2018 Lange RX & RS Dual Core Ski Boot Review
~2200 g / boot, 26.5
Dual Durometer Polyether
12° Forward Lean, 4° Ramp Angle
Both the Lange RS and RX boots received a major update for the 2017/18 season. The big news is the construction technique. Going forward, Lange is using a dual core injection method. The new process involves the simultaneous injection of different durometers of plastic to create a sandwich construction similar to what is found in a golf ball. Plastic is pushed into the mold from five injection points along the spine and sole of the boot. This allows Lange to control the location and thickness of each durometer plastic. The stiff-soft-stiff construction creates a natural spring effect to the plastic. By varying the thickness of the soft or stiff material, Lange is also able to better tune the comfort of the boot. The sandwich construction results in continuous layers of plastic, avoiding the loss of energy associated with bi-injected shells. The end result is an incredibly responsive chassis and spine while allowing for a softer and more forgiving instep and forefoot.
Lange has also updated the mold of the new RS and RX boots. Both are still available in 97mm LV (low volume) and 100mm medium volume lasts, with slight tweaks to both. The toe box of the shell has also been reworked. In the past, Lange’s toe box has been a bit low for some folks with a riveted-on toe dam which was notorious for leaking and placing pressure on the toes. The updated shape removes this rivet and fits much higher over the toes. This change has proved to keep the boots dryer and toes warmer.
All RX and RS boots feature a more defined ankle area. A slightly tighter heel pocket is featured in the 97mm RS and RX LV. The RS Wide (Slightly confusing, it’s 100mm) and RX now feature an additional 1mm of instep room, and a more generous midfoot width. These changes help these boots fit more anatomically for the mass of medium volume feet and the narrow heels of low volume feet.
Overall, both the RX and RS provide excellent out of the box fit for many common North American feet. The increased ankle definition is immediately noticeable as it doesn’t block the foot from getting into the heel pocket. The boots hold the heel, ankle and mid-foot well, with a more relaxed forefoot. Those with a skinny, low volume forefoot may find the front of the boot a bit more spacious out of the box than the previous shell due to the re-shaped anatomical toe box and forefoot. The exceptional heel hold is due in part to a very detailed pocket in both the shell and liner of the boot.
With the new boot comes a new liner. The RX LV and RS each come with purpose-built liners. Lange calls the liners Dual 3D, pre-forming them to both the foot and interior of the shell.
RX models get the Dual 3D liner. It is lighter than the RS with more room around the width of the foot and Achilles area. The lower part of the foot and heel are made with thin PVC to better wrap the foot. This helps settle the heel back into the boot and gives room for bony spurs in the forefoot. The tongue and ankle area of the liner get a denser custom moldable polyethylene providing more robust foot hold.
The RS 130 gets the Dual 3D World Cup liner. Overall, it uses the dense PU foam throughout the midfoot and ankle. The liner is wrapped in a single piece vinyl top cover providing increased stiffness and structure to the liner. Both liners are heat moldable and maintain great ankle and heel pocket retention after continuous use. The new denser foam fits close to the shell, and holds its shape similar to a well molded Intuition liner. My feet were still firmly held by the boot after several long days on hill. The upper of each liner uses a softer, more breathable material for a more relaxed fit on the calf.
The new RS/RX boots take Lange performance up a notch. The new dual injected core provides a more progressive flex without slowing down the edge engagement. Flexing into the boot results in a smooth lower leg engagement without harsh pressure points. The dual core sandwich construction allows for a more gradual change between softer and stiffer plastic, reducing any harsh feeling from engaging the lower overlap. Turn initiation is immediate while still giving the skier plenty of travel for shock absorption. When really attacked, the boot is plenty capable of arcing out the more powerful skis out there. Stiffness wise, the RS 130 feels similar to the previous RS 130, if not a little stiffer at the top end of the flex. The entire RS range feels stiffer than the black RX 130. Overall, the boot produces a smooth and precise on-snow feel. I was equally satisfied skiing thawed out avalanche debris and firm winter groomers.
These are great boots for most expert, resort-focused skiers. For the RS models, solid sole blocks produce incredible energy transfer, but can wear out rapidly when not protected. This can be remedied quickly by adding many of the flat and thin replacement sole options available from many boot manufacturers. With enough planing and routing, one could even add a GripWalk or WTR sole for increased grip when scrambling. While excessive for most skiers, this would be an interesting option for folks who already have bindings set to other WTR boots (Lange XT Freetour, or Atomic Hawx XTD touring boots come to mind). Both lasts of the RX 130 already come with replaceable sole blocks and are WTR ready.