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Boots with ski/walk modes

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Looking for alpine boots with walk/ski modes. What's out there?

Thanks!
post #2 of 14

Pretty much every manufacturer offers one, it still comes down to what fits your foot. 

post #3 of 14

.... though not all walk-modes are created equal!

post #4 of 14

There are alpine boots with a limited walk mode, which I call a "stand up straight mode."  They simply release the cuff to allow it to go upright but to not change the forward flex.  There are also heavy duty AT boots suitable for everyday on-area use that have a release which gives you a wide range of motion without undoing your buckles, but they do not flex and ski like a true alpine boot.  Your first decision should be how much "walk mode" do you really need.  IMO the best skiing true walk mode boot is the Black Diamond Factor 130, and the best skiing boot in this category is the Lange XT, but the walk mode is pretty lame.  Check the Sept. Powder Magazine Equipment issue, it has a good run down on all the boots in this category.


Edited by mudfoot - 9/23/14 at 9:25am
post #5 of 14


A new candidate for a boot with a good walk and ski mode is the Scarpa Freedom.  The walk mode latch is a serious piece of steel that will maintain alpine boot forward stiffness when locked, but fully releases when open.  I tried some on in the shop and was impressed, but unlike many of the Scarpa true AT boots, they are not very light.

post #6 of 14

Daleboot (custom) was probably the first manufacturer with this feature, as well as many other patents.  I wouldn't call it a touring boot.  You also want to be sure this type of feature works with whatever binding you are using (e.g., the lever for a "walk" feature could be blocked by a Look Pivot heel). 

post #7 of 14

Also have a look at the Fischer Ranger series? They are Vacuum Fit and have great specs. Just got my 12's fitted and can't wait to try them for real. In the shop, they felt like a breeze, both in weight and in actual flexibility while walking around.

post #8 of 14
Some of these boots aren't so bad, others aren't so good IMHO. The Lange XT has a very limited range of motion in 'walk' mode, and is significantly less stiff than the RX and RS even though it's a '130'. The Fisher plastics feel as though there's no rebound. The Tecnica has the stiffest cuff connection, but the power strap 'top buckle' isn't so good. One has to really think through their actual need for one of these boots, especially with many introducing interchangeable tech soles. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan when boots like the Lange RX series, Tecnica Mach's, Raptor overkill, etc... Have decent soles for booting, and the beefier AT boots are exponentially better for skinning and still ski very well.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

The Lange XT has a very limited range of motion in 'walk' mode, and is significantly less stiff than the RX and RS even though it's a '130'. The Fisher plastics feel as though there's no rebound.
 
I have other much lighter backcountry AT boots with tech fittings and bought the Lange XTs strictly for on area skiing, with a walk mode for comfort walking and tram riding, and also for on-area hiking with my skis on my shoulder or pack, which there is a lot of where I ski.  I would not recommend the XTs as a backcountry boot.  Too heavy and not much ROM.
 
I did not want a boot as stiff as the 130 RS or RX, which are basically race boots, and the XTs (with the addition of Booster Straps) appear to have enough rebound and stiffness for my needs.  There is no question the XTs are a niche boot and not the absolute best choice for strictly alpine or strictly backcountry usage, but they are a good compromise for the mix of uses I will put them through.  I have skied BD Factors for the last couple seasons, did plenty of homework, and tried on lots of boots before deciding on my particular niche needs.
 
FWIW, I have quite a few older friends who are expert skiers that have gone to heavy duty cross-over AT boots for their on-area skiing, and none of them seem to be sorry for the decision.  The boots are a little softer flexing and the walk mode makes them easy to get on and off, besides being more comfortable and less slippery for walking due to the walk mode and additional grip features on the soles.  I do not hear any of them complaining when skiing the bumps or carving the hardpack.
post #10 of 14

I eagerly joined the ranks of AT boot users.

 

My first pair of Black Diamond Factors were state of the art.  They turned with the advertised power, and the cuff allowed a freer ankle flex to hike.  Then in my excitement at the summit I'd click in and launch the cornice only to land like a goober gaper traversing barely in control.  Sometimes I'd even finish the run wondering why I could not turn for my life.

 

Only then I realized YOU NEED TO LOCK THE CUFF.  Ironically one of my favorite powder days was just perfect.  The snow wasn't especially deep but a nice silky texture nonetheless, I was centered all day with no drama whatsoever.  On the last run down, I saw both cuffs were unlocked and did not bother to do anything for the last ride down, I just kept it relaxed and centered to ski the whole powder day unlocked, something I never thought possible while enjoying it.

 

After four seasons, I went to the bootfitter and he hooked me up with some Nordica Hell' n Backs.  "On the way to hell, you're bound to find a little heaven" emblazoned on the side, these have an ingenious unlocking mechanism.  The top bale, when fully disengaged unlocks the cuff with a cable.  So now I cannot forget to relock my boot, and fly off a cornice to the run with my usual aplomb.

 

Your mileage may vary, but please remember to relock that cuff after a hike.

post #11 of 14

One of the things I really liked about my Factors was the big range of motion, which has been improved even more in the latest MX model.  When boot packing I could simply unlock the boots and hike without messing with the top buckles or powder cuffs, and then at the top click into my bindings, flip the locks and go.  When walking around in deep snow it is nice to be able to go back and forth to walk mode without screwing up the water proof fully buckled and powder cuffed state.  For basic on-area skiing, IMO if you need to also unbuckle your walk mode boots to do what you want, then why bother getting a boot with a walk mode?

post #12 of 14
Mud, RS's and RX's can be had in softer flexes. Screws can be removed, etc... An RX 120 is a better boot than the XT for most Lange skiers.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Mud, RS's and RX's can be had in softer flexes. Screws can be removed, etc... An RX 120 is a better boot than the XT for most Lange skiers.

 

Marko:

 

I agree, but I was looking for a walk mode, which is only on the XT model.  There is no question the "130" XT forward flex is much softer than the riveted RS and RX 130 shells, but the lateral stiffness is supposed to be about the same.  I have some custom liners and Booster Straps that should stiffen up the forward flex a little, which will still make them softer than the 130 RS/RX, but not as soft and reboundless as the stock XTs.  At least that is what I am shooting for.  If I want a walk mode I know I will be making a sacrifice in the skiing performance, but hopefully they will end up being an acceptable compromise like my Factors turned out to be.

post #14 of 14
Its not. The Rx isn't as laterally stiff as the RS either. Laterally, tecnica wins... But the dynafit Vulcan is better yet.
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