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Flex for an older guy

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm ready to replace my entry-level boots, which I found adequate until halfway through the season when I replaced my short, beginner skis. The 60-flex boots were too soft to begin with (I'm 5-11, 185), but they had beern working OK. I'm 64 years old and not much better than a beginner, so I wanted comfort and a forgiving nature above all.

When I upgraded my skis to a longer, intermediate-to-advanced model, things went from not-too-bad to much worse. I found I couldn't really "drive" my new boards adequately, and I sort of blame a season-ending crash on that lack of control (that, and a moment of stupid inattention).

So I want to start the new season in a stiffer boot. How much stiffer? That's my question.

Perusing other threads, I was surprised to learn that 90-flex is regarded as soft by many, and that guys my age often go much higher, even to near-racing levels.

I realize that flex numbers vary from brand to brand, and even from model to model, but I'd appreciate some guidance on what range I should be shopping in.

I've only been at this for two seasons and don't really have grand ambitions, just to get better and more confident and have fun. I ski mainly small hills in Ontario and Quebec, but plan some roadies to bigger, better mountains next year. I want more control, but I'm leery about getting something too high-performance for my low-intermediate skills and any age limitations (I'm pretty fit, but I'm not a kid).

Advice?

post #2 of 8

Slipshod,

 

Welcome to Epic Ski, I hope you find what you need here.

 

I'm 68, weigh less than you do and I ski a 130 flex boot.

 

But beyond all that, read this:

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

 

Read through this, then find a competent boot fitter to make this whole idea work.

 

If you buy into the correct fit, your control over the ski will improve beyond your

 

wildest dreams, but you will seldom find a correct fit that doesn't need some work

 

to become comfortable, which is why you will need the services of a good "boot

 

fitter" (not a boot seller).

 

Good luck.

 

Mike

post #3 of 8

A few more words.  Don't make the mistake of equating stiffer for being less comfortable.  There is no relationship at all, except that often stiffer boots are narrower so require more knowledge and skill to fit.  But often these boots for many skiers are more comfortable if appropriately fit.

 

Find someone knowledgable, which unfortunately isn't really easy, but if you can do it you should be able to be comfortable in any flex you choose.

 

Lou

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help, folks. I'm not so much concerned about comfort. Good fit should take care of that. But since I've never skied in anything but rentals and soft entry-level boots, I don't really know how a stiffer boot would affect my skiing. Better control, yes, but does a stiff boot demand a higher skill level and more strength than I can muster? Is there a limit for a late beginner who's closing in on 65? I was thinking 80 or 90 flex, but others suggest 120 or 130, which would not have crossed my mind before I started searching this site.

post #5 of 8

also stiff is the boots FLEX,  the fit is the boots SHAPE.

 

both are important, but work differently, in making you ski better, and having a comfortable boot....

post #6 of 8

Why not do it this way instead.  The numbers really are irrelevant so we shouldn't discuss them at all.  I've seen 80 flex boots so poorly designed and assembled they didn't flex at all.  If we compare apples to apples so fit is the same but flex varies, then the stiffer boot will offer more control and will support you better when you lose your balance.  But it is less forgiving of your stance and movement mistakes since it transmits more of your motion to the skis and this is the problem with a stiffer boot for a less experienced skier.

 

In most boot models there are several flex options.  First find the model based on fit and then choose the flex.  The boot should be stiff enough that you feel substantial resistance to movement but you should me able to move it although probably not quite to the end of you range of motion.  You should not be able to just easily lean body weight on the boot and essentially crush it, there should be some work involved.  If you have very tight achilles then the boot should lean toward the stiffer rather than softer side to offer some protection.

 

 I realize these are still inexact descriptions but I think if you try on several flexes you'll get the idea.

 

Lou

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Rosenfeld View Post

Why not do it this way instead.  The numbers really are irrelevant so we shouldn't discuss them at all.  I've seen 80 flex boots so poorly designed and assembled they didn't flex at all.  If we compare apples to apples so fit is the same but flex varies, then the stiffer boot will offer more control and will support you better when you lose your balance.  But it is less forgiving of your stance and movement mistakes since it transmits more of your motion to the skis and this is the problem with a stiffer boot for a less experienced skier.

 

In most boot models there are several flex options.  First find the model based on fit and then choose the flex.  The boot should be stiff enough that you feel substantial resistance to movement but you should me able to move it although probably not quite to the end of you range of motion.  You should not be able to just easily lean body weight on the boot and essentially crush it, there should be some work involved.  If you have very tight achilles then the boot should lean toward the stiffer rather than softer side to offer some protection.

 

 I realize these are still inexact descriptions but I think if you try on several flexes you'll get the idea.

 

Lou

Thanks, Lou. That is very helpful. The bolded sentence is especially important to me, because I very recently tore a calf muscle, and I'm told that will make me more vulnerable to a hyperextension injury in the future, even after careful rehab.

post #8 of 8

In that case you could also look for a more upright boot or consider a heel lift inside to plantarflex your foot a little and relieve tension in your achilles.  A more upright boot will also feel stiffer.  If you use the heel lift inside you could also consider a 3-5mm toe lift on the outside of the boot to help make you upright again.

 

Lou

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