The Quest for the Perfect Alpine Touring Boot, Part II
In my quest for the perfect alpine ski touring boot, my second trial pair was the Scarpa Diva, the company's premier women's Dynafit-compatible alpine touring boot. (See Quest, Part I for tips on how to buy ski boots and a review of the Black Diamond Shiva.)
Put simply, the Diva was the lightest, stiffest boot I've tried so far. At less than seven pounds per pair, it's remarkable how aggressively the Divas skied. Thanks goes to the stiff Pebax shell, the high cuff, and the four buckles that help lock down the fit. The boots also come with an extra set of tongues that are stiffer for skiing hard-pack conditions at resorts. (It is, however, a little bit of a pain to switch them out, so I'm not sure how often an avid skier would.)
I found the fit best for a wider, high-volume foot. I, unfortunately, have narrower feet, so they swam around laterally despite my toes hitting the front of the boot. I had a friend with a wider foot try them out, however, and she reported back enthusiastically.
A few quick gripes: The ski-walk switch mechanism is a bit harder to flip than other ski boots I've tried. (That said, once you're locked into ski mode, it's bomber.) The design of the buckles seems more prone to icing up and the liner isn't as cushy, comfy, and flexible for touring as other boots I've tried. This is probably why the boot is lighter, but I found that I had to play around with the buckles and straps in order to prevent shin bang and other uncomfortable friction while skinning up.
In my opinion, those are fair trade-offs for a boot that has a fantastic weight-to-stiffness ratio. If it fit my foot better, it would definitely be my choice.
The summary: If you're an aggressive ski tourer who wants to get in a lot of vertical and steep turns AND you have somewhat high-volume feet, these could be your holy grail. (Plus they're on sale at Backcountry.com right now.)