Excellent boot - with a caveat...
I'd give the Factors 5 stars, but it would come with a caveat: I only weigh 140 lbs and never break anything. If I weighed more and could confidently say they're bomber for the normal population, they'd get all the stars.
That said, the boots seem well built to BD standards. I would compare the last closest to the Salomon Falcon.
Stiffness: definitely stiffer than other AT boots but skiers worth their salt will know that nothing is as good downhill as an alpine boot.
- Beefier buckles are a nice touch.
- Ski/Walk mechanism lever is bigger now.
- Forward lean can be adjusted to a more aggressive stance even though the part is a pain to install.
- Boa is awesome.
Things to Improve:
- They're a little heavy. Weight is always a factor in hiking. I guess the tradeoff is stiffness.
- AT soles are NOT included. These boots ain't cheap - it'd be really nice to throw those in instead of charging an extra $18.