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Boot Flex Index. How does one choose?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

As a working instructor I like to get as much performance out of my gear as I can. Does the full blown race boot plug with a flex index of one million work in my world? I think not. Or a soft forgiving boot made for the masses of beginners? I think not. So where within this range do I fit.

 

Skier type- Strong, aggressive

Type of skiing- All mountain

5.8" and 165lbs

 

What do you think???? Suggestions?

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek Head View Post

As a working instructor I like to get as much performance out of my gear as I can. Does the full blown race boot plug with a flex index of one million work in my world? I think not. Or a soft forgiving boot made for the masses of beginners? I think not. So where within this range do I fit.

 

Skier type- Strong, aggressive

Type of skiing- All mountain

5.8" and 165lbs

 

What do you think???? Suggestions?


120/130.

 

 

Having said that, its a compromise.  I ski in the Head Raptor 150 RD.  It has 3 bolts at the back so you can essentially make the boot a 140/150/160 depending on the number of bolts.  Personally I find that for groomed skiing especially high speed GS the 150 is perfect, but in offpiste conditions the 140 is better.  So its, like everything else, a compromise.  I dont think you will find that one perfect all mountain flex, just like there is no perfect all mountain single ski.

post #3 of 14

I have 150 flex boots and most of the time on groomers that is great. When I want a softer feeling, e.g. off piste, I just loosen the top buckles a bit but keep the Booster strap tight. This makes the boot a lot softer but the shaft is still there for support if I expend the RoM of the Booster. This requires a real Booster strap with the "Booster" TM. (and not the softest kind).

I think that the loosening of the buckles also makes the plastic bend a bit easier because of the increased movement between the plastic parts.

post #4 of 14

I used to ski Rossi Course E with a flex about 150-160 (just by comparision to current boots. I loved those boots and skied them from many years.  Now I'm on Lange WC 130's and love them.

 

While slightly softer the stiffness comes on very quickly and progressively which give just an added bit of feel to the ski (Both FIS SL and GS skis) and helps ensure the body is in the correct position.  Additionally the lateral stiffness and feel appears to be better.

 

Finally, I will add these boots fit me perfectly, so fit no matter the stiffness (in the higher range) is more important than anything else.

 

Ht 6', Wt 170lbs, Very Aggressive East Coast Conditions.

post #5 of 14

   Tek, I am your height and weight. My everyday boot is the Salomon X  lab wc medium 140 plug. This boot has a 95mm witdth. I also use the wc booster (tm). I find that for softer conditions, I can loosen the booster and buckles as Jamt has said, and when I am assisting with  teaching, or helping to set courses, I can open some, or all of the buckles. One or both of the rear screws can be removed as well, though I've never done this. You can always make a boot softer--but it's hard to make one stiffer (unless it's cold wink.gif)

 

    zenny

post #6 of 14

boot flex numbers are a good starting point for discussion. boot flex numbers are like a$$h*%les and some skiers have more than one!

 

the way a boot flexes for each one of us depends on many more factors than just what the supplier calls the boot. Your height, weight, relative strength that you are capable of driving through the boot, shape of your foot/lower leg, inherent flexibility of your ankle joint, your ability to sense balance and pressure, etc, etc, etc, are all factors that influence your ability to flex a boot.

 

you will receive feedback on this forum that is all over the map in terms of what each member does or feels about boot flex. that is because each individual skier has their own shape, style, strength, technique, that they push through the boot.

 

to find yours, start with a well balanced boot that is on the high side of the flex spectrum and start the process of fine tuning by skiing the boot in as many situations and conditions that you can, then begin to tweak the flex/fit in small increments until it works for you in your range of skis, conditions, and temperatures.

 

jim

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

This is all great information. In the passed I have skied a 110 flex. Was unsure if it was to soft for me. I traditionally ski in a forward stance because of over flexed ankles. I posted a MA me too!! a while back and the over flexion shows up clear as day on my right.(left turn). I contribute this to pilot error but will a stiffer boot help?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek Head View Post

This is all great information. In the passed I have skied a 110 flex. Was unsure if it was to soft for me. I traditionally ski in a forward stance because of over flexed ankles. I posted a MA me too!! a while back and the over flexion shows up clear as day on my right.(left turn). I contribute this to pilot error but will a stiffer boot help?

IMO Yes, but I'm sure others think differently :-)

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by starthaus View Post

...
the way a boot flexes for each one of us depends on many more factors than just what the supplier calls the boot. Your height, weight, relative strength that you are capable of driving through the boot, shape of your foot/lower leg, inherent flexibility of your ankle joint, your ability to sense balance and pressure, etc, etc, etc, are all factors that influence your ability to flex a boot.
...
jim
Definitely true.
I remember when the first Dobermann came out and was supposed to be so stiff. I was in Gmol one day that season getting work done on my boot disaster and tried the Dobie on to see if it was the solution. Oddest thing- it felt soft to me and very low, almost like a hiking boot. Go figure.

Years ago I used to do clinics with an instructor who was an engineer. He had been involved in a project to build a machine to test ski boot flex. Get a value that would be useful to people, fitters, coaches etc.
What they found was really interesting , but damn annoying. The machine would give them a force/flex value and then they'd give the boots to different skiers. What they then found much to their dismay was there was no correlation with the mechanically derived value! Some people would feel the very same boot was soft while some experienced it as stiff and the machine had another value. They basically abandoned the project afaik.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post


Definitely true.
I remember when the first Dobermann came out and was supposed to be so stiff. I was in Gmol one day that season getting work done on my boot disaster and tried the Dobie on to see if it was the solution. Oddest thing- it felt soft to me and very low, almost like a hiking boot. Go figure.

Years ago I used to do clinics with an instructor who was an engineer. He had been involved in a project to build a machine to test ski boot flex. Get a value that would be useful to people, fitters, coaches etc.
What they found was really interesting , but damn annoying. The machine would give them a force/flex value and then they'd give the boots to different skiers. What they then found much to their dismay was there was no correlation with the mechanically derived value! Some people would feel the very same boot was soft while some experienced it as stiff and the machine had another value. They basically abandoned the project afaik.

 

Tog, do you think they abandoned the project prematurely? EG if they rate the RS-130 at a 5, and Bob finds the boot too soft, does that mean he just needs a stiffer boot on their rating scale? And if Annie finds the same boot too stiff, does it just mean she needs a softer boot? Could Bob be better off with a boot they rate at a 7, and Annie with a boot rated at a 4?

post #11 of 14
I used to think they abandoned it prematurely, but not anymore. Plus prob abandoning it had something to do with no one wanting to buy it also given tbe results People will at least buy binding testers.

The apparent stiffness has to do with the shape of the boot and how that interacts with ones body. So a 130 in one boot even if it's the same stiffness plastic as another "130" different boot (doubtful) will feel different.

Does it really matter? No.

People become obsessed with these fairly meaningless numbers. As if I find the perfect flex number, I've found my boot. Not.
Sure within a brand, say Atomic, you could wonder do I need/want the stiffer boot than the "130"? Which would be a 150.

Even with different brands, the general flex rating is ok to go looking. You're not going to get a 90 flex boot if you're a big guy who's av advanced skier. You'll look at stiffer models.
It really doesn't matter if the flex rating is accurate to some standard scale. The only thing that gives you is bragging rights perhaps, but once you're skiing no one cares what your boots are but you.

Far, far, far more important than absolute flex is how the boots angles and shape which includes size, work for the person.
It would be vastly more helpful to us if manufacturers listed these dimensions and angles. Frwd lean , ramp angle, rail angle (toe out), pivot point, Plus the dimensions of the interior, cuff height etc.

Given modern technology this is relatively trivial even given the rather 19 th century boot making process. A hand sculpted mold can still be scanned by a device to give you interior dimensions of a boot.

There's simply no will to do it because boot companies don't give a damn. They're getting along just fine so far - one had to buy them and theyre all floating on the same sea. They'd rather plaster some asinine name of a meaningless feature that will disappear next year on the boot than give you the information that might actually help you. Boot fitters have to go to great lengths to learn this for many models A lot of places don't have fitters with that type of energy to find out so you're about out of luck.
In short, almost the entire boot industry is retarded in development. They're fancy cobblers with marketers. The boot fitters are the ones that have to make it work.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post



There's simply no will to do it because boot companies don't give a damn. They're getting along just fine so far - one had to buy them and theyre all floating on the same sea. They'd rather plaster some asinine name of a meaningless feature that will disappear next year on the boot than give you the information that might actually help you. Boot fitters have to go to great lengths to learn this for many models A lot of places don't have fitters with that type of energy to find out so you're about out of luck.
In short, almost the entire boot industry is retarded in development. They're fancy cobblers with marketers. The boot fitters are the ones that have to make it work.

Exactly my view, and most brands are made in the same Italian village, and they like to keep it that way.

post #13 of 14

It's no good if it's not stiff. 

IMHO, 100 is too soft and floppy to perform well.

My recommendation is 130-150.

post #14 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

Exactly my view, and most brands are made in the same Italian village, and they like to keep it that way.

Yep.

It's actually a bit of an insult to cobblers. At least if you go to a cobbler, they'll make a shoe for you that works.  They may fail, but that's their goal. With ski boots companies come up with some theory, plaster shiny nonsense all over them and then market them as the best thing ever.

 

The ski boot process is problematic from the top down. It could perhaps work under the current Italy workshop thing, but there would have to be big changes. Essentially, we're in the situation skis were in in the early 90's, late 80's, except there's nothing like snowboarding to change the conversation, and we don't have lots of little manufacturers as we do now in skis.

Designs that change willy nilly with just someone's idea but nothing to back it up.

Last year I talked to one well known boot tester.  When I asked him about a certain brand, he said "They were doing pretty well till they swallowed a whole bottle of stupid pills and changed everything."

 

The ski industry is one of the oddest going. I'd love to see an unbiased outside assessment of what companies do. It's pretty ridiculous. The number of models of things, silly changes that aren't, the way production is done by August and that's it, etc.

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