*The boot pictured is the softer and heavier S/Lab X-Alp Explore. This review is for the stiffer and lighter Salomon S/Lab X-Alp.
Last: 98 mm
Cuff Range: 75˚
Forward Lean: 14˚
BSL: 295 mm (27.5)
Binding Compatibility: Tech (pin) bindings only
Weight (per boot): 1150 g
Why we chose the S/Lab X-Alp: Natural cuff range of motion.
The Salomon S/Lab X-Alp is a thing of beauty, a real nice bit o’ kit. As a concept, it was originally produced by Salomon’s sister company Arc’teryx – with the Procline boot. The Salomon S/Lab X-Alp takes technology from the successful Arc’teryx Procline Carbon, a more ski mountaineering focused product, and aligns it with the skiers that are more about the downhill.
See it as a Procline shell, that’s been handed over to the Salomon ‘S/Lab’ design team in Annecy. This design team has then stripped off excess weight while also beefing it up in certain areas. The result is a lightweight yet stiffer sibling to the Procline. If you’re one to get geeky about ski boot tech, read on – this thing’s a beauty.
“The result is a lightweight yet stiffer sibling to the Procline”
3D rotating cuff. What is it exactly? Well, essentially it’s a split carbon cuff that allows 23˚ internal and 12˚ external lateral rotation. To you, I, and the man on the street, this means it’ll be easier to roll your ankle laterally. What this means, in turn, is that you’ll be able to keep the ski flat on the snow as much as possible – more surface area on the snow equals more traction. It’s a subtle benefit that this boot has over boots without lateral mobility, not exactly groundbreaking but it’ll be appreciated over long distances.
The soles of the S-Lab have also received a bit of the Salomon nip/tuck treatment, with an extremely thin amount of rubber now evident on this boot. This, like with so many decisions here, has been done to save weight. If you’re going to be bootpacking through rocky terrain on a frequent, you should be aware that these weight-saving choices means you’re losing a bit of durability. Nothing to worry about too much but it’s worth noting.