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

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
telemarius
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2022 9:39 am
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Ski style: XC track skiing, Telerando
Favorite Skis: Åsnes Rabb || Madshus Nanosonic
Favorite boots: Alfa Free || Madshus Nano Carbon Pursuit
Occupation: Student

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

Post by telemarius » Thu Mar 24, 2022 5:39 am

Now the way the Free works is not unlike NTN boots. The sole being quite hard to flatten at the ball of foot, it requires additional help to fully unleash its full power for downhill telemark turns. As I first mentioned last year when I first tried the XP, this additional help can come from:

1- a different technique
2- using hard flexors
3- driving the cuff of the boot, which is especially true and useful in the case of the Alfa Free boot


@Johnny I really enjoyed your last post clarifying this. Having skied some km on the Free's now, I get what you're saying. I feel the added cuff stiffness of the Free helps a lot in putting down the steel edges of the Rabb 68 in hardpacked conditions. At my current skill level, I'd say it's mandatory. With the narrower Falketind 62 (or in softer conditions) I'd probably get away with an Alaska XP --the edges catches quite a lot easier on the FT imo. Starting to wonder if I should have waited until next year for the Pioneers, they really look amazing (and the weight saving, just wow!). Really don't want to miss out on the "pure" feeling of telemark :D

User avatar
Johnny
Site Admin
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:11 pm
Location: Quebec / Vermont
Ski style: Dancing with God with leathers / Racing against the machine with plastics
Favorite Skis: Redsters, Radicals, XCD Comps, Objectives and S98s
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska XP, Alfa Guards, Scarpa TX Comp
Occupation: Full-time ski bum

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

Post by Johnny » Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:25 am

telemarius wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 5:39 am
Johnny I really enjoyed your last post clarifying this.

Coooool thanks! The idea is always the same, to share knowledge... 8-)

I'd probably get away with an Alaska XP -
Still my personal favorite!

the edges catches quite a lot easier on the FT imo
They would even catch A LOT easier without nordic rocker... NR is great, but not always desirable... But this is what people ask for...
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."



User avatar
satanas
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2021 7:17 am

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

Post by satanas » Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:52 am

I've been following this discussion with interest, and am thinking that none of the existing Xplore boots are likely to work for me, for a few reasons:

1. All of them (apart from perhaps the Alfa Free) are wide and high volume and my foot is not; Alpina boots do not fit me
2. Using the cuff to bend the bellows feels wrong to me. When I got a set of Scarpa T2Xs before a trip to the Himalayas, I hated that the forward flex was so stiff, and ended up exchanging the stock tongues for modified Excursion tongues. I can deal with a stiffer forward flex (at the ankle) better with a fixed heel, but don't particularly like it. On the other hand, I'm happy to have as much lateral and torsional stiffness as I can get, for instance with skating boots or some AT boots
3. None of them seem to come in sizes larger than 46
4. Supply seems to be very poor, as with everything at present

I've heard vague rumours that Fischer and possibly others could end up making boots with Xplore soles, perhaps from next (northern) winter, so maybe there might be hope eventually.



User avatar
Johnny
Site Admin
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:11 pm
Location: Quebec / Vermont
Ski style: Dancing with God with leathers / Racing against the machine with plastics
Favorite Skis: Redsters, Radicals, XCD Comps, Objectives and S98s
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska XP, Alfa Guards, Scarpa TX Comp
Occupation: Full-time ski bum

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

Post by Johnny » Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:58 am

satanas wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:52 am
I've heard vague rumours that Fischer and possibly others could end up making boots with Xplore soles, perhaps from next (northern) winter, so maybe there might be hope eventually.
So far, the confirmed ones are the Fischer BCX Traverse and the Lundhags Abisku... 8-)
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."



User avatar
satanas
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2021 7:17 am

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

Post by satanas » Fri Mar 25, 2022 9:21 am

Thanks Johnny,

Assuming the Fischer Xplore boots fit similarly to their XC (track) boots then they ought to fit me okay, but I've never seen anything from Lundhags - anyone have theories about how they fit relative to other brands? A removable liner sort of offsets the terrible idea of the leather upper a bit. (Leather boots always get soaked and freeze solid here, it's only a matter of when; synthetic or plastic uppers are way less hassle when it's wet.)

Between Xplore, skating boots and AT boots all the tech needed to make a light, warm boot with good control that could actually cover ground is out there - but not necessarily all in one place yet. Something like a Salomon S/Lab Carbon Skate Prolink upper with the Lundhags 5mm liner and an Xplore sole would be really interesting...



User avatar
Freeheelpete
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2022 7:58 pm

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Reviews

Post by Freeheelpete » Mon Apr 18, 2022 8:09 pm

m
Tom M wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:55 am
Sometimes I can feel the top of the boot touching the top of my toes in the kick and glide motion and that has me concerned a bit. Toe pinch is a real issue for me with 75 mm leathers, but the mechanics of the Xplore system seems to make that less of an issue. My toes have more curl than a normal foot so this may not be an issue for most people. If there is any toe pinch in the telemark position, it hasn't caused me any pain so far, but I will try to focus on that issue in my next outing.
How did the toe pinch pan out for you Tom? My pair have just arrived. Very pleased with the overall fit on my wide and high volume feet. But toe pinch is quite pronounced on my notably high volume big toes. The edge of the leather panel over the forefoot cuts into my big toes. Thick socks mitigate around the house. They could wear in to having sufficient flexibility to avoid the toe pinch, or they might not! Not ready to invalidate return option by taking these outside yet. Would be interested to learn whether you experienced any wearing-in and lessening of toe pinch.

Thank you so much for your contribution to this community Tom!



User avatar
Tom M
Posts: 337
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:01 pm
Location: Northwest Wyoming USA
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
Occupation: Retired
Website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCam0VG ... shelf_id=1

Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Reviews

Post by Tom M » Mon Apr 18, 2022 11:54 pm

Freeheelpete wrote:
Mon Apr 18, 2022 8:09 pm
m
Tom M wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:55 am
Sometimes I can feel the top of the boot touching the top of my toes in the kick and glide motion and that has me concerned a bit. Toe pinch is a real issue for me with 75 mm leathers, but the mechanics of the Xplore system seems to make that less of an issue. My toes have more curl than a normal foot so this may not be an issue for most people. If there is any toe pinch in the telemark position, it hasn't caused me any pain so far, but I will try to focus on that issue in my next outing.
How did the toe pinch pan out for you Tom? My pair have just arrived. Very pleased with the overall fit on my wide and high volume feet. But toe pinch is quite pronounced on my notably high volume big toes. The edge of the leather panel over the forefoot cuts into my big toes. Thick socks mitigate around the house. They could wear in to having sufficient flexibility to avoid the toe pinch, or they might not! Not ready to invalidate return option by taking these outside yet. Would be interested to learn whether you experienced any wearing-in and lessening of toe pinch.

Thank you so much for your contribution to this community Tom!
@Freeheelpete I have blister issues on the top of two toes on my left foot when skiing the Alfa Free's. My right foot is fine. The middle toes on both feet have a lot of curl, so I'm not sure why I only have problems on the left foot. If the middle toes were flat like my big and little toe, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have any problems. I've been taping the toes and getting by, but I wish I had more normal feet. The hard flexor makes the situation worse, so I've been sticking with the standard flexor. This is one instance where the free pivot plate is very helpful. As noted above, I've had this issue with leather duckbills as well, but I don't have any toe rub issues with the Alaska XP's. I use the Free's mostly as a "tour for turns" boot, so it is mostly slogging up hill, and not so much kick and glide with these boots. I can live with the problem for now, but I plan to check out other boot options next season as they become available. If you can't return the boots after they have been skied in, you might try walking on a treadmill for a few minutes. It won't be like a ski trial, but it would give you the opportunity to try out various boa adjustments and sock combinations. If you are in the US, REI has the boots in stock, and they will allow returns after use if there are any fit issues.



User avatar
TravelBike
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2022 8:39 am
Location: Switzerland Alps
Favorite boots: Alfa XP explore
Occupation: Ski instructor

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

Post by TravelBike » Tue Apr 26, 2022 8:50 am

Got the same problem!
Makes my feet miserable...The only solution I had is to use silicon pads over my toes and now it's ok.

I'm sure you can find this in the US: https://www.sidas.ch/fr/protections-du- ... 86090.html
It's a shame Alfa did not adress this problem from the biginning.

JP



User avatar
telerat
Posts: 232
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:09 am
Location: Middle of Norway
Ski style: Telemark, backcountry nordic and cross country skiing.
Favorite Skis: Any ski suitable for telemark or backcountry skiing, with some side-cut for turning.
Favorite boots: Scarpa plastic telemark. Asolo and Alfa leather boots.

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

Post by telerat » Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:11 am

I managed to test the women's version in shop and that first try at least initially confirmed my suspicion of flex; the stiff section with BOA lacing made the shoe bear down on my toes, although the lower volume of the women's boot probably increased the problem. I think Alfa Free needs a redesign to really shine. I'd love a slightly higher version with BOA all around the shaft, a rubber rand and a flex zone a bit further back that don't kill toes. An improved version of Crispi Svartisen could also be an alternative. I am hopeful that Xplore continue the trend and gives us burlier backcountry ski boots that narrow the gap to possible future NTN telemark boots with better touring efficiency/comfort.

A slightly lower version of Alfa Free without plastic reinforcements could be a good alternative for faster tours on narrower skis.



User avatar
Snowflake*
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2022 9:21 pm

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

Post by Snowflake* » Wed Jul 06, 2022 9:39 pm

On Sale.
Still expensive, but might not get any cheaper.
Just paid $435, delivered to USA.
"The campaign price is valid until 07.07.2022 09:15:00."
(That time / date is probably Helsinki.)
https://varuste.net/en/p109473/alfa-fre ... ore-system
Alfa Free.JPG



Post Reply