Unlike the Scarpa Phantom Tech, the new 2016 Phantom 6000 doesn’t lose weight but gains warmth instead. Scarpa claim a 15% increase in warmth, and though I don’t know how to measure that, the boot does feel warmer on my feet than the previous version.
Weight, as mentioned, stays pretty much the same but I did notice an interesting trend when weighing all the bits and pieces: the 2016 inner boot is slightly heavier, while the new shell is slightly lighter.
|(grams)||2015 Boot||2016 Boot|
The new shell uses a host of weight-saving and warmth-adding features. The sole is now partly constructed with Morflex, a blend of EVA and rubber that is both lighter and warmer than regular rubber. It is, however, not as durable as the regular stuff so you’ll still see regular Vibram on the outside, high-wear edges while the softer, orange-coloured Morflex is mostly in the middle of the sole.
The shell also gains some high-tech materials and is constructed of a mix of Schoeller, Kevlar, and Cordura Microtech fabrics that appear to add up to a light but durable package. A layer of 5mm EVA foam and 5mm of a blended EVA and cork mix provide the insulation. Additionally, there’s a large patch of Super Fabric — an ultra-durable plastic armor for fabric, basically — on the interior side of the boot. The whole gaiter is waterproof thanks to the proven OutDry membrane.
The zipper design, dubbed Flexseal, is all-new, and uniquely wraps around the boot to eliminate stress points. It slides very easily, and there’s more than enough room in the gaiter to tuck in pants if you wish to do so.
The inner boot feels stiffer and has more structure, as well as feeling a bit thicker. Insulation comes courtesy of three layers: 3D mesh/aluminum, EVA foam and Primaloft Micropile. The inner of the boot — the Micropile bit, I suspect — feels much more durable than the exposed foam of the previous version. The velcro closure has been improved as well, with a larger closure area and better pull tabs to really snug it up. This is a serious improvement, and I wonder if Scarpa will sell these separately as the inner boot would be a great upgrade for owners of the older 6000’s.
The new liner is on the left, right, right, right, right in the below photos, and the one with the red lining.
Fit is, as far as my feet can tell anyway, is exactly the same as the previous boot, though there is slightly better heel and ankle retention. There also feels to be a bit more calf support, which I suspect comes from a slightly higher, and stiffer, tongue on the outer boot and an extended, reinforced patch on the inner boot. The velcro strap also ‘floats’ around the sides of the boot, so you can cinch it tighter than the ‘fixed’ strap in the previous version.
The previous generation boots are more than warm enough for long days in bitterly cold temperatures: I’ve used mine to -35C or so, maybe colder, and my feet have always stayed warm. They’re also light and stiff enough for hard technical climbing, and their relatively low volume (for a double-boot) doesn’t feel overly ungainly during cruxy moves. The new 6000’s appear to have even better fit, which should translate to even better technical performance, and increased warmth is always good. Stay tuned for a thorough in-use review for Winter 2016.
A Few Comments On Fit
A few people have asked how the 6000’s compare in sizing to other Scarpa boots. For reference, I climb in a 43.5 Phantom Guide with a mid-weight sock. I don’t get any toe bang, and can lock down the heel and ankle enough to have zero lift. I sized my 6000s for use with a thin, liner-weight sock and went with a 43 in the older boot, as I felt I couldn’t lock down the heel well enough for technical climbing in a 44. My new 6000s are also 43, however I feel that I could have gone up the half size to a 44 and could use the boots with the same mid-weight sock as in my Guide/Tech thanks to the better lacing and heel retention in the new boots. The 6000 feel a touch narrower than the Tech or Guide, but the liner will pack out a bit so this is not an issue in my opinion.
I find Scarpa boots to be incredibly consistent in both length and width across the various lasts — I either use or have used a 43.5 Rebel Ultra, 43.5 Rebel Pro, 43 Rebel Carbon (for use with a thinner sock), 44 Mont Blanc Pro (I need heavy-weight socks in these), 43.5 Mont Blanc (before I got my Guides), and as stated am a 43.5 in the Phantom Guide and Tech. The NAG last (Rebel Series, P. Tech, MB Pro) is a touch narrower than the older AG last (P. Guide, MB). Recommendations? If you’re on the full size, get the same size. If you’re on a half size, get the new 6000 a half-size up for use with the same sock system (the 6000s only come in full sizes), but I’d recommend the old 6000 a half size down for the same technical performance as a Guide/Tech.
Huge thank you to Scarpa North America for sending me a pair each of the Tech’s and 6000’s — I couldn’t produce these reports without their support.