The year is 2022 and the alpine skiers are coming…to the uptrack that is. As conglomerate season pass prices drop and the slopes get exceedingly crowded, more and more downhill skiers are getting curious about this whole uphill thing, both in the backcountry and on designated inbounds runs at the resorts. Brands are casting their gear nets wide to capture this burgeoning flock, and SCARPA is going for the big fish with its new 4-buckle, lightweight, alpine ski boot that you’ll actually be comfortable walking in for hours.
The Asolo, Italy-based company, which has pioneered mountain footwear since 1938 and has led the alpine-touring ski boot category for decades, swung big in the 4-Quattro, made for skiers who want one boot for the uphill, downhill, and everything in between.
Read more: The best backcountry boots of 2022
The 4-Quattro’s GripWalk sole is compatible with GripWalk-certified alpine bindings for strictly downhill skiing, while the toe inserts and heel holes work with pin bindings for touring. The sole is also where SCARPA got crafty in competing with other boots in this hybrid category for weight savings. “In meeting the requirements to be GripWalk-certified, we covered the boot’s sole differently than others on the market, extending the material across the entire bottom of the boot, rather than just under the heel and toe,” says Massimo Pellizer, ski boot category manager for SCARPA. “This increased the surface area for added grip and protection, but also allowed us to use a much thinner piece of material, saving significant weight while also lowering the boot’s stand height to sit closer to the ski for more precise control and drive.”
According to Pellizer, they also used magnesium in the buckle hardware to keep the weight down while maintaining strength, as well as Intuition liners that are warm and comfortable but still lighter than standard liners, all in all arriving at a 1,500-gram boot with a few lighter models also available in the line.
But shaving all that weight and using thinner plastic meant they had to stiffen it up for downhill performance somewhere in the boot, so SCARPA employed its carbon core technology, inserting Grilamid carbon strips into the boot mold’s ankle area, across the bottom of the shell on the inside, and around the middle of the foot, then injecting the plastic into the molds with the carbon strips in place. “This increases the stiffness and torsional stability of the shell without compromising the weight of the boot,” says Pellizer of the process they developed years ago for their F1 and Freedom boots.
But the 4-Quattro is no Freedom, SCARPA’s previous four-buckle boot they retired in 2019. Sitting 300 grams lighter and with more than double the range of motion in tour mode, the 4-Quattro has 61 degrees of articulation (24 degrees forward and 37 degrees back). That’s one degree more than the Maestrale, Scarpa’s leading ski touring and mountaineering boot. The 4-Quattro also has a slightly lower volume in the 100mm last.
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The 4-Quattro will be available in two models: the beefier XT, which features Grilamid plastic and booster strap, and the SL with a softer Pebax plastic shell. The XT will be available in a 130 and 115 flex, while the SL dials it down to a 120 and 100 flex.
Pellizer is perhaps most excited about the company’s use of sustainable Grilamid Bio and Pebax Rnew plastics derived from castor bean plants, reducing fossil fuel use and emissions in the material processing. The beans grow in arid land where competition with food production is not an issue, while also creating jobs in regions without other agricultural opportunities.
But he’s also excited that Bode Miller, the most successful male American alpine ski racer of all time with 33 World Cup wins, six Olympic medals (one gold), five World Championship medals, four World Championship golds, and six World Cup globes, joined the SCARPA team last month to launch this boot. We’ve yet to see Miller do much uphill skiing, but we imagine that, like other ski dads, he’s psyched on the idea of one boot that he can wear heliskiing big lines in Alaska, ripping corduroy at mach speed on resorts, and chasing his kids around on the bunny hill.
Scarpa 4-Quattro Specifications
Flex: 130, 115
Weight: 1,500g in size 27; 1,345g in size 25
Features: Carbon core technology; Grilamid Bio plastic shell; full-coverage GripWalk sole; thermoformable Inuition liner
Flex: 120, 100
Weight: 1,430g in size 27; 1,290g in size 25
Features: Carbon core technology; Pebax Rnew plastic shell; full-coverage GripWalk sole; thermoformable Inuition liner