I think the smarttech boots are a great idea. I have skiied in the 12, which skiied incredably well for a "soft boot". I am not a big fan of the 8, because they just used cheap parts in place of the nice "lawn mower starter" I have heard of a few problems with the line in the past year, but nordica is great about standing behind there product if anything does go wrong. As for comfort, if you have a wider foot, you will be in heaven. I have a EE width foot and skiied all day with no pain, straight out of the box. That has never happened to me without major boot work(no matter what boot it is.) If you have a narrow foot, I would steer clear. otherwise, for $99.00 in my mind, you can't go wrong.