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How far will custom shells extend/Is there a hidden stigma?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Now we have Head, Atomic, Salomon, Atomic and Fischer in the heat l moldable custom shell game. Will we ever see Lange or Technica do custom shells? Are custom, heat moldable shells the future, are they a panacea? More importantly, is there some kind of anti heat moldable resistance among the hard core among us? I know the common refrain-that a good boot fitter can accomplish the same thing. I'll tell you what--I know most of the best of the boot fitters--and sure they know what they're doing and they are  are great guys--but it takes a lot of work and repeated visits for  many to get the right amount of grind for some of us; forget about my time--I'm not sure most of them have time for it. So when will we see a heal moldable RS? is that blasphemy?

post #2 of 29

All shells are heat moldable to some degree. Lange doesn't need to go the gimmick route because their boots fit better out of the box than most boots. From what I've been told (and I have no facts to substantiate this) the custom shell is an example of the European market driving the direction of the North American market. Apparently the culture of boot fitters over there is lazy and they're looking for easy outs. I wouldn't know….never skied in Europe. What I do know is that a good boot fitter will put you in a shell that fits you properly and make "minor" adjustments to augment fit. Putting someone who's foot is happy in a 102mm shell in a 98mm shell and promising them sorcery and magic is a bit of a hard sell. 

I own a pair of XMax 120s. It never leaves my closet. It's "120" flex is a joke and when I fold the boot my heel augers into the heel pocket. The plastic in the Atomic boots feels much more robust, but I'm done experimenting with "Custom Shells". I'll stick with boot brands that actually do their homework and are unwilling to sacrifice performance. 

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post

All shells are heat moldable to some degree. Lange doesn't need to go the gimmick route because their boots fit better out of the box than most boots. From what I've been told (and I have no facts to substantiate this) the custom shell is an example of the European market driving the direction of the North American market. Apparently the culture of boot fitters over there is lazy and they're looking for easy outs. I wouldn't know….never skied in Europe. What I do know is that a good boot fitter will put you in a shell that fits you properly and make "minor" adjustments to augment fit. Putting someone who's foot is happy in a 102mm shell in a 98mm shell and promising them sorcery and magic is a bit of a hard sell. 
I own a pair of XMax 120s. It never leaves my closet. It's "120" flex is a joke and when I fold the boot my heel augers into the heel pocket. The plastic in the Atomic boots feels much more robust, but I'm done experimenting with "Custom Shells". I'll stick with boot brands that actually do their homework and are unwilling to sacrifice performance. 
The fishers vacume bag molding is going to give you a better fit than punching and grinding will as long as the boot shell is a good fit in the first place.
Blaming heat molding for an arbitrary flex scale number not agreeing with your expectations doesn't make q loot of sense. I would blame that on Salomon boots sucking. I had a pair of falcons that flexed like crap too, not hating.
Edited by clink83 - 2/6/15 at 7:18am
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

 Lange doesn't need to go the gimmick route because their boots fit better out of the box than most boots.

This is something I've never heard.  They sure don't fit ME.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

All shells are heat moldable to some degree. Lange doesn't need to go the gimmick route because their boots fit better out of the box than most boots. From what I've been told (and I have no facts to substantiate this) the custom shell is an example of the European market driving the direction of the North American market. Apparently the culture of boot fitters over there is lazy and they're looking for easy outs. I wouldn't know….never skied in Europe. What I do know is that a good boot fitter will put you in a shell that fits you properly and make "minor" adjustments to augment fit. Putting someone who's foot is happy in a 102mm shell in a 98mm shell and promising them sorcery and magic is a bit of a hard sell. 

I own a pair of XMax 120s. It never leaves my closet. It's "120" flex is a joke and when I fold the boot my heel augers into the heel pocket. The plastic in the Atomic boots feels much more robust, but I'm done experimenting with "Custom Shells". I'll stick with boot brands that actually do their homework and are unwilling to sacrifice performance. 

So--just for the sake of clarity--and no argument or provocation intended--you are confirming an anti custom shell bias. Also--as I think about this --I am assuming proper shell fit whether custom shell or not.   

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post

From what I've been told (and I have no facts to substantiate this) the custom shell is an example of the European market driving the direction of the North American market. Apparently the culture of boot fitters over there is lazy and they're looking for easy outs.
I certainly wouldn't throw that around as anything that is suppposed to resemble a fact. Check out the Facebook page for America's Best Bootfitters. There are a number of European fitters on there and they do some pretty amazing work, certainly not "minor" adjustments. Some people don't need anything done, others need minor adjustments but there are also many people who require major work to make any boot tolerable, no matter how good the shell fit is. For quite a few people that would ordinarily require some minor work like a small punch or two, the heat moldable shells from Salomon and Atomic are perfect. I can put someone like that in either shell and 9 times out of 10 they don't need to come back and have it punched. If they have a prominent 6th toe, I'll even add extra padding to their foot to give then a bit of extra room. I will agree that a 120 flex Atomic shell is stiffer than a 120 Salomon shell, but there is no objective standard for flex so what difference does it make. Heat moldable shells a gimmick? No more so than heat moldable liners.
post #7 of 29

My left and right are significantly different due to an old leg injury . Ideally, I would pick a different shell for each foot, but they aren't sold that way. My current Salomons were adjusted with a heat gun during fitting, but .... yeah, I certainly see a place for heat-moldable shells the next time I'm anywhere near a fitter.

post #8 of 29

I think custom shells and heat-moldable liners (e.g. Intuition) are the future at the top end of the market. We are still at early stages of this technology. As the materials continue to improve and customers seek additional comfort without sacrificing performance, heat-moldable just makes more sense.

 

As someone with very difficult to fit feet, the Fischer Vacuum has really elevated my skiing and comfort. 

 

My previous boot was a Lange that I got good fit and performance, but that was after spending literally an entire day with an excellent bootfitter punching and grinding. And it's still not as good a fit as the Fischers that were done in around an hour.

post #9 of 29

Holy cow, another way I'm not core...it never ends.  Carry technique, terrain discrimination, now my heat-molded shells.:D 

post #10 of 29
Core apparently has a fairly huge constituency in the industry... Those who ski more than nine days a year... Something tells me that wouldn't be considered "core" here..

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz View Post
 

So--just for the sake of clarity--and no argument or provocation intended--you are confirming an anti custom shell bias. Also--as I think about this --I am assuming proper shell fit whether custom shell or not.   

I suspect you'll see custom shells in the future for sure, but I don't think it will take over the industry. Like I said before, almost all shells are "heat moldable" and you don't need a fancy additive or a vacuum apparatus to pull it off. 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clink83 View Post


The fishers vacume bag molding is going to give you a better fit than punching and grinding will as long as the boot shell is a good fit in the first place.
Blaming heat molding for an arbitrary flex scale number not agreeing with your expectations doesn't make q loot of sense. I would blame that on Salomon boots sucking. I had a pair of falcons that flexed like crap too, not hating.

Sure it makes sense.The fact that Salomon's XMax "120" boot is a rubber band is a good indication of what their "130" flex boot is like---a slightly stiffer rubber band. We all know that the flex index is highly arbitrary, but I expect a certain range of flex out of a 120 flex boot and the XMax 120 doesn't even come close. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

This is something I've never heard.  They sure don't fit ME.

Semantics, gentlemen. Words have meaning. Nowhere did I say that Langes fit everyone. I was simply inferring that I get a more positive reaction from an "out-of-the-box" fit than other brands….especially with woman. 

I certainly wouldn't throw that around as anything that is suppposed to resemble a fact. Check out the Facebook page for America's Best Bootfitters. There are a number of European fitters on there and they do some pretty amazing work, certainly not "minor" adjustments. Some people don't need anything done, others need minor adjustments but there are also many people who require major work to make any boot tolerable, no matter how good the shell fit is. For quite a few people that would ordinarily require some minor work like a small punch or two, the heat moldable shells from Salomon and Atomic are perfect. I can put someone like that in either shell and 9 times out of 10 they don't need to come back and have it punched. If they have a prominent 6th toe, I'll even add extra padding to their foot to give then a bit of extra room. I will agree that a 120 flex Atomic shell is stiffer than a 120 Salomon shell, but there is no objective standard for flex so what difference does it make. Heat moldable shells a gimmick? No more so than heat moldable liners.

I didn't, but I'm not too interested in a few diamonds in the rough. A handful of Master Boot fitters certainly isn't going to drive market trends. I've had mixed success with Amersports custom shells. I'm certainly no boot guru, but to use these boots as a fitting crutch seems ludicrous to me. What difference does flex index make? Well, price point for starters. Let's compare the Hawx 2.0 120 vs. XMax 120: Both are $599. One has a more genuine 120 flex when you compare it to the flex of other 120 boots. The other is offensively soft. I would have to spend $100 on a Salomon boot to get closer to the flex that would be appropriate for me (6', 175, long legged aggressive skier). So I contest that flex a little more than arbitrary. 

I have yet to be personally impressed with heat moldable liners: Intuition Dalbello, K2, Full Tilt……not a fan.

post #12 of 29
Double post....sorry about that.
Edited by quant2325 - 2/7/15 at 7:24am
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgarnett View Post

My left and right are significantly different due to an old leg injury . Ideally, I would pick a different shell for each foot, but they aren't sold that way. My current Salomons were adjusted with a heat gun during fitting, but .... yeah, I certainly see a place for heat-moldable shells the next time I'm anywhere near a fitter.


Then you need true custom shells and not one shell of one size that can be molded. Look at Daleboot. Daleboot is totally custom which means you can have two differently sized shells, differently sized cuffs, snap on cants, etc. I wrote a review on the VFF Pro model a few years ago. If your feet are screwed up, just go true custom and stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. A square peg into a round hole may work for Lucchese, but we are skiers and not cowboys.
Edited by quant2325 - 2/7/15 at 7:48am
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

This is something I've never heard.  They sure don't fit ME.

Semantics, gentlemen. Words have meaning. Nowhere did I say that Langes fit everyone. I was simply inferring that I get a more positive reaction from an "out-of-the-box" fit than other brands….especially with woman. 

Well, now, I'm no boot expert, but in conversation with skiers that I know I have noticed that many of them have problems with the fit of Lange. You said that they fit out of the box better than most boots.  I stated that they don't fit me and that your statement was something I'd never heard before.  Both parts of the statement are true.  What semantics are you referring to?

 

My statement was not intended as an attack or refutation, just an observation from personal experience.  I'm not trying to prove anything.

post #15 of 29
They don't fit me, either, but last time I bought boots, they (Langes) fit better than they had in the past.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

Well, now, I'm no boot expert, but in conversation with skiers that I know I have noticed that many of them have problems with the fit of Lange. You said that they fit out of the box better than most boots.  I stated that they don't fit me and that your statement was something I'd never heard before.  Both parts of the statement are true.  What semantics are you referring to?

 

My statement was not intended as an attack or refutation, just an observation from personal experience.  I'm not trying to prove anything.

I think I came off as a bit of a chump in my response. For that I apologize…profusely. Coffee hadn't cleared my head yet. Langes of old were surely polarizing. Their new boots are beautiful……in my opinion. 

post #17 of 29
How is a heat moldable shell different from a regular shell---in terms of material or thickness? What's the range of molding expressed in mm...how much can the shell move? What's the impact of that on metal components attached to the shell and fit/tightness around closure? How's the durability of the hear moldable shell?

I really wanted Lange RS's to fit my feet but they were the worst fit of all boots I tried. Atomic second. It's impossible to generalize and rank the degree of ski boot fit across different makes without being personal...Tecnica and Heads are the best fitting boots for me. YMMV...big time
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

How is a heat moldable shell different from a regular shell---in terms of material or thickness? What's the range of molding expressed in mm...how much can the shell move? What's the impact of that on metal components attached to the shell and fit/tightness around closure? How's the durability of the hear moldable shell?

I really wanted Lange RS's to fit my feet but they were the worst fit of all boots I tried. Atomic second. It's impossible to generalize and rank the degree of ski boot fit across different makes without being personal...Tecnica and Heads are the best fitting boots for me. YMMV...big time

I believe most boots shells are Polyurethane or Polyether, and can only be molded something like 5mm or 6mm.  Of course, the shells are of a different thickness in various parts of the boot so different parts of the boot can be molded more or less than an average. Along with the usual grinding, punching and whatever a good bootfitter can do a lot.  If your foot is still in pain, just go to something like Daleboot.  Years ago Lange was the only boot that fit me (for over 30 years!)and no one could ever argue with the performance. Then the lasts changed and, unfortunately, so did my feet.  So, I looked elsewhere.. Heck, World Cup races are won by a variety of boot and manufacturers, and everyone has boots that perform well for most every skier ability. What matters the most for most of us is fit, and that is individualized.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
A reviewer here appears to have posted a crushingly poor review of daleboot' I wonder if any one else with first hand experience can comment.
.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 

I believe most boots shells are Polyurethane or Polyether, and can only be molded something like 5mm or 6mm.  Of course, the shells are of a different thickness in various parts of the boot so different parts of the boot can be molded more or less than an average. Along with the usual grinding, punching and whatever a good bootfitter can do a lot.  If your foot is still in pain, just go to something like Daleboot.  Years ago Lange was the only boot that fit me (for over 30 years!)and no one could ever argue with the performance. Then the lasts changed and, unfortunately, so did my feet.  So, I looked elsewhere.. Heck, World Cup races are won by a variety of boot and manufacturers, and everyone has boots that perform well for most every skier ability. What matters the most for most of us is fit, and that is individualized.

Thanks. I heard of Daleboot as well as Strolz. I'm quite happy with my Head B3's/B5's. They were 95% fit out of the box, 98-99% fit with help of my bootfitter(s). I like my boots to be super snug without any isolated pressure points. Some people seem to have too low of pressure tolerance and high of sensitivity on their feet to have extra snug boots with firm liners. For me, that's the way to go.

 

If there is any 'boutique" boots out there that intrigue me, it's actually the Dodge Boot. The idea of carbon fiber for boots seems interesting. Plus, the head of the ski education system (that most bears hate but I happen to like...name can't be spell out here) endorses it, so that gives it instant credibility...:eek:) 

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

All shells are heat moldable to some degree. Lange doesn't need to go the gimmick route because their boots fit better out of the box than most boots. From what I've been told (and I have no facts to substantiate this) the custom shell is an example of the European market driving the direction of the North American market. Apparently the culture of boot fitters over there is lazy and they're looking for easy outs. I wouldn't know….never skied in Europe. What I do know is that a good boot fitter will put you in a shell that fits you properly and make "minor" adjustments to augment fit. Putting someone who's foot is happy in a 102mm shell in a 98mm shell and promising them sorcery and magic is a bit of a hard sell. 

I own a pair of XMax 120s. It never leaves my closet. It's "120" flex is a joke and when I fold the boot my heel augers into the heel pocket. The plastic in the Atomic boots feels much more robust, but I'm done experimenting with "Custom Shells". I'll stick with boot brands that actually do their homework and are unwilling to sacrifice performance. 

I agree with most of what you are saying, especially about good fitter. I have an unusual feet, relatively narrow with a very narrow heel. And I was lucky to find one of the good ones, seeing what he had to work with he suggested Lange Banshee but a women's version, with a minor adjustment of replacing the original sole inserts that boot fits me so well that on easy runs I can leave half of the buckles open. But now to the custom shell issue. For a manufacturer it offers a great incentive b/c it expands the potential market. Everybody that gets a perfect fit out of the box plus all customers that like the boot but have a hard time to match the fit, with heat molding they can relatively easy fix the issue and keep the customer. As far as Lange is concerned I know that they build high performance shells and it is possible that some of this is achieved with the choices of materials that they use. It might be possible that going the heat moldable route would compromise the performance parameters and then it wouldn't be Lange anymore.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz View Post

A reviewer here appears to have posted a crushingly poor review of daleboot' I wonder if any one else with first hand experience can comment.
.

Note well: That recent negative review was from someone with ZERO posts…likely a competitor or more likely a disgruntled ex-employee. It appears as if he is making a personal attack by using a name.

 

America’s Best Bootfitter’s reviewed the boots, and some sell it either as part of their core business or as a special order item (when nothing else works):http://www.bootfitters.com/reviews?year=2013-14&gender=All&field_boot_model_category_value_many_to_one=All&tid=All&brand=20&construction=All&field_hike_mode_value_many_to_one=All and  http://www.bootfitters.com/reviews?year=2014-15&gender=All&field_boot_model_category_value_many_to_one=All&tid=All&brand=20&construction=All&field_hike_mode_value_many_to_one=All

 

My review is here, right above the guy with no postings who placed that negative review: http://www.epicski.com/products/daleboot-vff-pro  I have an older model with a different color scheme, but it is the same boot.  My review is similar to that of the professional bootfitters, and was done earlier than theirs. The boots have held up well (I keep them in UT and use them for only 7-10 days per year), as have the Intuition liners.  I measured my feet and ordered them through the mail...not the optimal way to get a great fit.  The only modifications needed was a small fitting pad by one ankle (very narrow ankles), and I changed the soles after selling my skinny skis that had cants between the binding and the ski.  Daleboot cants the sole of the boot...they snap on and off by plying them on/off with a screwdriver. It is the easiest boot to get on and off.  I'd be better off keeping those boots in CA where I drive to the ski areas, instead of UT where I just walk out the door...  From the bootfitter's review: The DaleBoot's entry and exit scores remain the best, across the board, period.  When you are 60 or older like me, that amounts to something taking on or off a plug or semi-plug boot in the parking lots.


Edited by quant2325 - 2/8/15 at 8:37am
post #23 of 29

I just bought some Fischer Ranger 12's yesterday and my impression so far is that I would never go back to an off the shelf boot.  If there is a stigma, I don't much care as these things fit like a glove without all the "fitting" drama.

post #24 of 29

I was rapping about this thread with a couple co-workers yesterday…..the ski population of the PNW has given up on the season so we had plenty of time to talk. Everyone eventually agreed that if custom shells could be achieved by merely adding an additive to the plastic than custom shells should be the way of the future. None of us had any real experience with the Fischer thing. With that said none of us could wrap our head around that 3 degree abducted stance--V Position? But hey, Soporific, it's mighty hard not to get behind happy feet!!!! Roll with what feels good. If you've got a temperamental hoof, fitting drama is exhausting for everyone. I count myself lucky that I don't require much more than a good trim-to-fit footbed weather I'm in a K2 Spyne, Dalbello Ill Moro, or a Lange LV RX. 

post #25 of 29
The past couple of weeks the U.S. Ski Team has been training for the World Championships on runs adjacent to where our Masters group has been, using the same lift. A number of the skiers were in yellow boots with Fischer vacuum logos. I chatted with one of the coaches about it, curious whether they were concerned heat moulding changed specs. He smiled and said I was assuming they were moulded and not altogether different, race boots with the color and logos of the vacuums.
post #26 of 29
Not a whole lot of point in vacume fit when you have plugs and a tech with time to fit them.
post #27 of 29
The point being there is a cost to performance.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by clink83 View Post

Not a whole lot of point in vacume fit when you have plugs and a tech with time to fit them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzzo View Post

The point being there is a cost to performance.


I think these posts are related. Is there a cost to performance from the moldable plastic? Probably. And if you are on a race team with a tech and practically unlimited time to get the perfect fit, then there's no point in paying that cost. But for the rest of us, even hardcore recreational skiers, it's not easy to get a lot of time with a bootfitter making constant tweaks until it's perfect.

 

And since fit is the most important thing, I'm willing to sacrifice a fraction of performance (assuming, as a recreational skier, I'd even notice) to get the perfect fit.

post #29 of 29
Eh, just have plug shaped feet and be tall, then you can enjoy all the performance of a plug boot along with the cold feet. The preEDT Doberman WC skis wonderfully if you cut it on the lines Nordica provided for us mortals.
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