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

Post by CwmRaider » Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:11 am

@Stephen
- I agree about the extra lacing zone on top of the arch for keeping the foot in.
- When I step into the binding, I check the pin engagement by wiggling my heel left and right. If there is play the binding isnt engaged, and it often does get engaged during this procedure.
- Thought: to me the torsional rigidity of the Xplore sole is much higher than the NNNBC boots I have tried and perhaps comparable to the stiffer leather 75mm boots. This is hugely noticeable for me as a heavier skiier. It is probably very difficult to make a torsionally rigid sole which is front to back flexible.

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

Post by randoskier » Tue Jan 24, 2023 11:58 am

John_XCD wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 9:11 am

Also curious to see where this really fits in terms of current gear options. The downsides of this boot/binding combo for K&G suggest it won't really replace current NNNBC options for rolling terrain and transition-free XCD skiing. Optimal use may be as a more up/down system with a tightening of the upper and exchange of the flexor for the descent. Most skiers would go for ultralight AT system in this context I think (Free/XPLORE is pushing that price point). Maybe tele die-hards will like the feel and this will replace T4s? Of course one could also mount XPLORE and use the Alaska for an XCD tour and the FREE for up/down (which may exceed the range of terrain options vs the same ski mounted nnnbc)
My wife went from 75 mm to the Xplore last year for skiing largely..well- rolling terrain in Norway and also pulling a pulk during multi-day tours, she loves it! No kick and glide problem with the softer flexer in (much better than the 75). In the terrain we ski it also goes alpine without much notice sometimes and it works fine for that two- she only changes the flexxer thingy if the descent is huge like 4 or 5,000 ft vertical so very little transition. Later this year I will dump my NNN BC that I use on the same terrains and switch to the Xplore, after I decide my new ski- between the Alpina Pioneer or the Fischer Traverse 78 (both in their longest variant), Fischer scales climb better.



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

Post by lilcliffy » Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:27 pm

JohnSKepler wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 12:51 pm
lilcliffy wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:08 am

I must admit that I am pesonally disapointed at my inability to use the Free boot in more contexts than simply up-down touring...

However- I do wish the Free boot worked for me better...
That said, the Rabb + Alaska XP has been wonderful- skiing in ideal snow conditions...
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "worked for me better..."

I initially had some problems with fit but came up with a solution.

John
Hi John,
The flex pattern of the Free crushes my metatarsus- bad. I really pushed it two days ago- I am still tender.
(Same problem I had with the Fischer Transnordic BTW).
Otherwise they fit me perfectly.

I am going to experiment with different insoles- but there is no way to influence the way these boots break in at the sole flex because of the rigid endoskeleton...

If some people can use the Free boot for extended XC skiing and climbing then- I am jealous- and they must have differently shaped feet than me.

I actually think the Free offers better downhill performance than my T4, but ironically my T4 is more comfortable to stride in! (Not to suggest that I love striding in my T4!)
Last edited by lilcliffy on Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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randoskier
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Re: Alfa FREE A/P/S GTX XPLORE Boot Review 2022

Post by randoskier » Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:19 pm

:evil:
lilcliffy wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:27 pm
JohnSKepler wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 12:51 pm
lilcliffy wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:08 am

I must admit that I am pesonally disapointed at my inability to use the Free boot in more contexts than simply up-down touring...

However- I do wish the Free boot worked for me better...
That said, the Rabb + Alaska XP has been wonderful- skiing in ideal snow conditions...
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "worked for me better..."

I initially had some problems with fit but came up with a solution.

John
Hi John,
The flex pattern of the Free crushes my metatarsus- bad. I really pushed it two days ago- I am still tender.
(Same problem I had with the Fischer Transnordic BTW).
Otherwise they fit me perfectly.

I am going to experiment with different insoles- but there is no way to influence the way these boots break in at the sole flex because of the rigid endoskeleton...

If some people can use the Free boot for extended XC skiing and climbing then- I am jealous- and they must have differently shaped feet than me.

I actually think the Free offers better downhill performance than my T4, but ironically my T4 is more comfortable to stride in! (Not to suggest that I love striding in my T4!)

I think we should continue this particular discussion in a thread that is focused on the Free boot.
I will move it over to the review thread.
Gareth
The Free is not really aimed at "extended touring" it is an up and down tour boot aimed at downhill-oriented vertical tours. The Vista and Skaget are much better suited for longer tours and rolling terrain. There is not miracle boot on the horizon that is a "fait tout"



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

Post by JohnSKepler » Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:49 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:27 pm
JohnSKepler wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 12:51 pm
lilcliffy wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:08 am

I must admit that I am pesonally disapointed at my inability to use the Free boot in more contexts than simply up-down touring...

However- I do wish the Free boot worked for me better...
That said, the Rabb + Alaska XP has been wonderful- skiing in ideal snow conditions...
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "worked for me better..."

I initially had some problems with fit but came up with a solution.

John
Hi John,
The flex pattern of the Free crushes my metatarsus- bad. I really pushed it two days ago- I am still tender.
(Same problem I had with the Fischer Transnordic BTW).
Otherwise they fit me perfectly.

I am going to experiment with different insoles- but there is no way to influence the way these boots break in at the sole flex because of the rigid endoskeleton...

If some people can use the Free boot for extended XC skiing and climbing then- I am jealous- and they must have differently shaped feet than me.

I actually think the Free offers better downhill performance than my T4, but ironically my T4 is more comfortable to stride in! (Not to suggest that I love striding in my T4!)
I think I could tour in them all day. Not at first. At first, they rubbed the top of my toes and gave me a blister and my heel lifted giving me a blister on the back of my heel. I dealt with the heel rise with a clever innovation and they seem to have broken in as they don't rub my toe anymore.

They might get better for you. Might.
Veni, Vidi, Viski



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lilcliffy
Posts: 4119
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 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 Expedition; Alfa Skaget 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 » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:03 pm

JohnSKepler wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:49 pm

I think I could tour in them all day. Not at first. At first, they rubbed the top of my toes and gave me a blister and my heel lifted giving me a blister on the back of my heel. I dealt with the heel rise with a clever innovation and they seem to have broken in as they don't rub my toe anymore.

They might get better for you. Might.
Can you share your clever innovation?
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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JohnSKepler
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2022 6:31 pm
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Occupation: Rocket Scientist

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

Post by JohnSKepler » Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:00 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:03 pm
JohnSKepler wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:49 pm

I think I could tour in them all day. Not at first. At first, they rubbed the top of my toes and gave me a blister and my heel lifted giving me a blister on the back of my heel. I dealt with the heel rise with a clever innovation and they seem to have broken in as they don't rub my toe anymore.

They might get better for you. Might.
Can you share your clever innovation?
It's going to take some pictures...
Veni, Vidi, Viski



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Stephen
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6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

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

Post by Stephen » Thu Jan 26, 2023 7:03 pm

@lilcliffy, I had the same / similar problem with toe pinch on the Free.
One boot caused no problems, the other had a crease that pinched down on my big toe.
I’m posting some pictures to illustrate the difference in the crease of the boots.
The crease seems to happen almost right way, so I would caution anyone breaking in a new pair of Frees to pay close attention to WHERE the crease is locateded.
It MAY be possible to influence the location.

So, on the problem boot, with a crease already in the wrong place, I tried several different things to fix that. Tools involved were: a tack hammer, 12” steel ruler, part of a plastic 1 quart yogurt container, foam tape, rags, etc.
Trying to describe what I did to the boot over a two hour period would be hard — I can if someone wants.

Boots before work to change flex crease:
940457CC-93EE-4781-B4B0-181DA5271E78.jpeg
.
Boots after (the crease that hurt is still there, but is now softer, due to the new crease in front of it):
BF2D3F9B-C91F-49F6-BBD0-691B6494A79A.jpeg



User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 1464
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Location: PNW USA
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Armada Tracer 118 (195), Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
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 » Thu Jan 26, 2023 7:27 pm

Stephen wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:39 am
Edit / Update to a previous post…
http://www.telemarktalk.com/viewtopic.p ... =80#p56689

Point #1: - 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;
Point #2: - 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

On Point #1, I want to modify that. First, I think skier weight is a factor. Heavier, stronger skiers may have more latitude in terms of getting the BOF on the rear ski. Below is as far back as I can move my rear foot with 50/50 weight distribution. Further back, and the stiff sole causes my BOF to start lifting off.

On Point #2, that didn’t work. The sole is too stiff to get the boot to crease on top.

With 50/50 weight, this is as far back as I can have my rear foot before the BOF starts to lift off. If I was heavier, or putting more pressure in a high-power turn, it seems like I could have the rear ski further back.
.
55CF13FC-8110-47D5-BD18-6FF1E1AF4335.jpeg



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

Post by lowangle al » Wed Feb 01, 2023 12:03 pm

Not a review, more of a first impression. I tried on the alfa free yesterday and was pleasantly surprised with the width of the toe box, so good news for those with fat feet. Unfortunately I had toe crunch with minimal heel lifting, which would be enough for me not to buy the boot.

Compared to my Transnordic 75, I don't think they will offer more lateral stiffness. The extra height of the Transnordic will give you more leverage than the lower and stiffer Free. IMO.

I think the sole is the same as the sole of other XP boots and that the stiffness and weird flex point is the result of the stiff upper boot. I could tell the flex point was closer to the toe than normal but I wasn't sure if it would affect my skiing.

I liked the lacing system way better than regular laces.

My opinion is that this boot probably isn't worth the extra money when it comes to performance. It may be worthwhile for some if it were the perfect fit, and add to that the lacing system and light weight.



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