Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour vs Scarpa Maestrale RS
Backcountry skiing is a sufferfest made worthwhile by great powder in the best of times. After all, chairlifts were created for a reason (though honestly, just so the ski industry could make more money).
If you’re like me and love to earn your turns though, you want to make sure you have the right gear. For me, that means the lightest gear I can find that performs at the top of its game. That’s why I ride the Black Crows Navis Freebirds with the G3 Ion 12 bindings.
The one area where I’ve always struggled though is with my boots. I have a somewhat strangely shaped foot with a bone on the outside that protrudes, so I have difficulty finding boots that ski well while also not killing the outside of my foot.
Over the last three seasons I’ve skied two pairs of boots – the Scarpa Maestrale RS and the Dynafit Hoji Pro. While I love both boots for different reasons, I’ve settled on the Hoji’s because they have a wider shell and, with heat molding and punching out the liner, are the most comfortable boot I’ve skied in years.
This article will compare the Hoji Pro Tour (2018-2019) against the Scarpa Maestrale RS (2016-2017 version). I’ve made every effort to be as non-biased as I can, though as you already know I personally ride the Hoji Pro Tour.
Hoji Pro Tour vs Maestrale RS
Let’s get to the comparisons!
Here are the specifications of each, side by side:
|Scarpa Maestrale RS||Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour|
|Weight||1450gr / 3lbs 3.1oz||1450gr / 3lbs 3.1oz|
|Forward lean||16˚ +/- 2˚||11˚ + release for walking|
|Range of motion||60˚||55˚|
|Closure||3 Buckles + Finger Strap||3 Buckles + Finger Strap|
As you can see, it’s kind of a wash between the two. The Maestrale claims to have more of a range of motion and forward lean, though in my experience riding each for at least a season the Hoji Pro’s have much better range of motion on tours because they actually flex backwards which gives you a longer step than in the Maestrales.
The Maestrales are slightly stiffer and ski more aggressive, which I definitely feel. The Hojis feel like a laid back big mountain boot, whereas the Maestrales still feel quite aggressive almost like a racing boot.
The price is literally the same.
Advantage: toss up
Now as you know, since you’re researching these boots, not every boot works for every foot. That is especially true for these two boots, even with some custom fitting like I’ve had done for both.
And I’ll be honest, I skied the Maestrales for 2.5 seasons and hated them. They weren’t wide enough for my foot which meant that the outside of my foot was crushed and would become incredibly painful and bruised. And the model year of Maestrale I had (16/17) had a seam through the heel that gave me blisters when skinning. Not fun and a terrible design.
But when it came to actually skiing, the Maestrales were amazing. Coming from an East Coast icy and freestyle skiing background (with a bit of skiercross thrown in), I like an aggressive boot where I can lean into it hard and hold a tight edge. The Maestrales delivered that while not really sacrificing anything in deep powder like we sometimes get here in Colorado.
Hoji Pro Tour fit
The Hoji Pro Tours are a very different fit from the Maestrales. They’re made for a wider foot, which my feet greatly appreciate. I’ll loosen them up before hopping on the lift each time, but I can ride all day in relative comfort (as much comfort as you get in a ski boot without spending hundreds on custom boot fitting).
When skinning, I keep the buckles as loose as possible except for the toe. Something to know about the Hoji Pro Tour is that it has a HUGE toe box, which sometimes feels too big to me. They take some getting used to, and I prefer to keep the toe tightened down even when skinning because of this. The upside to the toe box is that my toes don’t get cold and I can actually move them around (imagine that!) on the lift to keep them warm and the blood circulating.
When talking about skiing down, the Hoji Pro Tour feels like it was made by a laid-back big mountain skier who spends a lot of time in deep powder. While I can lay it over if I want to, this boot is not meant to carve hard. It’s meant for big mountain lines and it does that incredibly well. Paired with my Black Crows Navis Freebirds, the steep and deep calls whenever possible.
Here’s the guy that developed these boots:
Advantage: for me, Hoji Pro. Your mileage may vary.
As mentioned above, I’ve done a lot of touring in both of these boots.
The Scarpa Maestrales and Dynafit Hoji Pro Tours weigh exactly the same amount (1450gr / 3lb 3oz), so you’re not sacrificing weight on either side. They’re both super light, about as light as you can go for boots that still perform at their level.
On the skin track though, I prefer the Hoji Pro all day. Why?
The model year I ride (18/19) didn’t have a toe shelf which means that the boot is closer to the binding and you get slightly better efficiency out of every stride. The 19/20 and further on models do have the toe shelf, which honestly I like because you can use them with a binding like the Salomon Shift whereas I cannot use the Shift with my boots. It’s a tradeoff for sure and I’m glad Dynafit added the toe shelf back to the boot for 19/20 even though I do love how well mine tour.
I also, as mentioned, had major fit issues with the Maestrale. They performed just fine skinning up, but the liner gave me blisters many times over. And since the liners on touring boots like the Maestrale and Hoji Pro are so thin, it’s hard to punch them out to make them work for a foot that isn’t great for that boot to begin with.
Advantage: Hoji Pro
As mentioned above, the boot you prefer will depend on your skiing style (and of course how well the boot fits your foot).
I loved the Maestrale on the downhill. The 125 flex was killer and the more aggressive stance meant I could be more aggressive and precise in my skiing. In trees and tighter areas, the Maestrale was an awesome boot to ski. And when I needed to, I could lay it over on groomers and have a great time.
The Hoji Pro, as mentioned, is really meant for steep and deep where you’re hanging on for dear life. It’s taken me 15+ days on the Hojis to really get the feel for them, but now I can ride them just as well as the Maestrales. I can even get them to lay over on groomers if I want to. But that’s not where they shine – they shine on steep technical terrain where the snow is deep.
Advantage: for carvers the Maestrale, for steep and deep the Hoji Pro
Here are videos of each boot:
Scarpa Maestrale RS video:
Hoji Pro Tour boot video: