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Boots too flexible.. effect?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey folks,

 

I've been skiing pretty much all my life (21 years now) but have just recently familiarized myself with ski equipment (brands/info/pros. cons. etc).  My boots and skis have always been hand-me-downs; they've always seemed to make due.  

 

I just got my first new pair of skis (Volkl Bridge) and can't wait until I can get out on them.  I took a look at my boots the other day and realized that they're beginner/intermediate boots with only a 70 flex rating.  I've been skiing on them for the past 5 years or so and can't remember the feel of any boots I've owned previous to these (i.e. let's say I have no experience using any other type of ski boot).  

 

I'm posting here because I'm curious as to what a stiffer boot would do for my skiing.  I'm definitely not an intermediate skier; I'd consider myself a good level 8/weaker level 9.  Is my boot flexibility limiting what I can do on my skis?  How much of a difference would I notice with a stiffer boot?

 

Thanks,

 

A.

post #2 of 22

Your height and weight?

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

6'1

 

170-175-lbs

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by creemore View Post

 

 

 

I'm posting here because I'm curious as to what a stiffer boot would do for my skiing.  I'm definitely not an intermediate skier; I'd consider myself a good level 8/weaker level 9.  Is my boot flexibility limiting what I can do on my skis?  How much of a difference would I notice with a stiffer boot?

 

Thanks,

 

A.

You would notice a HUGE difference. Right now you are driving with two half flat front tires. I'm not a boot fitter but at your height and weight and If you are as strong a skier as you say you should be looking at something in the 110/120 flex  and certainly no lower than 100.

BTW are you in Creemore Ontario, land of Creemore Springs??

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

That's what I figured.  Guess my next investment is a boot upgrade.  Would you have any suggestions that would be wallet friendly?  

 

I'm near enough to it that it's my forum name ;)

post #6 of 22

I live in Wasaga Beach Spring and Fall so know the area. The good news is there some excellent bootfitters in Collingwood (Cam at Sporting Life for example). The bad news is it will be expensive any way you look at it. Your present boots are probably also  too big so the first thing is to find out your proper ski boot size with a bootfitter then shop around town to Sporting Life, Skiis and Bikes, Squire Johns and Slalom Gate out at Georgian Peaks. Tell them directly you are on a budget and maybe they will have something a year or two old that will fit. Up at at the hill

you should also talk to Rick at Rick's Pro Shop.

It's kind of a dump but he also knows his stuff and tend to sometimes have older new old stock that is cheaper. Don't buy boots off the Internet!!


Edited by Castle Dave - 12/28/12 at 2:09pm
post #7 of 22

Welcome to EpicSki.  I agree with Dave.  But, I want to add that thereis mor e to ski boots than just the boot size.  Size, actually length, is important but equally important is width.  Boots are made on different size lasts, such as 98mm, 100mm, 103mm, etc.  The last determines the width.  Unfortunately the ski boot size designation, 25, 26.5, 27, etc says nothing about the width.  I used to ski in Tecnica Diablo Pros which were made on a 98mm last, but other Tecnica boots were made on different lasts.  There is also the issue of foot volume, some people, like me, have a high instep and therefore need a boot with more volume.  This is why it's important to go to a bootfitter that understands these things and not just some store that asks "what size shoe do you wear?" then brings you a pair of boots and says "try these on."  That approach will lead to boots that are too big.  Do it right and your skiing will improve.

post #8 of 22

Soft flexing boots will demand greater strength and balance. Stiffer boots require greater speed and mass.

post #9 of 22

I like a soft boot.

 

My daily ski boot is the Scarpa Denali AT, and I often "forget" to take them out of walk mode.  Happened today,  I didn't really notice until about the 5th run through the bumped up new snow we got yesterday.

 

Though the "out of walk mode" is not ideal in the zipperline,  I do OK. But click 'em in once the notice is taken.

 

I love to stand on my ski and feel them arc beneath me. Staying forward is rewarded!

 

I patrol,  So,  any trail, any time, any condition is the rule.

 

Stiff boots are over rated, and hard to get in to ;-)

 

I might ski "a bit better" with the conventional alpine boot, (Head WC)  I use them when I know I'll be skiing with the "20 some things" like my eldest son, and trying to keep up.

 

YMMV

 

Cal

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses!

 

 I'm so used to skiing in such a soft boot that I'm afraid going up to ~120 stiffness would totally throw me off.  I really don't know much about boot flex/equipment in general; always skied without taking much notice of what I was wearing.  I'll be skiing in two days, do you think it would be worth it for me to rent a pair of stiffer boots just to get the most out of my new skis?

post #11 of 22

You should try your own boots with the new skis and if you can rent a high performance pair to see the difference, that might be worth trying too. Wider modern skis do need laterally stiffer boots. If your old boots fit well though and you can ski well in them, use them until you can purchase a better pair.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by creemore View Post

Thanks for all the responses!

 

 I'm so used to skiing in such a soft boot that I'm afraid going up to ~120 stiffness would totally throw me off.  I really don't know much about boot flex/equipment in general; always skied without taking much notice of what I was wearing.  I'll be skiing in two days, do you think it would be worth it for me to rent a pair of stiffer boots just to get the most out of my new skis?

Yes it would be a big change but a couple of things to remember

- 120 would be the upper range. anything higher than 100 would be a huge inprovement

- Boots can always be softened but not stiffened. If you found a 120 or even 130 with a perfect fit a good boot fitter can make them softer. For example my wife is 5'5" and 105 lbs and a Tecnica Diablo 130 (flex) race boot fit her perfectly. After trying the boot in differenct flex configurations using the bolts in the back he modifed the shell to give her approx a 100/110 flex. Very easy if the fitter knows what they are doing.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post

Yes it would be a big change but a couple of things to remember

- 120 would be the upper range. anything higher than 100 would be a huge inprovement

- Boots can always be softened but not stiffened. If you found a 120 or even 130 with a perfect fit a good boot fitter can make them softer. For example my wife is 5'5" and 105 lbs and a Tecnica Diablo 130 (flex) race boot fit her perfectly. After trying the boot in differenct flex configurations using the bolts in the back he modifed the shell to give her approx a 100/110 flex. Very easy if the fitter knows what they are doing.

 

I think there's a lot that goes into determining the proper flex rating of a boot for a given skier.  I have the same height / weight as the OP, and I ski everything (groomers, bumps, trees, etc.) in a 130.  But I have long legs and can generate some serious leverage into a boot as well.

 

Also, every boot manufacturers flex rating is based on their own independent scale.  The number, in and of itself, doesn't "mean" anything.  I'd hesitate to give a flex rating range to a skier based only off an internet profile other then "70 is way, way, way too soft".

 

Ski boots can always be softened and enlarged.  They can't be made stiffer or smaller.

post #14 of 22

Stiff Boots more responsive (that's why racers wear them) and less forgiving (if you make a mistake)

 

Soft Boots more forgiving (that's why beginners get them biggrin.gif) but less responsive.

 

 

This said, depending on the skiing that you are going to do a softer boot (in the relative scale of things) might actually work better.  The other difference between stiff and soft in a lot of cases is comfort (my guess is initial comfort) on the boot.

 

Finally, stiff boots are a pain to get in and out of, but if fit correctly and comfortable why get out in the first place, makes it easier to be the first on the hill as you boots are in place and you are ready to go first thing in the morning biggrin.gif .  At this stage you are usually hard core.

post #15 of 22

I ski a Dalbello 90 flex and have no problems anywhere on the mountain but I am on the lighter side of the spectrum. For the OP I would say go with what you have been told. I think 110-120 flex by most manufacturers would suit you very well.

post #16 of 22

To buy boots, the first thing is to find an experienced bootfitter. You should be able to simply describe your skiing ability, your style of  skiing and your price point and the bootfitter should be able to pull about a half dozen different boots for you to try on.

post #17 of 22
IMO flex numbers aren't very accurate, especially from brand to brand. Having said that, I have a soft set of touring boots with an 80 flex, and a firmer set of all-mountain boots with a 130 flex. The touring boots are great for the climb, but are very tiring to ski downhill on compared to the all-mountain boot - since the softer touring boots don't support me very well and force me to use a lot more muscle to support me while skiing downhill. I'm getting to the point where I'm going to retire the touring boots and just use the all-mountain boots with the upper buckles unbuckled for climbing...
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRISfromRI View Post

IMO flex numbers aren't very accurate, especially from brand to brand. Having said that, I have a soft set of touring boots with an 80 flex, and a firmer set of all-mountain boots with a 130 flex. The touring boots are great for the climb, but are very tiring to ski downhill on compared to the all-mountain boot - since the softer touring boots don't support me very well and force me to use a lot more muscle to support me while skiing downhill. I'm getting to the point where I'm going to retire the touring boots and just use the all-mountain boots with the upper buckles unbuckled for climbing...

Very well put.

 

Another thing is that stiff boots can always be made softer.

 

BTW I'm your size and wt and ski a Lange 130 and this is the softest boot I have skied in a long time.

post #19 of 22

"To ski in the stiffest boots requires great finesse and ability, and you should be especially careful not to buy boots that are too stiff in the front.  You'll ski better in a boot that's a bit too soft than one that's too stiff" - Ultimate Skiing, Ron LeMaster

 

Be careful how stiff you go...

post #20 of 22

The problem with trying to judge ski boot flex at room temp is that it doesn't take into account how much the plastic will stiffen at cold mountain temps.  My Head Raptors don't stiffen up nearly as much as my Atomic Burner 120s.  The Burner 120 shells go from ridiculously flexible at room temp to feeling like what I would expect a 120 flex boot to feel like when skiing.

post #21 of 22

Is there really any practical difference in lateral stiffness as you progress from a 50 or 60 flex to, say a 90 or 100? I can easily perceive a difference in fore-and-aft stiffness, but when it comes to putting skis on edge, I can't feel any advantage at all. I bought some very soft boots this year, but they fit better than the stiffer model they replace, and my confidence and control have progressed rapidly. I went softer because I'm an elder beginner, and I need lots of ankle and knee action to keep the bumps from jarring my less durable hips and back. I'm also mistake-prone, and I don't need boots that transform any loss of concentration into a crash.

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post

Is there really any practical difference in lateral stiffness as you progress from a 50 or 60 flex to, say a 90 or 100? I can easily perceive a difference in fore-and-aft stiffness, but when it comes to putting skis on edge, I can't feel any advantage at all. I bought some very soft boots this year, but they fit better than the stiffer model they replace, and my confidence and control have progressed rapidly. I went softer because I'm an elder beginner, and I need lots of ankle and knee action to keep the bumps from jarring my less durable hips and back. I'm also mistake-prone, and I don't need boots that transform any loss of concentration into a crash.

You did the right thing going for softer boots as an 'elder beginner'. As you get better you can go stiffer for more control.

The answer to your question about lateral stiffness is yes - you absolutely can tell the difference in lateral stiffness but you have to be actually skiing. This means angulating and loading up the edges when the skier can exert lateral forces on the ski through the boot. Unlike fore and aft stiffness, lateral stiffness is very difficult to assess in a static position

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