Maintaining Salomon’s X-Alp series theme, the X-Alp Carbon Boot is built for moving fast in technical terrain. This demands a lot from a ski boot, which the X-Alp Carbon proudly delivers. While the suspiciously similar Procline is geared more towards climbing, the X-Alp streamlined the design and stiffened the flex for skiing. Salomon dropped the rubber toe cap and the sole has also been redesigned for better on-snow performance and lower weight. They also added reinforcement ribs to the lower shell to improve the flex characteristics. The X-Alp includes a zipperless gaiter that extends to just below the boot top to keep snow out and improve walking dexterity. Dropping weight in the sole, toe cap, and gaiter allowed Salomon to add a bit of external reinforcement in key areas to stiffen up the boot in ski mode while weighing even less than the Procline. The carbon cuff is tall for good responsiveness and is split vertically down the middle, enabling 35° of lateral articulation. This results in an unmatched level of freedom on the way up. After locking it into ski mode, the X-Alp turns into a precise boot on the way down. If you’re more into the skiing than climbing, or just like blue more than orange, the Salmon X-Alp is the boot for you.
- 75° of fore/aft articulation is combined with an unmatched 35° of lateral articulation.
- External ribbing increases lower shell stiffness.
- Zipperless gaiter provides maximum coverage from the elements at a minimal weight.
- Cam-lock power strap increases effective cuff height and leverage.
- Redesigned liner is optimized for fit, ski performance, and breathability.
|Weight (pair)||2386g [27.5]|
|Boot Sole Length||255mm [23/23.5]
|Cuff Rotation||75° fore/aft, 35° lateral|
|Materials||Grilamid shell, carbon cuff|
|Sole||Vibram sole and toecap|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Ski mountaineering, endurance touring|
|Bottom Line||A precise touring and skiing boot|
|Compare to other Touring Boots|
Questions & Reviews
This review sounds negative but I’m really pretty pleased with the boots. I think my expectations were low, but as part of a 2-boot touring quiver with MTN Explores I can ski anything I want and match the boot to the objective and conditions.
Prior to that experience, I had skied 30+ days with good results. Boot is light, walk mode is a dream. Ski mode sometimes engages with a clunk when you already thought you were in. Ski/walk mechanism is complex but results in sneaker-like feel while climbing. I am a tele skier and this is the only fixed-heal boot I have used in ~30 years, so downhill performance is hard for me to judge. I don't need/want a stiff boot. I had no problem skiing steep trees with 117mm skis even with boot held together by 2 ski straps.
I now have a new pair of Atomic Backland Carbon which seems like a much better engineered boot in the same weight class. The flex feels stiffer and more progressive than the Salomon. Only one abbreviated tour/run on those so won't comment further.
In terms of forward stiffness, the lower buckling outwards is the source of softness, as is the case in many touring boots. This is usually addressed by the lower buckle, however in the x alps the buckle does not do a good job of retaining the lower boot, perhaps Salomon concentrated grilamid in the wrong places? Similarly affecting skiablility is the lack of heel hold, this possibly can be attributed to Salomon designing the boot for a differing foot shape from my own, but I have heard this is a complaint many others have as well.
Concerning tourability, and climbing: For its stiffness this is not an especially lightweight boot, weighing in at an average 1200 g. I was initially excited about the the lateral movement talked about in both the X-alp and Arcteryx boot, hopeful that perhaps the boot could climb ice well and make skinning much more pleasant, however the lateral cuff rotation is hardly noticeable (similar to the lateral give in other boots without this feature). To enter walk mode the rearward paddle opens, and to enter ski mode again the paddle is forced back onto the boot again, this is something that is quite annoying when boot packing. The space between the open paddle and the boot quickly packs with snow which consolidates to ice and makes switching back to ski mode near impossible.
The S-lab X-alp simply cannot compete with other touring boots in its price range.
What are the chances of getting some aftermarket power straps that come stock on these? I was able to score a pair of still-in-the-box TLT 6s so I'll be living in the past for the next couple of seasons. However, I never liked the Velcro power strap as it clings to the inside of my pant cuff. Arcteryx and now Salomon have done the deal better. I'll retrofit my 6s if I can get a pair. I tried some Booster straps but they're heavy and stretchy. Not what I want.
I'm curious about the Alp-x. Salomon MTN fits quite well, size 27.5. I suspect Alp-x would too, given narrower heel you mention in your write-up. Based on my experience, what do you think? Should I try em. Size 27.5?
I had actual a 27,5 Atomic Backland Carbon light.
It fits well.
Do you think that also the 27,5 Salomon X-Alp will fit.
The fit of these boots is very similar to the MTN Lab in shape. Low instep, relatively narrow. These boots have a much better heel pocket and much tighter ankle fit than the MTN Lab. My experience Fitting the MTN Lab shell, is that it runs a bit long. In your case with the 26.5 Lab feeling a little short, my suggestion would be to go with a 27.5 in the X-Alp Carbon.
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