Scarpa North America Blog

Behind the Scenes: A SCARPA Ski Boot is Born

Dec. 9th 2014

Over the last 35 years, SCARPA has contributed immensely to the development of alpine touring equipment. In that time, SCARPA has designed boots that meet the needs of skiers heading into the snowy mountains with their eye on untracked powder.

SCARPA’s alpine touring boots are designed for skiers, by skiers. It all began with the production of leather boots in the 1980s, followed by the arrival of plastic boots that changed the game of ski touring. With years of experience in the design and manufacturing of ski boots, the R&D team pays close attention to detail, while seeking input from World Champion athletes, alpine guides, ski instructors and mountain rescue operators (to name a few).

The masterminds behind SCARPA’s ski boot development.

For example, the R&D team drew inspiration for one of the key features of the new F1 Evo directly from the race world. During the transition from the ski to walk mode, and back again, all racers had to bend over many times to close the rear buckle installed on the cuff, leading to leg cramps. Thus, a component was made to bypass this repetitive motion. The new F1 Evo automatically switches between walk and ski modes based on whether or not the heel is locked into a binding. No bending over, no leg cramps.

Here’s how SCARPA’s R&D team transforms innovative ideas like the hands-free ski/walk mechanism into reality:

First, they meet to brainstorm ideas that will eventually end up as prototypes. The advantage of SCARPA having production lines with machinery, equipment and highly specialized personnel near the office allows these products to pass quickly “from theory to practice.” During this phase, the team decides which technologies and innovations will be processed for development. Next comes the first 2D designs that give a precise, near to the real life version of what the final product will be. Thanks to the latest advancements in 3D printing, a resin three-dimensional model can be made. Though they can’t be worn, they give an accurate rendering of the dimensions and volumes of each component that can be compared with the current products.

Approving the resin model is a crucial step towards officially launching any ski boot project. As the team waits for a mold to be made from the model, other aspects and details of the boot are defined, such as the inner boot design and colors. When the prototypes are ready, some are kept for lab tests, while others are sent to testers in the field. Product testing lasts all winter long, and can often require tests to be carried out in South America or on the biggest European glaciers depending on the season.

According to the feedback received from both tests, changes and improvements are planned that are incorporated prior to mass production. The final phase of production is lengthy considering boots (and their many components) need to be made in a wide range of sizes.

It’s in SCARPA’s DNA to bring something new and innovative to the table. We work hard every day to make the best ski boots on the market, with the same passion and enthusiasm that every skier feels for the mountain.

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