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Basic Boot Question

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
When I started skiing, four years ago, I quickly came to the conclusion that trying to hire well fitting boots was chancy and that I needed to get my own. At an end of season sale I got myself some cheap boots. Head EZon 8.5 and got fitted footbeds. They are a good snug fit and still reasonably comfortable at the end of the day.
OK so far but the place where I got them, Snow and Rock in the UK, grades the skis and boots they sell against a skier's ability on a scale of 1 - 10. That's 1 for you're just starting to 10 for being sponsored or holding a FIS or ISIA licence. These boots are recommended for grade 2, 3 or 4 skiers. On their scale I'd judge myself as just about 6.
Now I understand the grading for skis. The high level skis need speed and skill to flex and use properly while a beginner needs something much softer and forgiving but what is the difference in boots? People I ask say that boots for more advanced skiers are stiffer. Maybe, but my 5 feet 8 inches and 130 pounds seem to put negligible flex into my boots when they're done up. Are we talking about the difference between very stiff and very very stiff or are there other differences?
I'm not keen to change from boots that I'm happy in but living in the UK I only get two weeks a year skiing and I started late in life so I'm also keen not to be held back by anything other than my own ability or lack of it.
So, how would "better" boots differ and how would that affect my skiing?
post #2 of 5
Tough question without knowing your boot. The name EZ-on makes them sound like they were made for convenience over performance...

Beginner boots generally have a sloppy fit with lots of padding to make them comfortable. They may be more upright in stance. At your weight the forward flex may be stiff enough, but the lateral support may be suspect. Hopefully one of the boot experts here will spot this thread and give you some help. One of them may be familiar with the boot you bought and it's characteristics. Good luck. LewBob
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks LewBob. I'm not really after opinions on my current boots. I'm sure Head will have moved on anyway but I'm interested in how boots differ to match different abilities of skier. There's not only the question of why beginners boots wouldn't suit better skiers but the grading system implies that boots for good skiers would not be suitable for beginners. All I can find is manufacturer's waffle about power transmission or whatever.

Is this question too dumb for anyone to bother answering?
post #4 of 5
Start with serious race boots: A racer wants a very close fitting boot to precisely transmit their movements to the ski. The shell will be low volume with very little padding in the liner. It will likely be cold, and will need a lot of custome fitting to come close to being comfortable. It will also be very stiff and difficult to flex. It is like the suspension on a race car and likely won't be much fun off of a race course.

Boots for beginers have opposite characteristics: soft liner which will pack out quickly, soft flex, and not much control when you pcik up speed.

Most of us belong in a boot that is somewhere in between these extremes. However, a burly intermediate with large, strong legs may need a high performance boot to get enough support. A lightweight skier with the same ability and with slender legs will need a boot that is softer in flex.

I was hoping someone here would know about your boots and their characteristics, as they may be okay. If you lived in ski country you could visit a reputable shop and try on a variety of boots. After choosing one, you could ski on it and then return to the fitter for work as needed. For instance, if a boot proved too stiff, there are ways to soften the flex. A loose heel could be snugged up with some padding in just the right place... How good is the shop where you bought your last boots? Do they do that kind of work?

There is a boot fitter on this site named Jeff Bergeron who regularly gives out advice. Try this link and maybe Jeff can help you narrow down your choices.

Good luck, LewBob
post #5 of 5

ez on 8.5

The ez-on 8.5 was a great boot. Great walk mechanism. Not so great a flex pattern. Their new boots flex much more smoothly. You will get better with a new pair of boots. Their newer style edge boots have a similar fit. Only 1 mm narrower in the forefoot with a slightly snugger heel hold down for a more aggressive skier.
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