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Considering new boots - question about flex

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I'm a 43 year old intermediate to advanced skier, 5'11", 175 lbs.  I live in Chicago and ski 5-7 days a year out west.  My current boots are Tecnica Agents 110's and I bought them in 2010.  I probably have 35-40 days on them...so maybe not that old.  Ski's are Volkl Kendo 170's.

I like my Agents and they do not give me any pain but I have noticed that I have trouble flexing them forward.  It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski.  Maybe this is the boot flex or maybe its my technique?  If I really push and flex forward while skiing I Get a little wobbly...like maybe I am fighting the boot flex.

 

A year or 2 after I got the boots I got a custom footbed at SBF in Vail CO.  The fitter commented that I wasn't really flexing the boot and that maybe it wasn't the ideal boot for me. So now I got it in my head that its the boot flex so I started looking last year.  I was intrigued by the Salomon X-Pros and tried on the 100's. Very comfortable but wondering if they will be too flexible. I am considering the 110's or even 120's.  I know that sounds contradictory but its been several years since I bought boots and Salmon is a different brand so it's tough to gauge.

 

Just welcome any thoughts anyone might have.

 

100's, 110's, 120's? Something else?

 

thanks!

post #2 of 29

Replying as a non-expert, but rather a progressive intermediate who had to deal with similar questions recently. Do a search, there is a lot of info here, BUT, a forum will be limited in advice - ultimately a real boot fitter, looking at you in the boots, is the only one who can truly answer. I'm a bit concerned about your statement that "It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski". That really suggests a technique issue. The flex comes into play only AFTER you make contact with the tongue, which you should pretty much always maintain btw. If an instructor or experienced buddy can see you skiing it may answer a lot of questions.

As a general principle, you should be able to flex so that your knees get over your toes and about an inch beyond, when you press forward. But really, this is extremely general and you need a more individual assessment. 

Something else I learned in my own quest for gear perfection: if you are not extremely mis-matched, obsessing too much over having "just the right stuff" can quickly become counter-productive. Working on your skills and experience gives you much better return on investment. 


Edited by rocdoc - 9/27/16 at 10:02am
post #3 of 29

I skied with a race-stiff boot for about a decade or so and when they finally gave up the ghost I decided to try a softer flex boot.  I've been skiing for a long time and my ability level was fine for the old boots, but I'm very much happier with the softer ones I have now.  I have not experienced a lowering of control, but I have experienced a heightening of comfort. In fact, I think my control may have been enhanced in crud and lumpy conditions since I don't take it so hard in the shins; the boots let the skis do more of the work.  I think you're on the right track, but others who are gear heads can give you more specific info.

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc View Post
 

Replying as a non-expert, but rather a progressive intermediate who had to deal with similar questions recently. Do a search, there is a lot of info here, BUT, a forum will be limited in advice - ultimately a real boot fitter, looking at you in the boots, is the only one who can truly answer. I'm a bit concerned about your statement that "It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski". That really suggests a technique issue. The flex comes into play only AFTER you make contact with the tongue, which you should pretty much always maintain btw. If an instructor or experience buddy can see you skiing it may answer a lot of questions.

As a general principle, you should be able to flex so that your knees get over your toes and about an inch beyond, when you press forward. But really, this is extremely general and you need a more individual assessment. 

Something else I learned in my own quest for gear perfection: if you are not extremely mis-matched, obsessing too much over having "just the right stuff" can quickly become counter-productive. Working on your skills and experience give you much better return on investment. 

I think I ski more 'upright' that I need to be.  Maybe it's all me or maybe the stiff flex is contributing in some way.  Honestly I have had these boots so long that I don't know any different. Would a softer boot help technique or is it all technique.  Perhaps a lesson is in order.

 

thanks for the input.

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

I skied with a race-stiff boot for about a decade or so and when they finally gave up the ghost I decided to try a softer flex boot.  I've been skiing for a long time and my ability level was fine for the old boots, but I'm very much happier with the softer ones I have now.  I have not experienced a lowering of control, but I have experienced a heightening of comfort. In fact, I think my control may have been enhanced in crud and lumpy conditions since I don't take it so hard in the shins; the boots let the skis do more of the work.  I think you're on the right track, but others who are gear heads can give you more specific info.

Great info!  That makes a lot of sense.  I think I worry that a softer boot will equal a loss of control.  I ski really fast at times and think that a somewhat stiff boot is what I need.  But like you said, maybe some more mobility will be a benefit in certain conditions.

 

thanks!


Edited by j-mo - 9/26/16 at 12:07pm
post #6 of 29

The things you are describing do sound much more like a technique issue than they do a boot issue. At 5'11" 175, a boot in that flex range shouldn't be overly stiff. I'd suggest seeing a genuine bootfitter to see what they have to say, and taking a few lessons to sort out your technique issues. With only 40 days on your boots, there's still plenty of life left in them. Also keep in mind that a good fitter can make some adjustments to soften your boots if they are slightly too stiff. 

 

A strong caveat for any discussion about boot flex. The numbers really mean very little overall. The numbers don't correlate at all across boot brands, and don't even correlate too much within a brand across different models. For example, there is no chance that your 110 Tecnica is the same actual stiffness as a Lange 110 RS. and a 110 RS isn't the same stiffness as a Lange 110 RX. Don't bank on the numbers. They really mean very little. 

post #7 of 29

You can also try doing this with the power strap:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/122707/ski-boot-fitting-and-the-power-strap

 

I tried this just this past season.  It really changes the way the boot flexes.  They feel more snug to the foot and flex builds gradually as you lean forward.  I much prefer this way of doing the power strap versus over the plastic cuff.

post #8 of 29


​Also understand that you can get too soft as well as too stiff.

 

You really need to hit the "Goldilocks" flex.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc View Post
 

Replying as a non-expert, but rather a progressive intermediate who had to deal with similar questions recently. Do a search, there is a lot of info here, BUT, a forum will be limited in advice - ultimately a real boot fitter, looking at you in the boots, is the only one who can truly answer. I'm a bit concerned about your statement that "It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski". That really suggests a technique issue. The flex comes into play only AFTER you make contact with the tongue, which you should pretty much always maintain btw. If an instructor or experience buddy can see you skiing it may answer a lot of questions.

As a general principle, you should be able to flex so that your knees get over your toes and about an inch beyond, when you press forward. But really, this is extremely general and you need a more individual assessment. 

Something else I learned in my own quest for gear perfection: if you are not extremely mis-matched, obsessing too much over having "just the right stuff" can quickly become counter-productive. Working on your skills and experience give you much better return on investment. 

I think I ski more 'upright' that I need to be.  Maybe it's all me or maybe the stiff flex is contributing in some way.  Honestly I have had these boots so long that I don't know any different. Would a softer boot help technique or is it all technique.  Perhaps a lesson is in order.

 

thanks for the input.

If you do feel that a lesson could help (and you'll be hard pressed around here finding anyone who would try to talk anyone out of a lesson), I would consider a lesson or two before seeing a bootfitter. :duck:​A lesson or two correcting (or at lest understanding) any issues that might exist could help with your conversation with a bootfitter. They can only fix what you can articulate, and if you articulate stuff you shouldn't be doing...well, I'm sure you get it.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post
 

Hello,

 

I'm a 43 year old intermediate to advanced skier, 5'11", 175 lbs.  I live in Chicago and ski 5-7 days a year out west.  My current boots are Tecnica Agents 110's and I bought them in 2010.  I probably have 35-40 days on them...so maybe not that old.  Ski's are Volkl Kendo 170's.

I like my Agents and they do not give me any pain but I have noticed that I have trouble flexing them forward.  It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski.  Maybe this is the boot flex or maybe its my technique?  If I really push and flex forward while skiing I Get a little wobbly...like maybe I am fighting the boot flex.

 

A year or 2 after I got the boots I got a custom footbed at SBF in Vail CO.  The fitter commented that I wasn't really flexing the boot and that maybe it wasn't the ideal boot for me. So now I got it in my head that its the boot flex so I started looking last year.  I was intrigued by the Salomon X-Pros and tried on the 100's. Very comfortable but wondering if they will be too flexible. I am considering the 110's or even 120's.  I know that sounds contradictory but its been several years since I bought boots and Salmon is a different brand so it's tough to gauge.

 

Just welcome any thoughts anyone might have.

 

100's, 110's, 120's? Something else?

 

thanks!

 

You say you have It may be the boot's fit.  It may be your range of motion.  It may be your technique.  Here are some questions that might help people answer your questions.

1.  When you put the boots on, how many socks are you wearing?  (The best answer is one sock per foot, and that sock should be thinnish.  

2.  Do you have anything else stuffed down inside the boot besides your sock(s)?  (You should not have anything else stuffed down in there.)

3.  When you buckle the boots inside and flex forward, do you feel cuff pressure mostly at the top of the tongue, or all along the cuff, all the way down to your ankle? (Hopefully all the way down.)

4.  If you feel pressure all along the shin top-to-bottom, when you flex inside the house, is it stronger up at the top, or is there about the same amount of pressure all the way down?  (Equal pressure all the way down is best.)

5.  When you flex the boot inside, does it actually flex/bend forward at the cuff?  (It should.)  

6.  When you are skiing, what do you do to flex the cuff?  You say you "really push and flex forward," but I don't know what that means.  What body part(s) do you bend or move to flex that cuff, and exactly how do you do that?  (No prompts on this one.  There are ineffective ways to try to flex a boot, and effective ways.)

7.  That red part up there... did you mean "rarely" when you wrote "really"?  It seems to be a contradiction when you say you have difficulty flexing forward, while also saying you really feel that tongue against your shin.  If you mean "really," does that mean you keep your shin-tongue contact going all the time but can't get the cuff to bend?

post #11 of 29

Like rocdoc and freeski said--if you're not contacting the front of the boot the problem is not that they are too stiff. The issue could be technique--you're in the back seat, in which case a lesson or two should help, or it may be boot related--cuff angled too much forward for your ankle range of motion, for example, in which case a boot fitter might be able to fix the problem or you may need new boots.  (I say that without knowing anything about the forward lean of your particular boot.) I'd start with a lesson. Seeing a bootfitter won't help a technique problem and even if it is a boot problem, knowing what an instructor thinks about your problem will help the fitter make the right changes. OTOH having a lesson first will help your skiing even if the problem is with your boots. My money is on technique. If, after your problem with not contacting the tongues is solved, your boot is still too stiff--unlikely--it can be softened. BTW, with most modern skis forward pressure on the boot tongue is a lot less important than it used to be. 

post #12 of 29

Have you played with the spoiler and the bolts on the back for adjusting flex?  The spoiler will impact your position while the bolts will soften the boot when removed, start with removing one bolt per boot and test again.

Kendos are a little on the stiff side so it's easy to be a little back seat on them if your boots are indeed a good match.  My gut tells me that unless you have of the leg building athletic quests, you may not have the leg strength needed for that setup with only a week of skiing per year.

post #13 of 29

110 should not be too stiff for that size weight.  If the boots / soles / liners are in good shape I would NOT go DOWN in flex.  100 / 90s are petite women / teen / tween boots.  Learn to ski in the front seat and save your $ for lift tickets. 

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks a ton for all the responses everyone!  I think I'm going to take a breathe, take some of the advice here and try to get better with what I I have.  I will look into adjusting my boots (I think I have before), talk to a boot fitter, and definitely get a lesson when I head to Whistler this season :).  I've been thinking about lessons for a few years but I always blow it off once I hit the slopes.  I think after all the great advice here and really wanting to improve, I'll take one or 2.

 

 

Cheers!

post #15 of 29

j-mo

I tend to agree with the rest of the input regarding technique. A good instructor will be able to show you some nifty drills for getting you in a more forward position.

I note you were considering the Salomon X series line of boots. I’ve been in the X-Max 100’s for the last 4 seasons. A great boot for me. I’ve got about 200 days on those boots and it was time for new ones.

I just purchased a pair of Tecnica Mach 1-120’s. Even though the Tecnica boot has a flex of 120 , it does not feel quite as stiff as the Salomon X- Max 100.  I’ve not had the new ones on the snow yet, but doing the A/B comparison in the living room gave me a pretty good indication of the differences. They are both very different boots!

Last but not least, if and when you decide to go boot shopping… make sure you get fit properly! A proper fit is going to have a lot to say about how well you are performing in your boots too!

 

Good Luck!

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post
 

 talk to a boot fitter, and definitely get a lesson when I head to Whistler this season :).


You can do both at once - go to Fanatyko at Whistler for boot fitting then walk out the door, go left and find the hill.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Long Hair Hippy View Post
 

 

I just purchased a pair of Tecnica Mach 1-120’s. Even though the Tecnica boot has a flex of 120 , it does not feel quite as stiff as the Salomon X- Max 100.

 

Flex is not consistent between brands or even between models, which is why when some "expert" gives advice about flex, they obviously don't even have a fundamental understanding of the topic.

post #17 of 29

Someone I know says that people should generally try to match the stiffness of their boots to the stiffness of their skis. That a soft boot wont be able to bend a stiff ski as effectively, and conversely a stiff boot will overpower a soft ski. 

 

And also that people tend to have too stiff a boot, which inhibits their performance , especially in bumps. 

 

Does anyone here have any thoughts on that?

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by graham418 View Post

Someone I know says that people should generally try to match the stiffness of their boots to the stiffness of their skis. That a soft boot wont be able to bend a stiff ski as effectively, and conversely a stiff boot will overpower a soft ski. 

And also that people tend to have too stiff a boot, which inhibits their performance , especially in bumps. 

Does anyone here have any thoughts on that?

Yes, I found this to be true when I upgraded both my skis and boots last season, yet I run to the large size, a Clydesdale, and might be using stiffness as a crutch as I gain a better feel for balance at speed and on ungroomed terrain. It is best to hear from folks in a similar size as yourself. As an intermediate, I am skiing in a 130 flex boot which probably would be inappropriate for someone 50 lb lighter than myself. I do know I felt more in control and better able to react to the variety the mountains had to offer.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexSkier View Post
 

You can also try doing this with the power strap:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/122707/ski-boot-fitting-and-the-power-strap

 

I tried this just this past season.  It really changes the way the boot flexes.  They feel more snug to the foot and flex builds gradually as you lean forward.  I much prefer this way of doing the power strap versus over the plastic cuff.

Even better is to buy a Booster strap and do the same. The elastic booster will give you a progressive flex where the stock strap not being elastic will make you hit the wall and stop the flex. One other item that will stop the flex is a buckle. When you see this video around 4:25 you will see a mod about the buckle. My last two pair had this problem and I never knew it until I saw the video.

Boot flex is critical and you can ski well with a too soft flex but no so with a too stiff boot. A good boot fitter will answer this for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hUwND4cMK4

post #20 of 29

I truly enjoy my Booster straps.  Great, easy performance  / ankle flexion upgrade. Short $ for the performance / fit ++.  Recommend to my athletes. Most newer race boots have a booster style strap system. Get the World Cup for your size.  Make sure you can crank it down.  

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post

 

 

...  I like my Agents and they do not give me any pain but I have noticed that I have trouble flexing them forward.  It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski.  Maybe this is the boot flex or maybe its my technique?  If I really push and flex forward while skiing I Get a little wobbly...like maybe I am fighting the boot flex.

 

 The fitter commented that I wasn't really flexing the boot and that maybe it wasn't the ideal boot for me. So now I got it in my head that its the boot flex so I started looking last year.  

 

 

 

 

For boot flex, you can make a self assessment by looking at a side view from a full length mirror. Go to marker 1:20, knees to the toes has been the standard for a good flex range for quite a while. BTW, the rest of the vid has similar options to customized the boot. I like the guy's sense of humor, he has other boot topics.

 

 

 

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post

Hello,

I'm a 43 year old intermediate to advanced skier, 5'11", 175 lbs.  I live in Chicago and ski 5-7 days a year out west.  My current boots are Tecnica Agents 110's and I bought them in 2010.  I probably have 35-40 days on them...so maybe not that old.  Ski's are Volkl Kendo 170's.
I like my Agents and they do not give me any pain but I have noticed that I have trouble flexing them forward.  It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski.  Maybe this is the boot flex or maybe its my technique?  If I really push and flex forward while skiing I Get a little wobbly...like maybe I am fighting the boot flex.

You can feel the boot tongue and think you're forward. But it's not necessarily the case. The shoulders........with a conscious effort push your shoulders forward 4" or so........position in the boot will automatically follow.

Your weight and height I think that ski in 170 is too short for you.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jack97 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post

 

 

...  I like my Agents and they do not give me any pain but I have noticed that I have trouble flexing them forward.  It is a challenge for me to flex forward and really feel the boot tongue against my shins when I ski.  Maybe this is the boot flex or maybe its my technique?  If I really push and flex forward while skiing I Get a little wobbly...like maybe I am fighting the boot flex.

 

 The fitter commented that I wasn't really flexing the boot and that maybe it wasn't the ideal boot for me. So now I got it in my head that its the boot flex so I started looking last year.  

 

 

 

 

For boot flex, you can make a self assessment by looking at a side view from a full length mirror. Go to marker 1:20, knees to the toes has been the standard for a good flex range for quite a while. BTW, the rest of the vid has similar options to customized the boot. I like the guy's sense of humor, he has other boot topics.

 

 

 

You are in a warm place and the boot flex will not be the same as 20 degrees. Thats why I like a boot expert to call the right flex for me. Then I will tweak it with adjustments and a booster. 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by levy1 View Post
 

You are in a warm place and the boot flex will not be the same as 20 degrees. Thats why I like a boot expert to call the right flex for me. Then I will tweak it with adjustments and a booster. 

 

 

Interesting...... maybe in our quivers we need boots for different parts of the season, at least two, mid winter and spring. Kidding aside, yes knee to toe is done at room temp, one can make a rougher check at a flat section in the mountain by eyeballing how far the knee can overshadow the toe piece of the binding. 

post #25 of 29

J-mo--another problem could be lack of range of motion at the ankle. If your cuff angle is fairly high than you may already be at the limit of your range of motion and will have a hard time pressuring the front of the boot. A more upright cuff or a front spoiler would help in that situation. The fitter who just sold me boots got me into a stiff boot (which I wanted anyway) because he said my ankle ROM is low and I wouldn't be able to flex a softer boot enough to pressure the front of the ski. In other words, too SOFT a boot can make it hard to pressure the front of the boot if your ankles aren't flexible. That is something a fitter can tell you and an instructor probably can't. Instructors don't make enough to look at your smelly bare feet.

post #26 of 29

here's a self assessment on ankle rom, it seems that 4 inches is the norm. If you have less than that, it could your body type or the lack of stretching that part of the joint in your daily routine, I'm around 4.5 inches with both feet. 

 

btw, the point of these self assessment is not to replace the experts but as a way to figure out the problem when talking to them. 

 

 

post #27 of 29

Hmmm, I can do 4.5. Maybe I'm not that stiff.

post #28 of 29

there is a lot of useful information in here but equally some "interesting" thoughts

 

when the fitter said it might not be the ideal boot fro you as you weren't bending it it was probably nothing to do with the actual number printed on the boot..... more likely that the interface between your leg and the shaft of the boot wasn't working properly, this could be a number of things.....

 

too much forward lean

not enough ROM at ankle  (kind of same as above)

ramp angle to much or too little

technique

too much cuff volume, so that you have to over tighten to get contact with shin

boot a little too big

plastic aged and lost some of its elasticity ( the plastic on the boot wasn't IMO the best )

 

all of these factors and more can make flexing a boot more difficult than it should be, with your stats i certainly wouldn't suggest going down in flex, be wary of the X pro boot unless you have a very high volume foot.... the best advice i can give over the internet (and i know some people hate it when it gets said) is go and see your boot fitter, if you don't know of one, ask skiing friends check on line reviews or travel to find the best guy you can.  A good fitter can see why the boot doesn't flex as it should and help you narrow down the choices of boot that will work best for your stats, your skier level and most importantly your foot  and leg shape and biomechanics

 

good luck getting sorted and have a great season 

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mo View Post
 

Thanks a ton for all the responses everyone!  I think I'm going to take a breathe, take some of the advice here and try to get better with what I I have.  I will look into adjusting my boots (I think I have before), talk to a boot fitter, and definitely get a lesson when I head to Whistler this season :).  I've been thinking about lessons for a few years but I always blow it off once I hit the slopes.  I think after all the great advice here and really wanting to improve, I'll take one or 2.

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Long Hair Hippy View Post
 

j-mo

I tend to agree with the rest of the input regarding technique. A good instructor will be able to show you some nifty drills for getting you in a more forward position.

I note you were considering the Salomon X series line of boots. I’ve been in the X-Max 100’s for the last 4 seasons. A great boot for me. I’ve got about 200 days on those boots and it was time for new ones.

I just purchased a pair of Tecnica Mach 1-120’s. Even though the Tecnica boot has a flex of 120 , it does not feel quite as stiff as the Salomon X- Max 100.  I’ve not had the new ones on the snow yet, but doing the A/B comparison in the living room gave me a pretty good indication of the differences. They are both very different boots!

Last but not least, if and when you decide to go boot shopping… make sure you get fit properly! A proper fit is going to have a lot to say about how well you are performing in your boots too!

 

Good Luck!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
 

there is a lot of useful information in here but equally some "interesting" thoughts

 

when the fitter said it might not be the ideal boot fro you as you weren't bending it it was probably nothing to do with the actual number printed on the boot..... more likely that the interface between your leg and the shaft of the boot wasn't working properly, this could be a number of things.....

 

too much forward lean

not enough ROM at ankle  (kind of same as above)

ramp angle to much or too little

technique

too much cuff volume, so that you have to over tighten to get contact with shin

boot a little too big

plastic aged and lost some of its elasticity ( the plastic on the boot wasn't IMO the best )

 

all of these factors and more can make flexing a boot more difficult than it should be, with your stats i certainly wouldn't suggest going down in flex, be wary of the X pro boot unless you have a very high volume foot.... the best advice i can give over the internet (and i know some people hate it when it gets said) is go and see your boot fitter, if you don't know of one, ask skiing friends check on line reviews or travel to find the best guy you can.  A good fitter can see why the boot doesn't flex as it should and help you narrow down the choices of boot that will work best for your stats, your skier level and most importantly your foot  and leg shape and biomechanics

 

good luck getting sorted and have a great season 

 

Please reprint this every time some resident mensa society member goes on suggesting to some newbie exactly what flex they should be demanding in their boots.

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