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How long do boots last?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've had my current boots (Lange X9R's) for around 10 years (I'm guessing, but it's around that. There was a 4 year stretch when I couldn't ski, so they've got about 6 years on them (averaging 10-20 days per year). This is my second season back in the saddle and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm back to my old form (got 30 days in so far this year...what a great season). Anyway, even cranked down they don't seem as stiff as I remember them (which could well be just memory being foggy). The liner doesn't SEEM to be packed in, at least not visually (and I can still get em nice and tight. So, am I due for new boots?

They're such a perfect fit though that I hesitate to give them up. Any thoughts on a good replacement boot to look at (if I do update them it will be end of season this year or beginning of next season (on leftovers from this season)). I'm 5'9, 180 and ski a mix of bumps and fast cruisers. I ski in the east so, lots of ice and hardpack.
post #2 of 21
Rodney, first check if your boots have forward flex (not lean) adjustment. My Lange 4.7 do. If they don't, or if it is at its maximum stiffness, then you may want to go for another pair of boots. Or take these to a good trustworthy bootfitter.
post #3 of 21
I was in a similar situation last year. I had a pair of Langes which I really liked - very comfortable, warm etc. But, they were at least 17 years old. I had not skied for about 10-12 of those years so they were in decent shape. I started to ski again last year and towards the end of the season I found a pair of Salomon x10 in my size (14!!). I figured at some point I was going to need to switch so I might as well buy a good pair of boots at a good price and anytime I find shoes or boots that fit I buy 'em. My first run with the new boots was fantastic! I couldn't believe the responsiveness. Unfortunately the comfort factor was awful. Fortunately, after 4 or 5 days on the slopes the boots feel great and well worth the switch. If I were you I would keep an eye out for the end of year sales and buy yourself a new pair. Good Luck!
post #4 of 21
Ski boots have changed dramaticaly in the last 10 years.The shell of your boot may be fine, but the liner may be rotten. There are replacement liners that you can buy. Also in 10 years your foot has changed as well. You may need some custom insoles to counter act your advancing tendancies towards arch pornation.

I am guessing so I suggest you find a very good boot fitter, and get refitted with your present boots, and if that is not workable then go for some new ones.Do get properly aligned as part of the refitting process.

If you are not skiing the shaped skis of the last three or four seasons, you may be ready for a change here as well.

Good Luck and......

[ February 18, 2003, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: wink ]
post #5 of 21
One thing to keep in mind is that the plastic in your old boots may have started to brake down. UV rays hot and cold temps will effect the plastic in your old boots. For some reason I have seen at least 4 skiers in major crashes because thier old boots just came apart while they were skiing.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by wink:
Ski boots have changed dramaticaly in the last 10 years.
I'm not so sure. I bought a new pair of Head WorldCup Ti N97's this year, and save for the fancy buckles, they are VERY similar to my 1980-era Lange.

Ski's and bindings may have changed dramatically in recent years, but I don't see much difference in boots. JMHO.
post #7 of 21
Ten year old boots for a person who skis that much are TOO OLD!!!!! Never mind whether boots are different today - actually, they really are - but the plastic and the liners in yours have already headed south. Ski sfaely. Ski comfortably. Ski, by all means, EFFECTIVELY. Kinda hard to do your best in those tired old boots, friend.

You ski at Mansfield [Stowe], so do yourself a HUGE favor: Either go to the Pinnacle on the Mountain Road and ask for Benny Wax [or actually any of the boot fitters there]; or go into the big citih to the Alpine Shop [near the exit from I-89 and go EAST toward South Burlington]. At the Alpine Shop, just about all the folks will treat you right, but if you get Scott, Doug, Pierre, or Bryan, you just can't go wrong. Hey, at least look into it, ok?!

The most important aspect of skiing is technique, and the most important pieces of equipment are your boots [and of course modern bindings].

Life is just too short to pass this up, man!
post #8 of 21
You should expect about 150ish days of HARD skiing out of a pair of boots. You say you average 10-20 days/season. Is it 10 or 20, or an average of 15? Depending on how hard you ski, and how you treated and stored the boots, you might be fine. If they are still comfortable, you should be fine in them, but start looking for new ones when the sales start in the spring.

[ February 18, 2003, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: BetaRacer ]
post #9 of 21
The plastic used in boot shells breaks down over time. I have seen boots break in half suddenly without warning. Outwardly they looked to be fine but the plastic had just lost its strength. Possibly this is UV- caused or perhaps some other process is at work. While older boots may be giving you a fantastic feeling of fit they may actually have become more pliable because the material has broken down. You likely will not be receiving the same level of support and performance a newer boot would deliver. I expressed my concern to the Tecnica folks a few years ago about a favorite pair of mine. I never actually experienced a problem with these but was concerned about increasing pliability of the shell and wondering how they might continue to hold up. They replied that they recommend replacing boots after no more than five years use. (Of course they would want you to buy new boots but I had the impression they were letting me know the material has a limited lifespan)
post #10 of 21
Forget about the plastic and the liner and the buckles and the age and and and. Are they stiff enough for you? If so, keep them. If not get new boots.
post #11 of 21
According to Steve Bagley - in whose acumen regarding boots and boot fitting I trust - the liners in those boots died a while back, even if the plastic shell is still good. I'll wager he'd say that ten year old plastic with six years of traffic at the rate of skier days to which you've alluded also is due for a change.

Even if the plastic is still sound - which I would at least question - saying that you "should be fine" with the liners doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I love to find skis at better than expected prices - if the same model and length can be had for less, why pay more? When shopping for boots, I've shopped for "sales" and got great boots that are inexpensive and fit like an old slipper - not so hot for skiing well. Absolutely no amount of work made them fit right - I wasted my money getting a "deal". Now, I shop for the best boot and the best fit for me. Sometimes, that means I actually end up spending less and getting more, in terms of better fit and function - but the focus is on fit and flex, not price.

Why not go to a decent boot fitter and try on some boots now? It can't hurt, and you might discover something.

[ February 18, 2003, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #12 of 21
Sure, getting new boots is nice, but that's a $400 expense (on sale) for a good boot. I have a similar issue with 10-year old boots that I haven't skied much, and am wondering also if just changing the liner would help. Something that could thermoform. Even in a brand new Salomon, my heel moves. And they're supposed to be quite tight at the heel. What can we do in those situations? Bootfitter? Try a 1/2 size down and hope for the best?

YA
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by BetaRacer:
You should expect about 150ish days of HARD skiing out of a pair of boots. You say you average 10-20 days/season. Is it 10 or 20, or an average of 15? Depending on how hard you ski, and how you treated and stored the boots, you might be fine. If they are still comfortable, you should be fine in them, but start looking for new ones when the sales start in the spring.
Oooops so I get about 2 seasons

Thanks for that - I think....
post #14 of 21
If you have trouble with fit, try Zip-Fit liners. They're heat moldable and can be taken from one set of boots to another. The way Steve Bagley fit mine was to heat the Zip-Fit in a microwave, heat the plastic shells in a convection oven, and then have me put them on and buckle them down. They fit very well. They can be re-heated and re-molded any number of times.

Zip-Fits are always a good investment, and if you have a shell which you feel has more life but your liners could be better, the Zip-Fits are a great way to go. My shells and liners are more than two seasons old. The shells seem to be fine, but the liners have been messed with quite a bit - not an uncommon thing. Liners do pack out and change, so they get a pad here and duct tape there. The Zip-Fits sounded like a good idea, and so far it's the best move I've made regarding boots so far.

I got mine from Steve Bagley at Superior Ski, an outfit which Steve operates at Snowbird most days of the week and Solitude two days of the week. I don't know who does them in Vermont, but I'd like to find out in the event I eventually want a re-heat/re-mold. One of the great things about Steve is that he really seems to understand feet, and he demonstrated and explained everything he was taking about using a plastic foot skeleton and schematic drawings.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good responses. I guess I am due for new boots. These are definitely feeling softer (flex-wise) than I remember. So now I start looking for new boots. Any recomendations? I'm planning on looking at Langes, Atomics, Salomons, and Technicas. I'll be working with a good bootfitter (haven't decided which one yet, but I've got some good options available to me) and will be sure to check fit carefully.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney:
So now I start looking for new boots. Any recomendations? I'm planning on looking at Langes, Atomics, Salomons, and Technicas. I'll be working with a good bootfitter (haven't decided which one yet, but I've got some good options available to me) and will be sure to check fit carefully.
Do a search in forums for "boots"/"boot fit"/"boot fitter" etc. and you will surely find a lot of info. That is where I was looking for inspiration when buying boots earlier this season. Good luck in choosing the right boots for you.
post #17 of 21
Off the topic perhaps but why is ski equipment - being skis and boots- quite so expensive in the US and Canada.Someone said $400 ,US i assume, for boots in a sale which is about £250 -£260 in the uk. That is generally higher than the list price for anything here and on sale you can expect to pick up boots for £120- £150 which would equate to $180-$230.Tyoically the mainland Europe prices would be even lower.

My own experience in Canada over the last 2 seasons is that their end of seasons sales- in April- were selling kit at more than the UK regular price in very many instances.

This puts ski kit in just about a class of its own since nothing else seems to be more expensive "over there", except, maybe, books which also seem to retail higher.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney:
Thanks for the good responses. I guess I am due for new boots. These are definitely feeling softer (flex-wise) than I remember. So now I start looking for new boots. Any recomendations? I'm planning on looking at Langes, Atomics, Salomons, and Technicas. I'll be working with a good bootfitter (haven't decided which one yet, but I've got some good options available to me) and will be sure to check fit carefully.
Which brand of boot shouldn't be a major concern until you see a good fitter. Depending on the shape and characterstics of your feet certain brands won't even be an option. For example, my feet are pretty wide near my toes so I couldn't even consider several brands, however, Technica made a couple models that have wider toeboxes. Some shells will just fit your foot better than others and a someone who knows what they are doing will find the right boot. If you can get a good reference from somebody who knows what they are talking about, they are worth the effort and time. If not, make sure to ask the fitter some questions about fitting a boot to your foot type, narrow, wide or whatever. If they don't seem to know what they are talking about, find somebody else. I would definitely recommend spending the money on a custom footbed as well. The extra $100-150 is worth the cost.
post #19 of 21
Colin,
It's very true about ski gear prices.
In general the UK has lower rices for skis and boots. Dealer margins are very tight over here, which keeps the prices down, but I'm not sure what other reasons might be.

S
post #20 of 21
This is an ancedcdotal rather than scientific respose but here goes:

Shells do get old and crack. At the Epic Ski Academy
a skier(no, not a Academy participant) walked into the lodge wearing a pair of scott rear-entry boots one of which had cracked into two sepearte pieces right over the instep and completely around the sides and through the sole of the boot. Fortunatly for him the break occured between the parking lot and the lodge and not while skiing. :

Liners in most boots are, for the most part, simply pretty pretty bad with short lives if subjected to heavy use. When you consider that most people ski less than 10 days a year though, it means the boot liner will likely last a reasonable 3-5 years. When it comes to heavy use longevity, the single stock liner exception that I know of is the Thermoflex liner in Raichle Flexon's.

I would respectfully disagree with the notion that shells have improved a lot in the last 20 years. Other than bells and whistles introduced and discarded for marketing purposes over the years, I don't think that conventional shell technology has changed much during the last two decades.

The San Marco now Head boot comes in different shell widths but the shell technology is fundamentaly unchanged as has been mentioned. Until its face lift this past season, the Lange racing shell hadn't changed in twenty years and this according to Lange itself. Raichle now Kneissl 20 plus years and so on. Rear-entry and now soft boots are the only real techology departures in twenty some years of boot making that I can think of. The seriously mean Nordica Doberman race boot is technology that has been around on the World Cup for many years (stiffer, thicker, plastic) brought into retail sales rooms.

I will have to acknowlege one major shell advance. Twenty years ago they didn't have translucent shells . One other notable change: Although some have morphed into other brands, you don't see Caber, Dachstein, Dynafit, Hansen, Heirling Henke, Kastinger, Koflach, Spademan, Trappeur and Weinmann on the shelves today. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ February 23, 2003, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: Lostboy ]
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney:
Thanks for the good responses. I guess I am due for new boots. These are definitely feeling softer (flex-wise) than I remember. So now I start looking for new boots. Any recomendations? I'm planning on looking at Langes, Atomics, Salomons, and Technicas. I'll be working with a good bootfitter (haven't decided which one yet, but I've got some good options available to me) and will be sure to check fit carefully.
Rodney: The only recommendations are not to get hung up on brands; the fit is the important thing. I see you mentioned you were going to be sure to check the fit carefully. Most important thing!

As regards stiffness: I've learned that boots in the shop at 72degrees can be a lot softer than the same boot on the hill at 0F. Think about this as you choose your boot.
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