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Lateral vs Rotary boots

Poll Results: Which statement best suits your take on the lateral vs rotary issue

  • 19% (10)
    Lateral designs are far better for everyone
  • 5% (3)
    Rotary designs are far better for everyone
  • 11% (6)
    Choosing a Lateral / Rotary boot depends on the skiers legs - bowed/knocked
  • 9% (5)
    There is not significant difference in how Lateral/Rotary boots ski
  • 11% (6)
    There is a significant difference. You should match the boot to the style.
  • 42% (22)
    lateral/rotary -- who cares?
52 Total Votes  
post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
The intent of this poll is to determine if the difference in design really matters.

OOPS point 5 should say "Style of skiing", not just style.
post #2 of 67
Maybe you should explain the difference between lateral and rotary boots, or at least provide a link to somewhere that does. I consider myself reasonably clued up about gear but have only a vague understanding of the issue. I thought lateral boots were preferred by hard core racers but not recommended for everyone else. But I may be way off here.
post #3 of 67
Kiwiski (or everyone else who's interested)

Try these links:

http://www.harbskisystems.com.au/ali..._alignment.htm (middle of page)
post #4 of 67
Can somebody tell me whether the Tecnica XT is considered a rotary or lateral boot?

post #5 of 67
Can you give some links to explanations of these boot types? I have read Craig McNeil on this, but am not sure which boots are and which aren't lateral boots. Lew Black
post #6 of 67
I was under the impression that 99% of all retail boots were rotary?? Is there a list of which boots are lateral and which are rotary. FWIW I am on Lange Comp 120s, what are they? : :
post #7 of 67
This is an interesting topic. I believe that Harb sells Head and Dalbello boots primarily, so they must be lateral. McNeil, who works with Harb, says positioning of the side, hinge rivets has impact. But, if there are only a few "lateral" boots on the market, how is it that racers are successful with so many different brands? I want more info on this!! Who coined this phrase? LewBob
post #8 of 67
The lateral and rotary boot definition seems overly general. These terms seem to be thrown around liberally. I have yet to see anyone define rotary specifically by boot brand, model and degrees of rotation. I personally have a lot of questions about this area. Are we talking about 2 degrees, 15 degrees? Would 2 degrees make a difference? How does this relate to the natural tendency of most people’s knees to rotate inward when flexed? Would someone who has knees that tend to rotate outward when flexed benefit from rotary boots?

Are all plug boots lateral?

Another point, if boots are properly fitted and aligned, the centre of the knee, when flexed should be following a path directly forward without rotation. So can the rotational aspect of a boot be corrected by alignment?

The cynic in me keeps wondering if the rotary effect is overstated. My guess is that proper alignment, minimizes and possibly negates the whole rotary issue. But then my knees rotate outward in an unaligned boot so maybe I need rotary boots.
post #9 of 67
Originally Posted by LewBob
This is an interesting topic. I believe that Harb sells Head and Dalbello boots primarily, so they must be lateral.
I've noticed that Harald Harb pushes Head and Dalbello boots as well; I'm assuming Head sponsors him as well (he seems to use their skis), so I've always assumed that there were financial reasons for his biases.

Anyway, my point. The last time I bought ski boots was at a well-respected shop in Killington. I don't know if they are "lateral" or "rotary"; they are Lange's, which somewhere Hararld Harb dismissed as not being appropriate for PMTS. Which makes me think I ski in rotary boots. According to the boot-fitter I used though,Lange's are about the only brand I should even bother with, due to how my foot is constructed (very narrow heel, very wide fore-foot).

It seems to me that the whole issue of "does the boot really fit you" is getting lost in this whole lateral vs. rotary debate. If the boot doesn't fit you, then lateral vs . rotary isn't going to do a thing for you. If your technique isn't very, very good already then lateral boots won't do anything for you.
post #10 of 67
I don't think that anybody can really argue against the main priority being the boot that fits best; whether it be rotary or lateral. But assuming that more than one brand of boot is a good fit, then it might be helpful to know if one is a lateral type, or not.

Or it could all be B.S., but there's certainly no way to find out if there's anything to the lateral debate without knowing what type is on your foot. I don't think I buy into the theory that HH is pushing boots for his sponsors. There is obviously a difference between the designs - somewhere.

I just 'aint exactly sure if any of this really matters or not. But there seems to be little in the way of any useful facts.
post #11 of 67
yeah, this is one where Harb is just making a sales pitch, not stating any sort of universal truth.

he used to say Dalbello was the only boot worth skiing. great. what if you have skinny lower legs/calves, and a super narrow heel? forget Dalbello.

Harb has his head up his arse sometimes, and this is one of those times.
post #12 of 67
Apparently, from what I can tell, HH still believes Dalbello makes a good boot along with Salomon and Head: http://www.realskiers.com/pmtsforum/viewtopic.php?t=240

That probably covers a good number of different foot types. As far as I know, he only sells Head boots.

Could be a whole lot of Kool-Aid drinking lateral boot goofballs over at PMTS. And then, maybe not. : I'd hate to rule out the theory without trying it myself, as long as I'm not plunking down big $$ to test it out.
post #13 of 67
I re-read McNeil's article on the issue. He says the inside hinge is higher on a lateral boot, so I measured the 2 boots I have on hand. One is a 12 year old pair of Salomon Force 9's that I was foamed in, used happily all these many years, and am just retiring. They were slightly (1/8-1/4") higher on the inside. I am being foamed in Lange Comp 100's on Wednesday, as they are the only boot I could find that are skinny enough to have any potential for my skinny foot and ankle. Interestingly, they seem to be rotary, being higher on the outside hinge than inside.

If Lange's are rotary, and rotary is bad for modern technique, how is it that so many good skiers and racers use them?

For me fit is bottom line-that and lot's of forward lean to make up for my skinny calf. The Salomon's were the only boots I had that fit well in 40-some years of skiing, and my skiing improved a bunch when I got them. I hope the Langes don't let me down!

Has anyone reading this gone from a Lange to a similar level Head? And if so, did you notice a big difference in how they skied? LewBob
post #14 of 67

check out this thread that i started:

Bootech explains very well the difference between them.
post #15 of 67
SYWSYW-- Good info. I stopped by a shop yesterday to look at different boots' hinge styles. Unless I missed something, it looks like Atomic boots are really different. While the Langes have the outside rivet high and forward, the Atomics appear to be the opposite, while the Salomons are symmetrical: Langes are designed to flex with an inward rotation, Salomons straight forward, and Atomics appear to flex to the outside.

I don't know if anyone has voted on the initial question, but I wonder how many people are qualified to have an opinion? If you haven't tried different style boots properly fit and aligned, how would you know?

I am going to take a few runs tomorrow on my new Langes. I haven't been foamed yet, so the fit will be lousy, but I am curious to see what differences I can feel. Forward lean and ramp angle are near identical and I have done some canting work on both...

post #16 of 67

Question on Rotary vs. Lateral

Assuming that Rotary and Lateral boots operate differently when flexed forward. I can see this having an effect on actual skiing if done on a flat ski. But what happens and what is the effect if the ski is on edge? The ski biting into the snow should resist rotation.

Is this just an effect that would be obfuscated by technique imperfections in us skiing mortals?
post #17 of 67
I can give at least a single case anecdote in this regard. I was in a mulit-day clinic with a group of people (all but me were instructors) a few years back. One of the guys, a very athletic skier, was attempting to increase his tippping and reduce his ski rotation (in the plain of the snow) and subsequent skidding. He worked hard for 3 days with no noticable improvement. At the end of the 3rd day the coach suggested he try a different boot than the relatively new Langes he was using. He was frustrated enough that he was willing to try anything and so he purchased a pair of Dalbellos that evening. On the fourth and last day of the clinic he was a changed skier. Dramatically improved tipping and carving and reduced skidding. He looked liked a different skier with ski tracks to back up the claim.

After observing this first hand I was less skeptical and now at least say that for some, a lateral boot can make a world of differecne. Whether there is this great of an effect for most people I have no idea.
post #18 of 67
BigE, You started this thread/poll but haven't said a word. What inspired the question? What is your experience. LewBob
post #19 of 67
This topic fascinates me. First off, there is the ramp angle issue. The article says high ramp angle is bad for lateral movement. What about all those women ski issues about not having forward pressure? Without a higher ramp angle, some of them can't pressure the front of the skis. Doesn't it depend on the needs of the individual skier?

In theory I can see why location of the rivet points would cause the ski to flex outward or inward based on design. But does it really matter that much? When I put forward pressure on my shin, the cuff flexes forward, but not much to the left or right. I can imagine canting would be even more important than rivet points. Or is it, maybe that is why canting is needed?

And as mention before, if Lange boots are all rotary, does that mean all those World Cup skiers are not carving?
post #20 of 67
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by LewBob
BigE, You started this thread/poll but haven't said a work. What inspired the question? What is your experience. LewBob
Sorry, no access for awhile....

I'd like to be able to distinguish any rotary motion of the ski induced by the design of the boot from any rotary motions that I purposefully induce. I mean there must be some effect.... But, is that effect as pronounced as is suggested by the lateral boot camp? eg. bend the knee and the tail slides out.... OR, is the effect so minor that I can easily compensate? I mean can you carve a turn in a rotary boot?

Lastly, it has been suggested that rotary boots can be great for the bowlegged skier, so that a rotary boot should be better for me.

As a sidebar: if all plug boots are lateral, why are most retail boots rotary? Do bootmakers think that mere mortals that ski retail can't pivot their skiis without the help of the bootmaker! Hmmm... maybe that's why they do it. Maybe they realize just how important pivoting the skis really is to general skiing.

Or maybe it's all just a huge load.
post #21 of 67
Originally Posted by BigE
if all plug boots are lateral, why are most retail boots rotary?...
Where did you hear that ALL plug boots are lateral? I have been searching for days for an answer to that and can't seem to get one.

I posted this question over at the PTMS forum, where Harald Harb frequently posts about this, and couldn't get a direct answer on the category of plug boots.

I believe the XT17 is a plug boot, and yet, nobody could tell me that it was a lateral boot.
post #22 of 67
Si, you have the first good objective info: an instructor who had a pronounced change in his skiing with the change of boot type.

Dgudaitis, your point is valid. I have such a skinny leg that I need a lot of forward lean in my boot to be balanced. I even need a lot of ramp angle or I am in the back seat. I didn't even look at Heads as they are described as upright, as well as looser fitting than the Langes.

I also need some shimming on the outside on the sole-my new Langes have the 1 1/2 degree sole and I may need more. Perhaps I will be okay with a rotary boot if they work for those of us with a lot of curve in the lower leg. I better decide before I get them foamed, though!!!

BigE: Where did you read/hear that rotory boots are good for the bowlegged skier? Craig McNeil touts the lateral boots and he says he is "as bowlegged as they come" ?

All this info is making things a little less murky. Keep it up! LewBob
post #23 of 67
NO! NO! NO! PLease make it stop!!!!!!!!!

I was going to stay out of this, really I was. But then I read it "all plug boots are lateral".

I think WAY TOO MUCH is being made out of this rotary vs. lateral business.

If anatomically located hinges are the design trademark of the "rotary boot" than the Lange (which pioneered the concept) is the king of all "rotary boots."

The lange RL1 (the plug) is a 1981 boot design. It has been the dominant boot in ski racing at the highest levels for some time. It works so well another company uses the same exact boot for it's race boot. After all they own Lange wouldn't you? We'll call them Brand R.
Another company built their race boot and the inside of it looks remarkably similar. We'll call them Brand S.

If this boot design is so wrong how come it's the benchmark?

The advantage of skiing in a plug boot over a retail boot is not a rotary vs. lateral design issue. It's much simpler than that. Retail boots have thick liners and thin shells. Plug boots have thick shells and thin liners. Plastic transmits movements more accurately than the carpet padding that is inside most liners. The feel and control of a boot whose plastic has been shaped to fit your foot is very different from one where the padding keeps the foot away from the plastic.

I can't begin to address the "ramp is bad for lateral movement" or "women need ramp to pressure the front of the ski" right now. But both of these misconceptions must also die!

Okay! There it is! Blast away!

post #24 of 67
Thread Starter 
carvemeister: post 9 and others eg. 15 are interesting...

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ry+pl ug+boot

Also, re: BOWLEGGED with rotary, I seem to recall a phone call with Keelty, or a comment on HH skisystems website but may be mistaken....http://www.harbskisystems.com/alignover.htm mentions that "rotary boots provide performance to FEW skiers".
So, I'm sure I'm not making that notion up.

Given the way rotary works, I'd think that it may help the bowlegged apply pressure to the inside edge.
post #25 of 67
Originally Posted by BOOTech,Inc.
NO! NO! NO! PLease make it stop!!!!!!!!!


We can only find sanity by buying as much stuff as we can hide from our women!

So to cure myself, I did heed your previous advice, and gave myself a break from this madness by just saying Fu$k It! And I just went and bought THESE

Boy, did that feel good! Rotary, Lateral, who cares! Show me some love, I'm out of here!
post #26 of 67
BOOTech, It is working. We wanted to get you into it!! The more educated input the less uneducated we feel. Warren Witherall (sp?) says most skiers are in the back seat and need more forward lean and ramp angle (I am one of them). HH says we need to be more upright. We are all built so differently that there is no one size fits all. But I still want to understand the basic theories of the arguments. Thanks for speaking up. LewBob
post #27 of 67
Why people continue to make an enormous huffy-puff out of one detail of boot design among many is beyond me. None of this hinge axis stuff matters if the boot doesn't fit, and fifty bucks says that if two boots have slightly different hinging, one will still fit better out of the box. That would be the one to choose.

"Grain of salt" comes to mind.
post #28 of 67
"bored shitless" comes to mind.
post #29 of 67
Originally Posted by LewBob
Warren Witherall (sp?) says most skiers are in the back seat and need more forward lean and ramp angle (I am one of them).
Fun exercise: Watch a pretty woman (or man, if thats your thing) stand in high heels. This is an excellent example of lots of ramp angle. Note that the woman doesn't fall over. Clearly, her body adjusts to keep the CG in the appropriate range. This means that the most interesting body parts move further from the center of the foot.

Some people have a very limited amount of ankle flexion, or a very aft CG. If that person attempts to squat while keeping their feet flat on the floor, they may fall over backwards. If you lift that person's heel a half inch, they will be able to squat farther without having their CG go aft of their foot. This is because the reduced angle of the lower leg to the floor brings the knee forward. As a result the rest of the body has no choice but to come forward for a given angle of the femur to the ground.

No matter how much forward lean/ramp you add, the CG always stays underfoot. The increased forward lean gives you a powerful platform to leverage the tail of the ski at the end of turns. This is the best reason for aggressive forward lean IMHO. I don't believe forward lean alone helps people move their CG forward.

The ramp angle/FL combo may help some get their CG forward because it allows their body geometry to work better in an aggressive athletic position. It is not a magic bullet that magically pushes the CG forward. In some cases, aggressive ramp angle can make the situation worse. If the CG goes aft of the foot with a lot of ramp angle/FL, it is more difficult to bring back into the appropriate range. I believe this is because it makes it more difficult to return to an upright and centered stance.

Try this: Stand with your feet flat on the ground, a foot from a wall. Sit on the wall. Stand up. Now try the same thing with a book under each foot and your ankles flexed as hard as you can to get your knees forward (as per aggressive forward lean). I think you'll find the latter to be much more difficult.

High forward lean/ramp angle combos are unforgiving, IMO. Suggesting them to people that have a hard time with CG placement already is frought with peril, IMO.

HH says we need to be more upright. We are all built so differently that there is no one size fits all.
The last part is critical. People are all built differently. What might be a cant "correction" for one guy may have the opposite effect on the alignment of another guy, even if they both originally tested at 3 degrees out.

"More upright" is a claim I'd be skeptical of. The whole point of skiing is to be better, faster, more athletic. That doesn't happen standing up straight. However, forcing someone into an "athletic stance" at the foot/lower leg might be just as misguided.
post #30 of 67
Originally Posted by carvemeister
"bored shitless" comes to mind.
Hah, word. Note the post above.
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