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Boot classifications?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but in looking at new boots, manufacturers split them up into various categories that I don't find helpful.  For instance, on the Lange website, they list Race/On Trail, All Mountain, and Freeride/Adventure.  Other manufacturers have similar but different categories.  Dalbello lists Close fitting, balanced, relaxed, race, big mountain, high performance, freestyle, sport, AT/BC, etc.  Rossi and Tecnica have just three categories each: Race, All Mountain On Piste, and All Mountain All Snow (Rossi), and Race/All Mountain/Free Mountain (Tecnica)


Maybe I'm dense, but with the exception of having a free heel, the difference between these category names doesn't tell me much about how the boot will work for me.  Like many, I ski all over at moderate speed, mostly in the east, but once or twice out west.  I'll ski mostly groomed because that's what's mainly available here, but will ski anywhere (or at least try), moguls, powder, crud, fairly steeps, etc.  Does that make me all mountain? Piste, Free Mountain, etc.?


Do these categories have much meaning to begin narrowing down types of boots, or is the basic rule to just work with a fitter who just knows, to find a boot within a given flex that fits your foot?

post #2 of 7

welcome to the mad house....there is no such thing as a stupid question, other than not asking the question in the first place

Do these categories have much meaning to begin narrowing down types of boots, or is the basic rule to just work with a fitter who just knows, to find a boot within a given flex that fits your foot?

 yup that about sums it up, the categories are all marketing speak, ways to entice the consumer to buy a particular brand by making them think it is targeted specifically at them


the basic difference between a race boot and a top end freeride boot from most brands is the colour, ok maybe the freeride model will have a slightly plusher liner or a soft base board to absorb shocks on big landings (on some brands) but fundamentally they are the same thing, but marketed to 2 different consumer groups


find a good boot fitter, explain what you are looking to do, your skiing level (be honest) and work with them to find the best fitting boots to do it in.  check out the who's who at the top fo the forum and you might find a great boot fitter near you, if there is nobody in your area then let us know where you are and we may be able to guide you to someone


good luck getting sorted

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just what I suspected. Thanks!
post #4 of 7

Keep in mind that there are race boots and then again, there are RACE BOOTS. The former is usually a 97-98mm forefoot boot with a 110-130 (ish) flex rating (largely meaningless BTW). The latter are a different breed. They are generally 93-95mm forefoot with flexes that start at 110 (ish) and go to the sky if you want. The former boots comprise approx 50% of our overall sales and they primarily go to casual race folks and expert skiers. The latter boots are less than 10% of our sales and they go to more committed skiers and racers that are highly skilled and/or have special fitting needs.


Personally, I never talk about boot categories.....I just work off of the foot shape and the skier's preferences. The thought of defining a "freeride boot is IMO just plain silly.



post #5 of 7

Absolutely agree.  Everything about terminology is marketing speak.  Boots are narrow, average and then wider and we sell them accordingly adjusting flex according to the skier.



post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I've got to find me a good boot fitter in the area.  

post #7 of 7

don't remember the name but you've got one downtown I think.



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