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Fischer Vacuum Fit Boots

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Has anyone tried these?  Do the shells actually change shape based on foot shape?  Anyone?  Bueller?

post #2 of 29
Do a search. Lots of unhappy campers.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Do a search. Lots of unhappy campers.


Ouch..that's unfortunate.  I was hoping they'd offer some help for cold, sore feet..  :(  Oh well.  Thanks for the tip, I guess!! :D

post #4 of 29
Search for "cold squashed toes".
post #5 of 29

well, it's self-selecting.   usually its the unhappy campers are at home on their computers posting.  

 

The happy campers exist too, but are too busy skiing.

 

talk with a bootfitter that does them.  they maybe a good match to you, but they may not be.  When you're about to throw down approximately $1000 for the whole deal, spend the extra time talking it over, and trying a shell fit, and talking about the snow you intend to ski before pulling the trigger.


Edited by raytseng - 3/3/14 at 4:11pm
post #6 of 29

I looked at the fitting machine and the technology and was very impressed. Then I reflected back to the introduction of a "revolutionary" boot material called "thermoplastic" that was supposed to allow the masses to flex and walk in their boots because the plastic would flex easier when warm, like in the parking lot or lodge.  Well, we all know how that one ended with massive boot collections to the local dumpster due to non indemnification for binding incompatibility.  The plastic got so soft it developed hang nails and tears along the toe and heel from the walking it was intended to do!  Makes me feel more than uncomfortable when thermodynamics are applied to boot plastics!  No matter if the the vacuum boots fit or not, there's others made from proven materials that a decent boot fitter can make comfortable and performable!  Fool me once, shame on you!  Fool me twice, shame on me!!

Bob

post #7 of 29

43 page thread  on that that boot among others.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/100755/2012-fischer-vacuum-ski-boot-a-game-changer

post #8 of 29
post #9 of 29

IMO, nothing at all wrong with the boot or the tech, but it ultimately boils down to finding the right boot fitter.  The vacuum process isn't simple.

 

I came close to buying a pair, but I loved my old "regular" Fischers so much that I just stuck with their replacements.  I was just a bit spooked by the complexity of the new process.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Do a search. Lots of unhappy campers.

 

There are lots of happy campers as well.  I've never had a boot that performed as well as my Vacuums.  The liner is cold but I solved that with Hotronics.

 

Despite the marketing, the Vacuums are not the right solution for everyone.  The same can be said for any manufacturer.  It comes down to having a good fitter who is also good with using the Vacuum machine.

post #11 of 29
As we say in my family, "there's always something". That means, basically, Murphys Law. New boots are a nightmare for most performance-aware skiers. The vacuum thing worked well for me. The soma stance not so much, I suspect. Your mileage WILL vary.
post #12 of 29

I'm a pretty happy camper with my Vacuums.  They have performed well for me, but I had to have them remolded 2 times.  One remolding was to provide more room for my toes and the second time was when I replaced the crappy first year liners with a pair of Zipfits.  The combination of Vacuums plus the Zipfits are working real well.

 

As others have said, the Vacuums aren't the solution for everyone and the most important thing is to go to a good bootfitter.  If they Vacuums are the right boot for you, they'll get you setup with them.  Otherwise they will put you in something else more suited for your feet.

 

I actually shared a chairlift Sunday with one the best bootfitters in our area, and he mentioned that he is carrying the Salomon moldable boots next year, that are like the Fischer's.  He felt the best part of the technology wasn't the custom fit of the boot around the foot, as he could achieve that himself, but that he could mold the boot to the right stance for the skier, which is something he couldn't easily do with a conventional boot.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MephitBlue View Post
 

I'm a pretty happy camper with my Vacuums.  They have performed well for me, but I had to have them remolded 2 times.  One remolding was to provide more room for my toes and the second time was when I replaced the crappy first year liners with a pair of Zipfits.  The combination of Vacuums plus the Zipfits are working real well.

 

As others have said, the Vacuums aren't the solution for everyone and the most important thing is to go to a good bootfitter.  If they Vacuums are the right boot for you, they'll get you setup with them.  Otherwise they will put you in something else more suited for your feet.

 

I actually shared a chairlift Sunday with one the best bootfitters in our area, and he mentioned that he is carrying the Salomon moldable boots next year, that are like the Fischer's.  He felt the best part of the technology wasn't the custom fit of the boot around the foot, as he could achieve that himself, but that he could mold the boot to the right stance for the skier, which is something he couldn't easily do with a conventional boot.

 

I had a similar comment from my fitter.  He said that he can get any boot to 90-95% of the Vacuum fit using traditional fitting methods but the molding process gave him more control over the stance.

post #14 of 29

A lot of the earlier vacuum problems stemmed from first generation of the liner which was replaced this year, so keep that in mind when reading reviews.

 

I think the Vacuum can be great for very hard to fit feet, especially wide feet like mine. But there's also a lot that can go wrong in the process. My take on it now is that if your foot gets close to a good off-the-rack fit in a traditional boot, that's probably the better way to go. If, however, you're one of those people who needs a ton of work to get a boot to fit, the Vacuum can be a great option in the right hands.

post #15 of 29

Going to chime in here, and am expecting to be flamed by naysayers.  

 

We starting carrying Vacuum boots this season.  With nothing but excellent success.  Only had a couple of re-molds, but more for minor fit tweaks and stance changes than anything major.  We were a bit cautious early on, but now are pretty confident fitting most folks with this technology.  The Vacuum fit process is just another tool for good boot fitting and it allows us to do things quicker and more easily than before.  The stance set up is the biggest game changer from the fitter's perspective and for most of the skiers as well.    We have been very careful and clear with customers, we guarantee 100% satisfaction.  We have told everyone to be fussy and that if they weren't totally tickled with the boot and its fit and performance we would replace with something of their choice.  So far, no takers, just satisfied skiers.  Which makes me very, very, happy.  

 

The only downsides that we see, are the premium cost that puts it beyond many skiers budget, and that we now have a lot of standard plastic boots in inventory that are gathering dust, while the Vacuums are heading out the door.  We just aren't experiencing any problems with Vacuum boots, they are great.

 

I would encourage anyone interested to give this technology a fair shake. You might be pleasantly surprised.

 

I think that most of the issues that people encountered were at the beginning, while many shops were on a learning curve. Probably not as many issues now.    

post #16 of 29

Awesome response coolhand. Yeah I've been amazed at how solid and even the fit is for me. It took my last bootfitter almost 6 hours of stretching and grinding and punching before I got a good fit. This was much easier. 

post #17 of 29

OK, coolhand, I am happy for your success with the Fischers and especially the fact that your customers are so happy.  I went through 2 pairs of Fischers last year that never fit right (won't bore you with the details, have already bored others elsewhere on EpicSki). 

 

What kind of protocol did you observe in your fitting process that allowed you such consistent success?  What kinds of pressures were you molding at?  What was the range of pressures you would use, and what would be the determining factor on the pressures you chose for a particular foot?  How did things like alignment and canting dovetail with your process? 

 

No flame here, but I am curious.

post #18 of 29

I am not proclaiming myself an "expert" as I am sure that other boot fitters are doing more and with more advanced techniques.  But, in general, this is our procedure.  Sometimes, more is required, but that is a case by case situation.  

 

1,   Appropriate shell fit.  Two fingers (approximately 1") for vast majority of recreational skiers (less than 20 day a year folks).  A little less for race/performance fit.  I have downsized a few people in these shells, but vast majority are in roughly the same shell size.

 

2.   Do an initial try-on.  Identify any problematic fit issues.  Also, identify appropriate model, not easy to put a really wide foot into a narrowish, race lasted, boot (it can be done, but will a lot more effort) and vise versa.  But, Fischer offers 3-4 different shell widths, find the shell that generally matches the foot width.

 

3.   Heat the shell in the Vacuum oven at least 30 minutes (a little longer than suggested for most models).  Heat the liner on hot air pipes for at least 15 minutes.

 

4.    Build custom insoles.

 

5.   Set up stance, forward lean, and knee track.  We use the bottom half of a lower shell that we cut off of an old boot.  For stance/canting, it can go lots of different ways, but given our clientele (mostly older, recreational skiers), we have been finding the "natural" alignment (where ever the skiers anatomy wants to go naturally)works best.   We haven't had anyone with enough lateral joint mobility to "correct" their alignment to the most efficient point.  If we had more racers and true experts that required/requested correction we probably could do it to an extent.

 

6.  Padding with cork sheeting.  Pad the spots (on the actual foot) with issues seen in the initial try on.  Sixth toe, bone spurs, bunions, insteps, navicular, etc., etc.  If need more width or volume pad sides or entire top of forefoot.  If tight in toes, put on toe caps

 

7.  If need tighter heel, we actually pad (firm cork sheeting) outside of shell in the heel area with L-Pads.  This will tighten heel in shell during molding.  Also can do this in other areas of shell, if it requires snugging up.  Next year there will be an upgrade to the Vacuum machine to mold the heel area at a higher pressure than forefoot.  So this step may be less important in future.   

 

8.  Run through the actually Vacuum molding.  Most customers we start at 180mb and go up to 260mb.   Offer customer a beer or glass of wine during molding.  :D 

 

9.  Take boots off of customer, remove any and all padding off of foot and or shell.  Let customers foot relax.  Have them try them on (no flexing for 12hrs) and watch them smile.  Be prepared to be hugged by some.

 

This simple process has been really successful for us.  There is obviously a little more to it, but you get the jist.  Hope that this helps.

post #19 of 29
I think the pertinent info is that you are fitting recreational skiers in pretty comfortably sized shells. A lot if complaints here was from people fit in tight high performance shells. Looks like the liners are compressed too much in those cases and never have a chance to recover. Did you ever try molding in a two-step process where you first mold the shell on a cold liner and then heat mold the liner in a cooled shell?
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

I think the pertinent info is that you are fitting recreational skiers in pretty comfortably sized shells. A lot if complaints here was from people fit in tight high performance shells. Looks like the liners are compressed too much in those cases and never have a chance to recover. Did you ever try molding in a two-step process where you first mold the shell on a cold liner and then heat mold the liner in a cooled shell?

Exactly right, everyone we have worked with has been looking for a "recreational" fit in the Vacuums.  Don't have many racer types or exacting experts in our area, so not a lot of demand here for a true race/performance fit.  Most of our customers just want a boot that doesn't hurt and gives them reasonable performance, the Vacuums deliver in spades, for that skier. 

 

I haven't tried this two-step process, sound like a good idea in a very aggressive fit situation.  Hasn't come up yet, but probably will.

post #21 of 29

Really wanted to love my Vacuums.  Had the RC4 110's.  Molded twice by two different boot fitters, the last a guy I'd swear by and I know is excellent.  They just don't fit me well.  They skied fantastic, but my feet were absolutely demolished.  

 

The second fit was done with extensive padding around the toes outside the toe box, along the instep, and above the foot.  He then played with the liner to increase heel and ankle hold.  Did some work on the shell to give me more space....  Still, not a fit I could bear for more than 20 minutes at a time on the slopes.  

 

I gave up.  Yes, it's a lot of $, but ten miserable days on the hill costs the same amount and I learned the economic lesson of sunk cost years ago in college.  I'm now in a Lange RX 120.  Haven't skied it yet, but hugs me wear I need to be hugged, keeps my bony ankles in place with my medium sized toes up front getting JUST enough room, etc.  Excited to take them on a tour next week.  

 

Not bad-mouthing the Vacuums.  I might be somewhat guilty in that I WANTED to get them in November even though the Salomon and Langes felt a little bit better during the trying on process.  Just wasn't for my foot.  

 

If you look in the other threads, people with my sort of feet tend to be the ones this doesn't work for.  Performance oriented recreational skiers with medium feet and very thin/bony heels and ankles.  

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm approaching this from the narrow heel, average instep, wide forefoot angle.  I have Lange Fluid 100's which I think are a 100mm last.  I got them punched out on the outside near the ball of the foot and that helped with the comfort and they don't seem THAT bad mostly.  However, my ankles are loose and I've fashioned a heel-lift to prevent my heels from lifting out.  They seem to end up blocking bloodflow and causing cramping once I tighten them up enough to stop my foot from moving around.  I worry if new boots are wide at the front they'll be wide at the heel??

post #23 of 29

Thanks for sharing your process - it's very interesting and you seem to pay attention to detail.  How would you vary your process for someone seeking a performance fit - snug everywhere, no slop anywhere?

 

The separate pressure zones for heel and forefoot seem like a good idea, as heel hold is such an important component for a boot that is responsive and direct. 

post #24 of 29

Have hear grumps from a couple of boot-fitters that they would like the machine to get the shell hotter than it does, but that the thermostat limits the heat. Any comments or reactions to that?

post #25 of 29
I have a super low instep-shin juncture area, such that almost every boot - not just ski boots, but ALL boots - I've ever owned had required me to reef down futilely on the lower cuff buckle area in an attempt to stabilize / get shell contact, even with good footbeds. One thing good about the vacuums is that they really addressed that issue.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
 

Have hear grumps from a couple of boot-fitters that they would like the machine to get the shell hotter than it does, but that the thermostat limits the heat. Any comments or reactions to that?

i am not a fitter, but I don't see why that is an issue, other than the team isn't fast enough with the process to get the client into the boot, wrapped and into the machine, before the boots are cooling off,   Is the grumbling from a fitter who is trying to do it solo and taking too long?  

If this is an issue, they should work as a team and practice their choreography to speed up, like a pitcrew changing tires.  And even have the client practice the procedure in a cold run and knowing the stance they will take in the machine. 

 

Also, if it's an issue with heat not working it's way through the liners, with the new thermoliners, my fitter worked that into the procedure too, they had those cooking on the intuition heater for 5minutes, and had it timed so liners were ready and onto feet 1min before the boots were ready.  I could see that this would be a good practice even with the non-thermo liners, to reduce heat loss through warming the cold liner.

 

Too hot boots means the plastic is even more soft and the buckles will stretch the buckle straps even more , which they warned me is a real concern and why I shouldn't try tightening the buckles for 12-24hours. Even though the buckles were just on the loosest ladder during the process, and I didn't retry my boots for 24hours,  I can see the original hole for the buckle ladder was on is an oval and not a circle.

post #27 of 29

Alexzn:

 

Could you elaborate more on the two step process, with the shell heat molded first and the liner second?  What is the advantage of doing it this way?

post #28 of 29

Add me to the list of happy vac owners... the reason being that after only one mold my stance was within a degree of properly canted.  This was coming off of being 2-3 degrees off on each leg.  Also, with the help of my seasoned fitter we were able to tighten the heel and ease pressure on my bridge and instep.  I will say it took two more trips for minor fixes to expand the liner in the toe box... initially I couldnt spend 2 hours in the boots, after two trips worth of minor tweaks (no remold), I was able to notice a difference.  For me the selling point was the stance alignment the mold allowed, combined with the SOMA... I'm pretty abducted.  Overall, it can't be stated enough... in the right hands its a great tool.

post #29 of 29

What did he do to tighten the heel - was that done by revacuuming only the heel?  What did he do to ease the pressure on your bridge and instep?

 

I agree that the stance alignment was a big plus, even though my two pairs were ultimately a bust for other fitting issues. 

 

There is no question that, properly done, the boots ski incredibly well, very sensitive and direct.  But fitting issues have been the killer for too many people. 

 

SOMA - I never loved it, never hated it. 

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