...and my 120 flex plug race boots have been killing my feet and shins. Bruises, swellings, pains.
So I just ordered 100 flex boots, as a softer more relaxed all-around, second pair.
Am I crazy??
I skied in really stiff boots for over a decade until they began falling apart. I loved them.
Now I ski in a boot with a lot more flex and I love them even more than the last ones. I've noticed that I have more control rather than less when I'm in uneven conditions, which is a great deal of the time.
I am an older ski instructor (65) who teaches and skis at a steep, fast, and often icy eastern mountain; and who for many years skied Solomons in the 120 flex range. This last pair I went down to Solomon XMax 100, which is a 100 flex boot. For me there was a performance benefit to having a boot that I could flex more deeply and readily, and I have not discovered a performance deficit when I am skiing fast and hard on steep terrain. My friend Paul, who is very strong, one of the best skiers on our staff, and also a Level 3 PSIA, skies this flex also.
I feel that I am able to work my edges with more finesse in this boot. I believe there are too many skiers out there in too stiff boots.
By the way, your feet are 20 years older too. There is that.
What is missed here is that you are in plug boots with a thin but new liner meant for maximum performance. A 120 boot that is build for BC or a regular racer (IE not plug) has a slightly thicker (more padded liner) for more comfort and all day wear. Stiffness and performance being near equal, the slightly detuned version of the none plug boot could be what you are looking for, as you are not looking for the race course performance, just something like it with a little bit more comfort.
Also take a look at this thread
It's lucky and sucks at the same time, explains the liner issue. You should ask the boot guys if you can use a regular liner for a little more padding in the boots since you have "pencil feet" .
Another suggestion may be a junior race boot, you'd have to ask the boot guys regarding that one.
BTW I'm in Lange WC 130 (look exactly like my avatar) and they fit perfect.
Interesting thread and it is nice to hear there are others who like a softer boot. I tried some Salomon Impact 120 CS's this year but had to go back to my softer old Salomon Performa 7.0s. The softer boots just feel so much better and really allow me to set a harder edge and really flex the skis on high speed carves, more responsive, comfortable and fun. The impact 120's really fit poorly so it may not be all flex but I suspect softer flex and more comfort is better, at least for me. Also, found the skis really chattered on the CS 120's but not at all on my old Performa's.
I to took off 12+ years from skiing. Love the new rockered skis but so far not the newer boots....
Depending on ability, boot stiffness/softness can play a really big part on how well the skis perform (for the most part lets take terrain parks and back country out of the equation and deal more front side).
A few very good skiers (race experience and major ski shop owner) have told me that you want just enough flex to allow movement fore and aft for proper initiation of turns. As ability improves the feel of that initiation point along with the pressure applied increase greatly, hence the desire for stiff boots. With that generally also comes stiffer more responsive skis, which in turn require the high input levels.
Personally I'm on the stiffer boot side of the crowd, but I recognize that there are needs and proper applications of softer boots under certain applications (like possibly cross country skiing....just kidding ).
My last experience with a stiff boot was horrible. I like hearing what others like and works for them but what I find more helpful is when the shop expert asks me how I ski and what works for me instead of what works for them or how they think I should ski.
That being said, if I found a good boot fitter I may like a stiffer boot but my experience so far; stiff doesn't equate to performance so I'm more in the camp of the post from surfdog...