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Head Raptor 90 - Big Flex Changes from Size to Size

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm cutting to the chase here, but a lot of background info is at the bottom of the post, if you need it.

 

Finally found a boot that really feels like it's made for my particular feet and needs. It's the Head Raptor RS 90. The 24.0 is the one that put the huge grin on my face because it really holds onto my foot without the big void over my upper instep (between the 2nd and 3rd buckle) in a way that almost no other boots have been able to do, and which historically causes me to want to crank down unproductively on the 2nd buckle from the top. Meanwhile, I also tried on the 25.0. This boot also felt good, but not in the same special "my ankle and heel area is totally immobilized, but also totally comfy" way as the 24. So what's the problem? The problem is that 1) Only the 25 was really long enough for my left big toe. I took the insole out entirely, and, even then, trying on the liner ... it's just too short. AND  2) the 25 was WAY stiffer than the 24, in a good way. The stiffness on the 25 felt about like the Lange SC 90 I tried. The 24 was more like my current boot, which is too soft. It seems clear that the 25 shell is a completely different animal from the 24 shell, flex-wise (and also costs $100 more). What's with that?

 

Anyway, looking for advice about how to resolve this conundrum. Basically it feels like I need the 25 liner, the flex of the 25 shell, but the overall size of the 24 shell. Ideas?

 

+++++++ background info below this line ++++++++++

 

 

Me: 49yo, 135lbs, 5'7", level 8, ski about 30 days / year, mostly east. Beer leaguer, but also love soft bumps and trees when available.

Current boot: Falcon 100 Jr. Race, size 24.5, 2008 model year (I think), skied three full seasons plus. I run custom ski orthotics in these (and different ones in my street shoes).

Why looking for a new boot (in order): Current boots are softening and bottoming out unless very cold ("100" flex is purely nominal, based on testing against other boots), occasional but persistent 6th toe problems despite punching, soles becoming worn,. Need something with a bit more oomph.

Misc key info: My feet are medium in front to narrow at heel. I have moderate bunions with the commonly associated upturning big toes. My perennial challenge with boots is that I need a firm, close fit in a small size with moderate flex. Women's boots tend to be too squishy and/or too Barbie. Men's boots tend not to be available in my size, and when they do are either too stiff (race boots) or too roomy ("recreational" boots) or both.

 

So, I've been to my favorite shop a couple times trying on boots. Mostly these have been Jr. race boots around a "90" flex (Atomic Redster, Technica Inferno, Dalbello Scorpion), but I've also tried on the Full Tilt classic (too big in the smallest size made) and a couple others. Crossed all those off the list as not working ... typically the main issue is way too much room over the upper instep, between the 2nd and 3rd buckle. The Lange SC 90 fits me reasonably well and is a plausible candidate, but doesn't make me feel like "this is definitely the one."

post #2 of 7

if a 24 fits you in the salomon, 24 is your size in the head. break the boot in and make room for your big toe with a shell punch or a blind grind of the toe box.

 

there is no price break by size in the raptor 90. there may be a difference in the model year which would explain the price break and the different flex feel.

 

jim

post #3 of 7

and if the 90 feels too soft get the 115, the head shell is marginally shorter internally than the salomon, but not enough to be considering a bigger size

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks folks. CEM's suggestion may solve the problem of the 24 shell on the RS 90 being so much softer than the 25 shell on the same model. (Note that the difference here was stark, not subtle. Anyone trying on the boots would have detected it instantly. I still think that is weird. Seems like too big a difference to chalk up to model year changes ... and in any case I believe they were both 2013 boots, though I have no concrete evidence for that.) Presumably if the 115 shell were too stiff, it could be softened. I'll look into this. Good idea. (Though I have a sneaking suspicion, based on experience, that many shops stock 24s only in "junior" models like the 90. Story of my footwear life. rolleyes.gif)

 

Still leaves the length issue. Jim, I hear you about punching or grinding the toe box, thank you. But I think the issue is more with the liner than with the shell. End of toe feels just as jammed with the liner out of the shell as in the shell.
 

post #5 of 7

liners stretch out WAY more then you think,   Also you can stretch the liner if needed, or reaplace with an intuition or foam.  

 

go 24 in the stiffer flex.  you can always make small boots bigger, and stiff boots softer.  not the other way.

post #6 of 7

fwiw, when you try on the 90 raptor vs the B5 indoors, the B5 will feel as soft or softer than the 90. this is not how the boots end up at skiing temps, but their room temp feel is the opposite of the on hill flex.

 

also sometimes the flex of a boot is directly relative to how close the shell is to the foot in the instep ankle area. when there is gapless contact the boot will flex easier. for sure the 25 is too big of a  boot for you.

 

jim

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by starthaus View Post

fwiw, when you try on the 90 raptor vs the B5 indoors, the B5 will feel as soft or softer than the 90. this is not how the boots end up at skiing temps, but their room temp feel is the opposite of the on hill flex.

 

also sometimes the flex of a boot is directly relative to how close the shell is to the foot in the instep ankle area. when there is gapless contact the boot will flex easier. for sure the 25 is too big of a  boot for you.

 

jim

 

I already understood from lots of first hand experience that boots flex much differently at different temperatures, but never would have guessed that their relative stiffness wouldn't stay the same, given the same temps. That is fascinating (and confounding, to the boot shopper). Thanks for the info.

 

So ... just because you brought up the B5 ... 

 

Guy at the shop mentioned that boot - which they didn't have in stock - before you did, speculating that it might be stiffer then the size 24 RS 90 and therefore possibly a good match. But I looked it up and it appears that the B5 has a narrower last than the RS series (95mm vs 98mm). So it seems like not at all a fair assumption that if I like the fit of the RS I will also like the fit of the B5. 95mm is pretty darn narrow. Agreed?

 

I understand that in some ways you can't put a price tag on great boot fit, but ... most of us DO have budgets. I mention this just to explain why I'm not immediately jumping on the RS 115 bandwagon without giving it some thought. May have to wait till end-of-season on that. These are the prices that I'm looking at for the boots under discussion:

 

RS 90 size 24: $300

RS 90 size 25: $400

RD B5 size 24: $500

RS 115 size 24: $600

 

When you hold these boots in your hand, that are nearly identical in almost every respect except flex, and look at what the differences might be in cost of materials, R&D, manufacture, and distribution, it is a little bit hard to swallow that one should be DOUBLE the price of another. Not asking you, Jim, or anyone else on this board to explain or justify this to me. Not at all. Just observing that price is a factor for most people most of the time. This is definitely a tangent from official "Ask the Boot Guys" topics, so I'll shut up about that aspect of the decision now.

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