I see that you are interested in top of the line race models. This is a category where very few changes are made from year to year. But 2005 is different, at least for some manufacturers.
I have no info about '05 Lange race models, but i can help you with Nordica and Tecnica.
For 2005 Nordica introduces two new models in their race line: the Doberman Pro 130 and Pro 110. These 2 models have a new last which is 3mm wider in the forefoot than the WC last. The Pro 130 and the Pro 110 have a flex index of 130 and 110 respectively.
Nordica also has the Doberman WC 150. Out of the three models, only the Pro 110 has extrasoft polyether. I don't know if it is supposed to replace the WC XS i don't think so because it doesn't use the WC last anymore (the WC XS was the model i was interested in about a month ago).
It seems that the Pro 130 and Pro 110 use a different liner that the WC 150.
In my opinion these are the main changes for next season in the race line (there may also be smaller changes but you have to look for them yourself).
Here are some links that you may find useful:http://www.nordica.com/boots/scheda.php?target=148http://www.racestocksports.com/NordicaFeedback.htm
For next season, Tecnica makes significant changes in their top line which is now called Diablo. The XT is replaced by the Diablo Race Pro 130 (XT24) and Race Pro 110 (XT17). The Race Pro has a new last which is optimised for two footed skiing. This is probably the most important change in the line. The last is still low volume with a bit more space in the forefoot. The boot has increased forward lean and a lower ramp angle. The boot also has 3 Density Technology which uses 3 different types of plastic to wrap your feet better and in the right place (for example soft plastic at instep).
I also liked the velcro strap which probably closes the cuff better. The liner uses a neoprene toe box for comfort.
There are also many more changes but again you have to look for them yourself.
Chech out this link:http://www.tecnicausa.com/skiing/diablo.htmlhttp://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=17582http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=17605
1. I don't think that it is a good idea to try on '04 models and then buy directly the '05 model (are you trying to buy the '05 model online?). Just to give you an example: Nordica for 2005 which now offers the Pro 110. The closest boot from last season is probably the WC XS. The XS has a different last (remember 95mm vs. 98mm) and a different flex index which is close to the Pro 110 (100 vs. 110) so i don't think that you should shell size and buy the '05 model in the same size directly because it may not fit you feet so well.
Tecnica also changed the last of the race boot but i have no info whether it is roomier or not. All i know is that it is still considered low volume and it has a roomier forefoot. But the problem is the last itself. I don't know if it accomodates the Tecnica foot anymore. I have a pair of XT 17s which fit me perfectly but i haven't tried the new boot yet. You say that you need to know what to buy by August 20th. I emailed my local shop and asked about the Race Pro. They said (among other things) that the boots will be in stock starting from October 15th...
I don't know exactly if you plan on getting your boots online or not(at least this is what i understood from what you had written) knowing how the previous model fits but you should try the boot on at all cost, otherwise it's too risky in my opinion.
2. From what i know it's best to have the footbeds with you when you try on the boots. You should go to a reputable shop to get the footbeds done and they should take care of the other problems too.
I hope this helps,