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Flex: 100

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Salomon MTN Explore

If you’re essentially an in-bounds skier with the occasional yen to roam the backcountry, the QST Pro is the shoe you’ve been looking for; however, if you regard riding a lift as weakness, the MTN models are right in your wheelhouse. If performance to weight were a standard metric, the MTN Lab would win hands-down. Made from Grilamid (PA12), a high grade of polyamide that can’t be co-molded with polyurethane (PU), the MTN lower shells as a result aren’t heat-moldable, but they are lighter than breath. The upper cuff is made from Pebax, a polyamide/polyether blend that Salomon first used in the 1980’s in co-molded parts of its then revolutionary X-C boots.

The MTN uses a narrow (98mm) last similar to the one created for the X Max line, but with a little more headroom over the instep since this critical area doesn’t lend itself to modification. One of the endemic weaknesses of backcountry boots is rear support, as most HM latching mechanisms retain some laxity in the ski position. The MTN models use a different mechanism to unlock the spine that Salomon calls Surelock, our favorite homonym in today’s gear world.

Touring is all about the stride: the MTN Lab has 47o of fore/aft travel, the MTN Explore, a massive 63o ROM. Naturally the liners are minimalist constructions, with the accent on flexibility, and like any Salomon inner boots they’re heat-moldable.

The sole has the full tread of true touring boots so it should only be used with genuine touring bindings (for which the MTN boots have the requisite tech inserts), or alpine bindings that accept boots, like the MTN’s, that meet ISO9523.

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