours. .
This is my partner's experience with the Rondane Core. We still have them for guests but she got some Crispi Stetinds and hasn't looked back.
The Guard or Skarvet should be much better.



User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 449
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
Occupation: Beyond

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:07 am

I have tried on several different pairs of boots lately: Alfa Guard, Skarvet, Kikut, and Outback; Alpina Alaska NNN BC; and Salomon Escape Plus Prolink NNN.
I usually have a difficult time finding comfortable footwear; I have a fairly round toe area and my toes usually end up feeling scrunched from the side, plus a somewhat wide ball of foot.
I was really interested in the Guards, from all the positive comments here, on TT, but could not find in US to try on.
REI carries the three other Alfa boots, so I tried them first. They all fit pretty similar, but the Skarvet did feel the most comfortable, to me.
All the Alfas have a pretty round, full toe box, so my toes were happy! I did however have a bit of heel lift (both Alfas and Alpinas), which was a little concerning. Overall, the Skarvet seemed like a nice boot — good fit, quality construction, etc.
The Alpina Alaska also felt like a nice boot, and very solid / sturdy, but was too narrow for me, and is also pretty heavy (about 6 oz more per boot in my size 47). Also didn’t like the lacing system on the Alaska that much, although it might have its advantages.
Based on the good fit of the Skarvets, I took a chance, and ordered the Guards from Finland. They arrived in about 5 business days, at a very good price, with no duty added by US CBP.
They are setup slightly different than the Skarvets in the lacing system and will take a bit more care with each lacing, but I think, with the two sets of locking hooks, allow for more fine-tuning of fit in different areas of the foot (like lose in the toes, tighter in the ankle, and tight or lose in the cuff, depending on the situation (e.g., K&G or downhill).
I think the Guards have more detailed padding in the ankle and heel pocket area, and it seemed like I definitely had less heel lift with the Guards than the Skarvets (heel more locked in).
I had different people offering conflicting opinions on the fit of the Guards, vs the Skarvets. In the end I think they fit me about the same.
I will say that the Guards break across the ball of the foot differently than the Skarvets, because of the full rand around the boot. Personally, the way the Skarvet flexes around a bent foot felt a little more comfortable than the Guard. I’m hoping the Guard will break in ok, and not get worse by breaking more sharply in an uncomfortable way.
(I have some pics of that if anyone cares, but not sure how to add pictures from an iPad.)
The Guard is speced at 725 grams per boot and the Skarvet at 810 (85 grams difference in size 42). I measured the Guards being only 20 grams lighter, per my size 47 boot, than the Skarvets, which is pretty insignificant.
Just by looking at the boots, flexing them, wearing them and simulating edging, I can’t imaging there would be much functional difference in any conditions or mode of use between the Guard or Skarvet.
I am happy I ordered the Guards, if only to avoid any future regret or what-iffing I might have put myself through.
On a practical level, I like some of the “upgrades” on the Guard, like the full rand (probably less important in dry-snow areas), the more adjustable lacing system, and especially the more locked in heel fit.
The Salomon Escape Plus Prolink NNN were very comfortable, but ended up not being the direction I went in — that being NNN BC boots and bindings.



User avatar
bgregoire
Posts: 1503
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:31 am
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
Favorite Skis: Fisher E99 & Boundless (98), Åsnes Ingstad, K2 Wayback 88
Favorite boots: Crispi Sydpolen, Alico Teletour & Alfa Polar

2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:52 pm

Stephens detailed review/comments is some of the best and to the point I’ve read in a long time. thanks for your input. So I gather you finally bit the bullet and ordered guards online? Any how, just wanted to thank you for your great input and add that all boots, even the best, merit an insole replacement. And a good insole may completely change fit and fix related issues such as heel lift. Besides, we all have different feet, so customization is critical. I’ve been using awesome wool insole from New Brunswick for the last couple years, they do wonders to any of my boots including my best. Cheers


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM



User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 449
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
Occupation: Beyond

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:22 am

Thanks for the feedback — I hope what I put out there is useful to others.
Are those the Chenna Baree insoles from NB?
https://www.chennabaree.com/shop/
Which ones do you like, the Ortho-natural insoles, or the Winter ones?
I can’t figure out why the winter ones are $11 less?
I like the idea of a wool insole.



User avatar
bgregoire
Posts: 1503
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:31 am
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
Favorite Skis: Fisher E99 & Boundless (98), Åsnes Ingstad, K2 Wayback 88
Favorite boots: Crispi Sydpolen, Alico Teletour & Alfa Polar

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:02 am

Stephen wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:22 am
Thanks for the feedback — I hope what I put out there is useful to others.
Are those the Chenna Baree insoles from NB?
https://www.chennabaree.com/shop/
Which ones do you like, the Ortho-natural insoles, or the Winter ones?
I can’t figure out why the winter ones are $11 less?
I like the idea of a wool insole.
Stephen, I hope all the answers to your queries are in this review of mine:
https://telemarktalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2894
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM



User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 449
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
Occupation: Beyond

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:53 pm

bgregoire, thanks for the link!
Great write-up and very informative (especially about the Winter ones taking up too much space -- I'm space challenged already!).
Plan to order for sure.



Post Reply