2017 Brand Profile
No other brand has remained as faithful to its roots, with as much sustained success, as Lange. From the outset, the brand was dedicated to enhancing energy transmission between athlete and ski. Lange has never strayed from a basic, four-buckle architecture, and neither have they rested on their considerable laurels. (Lange’s absurd lead in accumulated World Cup points speaks to their decades of dominance.)
A few seasons ago, Lange finally found a way to convert their medal count on the racecourse into coin at the retail register. They de-tuned their competition-class RS series by softening the flex, pushing the forefoot width out to a less confining 100mm and, critically, bumping up the instep height. Virtually overnight, Lange’s light green “race” boot led a brand renaissance that pulled the rest of the line after it.
While Lange’s resurgence was being led from the front by making their classic race boot roomier, at the lower price points where most mortals buy their boots Lange improved their position by offering lower-volume alternatives. Women with narrow feet, largely abandoned in a market shift to wider women’s boots, found the Lange “L.V.” suffix meant they’d found a boot made for them. Along with Lange’s already established following in the race community, the popularity of their lightweight, close-fitting women’s line and the near-universal appeal of their new flag ship, the RX 130, meant Lange was finally earning euros at the same pace as their race boots racked up World Cup points,
As evident by both their long history and their current collection, Lange doesn’t care to deviate from what they correctly feel is their heritage and their strength. When rear-entry boots were ubiquitous, Lange finally made a feeble stab at the concept as if to prove what an abomination all such silly boots were.
The current craze is the alpine hiking boot, a trend that at first caught Lange flatfooted. But Lange quickly caught up, producing first-rate exemplars of the budding genre by not corrupting their alpine structure much beyond adding a walk-ski latch to the rear spoiler. Last year Lange committed to the genre by making new, more hike-friendly molds for their top HM model, the XT, in both narrow and medium widths.
This year Lange finally dove into the deep end of the hiking pool, emerging with the 3-model XT Free Tour series with a Grilamid® shell, polyolefin cuff, Dynafit® certified Tech inserts and a WTR sole. The latching mechanism on the spine resembles every other Lange Ski/Hike switch, but it’s actually attached to a wider notch in the lower shell so the Free Tour’s total ROM is 23o in either direction. The radical switch in materials notwithstanding (1770g), the XT Free Tours look every inch like classic Langes. The shells that sit atop their rockered soles are monoblock construction, and all the stance angles and pivot points are pure Lange. As the true AT genre requires, the liner is minimalist, lace-up affair.