Preview: 2023 Kastle K130P Ski Boot

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I have been able to spend a few days in the new Kästle K130P ski boot. The K130P is Kästle’s top of the line non race collection boot. They are also offering two 91.5 mm last full bore race models, K 130R and K150R. Kästle, as a brand, is looking to be a full line company, and to do that you need to be able to offer boots. When Kästle started as a ski company in the mid 2000's they started at the top end of the market with their high performance MX collection and immediately set the standard for consumer skis that were of the highest performance caliber. Now Kästle is hoping to catch that lightning again with their all new boot offerings.

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As when Kästle hit the high end of the market with their skis, the boots are also a direct shot at not only the high performance recreational boots, but also at World Cup level race boots. For a brand new manufacturer to go after the latter with a first year product takes a big pair of brass ones.

I was not surprised that all that was available to test was a 26.5, that is usually the case when a new boot is developed; 26.5 and 27.5's are usually the first men's shells produced. To add some background, while I measure a 26.5, I normally ski in an 25.5 low volume, and my current two boots have been the Lange XR9 Heritage (RX140) and K2 Recon Pro, which also is advertised as a 140 flex. Both boots have canting done to them.

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I tend not to get into boot reviews because everyone‘s feet are so different and so much can be done to modify a boot to the skier especially when I can rarely get a boot in my size. Since I am well aware that I usually will have to test a boot that is too large for me, I built up a special footbed for testing that will take up some volume. What I will talk about mostly is how the boot skis, and as a bootfitter what can be expected and worked on with these all new boots.

The Kästle K130P feels stiffer than either of my current boots, even in the warm Mammoth Spring conditions. Yes, I know flexes are not universal, but these early production Kästle boots are pretty burly and are not a marketing 130 in flex. As I said, I ski in a boot one size down from what I measure, and the Kästles that were provided for this preview were 26.5's with a 303mm shell. I hope to get the K120P, the 97 mm last for a long term test boot for the coming season.

Breaking Down the Boot
Let’s just get this out of the way, this is not a rebadged Lange or any other boot. I am not saying there isn’t some DNA shared with Lange’s reference race shell, but it isn’t the same. Yes, the boot is being produced in Italy, and with Kästle’s parent company Sportens owner photographed and read discussing Roxa, there is a good chance that they are building the boot. (1) I will not confirm nor deny that at this point.

Build of the shell and liner is not only on par with any other mainstream boot, but it is very well in the top percentages in design aspects. Kastle’s new liners are far from a throw-it-against-the-wall and see-if-it-will-stick liner, they are ready for prime time. The Performance+ liner that comes in the K130P has full lace up design or can be used as a traditional leave-it-in-the-boot and slide in and buckle up. What I didn’t get to play with is Kästle K_Fit liner enhancements that are used to adjust fit which will attach to the felt-like material on heel pocket. Even though the 100 mm last and being a size up fit well, the K_Fit would have snugged the heel pocket up a bit more. The liner’s tongue is also removable and adjustable for the ideal fit. While I have’t played with the regular performance line, it appears the difference is the ability to lace it up and some of the K_fit padding options.

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Shell and stance of the boot
Kästle is publishing a 12* upright stance but where the K boots differ from most other boot designs is that the ramp inside the boot is right around 2* (most other boots are around 4*), this gives the K boot a very neutral feel in the snow. The PU shell is pretty much what you would expect in feel and performance; the boot is very responsive both in a progressive forward flex and lateral rigidity. Like any boot of this level, all of the buckles and parts are attached with T-nuts and in Kästle’s case, Torx screws. The two lower buckles have Kästle’s K_Release ultra flat buckles that integrate a lever to make unbuckling easier. While this is a nice feature, I would like to have seen something similar to create more leverage while buckling the upper buckles, similar to what Head does on their Double Power buckle design.

The toe box of the shell is very modern; this generous shape and the liner was also accommodating for the foot digits. The lower clog does have a slight navicular punch and the Performance boots come from the factory with removable soles and the option for Gripwalk. It is safe to say that Will and his team at Cantology are already working on canting inserts as I write this.

On the snow feel
Again I will go back to my preface: this boot was a size too big for me both in length and volume, but with that said, with my oversized footbed to take up volume, the boot was extremely responsive in the Mammoth Spring conditions and not until I got off piste in some variable 3D conditions did I find the boot to feel its size. Even then I have skied 100mm boots in a 25.5 that were not as reactive as these were.
  • Who is it for: Those looking for a solid low to mid volume option​
  • Who is it not for: Fred Flintstone. Kästle does not offer a higher volume boot …. yet.​
  • Insider Tip: Like any boot, you don’t pick it, it picks you.​
  • One thing I would change: These are not a gram counting boot. I would have preferred to see the toe and heel lugs to be solid verses hollow. Hollow lugs limit some fitting solutions such as extreme canting or leg length discrepancies.​

(1) 7/7/22 Edit: It was confirmed to me that Roxa is indeed NOT producing the boots.
About author
Philpug
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.

Replies

Nice review.
Any 150 (or higher) flex?
There will be a 150 in the K150R Factory which will be a 91.5 last. As I eluded to, the K130P is a stiffer than average 130 for a consumer boot.
 
Some interesting design choices; but not necessarily in a good sense. Personally, I can't understand not incorporating a walk mode in a ski boot. Getting to and from your car in walk mode is so much easier.

And whilst I approve of lace up liners (which I have in my Scarpas), I can't see how you can tie up the laces in a non-cabrio boot. On my scarpas the tongue hinges sideways giving full access to the laces.

Maybe there's a reason why they haven't offered ski boots before.
 
Some interesting design choices; but not necessarily in a good sense. Personally, I can't understand not incorporating a walk mode in a ski boot. Getting to and from your car in walk mode is so much easier.

And whilst I approve of lace up liners (which I have in my Scarpas), I can't see how you can tie up the laces in a non-cabrio boot. On my scarpas the tongue hinges sideways giving full access to the laces.

Maybe there's a reason why they haven't offered ski boots before.
Walk mode is never seen on a 'race heritage' boot.

On the lace ups again this is when the shell is low volume - it makes it easier to enter and especially exit the shell without it biting your foot. There are even devices to make it easier

 
Some interesting design choices; but not necessarily in a good sense. Personally, I can't understand not incorporating a walk mode in a ski boot. Getting to and from your car in walk mode is so much easier.
Walk modes can compromise Nth degree performance.
And whilst I approve of lace up liners (which I have in my Scarpas), I can't see how you can tie up the laces in a non-cabrio boot. On my scarpas the tongue hinges sideways giving full access to the laces.
Lace up the liner, then get into the shell. This is a very common set up for race and high line performance boots.
Maybe there's a reason why they haven't offered ski boots before.
I am sure we will see a walk mode boot coming down the road.
 
But according to Phil, these are not race boots. But if it looks like a race boot and quacks like a race boot it must be a hell of a fast duck.
 
But according to Phil, these are not race boots. But if it looks like a race boot and quacks like a race boot it must be a hell of a fast duck.
The R boots are real race boots, the K130P that I reviewed is a high end consumer boot and I do expect them to be very fast ducks err boots.
 
I tried on the boot that @Philpug has in hand. It's a 26.5, I'm a 27.5. I didn't put my footbed in so it was an empty liner. I could have skied it; with my footbed maybe more so assuming my heel stays in the pocket better. One other thing: this 130 is a stiff 130. It was a warm day and it remained stiff. Most of the boots I've been in show some if not a lot of softening on those warm days. It'll be interesting to see how it feels when it's cold out!
 
It'll be interesting to see how it feels when it's cold out!
Probably even stiffer.

If I get a pair of these for my boot rotation next season, I am going to go with the K120P (97mm). I think it will be more than stiff enough.
 
Probably even stiffer.

If I get a pair of these for my boot rotation next season, I am going to go with the K120P (97mm). I think it will be more than stiff enough.
And thats coming from someone who's skiing in a 140 flex boot right now.
 
But according to Phil, these are not race boots. But if it looks like a race boot and quacks like a race boot it must be a hell of a fast duck.

The R boots are real race boots, the K130P that I reviewed is a high end consumer boot and I do expect them to be very fast ducks err boots.
Yep, but it has a fair degree of race DNA, an Atomic savour it's not* :). Still surprised at the hollow soles tho.
I tried on the boot that @Philpug has in hand. It's a 26.5, I'm a 27.5. I didn't put my footbed in so it was an empty liner. I could have skied it; with my footbed maybe more so assuming my heel stays in the pocket better. One other thing: this 130 is a stiff 130. It was a warm day and it remained stiff. Most of the boots I've been in show some if not a lot of softening on those warm days. It'll be interesting to see how it feels when it's cold out!
Waiting for the 27-27.5 samples but should I infer from this that it runs slightly oversized and test drive the 26 shell instead. The external sole length for 26 seemed to be in the usual range for a 26 but... curious.

*Though I am a fan of rear entry boots, we can fortunately say that nothing is a Savour, not even an 80s rental,
 
What is on the sole? Are heel and toe plates replaceable?
On the P boots they are, R's have solid lugs. The P boots have the option of ISO 5355 or 23223 and Cantology will be offering shims.
 

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