Telemark Gear Review: TX-Comp 2018

Telemark Gear Review: TX-Comp 2018

The common theme among aficionados of burly tele boots is their lack of sensitivity. Not the skiers, the boots. As a powder pig sensitivity is a boot quality I revel in, but I’m no tele charger. Not by burly boot standards. However, that lack of sensitivity is really only an indication that boots like Scarpa’s TX-Comp were not meant to be skied at speeds where the forces driven and received between your legs, boots, and skis require sensitivity. If you routinely hammer the bumps, enjoy air, crush crud for breakfast, and spit in disdain at slush, these boots were built to navigate your path with power. In powder it just means you can go a lot faster and still maintain control because the boot won’t waffle in terrain or at speeds that make boots like the T2 or TX melt.

Made for Turnin’, not Earnin’

Telemark Gear Review: Scarpa TX-Comp 2018
Walk mode with the TX-Comp. Not record setting, but better than nada. YMMV.

As good as the TX-Comp is at slaying snow snakes, they were not made for much walkin’ — some, but not much. There is a small bit of rear flexibility to the cuff but it is among the least possible in the Scarpa family. The overall stiffness of the cuff when locked contributes to a movement with significantly more resistance than the TX-Pro. While on the heavy end of tele boots, it is lighter than the defunct T-Race. Thus, while the Comp does have a walk mode, many of its advocates consider the loss of rigidity caused by it to compromise the purpose of the boot — which is to kick ass and take names later while riding gravity’s pull. For those who insist on eliminating all slop, substituting a spine without a walk mode makes a good afternoon project (parts extra). Backcountry types will want the walk mode; it may not be record setting, but you’ll appreciate it.

Dynafiddling About

One thing a lot of people are wondering about is if Scarpa will offer tech inserts in their 2018 model. I tested the boot myself with the insert and know a few strong skiers who have a number of days on with no problems. On the record Scarpa says they will not provide that feature on the TX-Comp. Although I’m confident the inserts would be strong enough for the majority of skiers, the percentage who are likely to go far beyond in the forces they apply to their boots, and thus the inserts, will no doubt prove Scarpa’s fear of damage. The liability that would result, either for injury or warranty costs is too high to risk offering them. For inquiring minds, TX-Comps with inserts ski great with the Meidjo (stiff springs recommended) or TTS. Yes, you may be disappointed that Scarpa doesn’t plan to offer the Comp with inserts next season. That could change.

Balance of Power

All of Scarpa’s TX family of tele boots have a relatively soft flexing bellows. Each is progressively stiffer, with the TX-Comp being the stiffest. What distinguishes the Comp isn’t the stiffness of the bellows, but the stiffness of the cuff. The result is a flex that is excessively cuff driven. Everyone adapts to it, but many wish the balance of flex resistance between the cuff and bellows were more even — meaning a stiffer bellows.

Fit

Telemark Gear Review: Scarpa TX-Comp 2018
Solid buckles and a wide power strap couple all the power from leg to boot.

It’s a Scarpa. It has a great shape at the heel to help hold it down, plus their trademark instep buckle to pull your heel firmly back into the pocket. The toe box is 102mm wide, the same as the TX-Pro. It fits a lot of feet out of the box, but all lasts have limits. The stock liner is tongued and reinforced with different densities to magnify the stiffness around your cuff. Unlike the Pro version, it does not have a soft patch on the back for walking mobility, maintaining stiffness for the sake of the turn instead.

The buckles are solid, not fancy. The instep buckle is a wire clip that is easy to put on, but difficult to get off. YMMV, but it is undeniably more fiddly to release than the plastic toothed buckle that it was upgraded from. A dedicated women’s version is not made, but they are available in small sizes (down to mondo 22.5).

Summary

This boot is made for a take no prisoners attitude on the slopes with more time spent turning than earning.

Scarpa
Telemark Gear Review: Scarpa TX-Comp 2018TX-Comp
MSRP: $700
Weight/boot (sz 27): 1708g • 3lbs 12oz
Sizes available (mondo): 22.5 – 30

12 thoughts on “Telemark Gear Review: TX-Comp 2018

  1. But!!!!! whats up with the earlier rumors? No lightweight boots next year? Or lighter. I need to but boots now, and can’t figure if I should go for new tx pro, or used and hopefully get some new next year. I mean, 300 grams lighter would mean a lot. I pay 120 $ to shave off 100g on the skiis….so to get a couple of 100 grams off the boot, would mean 2-300 grams off for free (or 240-360$ saved on the skis). The boots are already at a high price, and I don’t think they will get much more expensive.

  2. Aside from minor tweaks to the buckles and color, it appears this boot is basically the same as the first TX-comp from nearly ten years ago. I can’t believe they finally made a set or two of TX-comps with inserts for Kim and Craig! I (along with everyone else) have been asking for them since the beginning!

    1. I’m sure they made a few pair to see if those inserts will withstand some serious abuse and I’m confident they’ve put them in the right hands to determine that. The reality is, they were probably hoping I would NOT manage to ski in them, but I did. Whether or not inserts ever become standard on the TX-Comp will be the result of a tug-o-war between the accountants and lawyers. Would you pay $100 more for the inserts? No bro-brah deals allowed. Still willing? As much as I would like to see it happen, I admit it doesn’t make cent$.

      1. Craig – I sent you a message via fb.

        The TX-comp is identical to the TX-pro aside from durometer of plastic used, and the lack of inserts. Both are on the Scarpa website for $699. Is the the slightly stiffer material used in the shell of the TX-comp that much more expensive to warrant a $100 price increase for inserts? Also, how is it that Scott and Crispi can put inserts in their NTN boots but Scarpa has legal issues?

        1. Regarding the pricing of TX-Pro VS TX-Comp. Basic economics says if a boot is considered more valuable, for whatever reason, it will cost more.

          Regarding the inserts. Crispi currently offers toe and heel inserts on their NTN boots that feature tech inserts. Scott has followed Scarpa’s lead and is not (to my knowledge) selling their NTN boots with tech inserts at the heel, only the toe. Is that a legal issue? Let me rephrase it. How about I say it is a legal concern; and in today’s litigious climate, a legitimate one. I don’t like it anymore than you, but as one enterprising fellow has proven, not an insurmountable one.

          1. Hmm, unless something has changed for 2018, the Scott Voodoo on their website has the heel insert for low tech bindings. While the heel inserts are/were great while they lasted, Scarpa could still keep the toe inserts and make the boots usable with the only innovative new tele anything since NTN, and the only thing that is keeping tele even remotely close in weight to other AT options. The other funny thing about the Tx-comp insert story is that I heard many different reasons why they weren’t there (they wanted a pure tele race boot/the toe couldn’t handle it/the Italians are being stubborn/the lawyers were coming) and they changed year to year. If they are scared of litigation because of low tech binding compatibility with bellowed boots (which I sort of understand, but still wonder how Scott – who didn’t provide a “puck” to block the bellows with the boots I had – and Crispi get away with it while Scarpa can’t), just add toe inserts! If that’s still an issue, why do the tx-pros still have toe inserts? I have never understood this and nobody at Scarpa has ever been able to explain it to me either, and I’ve been asking since the Tx series was first unveiled.

            Imo when Scarpa streamlined the NTN boot lineup a couple years ago they should have kept the Tx, dropped the Tx pro, and added toe inserts to the Tx comp. Keep the $699 price for the bigger boot and the lower price ($649 I think?) for the lower boot to solve economic pricing issues. Barring a complete modernization of the lineup, every NTN skier I know would have been happy enough with either of those boots. Instead, they pissed off the lighter weight crowd when they cut the Tx right when tele tech was coming around, and forced everyone to choose between the same size boot, just soft with inserts, or stiff without.

  3. Has anyone heard any complaints about problems with the belies on the 2017s? Mine seemed to have softened up extremely quickly and are making a clicking noise

      1. The photos and specs look exactly the same as the 2017 boot? I was under the impression they were redesigning the boot?

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