Boot choice is first determined by fit for your foot, after that, performance preferences. This is the best ski touring boot I have used by a very large margin. I guided in them all last Japan season and for 6 weeks in Canada. I wouldn't do 2000m days on them frequently, and I wouldn't need them for very long low angle glacier tours and traverses. Other than that, this boot is vastly better than any "pure" touring boots I have skied. Significantly better.
Fit and Flex, that's what matters in a ski boot. But "flex" is different to simple stiffness. Lange Freetours have a true ski boot progressive flex that allows you to maintain positive constant driving pressure on the shins thanks to a stif cuff that is progressive and dynamic with your movements. More on that below.
For the last few years I have owned a few pairs of Dynafit Mercury boots with Intuition wrap liners, mainly because they fit my foot the best. And because I was still caught in the mental trap that a ski touring boot requireda some strange ski touring design, and had to be lighter than a good ski boot should be. Mercurys are an old boot now, replaced by what ever iteration of confusingly named and strangely designed version Dynfit now sells. I don't know what that is, so compared to the Mercury, the Lange Freetour...
- Fits better. They fit like an alpine ski boot.
- Skis much much much better. They ski almost like and alpine ski boot.
- Weight only 150 grams more.
- And are not significantly worse up-hill than the Mercs. Some people skied Mercs without the tongue with saves weight and improves walk mode. It also diminishes the fit on skinny feet, and makes them very soft.
After becoming accustomed to the fit and performance of Lange Freetour, Mercurys felt terrible. I hated skiing in them. I have the 110 flex Freetours, a little soft, and have skied them for about 70 days of backcountry touring. By the end of that I was no longer comparing to them to Mercurys as a touring boot, but to Salomon Xmax 120's as a ski boot...
The Xmax 120 is about the perfect resort or heliski guiding boot for my foot and weight. I love the fit and the flex, it is a great ski boot. The Lange Freetour is pretty much a lighter Xmax with a walk mode. They are otherwise quite similar in design concept. The Lange doesn't ski as well and doesn't quite fit as well as the Xmax. But they are closely related.
Here are some weights, for a single boot:
- Size 26 Mercury: 1600 grams
- Size 25 Lange Freetour: 1750 grams
- Size 25 Salomon Xmax: 1950 grams
These days, a 1600 gram ski touring boot is considered heavy, so most people cringe when I say 1750 grams for the Freetour. Truth is, it just isn't that bad. And is well worth it for the flex.I read a famous backcountry blogger's review of a boot last year. He mentioned plastic types and other very detailed characteristics. Mentioned stiffness. But when asked about the flex... he had nothing to say. Just dismissed it as not important. Flex and stiffness are very different.
Mercurys are moderate;y stiff, not bad for the weight. But they don't flex properly at all. So anything gained in stiffness is lost in flex character. Ski boots without proper flex is like food without salt. It tastes ok, but it isn't the same full experience.
Liner: the Lange Freetour liner is reasonably thin and light. Being thin enhances performance. It is not as flimsy as some very lightweight touring boots, the liners of which add nothing to the downhill performance.
Shell: I don't know what plastic the Freetours are made from and do not really care. But it gets damaged easily on rocks. So not very durable as a spring boot.
Bootpacking: the Freetours don't walk as well as a touring boot due to the less grippy sole, and maybe the shape of the lower shell. Not sure. It isn't that bad, but you notice it until you adjust.
Buckles: some went floppy after while when undone due to the spring in them becoming uncoupled. They need to fix that as a loose buckles get broken on rocks when booting.
Range of motion/articulation: no idea, that is an over hypes sales specification. Unbuckle any ski touring boot fully and you get plenty of RoM for most situations. The walk mode switch is small and simple and has zero play (why do touring boot companies have so much trouble with that?)
All other detailed specs can be found online. I'm just here to say that if you were a Mercury skier, then this is a boot well worth considering.