the question you asked about the 3D buckle, i'll try to answer for ya. I've skied with it for 2 seasons both on normal position and 45 degree position. The boot i've had experience with is the salomon performa course. I think it was the first boot with the 3D buckle and am pretty sure it's been unchanged as to what angle it adjusts to.
The standard position allows the heel to swim around quite a bit even with a good fit. It also puts alot of unwanted pressure on the instep like most other boots do. So, the vein that runs through the instep is cut off from normal circulation, foot goes numb, gets cold and so on and so forth :|
With the 3D buckle in the 45degree position, ALOT of the pressure on the instep is aleviated. As a matter of fact, you can actually crank down on the instep buckle about 1-2 teeth more than the original setting and still not feel any discomfort. Another big plus is that your heel is pretty much locked down in place. There's still gonna be some minor play, but that can't be prevented no matter how tight the boot is. In terms of technique improvement, i'm not sure if it's a mind trick, but there seems to be better response with the 3D buckle pulled back since there's less slop.
All in all it's a pretty good system and I think one of the better innovations Salomon's come up with (...did any of the older boots use this thing?). Comfort goes up, fit goes up, and skiing performance goes up too [img]smile.gif[/img]
We've been able to fit a few ppl in the shop who've had instep problems into the Waves, and they haven't had any complaints after using the 3d buckle. I think you might like it [img]smile.gif[/img]