Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

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Stephen
Posts: 1300
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Location: PNW USA
Ski style: Aspirational Hack
Favorite Skis: Armada Tracer 118 (195), Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178), Nordica Enforcer 94
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Pro
Occupation: Beyond
6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by Stephen » Wed Aug 10, 2022 3:48 pm

I'm seeing these on Varuste at an even lower price.
Pretty killer deal, if your interested.
Looks like the deal is good for about nine more hours...
Capture.JPG

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JohnSKepler
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Alfa Free
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Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by JohnSKepler » Sun Sep 25, 2022 3:27 pm

Stephen wrote:
Wed Aug 10, 2022 3:48 pm
I'm seeing these on Varuste at an even lower price.
Pretty killer deal, if your interested.
Looks like the deal is good for about nine more hours...
Capture.JPG
Was trying to order these this morning, they even have my size! (40), but Credit Card kept failing (and it's paid up!) Something lost in translation in the web form perhaps... At any rate, I went with the "wire transfer invoice" and I'm not sure what to do with the darn thing! I don't do many wire transfers and know there's some risk to them. Any help would be... help.

Thanks!
Veni, Vidi, Viski



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Stephen
Posts: 1300
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Location: PNW USA
Ski style: Aspirational Hack
Favorite Skis: Armada Tracer 118 (195), Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178), Nordica Enforcer 94
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Pro
Occupation: Beyond
6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by Stephen » Sun Sep 25, 2022 3:54 pm




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FrenchFred
Posts: 65
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Location: Grenoble
Ski style: Cross Country Downhill - Mainly downhill
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Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by FrenchFred » Sat Jan 14, 2023 4:55 am

Hy all

I just buy these sweet babies...
And I m very disapointed !

First, the good points.
Beautifull shoes.
Very well made.
Seems to be very reliable.
Not too hot.
The boa system is perfect.
The 2 pins system works well, no problem.
The outsole is very plaisant to walk.

So everyting is perfect for kick & glide.

But...
When you want to go downhill with a nice télémark feeling... everything goes wrong ! The sole is way too hard to flex and you simply can't put pressure one the back ski with the bowl of your foot. Even with the hard flexor, it is not so easy ! Tha soles are really really hard to flex in te front part.

I use my Panorama M62 on the resort and it was realy hard for me to find the right balance. But when you are using an alpin turn technic the shoes are perfect ! Very stiff !

Maybe I tihgted too much the upper part of the shoes ? Maybe my skis are too light, too soft ? Maybe i don't use the right technic ?

I have to admit that i don't want to use these shoes with these skis... I think with bigger ski like Elan Ibec 78, or Atomic backland 78, it could be better... But I am not sure.

Any other same feeling with you guys ?
Is the stiffneff changing with time ?

Thanks for all
Fred



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lowangle al
needs to take stock of his life
needs to take stock of his life
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Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by lowangle al » Sat Jan 14, 2023 9:53 am

Hi Fred, any time you jump up to a stiffer boot it takes some time to adjust to. I'm surprised there is such a difference though. That's a good thing, because once you get it figured out the difference should translate to control.

If it's the forward flex of the sole causing the problem you may have to move your body back over the rear ski so you don't have to raise your heel so high in a turn. If you notice in the videos, the skiers seem to be back over the rear ski.

Give them some time and try adjusting your form before giving up on them.



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lilcliffy
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Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Jan 14, 2023 10:08 am

FrenchFred wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2023 4:55 am
Any other same feeling with you guys ?
Is the stiffneff changing with time ?
Salut Fred!
Good to hear from you!
The sole of the Alfa Free is very stiff! I do think it will break in with use though and remain stable.
The sole of the Alpina Alaska XP is very stiff as well- much stiffer than I expected...
However, in the long term it will be a good thing as the sole will remain stable over the boot's lifespan.
Any boot that I have ever owned that is soft out-of-the-box breaks in to a slipper and is totally unstable.
For example- my Svartisen boot is becoming less stable through long-term use and my Alaska BC is still stable.

I wonder if this increase in stiffness is "solely" a result of the Rottefella XP outsole or whether manufacturers are going to make different models with varying midsole stiffness as they have done with NNNBC.

At the moment the sole of my Alaska XP feels every bit as stiff as my Alfa Free (I bought the Free used).

@Tom M
Tom- is the sole stiffness different between the three XP boots you have tested- Alaska XP/Free XP/Vista XP?

Fred- stay in touch and let us know how you make out with this boot!
Gareth
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.



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Johnny
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Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by Johnny » Sat Jan 14, 2023 10:42 am

FrenchFred wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2023 4:55 am
And I m very disapointed !
But...
When you want to go downhill with a nice télémark feeling... everything goes wrong ! The sole is way too hard to flex and you simply can't put pressure one the back ski with the bowl of your foot. Even with the hard flexor, it is not so easy ! Tha soles are really really hard to flex in te front part.

Any other same feeling with you guys ?

Yep, this is exactly why the FREE got the lowest "downhill" score out of the 3 XP boots I have reviewed so far... Even though they are the stiffest.

You obviously did not fully read my review... And its updates... 8-)
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."



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Tom M
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Ski style: Skate on Groomed, XCD Off, Backcountry Tele
Favorite Skis: Fischer S-Bound 98 Off Trail, Voile V6 BC for Tele
Favorite boots: Currently skiing Alfa Vista, Alfa Free, Scarpa T2
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Website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCam0VG ... shelf_id=1

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by Tom M » Sat Jan 14, 2023 11:55 am

lilcliffy wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2023 10:08 am

@Tom M
Tom- is the sole stiffness different between the three XP boots you have tested- Alaska XP/Free XP/Vista XP?
The sole on the Free is very stiff in comparison to the Alaska XP or the Alfa Vista. My journey with the Xplore sole started back in May of 2021 with the preproduction version of the Alaska XP. The stiff sole felt odd at first, but I quickly adapted. The same thing happened when I picked up the Frees, which are even stiffer yet. I know a lot of people are convinced that somehow Rottefella got this wrong. I disagree. I've thought a lot about this and the best comparison I can make is from my very early days of skiing when people started moving from very soft (and typical for the day) three pin boots to stiffer backcountry boots and eventually on to plastic. One of the biggest criticisms I hear is that it is more difficult to firmly plant the ball of the foot on the trailing ski with the Xplore system. Others have pointed out that skiers using the Xplore system are doing "tippy toe" telemark turns. This is clearly evident in the promo videos from Rottefella and Asnes and in my videos as well. I don't understand the criticism. Is it about form or function? Make no mistake, the new system functions very well, both for kick and glide and for downhill control. Boot manufacturers have the option to adjust the flex characteristics of the Xplore boot. The flex on my Vistas are very different from my Frees. It is much easier to plant the ball of the foot on the ski with the Vistas than in is on the Frees. I like both boots for different reasons and will use them for different purposes.



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lilcliffy
Posts: 3810
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: backcountry Nordic ski touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad, Combat Nato, Amundsen, Rabb 68; Altai Kom
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska BC; Lundhags Guide BC; Lundhags Abisku XP; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Jan 14, 2023 12:14 pm

Thank you for the input Tom.

I re-read Johnny's early posts on the Free and Alaska XP as well- he determined that the Free had a stiffer sole as well.

Good to hear that there are and will be options in terms of sole flex in the different XP boots.

My Alaska XP is brand new- my Free XP is used- at the moment the sole stiffness feels similar, but the sole flex pattern is definitely different between them.

I am quickly growing attached to both boots!
(And VERY impressed with the performance of Xplore!)
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.



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Stephen
Posts: 1300
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Location: PNW USA
Ski style: Aspirational Hack
Favorite Skis: Armada Tracer 118 (195), Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178), Nordica Enforcer 94
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Pro
Occupation: Beyond
6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by Stephen » Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:39 am

First ski, so take with a grain of salt.

- Not being able to step into the binding RELIABLY is real. Maybe it gets better over time, but, just in terms of easily engaging the binding, I would rather deal with NNN BC (on that one point);
- The soles are really stiff -- see below;
- Unless the soles soften in flex quite a bit, I see no way one can keep back foot BOF on the ski in tele turn;
- I used the stiff flexor and it seemed fine for up and down on Voile Objectives (XCD, not K&G);
- I have minor toe pinch on one foot, not the other. I have low volume / wide foot and have one extra insole in the boot to help fill the space. I'm trying @Tom M's idea to help, but it may not work with these boots (see below);
- The boa laces are kind of nice, but I wear gators and, so far, have not been able to adjust the laces without removing gators, which is a pain (but, no worse that standard laces);
- I REALLY wish the boots had a 3rd lacing zone across the top of the arch, to pull the foot back into the heel pocket, WITHOUT having to tighten the other laces so much. I am able to do that quite nicely with the Alfa Guard -- leave toes loose for warmth and comfort, but still have my heel firmly seated;
- The heel pocket of the Free is MUCH more comfortable than the Guard;
- I know the Alpina boots are too narrow for me, so the Free is the most easily purchased alternative.

I'm pretty happy with it. Skied several inches of powder (could push pole basket down about 9" - 12") on the Objective BCs and had big smiles -- would have skied more but ran out of legs for the up and daylight, and still had to ski back inbounds and down 2,800' of firm piste as is was getting dark (I think that was much easier for me on the Frees and Xplore binding than it would have been with Alfa Guard and NNN BC).

Below is fix I'm trying (borrowed from @Tom M) for toe pinch.
(Do you see any bend in that sole? Boot on right is locked down on the BOF and heel lifted, the other sole is in its natural shape. I see a tiny bit of flex in the sole of the right boot, but nothing that would allow a skier to keep BOF on ski in T Turn (and that's with a Voile Strap cinched down tight over the BOF to try and get some bend there -- cinched tight, then raised the heel).

Note: So I think the toe pinch is not caused by the sole flex, but is caused when the ankle is flexed forward in the boot and compresses the top side of the boot, causing the top material to try and find a place to go, to take up the compression -- the top of the boot is pressing down, rather than the boot actually having a break across the toes or BOF.
Maybe that's just semantics, but I think the dynamic is different than the break at the BOF in most footwear, because of the very stiff sole.

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Free Boots.jpg
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1-22-23 skiing.jpg



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