So much has been penned (a term that may well be obsolete in the very near future) about Lange ski boots that superlatives may seem redundant. Lange has been a yardstick for ski boot design since the first plastic shells because Lange has always been committed to biomechanical correctness first and design second. This commitment has been the foundation for a reign at the top levels of skiing that many competitors chased for some time, quite literally.
Lange keeps track of trends in skiing and their product line reflects the changes in ski technique we’ve all experienced in the last couple decades (yep…it’s been that long since we first skied “those parabolic’s”).
The biomechanical necessities for skiing have not changed so changing the fundaments of Lange ski boot designs didn’t require an overhaul, just refinements in stance and subtle adjustments in last.
Lange, as do many other boot makers, makes an LV and higher volume version of the same boots. The low comes in @97 mm the high @ 100mm.
A matter of education here: 99.99% of ski boots that offer the same boot model in a “low volume” and a “high-or-regular volume” are made in the same mold. In order to make a high or regular volume boot, manufacturers make the shell walls thinner than that of the low volume boots. They do not create new molds.
Why is this important? From the perspective of a bootfitter it means we have to be a bit more careful when either expanding or grinding a high volume shell.
From the standpoint of the skier there probably isn’t much that one would feel, but there is a tradeoff in the torsional characteristics of the boots.
This is very subtle and something a vast majority of us probably will never feel.
Many of us are on wider skis than we thought possible a decade ago. As has been commented on, with the additional span underneath the feet to both tip up and hold on edge, the emphasis is more on the lateral strength and torsional integrity is a necessary component of that.
Given the construction of the 2-piece shell wherein the upper cuff is riveted or fixed in some way to the lower shell it becomes apparent that if the lower shell is torsionally lacking, lateral stiffness must be compromised to a degree. Again…how many of us will notice that, who knows.
In their top-end boots Lange offers the RS and RX series. The RS is the traditional blue 2-piece overlap with solid soles…not replaceable. The RX is intrinsically the same as the RS (a different color obviously) and, because they are built as all-mountain ski boots it is assumed that the skier will wander off piste on occasion, have replaceable toe and heel.
The Lange RX 130, in both the Low and Regular Volume, is now established as a go-to for skiers looking for a high level of performance on- and off-piste. The off piste platform really consists only of what Lange calls Ultra Grip soles…replaceable toes and heels with hike-like lugs for traction.
The difference is in the feel; the replaceable toe and heel tends to mute the feedback from the soles of the boots-this does not detract from the personality of the RX series in any way-just a comment. For those who’ve skied in the blue Langes you will find there is no compromise in this regard.
The heredity of the RX 130 puts it at the uppermost performance level. Any boot with a 130 flex will be demanding yet the RX 130 is not punishing. It is stout, lively and likes to be skied with command. This boot will not let the skier get complacent-it isn’t punishing but if one gets lazy they’ll be playing catch-up.
Fit-wise the Lange RX maintains the rear-foot intimacy that their top performance boots have been known for. Where the slight mods in last occur are in the toe box and instep. In all Lange RX and RS shells (we stock the RS for race only) for that matter, there is a little extra length and increased radius-for anyone who skied Lange in the not-too-distant past this alone is more than welcome.
The other modification that falls into the same category is an improvement in the material inside the liner tongue that alleviates if not removes the immediate and seemingly omnipresent pressure on the instep. Welcome indeed!
The RX 100 is no less of a ski boot and does not lose any value in the performance category. Softer flexing boots of a series does not mean cheaper (less expensive perhaps) or lower performance. It denotes boots better suited for lighter weight skiers, skiers that may be quite proficient but ski only a few days per season and/or those that just prefer softer flexing ski boots. For the skier to whom this boot is suited, the RX 100-in both LV and “regular” last, exhibits the liveliness and command over the skis that the stouter 130 does.
In the Lange offering for ladies you’ll find the RX 110L LV, RX 90 L and RX 80L-this one in both the regular last and the LV. The differences between the ladies and men’s boots are minimal; lower rear spoiler and supplemental support around the rear-foot/Achilles in the liners.
The RX 110 is a pretty stout ski boot. Lange-whether in the men’s or women’s boots-always flex softer in the store than do other brands. It’s deceptive. This deserves mention because it is not uncommon in the shop environment to hear that Lange’s feel soft. This is due in part to the types of plastics used in the shells.
Once Lange ski boots step into a binding and get put on snow they awaken. The flex range tightens up considerably and the inherent power asserts itself.
Lange has always made good ski boots for women-whether by accident or by design-the last, stance and flex at whatever stiffness seem well matched for women’s physiology.
A new (coming out last season) boot for Lange is the SX 120.
For all intents and purposes the only difference between this and the RX is forefoot width; the SX comes in at 102 mm’s. The girth from the front of the ankle joint to the back of the heel has more dimension than that of the RX’s but aside from that the SX 120 is all Lange: the mid-foot and heel one expects from Lange and the same on-snow efficiency and authority.