Downhill performance More buckles mean better power transfer, which is why four-buckle designs dominate the downhill market. The Spectre has four buckles (and a fat power strap and carbon backbone)—yet, it’s a lightweight touring boot that boasts 60 degrees of ankle articulation. The boot ascends with ease, but has “no problems driving my fat skis,” says one tester who wore the Spectre 2.0s on sidecountry powder missions in East Vail, Colorado.
BucklesLa Sportiva keeps the weight down by using more streamlined, cable-style buckles that you essentially hook over small metal pegs. It certainly makes a four-buckle system less bulky, but it proved a bit finicky. “It was hard to latch the buckles with gloves on, and the pegs could get caked with snow or ice,” one tester says.
Adjustability Not only can you fine-tune the four buckles, you can also adjust the forward lean (up to 4 degrees), the tongue (up to 4mm fore or aft), and the lateral canting (so your ski lays flat, even if you’re bow-legged or knock-kneed). “I liked geeking out on my boots and getting them totally dialed for different objectives,” one tester says. Caveat: If you’re the type of skier who can really only tell the difference between “this feels great” and “this doesn’t,” the amount of customization options can be overwhelming. m’s 25-31.5, w’s 23-26.5