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2012 Fischer Vacuum Ski Boot: A Game Changer

post #1 of 1290
Thread Starter 

 

SIA 068.jpg

Traditional plastics used in ski boots will be four times stiffer at zero degrees Fahrenheit than they will at room temperature. It took Fischer several years to develop a new plastic which wasn't so temperature sensitive. What they discovered in the process was a plastic that also was heat moldable, and this revolutionary new material has made a revolutionary new boot from Fischer possible. The Vacuum boot, available next season, is named for the process in which the boot is conformed to the skier's individual foot so that every little or big irregularity is accommodated by the molding process, and the result is a perfectly comfortable boot that fits perfectly.

 

The process begins with putting the skier's footbeds, if desired, in the liner, as this will change how the skier's foot sits in the boot. Then the skier puts the liners back and puts the boots on with his or her usual socks. Then he or she steps into a set of bindings mounted to a custom machine specially built by Fischer. The technician sets the stance width for the bindings to the skier's hip width so later, when the skier is back on skis, he or she will be standing on a perfectly flat ski when straight running. Then the skier gets off the machine, gets out of the boots, the liner is removed, and the shells are heated for 10 minutes at 175 degrees Fahrenheit in a custom oven designed by Fischer for this purpose. While the boots are in the oven, the binding plates are taken off the machine and a horizontal bar that is vertically adjustable is installed which sets forward lean between 14 and 17 degrees, based on skier preference and skiing ability.

 

Once the boots come out of the oven, the liners go back in the boots and the skier puts them on, buckled to the first notch on the buckle (the least tight). SIA 070.jpgThen a refrigerated pack that looks like a Boot Glove is wrapped over the boot, followed by a "moon boot" looking compression pack that fully encloses the boot. The skier then steps back on the machine and leans against the bar that sets the forward lean of the boot while they are soft. Then an air hose is attached to each boot which pumps up the compression packs to a range between 100 millibars (very soft) and 300 millibars (race fit). The volume of the skier's foot is also a determinant of the amount of pressure that is applied, with less pressure to accommodate a greater volume. If the boot feels too tight, pressure is let off. Once at the ideal level, the pressure is maintained for 8 minutes, then the air is let out slowly (decompressing the packs) so the packs don't fly off like a couple of deflating balloons. This process can be done up to five times to refit the boot, either for the original owner for various reasons, such as weight gain, pregnancy, and physical wear and tear, or when the boots are passed on to another owner.

 

 

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"To me, this is the most exciting thing at the show," said Bud Heishman after the demo. I also overheard a Fischer rep say, "This is going to change the game." He's absolutely right: the machine produces a fully conformable boot that offers comfort and performance to all skiers, male and female, including people with hard-to-fit feet. That new plastic is money.

 

The boot will be available in 15 ski shops next year at major resorts like Jackson Hole, Vail, and Park City. Check the company website for more information on those outlets. The boots come in men's and women's versions. The Men's VC Pro comes in 150 and 130 flex; the Men's Vacuum in 130 and 110, and the Women's Trinity Vacuum in 110 flex.

 

Look for more reports to come about the 2011 Ski Industries of America Trade Show, Jan. 27-Feb. 1. Our EpicSki Press Team is tirelessly canvassing the cavernous convention center looking for the stories that EpicSki members will want to know.


Edited by nolo - 1/29/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 1290

popcorn.gif

post #3 of 1290
Wow--sounds like the perfect solution. I imagine that it will take a little while to work out any bugs in the fitting process (I suspect that some of the "imperfections" in my own boot fit, that allow certain movements of my feet, are actually quite important), but this concept does seem like a game changer.

It's about time!

Best regards,
Bob
post #4 of 1290

Very cool.

 

Fischer is pretty hard to find in the US market and I wonder if this might increase the number of shops who carry the line.

 

Customization is also a game-changer for commerce. Changes in equipment technology change the dynamics of commerce. It reverses the trend of the consumer purchasing over the Internet.

 

The only obvious drawback is that the end result is only going to be as good as the fitter who guides the process(or screws it up.)

 

post #5 of 1290

STOKED!

 

I'am already on Fischers these 2 seasons and find them to be a great performance boot! Having a pr which fits around the numerous spurs and oddities of my feet would be a dream come true. foam liners aren;t fully the answer for me, I still have to blow out the shell in some spots (if I get the right size shell, not oversize...)

hope Footloose becomes a dealer in the next year or so...

and I hope Fischer expands the selection to include men's boots in the 110 flex range....

stoked!

post #6 of 1290
Thread Starter 
The machine makes the process idiot proof, according to the rep.
post #7 of 1290
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

The machine makes the process idiot proof, according to the rep.


That rep must have never stepped int some shops in NJ. They could prove him wrong.
 

post #8 of 1290



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

The machine makes the process idiot proof, according to the rep.


That rep must have never stepped int some shops in NJ. They could prove him wrong.
 


As I learned in another life as a computer programmer, no matter how thorough you are, the idiots always find a way.

post #9 of 1290



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

The machine makes the process idiot proof, according to the rep.



 Interesting

 

 New plastic ? (what's it's life like in cold with cycled high stress?), hot, vacuum, and cold ......We'll see how and if the idea is brought into reality. Glad they are an established brand.

 

 Also on the surface it seems like a big outlay for the dealers in equipment and room in their store.

 

 This could solve the hard to fits out there.

post #10 of 1290
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

The machine makes the process idiot proof, according to the rep.


That rep must have never stepped int some shops in NJ. They could prove him wrong.
 



Note to self: Don't EVER buy gear in NJ.

post #11 of 1290

".......The boots come in men's and women's versions. The VC Pro comes in 150 and 130 flex....."

 

so....as we all are aware this flex index rating thing is not as level a playing field as say the DIN system......i'm interested in the boot but not with a true 150 or 130 flex....are they really 150/130 or does their idea of measuring the flex index tend toward the higher numbers?.......

post #12 of 1290
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimalibu View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

The machine makes the process idiot proof, according to the rep.


That rep must have never stepped int some shops in NJ. They could prove him wrong.
 



Note to self: Don't EVER buy gear in NJ.



Nah, There are some good people/places, just not the majority.

post #13 of 1290

Nice....this should have been made 50 years ago....its not rocket science.  I doubt the plastic is truly new, just new to ski boot applications.

post #14 of 1290
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post

The only obvious drawback is that the end result is only going to be as good as the fitter who guides the process(or screws it up.)

This thing is pretty close to "baking" ice skates, or liners on ski boots. You really can't screw up much here... you heat it, you put them on, you stand 10 or 20 minutes and that's it. What could go wrong with this? Heating it for 20mins instead of 10? Putting it under pressure for 5 minutes instead of 10? Sure, but these things are solved easily. This is not rocket science, so it really is bomb proof.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hen3x View Post
are they really 150/130 or does their idea of measuring the flex index tend toward the higher numbers?.......

Fischer WC Pro 95mm boots are really 150 (or 130, depending on model). They are boots with which they ski on World cup (also quite few non Fischer guys), so basically they are as 150 flex as any other racing boot marked as 150. ;) For lower end models (Race, World cup, or even Worldcup Pro 98mm version, this numbers are a bit high... at least from my experience with 130 flex Worldcup 130 and Worldcup Pro 95mm 130, which are two completely different boots, with completely different flex, even though they are both marked at 130). But for that left neon green boot on first photo, 130 is really 130, and 150 is really 150.

post #15 of 1290

And how much is all this wonderfulness going to cost ?  :)

post #16 of 1290

popcorn.gif Watching with interest.  

Probably still nothing will replace a close-fitting plastic shell ground and punched by an experienced bootfitter to make it really conform to your foot.  That kind of shell will still provide the top performance.  Heat-molding the whole shell could affect how the boot flexes, couldn't it, that could be a negative effect?  Or does Fisher make heat-moldable plastic only in certain hard-to-fit areas and keep the structure of the boot fixed?   

post #17 of 1290


If you have to ask...

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcsteve View Post

And how much is all this wonderfulness going to cost ?  :)

post #18 of 1290

Sounds very much like my old V4 boots. Any Idea of price point?

And ya get behind me Im first in line.

post #19 of 1290
Do these boots come in the normal fischer race boot?
post #20 of 1290

That's so awesome!  They're giving FT a run for their money when it comes to the most customizable boots.  If they made a race boot one I would buy it, not questions asked.  I was skiing last week at around -16* and it felt like I was trying to flex a slab of concrete.  

post #21 of 1290

Those are race boots, 130 and 150 flex...

post #22 of 1290

I just spoke to someone at the Denver show and I bet there's a boatload of boot fitters hoping they don't have to deal with this. 

post #23 of 1290
Thread Starter 

I apologize. The boots come in a flex of 130 and 150 (VC Pro), 130 and 110 (men's Vacuum), and the women's model, the Trinity Vacuum comes in 110. There's one for all of us.

post #24 of 1290

nolo, dumb question: How does the vacuum process appear to compensate for different thicknesses of plastic? Assume that like any other boot, some regions are thicker than others. Wouldn't the process tend to "customize" the thin bits (out front) better than the thick bits (ankle), leading to something a bit like the current Impulse? Also, is the sole basically outside the loop, so you have to have the right shape for the last to begin with? Just trying to visualize how you bend the plastic, given that it's connected to the sole. As I understand it, with a typical boot, if you heat and stretch it, you're actually pulling at the rest of the shell and can deform it if you're doing too much. Realize this is a "new" plastic, but same laws of physics seem to apply whether you're pushing in or out; if something stretches, it's getting some material from somewhere else. If it gets pushed inward by a vacuum, the extra material has to go somewhere. No? 

post #25 of 1290
Thread Starter 

My understanding is that it's a special kind of thermo-moldable plastic that is being heated to 175 degrees F for 10 minutes, which is a slow heat so all of the plastic arrives at the same temperature by the end of the heating process. After the liners/footbeds are replaced in the boot, the skier steps back into the boots, gets the cold wrap and the compression wrap, and stands on the machine with the boot soles positioned in a flat channel that is at hip width apart while the forward lean is set and the pressure is applied to the compression pack. Consequently, the sole end up perfectly flat. 

 

I don't know the exact cost of the boot, but I believe it will be about the cost of a comparable performance boot plus boot-fitting, more or less, depending on how much boot-fitting costs in your area.

 

post #26 of 1290

I should probably read before I write...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris719 View Post

Those are race boots, 130 and 150 flex...



Does anyone know what width they come in, or did nolo say it and I totally missed it again.

post #27 of 1290

So if I'm used to skiing in cold weather, I should get a stiffer Fischer Vacuum because it won't stiffen up?

(thank God I don't need new boots yet).

post #28 of 1290
Thread Starter 

The VC Pros come in 95 and the men's Vacuum comes in 98 but the last can be contracted/stretched from 92-102. The women's Trinity Vacuum boot is 98.

post #29 of 1290
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I apologize. The boots come in a flex of 130 and 150 (VC Pro), 130 and 110 (men's Vacuum), and the women's model, the Trinity Vacuum comes in 110. There's one for all of us.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceDude View Post

I should probably read before I write...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris719 View Post

Those are race boots, 130 and 150 flex...



Does anyone know what width they come in, or did nolo say it and I totally missed it again.



See above quote.

post #30 of 1290

The materials and process have never been used in ski boots before. There are lots of ways for a bootfitter to make a shell roomier in specific or in general, areas. This process however, would be more accurate most of the time. Another benefit for some would be that the plastic, the liner and hence the final product is noticeably lighter in weight than the comparable boot in conventional plastic. The most important part of the equation is that the pressure sock will actually compress the boot in areas where there is too much volume. Contracting the shell is something that is rather difficult for anyone. While the concern about the quality of the finished product is certainly valid, this product will be sold to experienced bootfitters only. Finally, the pricing has not been set in stone but expect to pay more than what the comparable non vacuum boot would cost but not dramatically more.

 

SJ

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