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ZipFit Plug Leather in Tecnica XTs

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Steve Bagley of Superior Ski in Snowbird (ESA bootfitter teaming with Bud Heishman this past week) is the new importer of the ZipFit series of aftermarket liners, and carries both the consumer and the new plug series. The Plug Leather is the liner recommended for best foot grip (the leather grips better when wet). The liner is mostly neoprene in the forefoot except on the top, it laces up the front and has its own velcro strap to snug the top. The leather covers all of the areas with the ZipFit flow fill, which is a cork/silicone mixture. To help the mixture to flow, the fitter heats the shells in an oven and the liners on a blower. Then, he inserts the liners into the still-hot shells, fits the skiers foot in, and buckles snug.

So, I took the leap and put a pair of the ZipFit Plug Leathers into my XTs while I was at the ESA. I have only been on them for two days, but so far they are quite an improvement. I am expecting it to take another 5-10 days on-snow to really get them dialed-in, but the support is much better, and the hold back to when the boots were first new. Even though the stock liner is thin and minimalist, after 60 days or so it was beginning to compress. I'm now back to a real snug fit and am looking forward to a few more years in these shells. And then I can put the ZipFits into my next boots...!

I found that as I skied in the warm boots, the flow material did move and I snugged the buckles over the course of the day.

The ZipFits are very firm and snug around the heel pocket as you'd expect since that's where most of the flow is. It'll take me some time to dial in the buckles as the flow moves (plus, I had the ankle bone areas ground a bit). The liners offer exceptional sensitivity, solid transfer of energy to the boot shell (and the ski), and a warmer insulation than the standard XT liners (although, I think a paper bag probably would do that! ).

Bud plans to have a few pair of the Plug Leathers available, so PM him for more information if you're interested.
post #2 of 68
Can this liner be put into any boot, or just the Technica line?
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
The Plug line is lower-volume, intended to replace plug liners (another skier in Steve's shop had them in the Atomic RT series, for example). There is a higher-volume version (the NeoPlush). See the ZipFit NA site for more information. There is a version for virtually any boot, and its the volume of the liner that's being replaced that's the variable.
post #4 of 68
Interesting. I have been considering ZipFit. Know of anywhere in Colorado where I can try them on? (Probably I would go Plush, not Plug. . .)

Mollmeister
post #5 of 68
Mollmeister,
ssh left the link for zipfit, they have a list of retailers.
ssh, why did you grind a perfectly good boot?
You should have ground your ankle bones.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by John J
Mollmeister,
ssh left the link for zipfit, they have a list of retailers.
ssh, why did you grind a perfectly good boot?
You should have ground your ankle bones.
Thanks. I'd been to the www.zipfit.com site, which has very little data. Figured this might be the same link. Didn't realize there was a better url with more info.
post #7 of 68

Cost?

ssh, what was the overall cost of your leather liners? Do you know the cost of the other Zipfit liners?
post #8 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
Interesting. I have been considering ZipFit. Know of anywhere in Colorado where I can try them on? (Probably I would go Plush, not Plug. . .)

Mollmeister
In addition to the list on his site, Steve mentioned to me that he had just been in to visit Larry here in Boulder and dropped him some liners. The Christy Sports may also have them (they are listed as a retailer, and Steve's shop in Snowbird is located inside the Christy Sports there).
post #9 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper
ssh, what was the overall cost of your leather liners? Do you know the cost of the other Zipfit liners?
There is virtually no discounting of the liners since the markup is pretty limited due to the importing situation. I don't have my receipt handy (still in my ESA bags--not yet unpacked!), but I think the Plug Leather was $345, the Plug Neoplush $325, and the Espresso Neoplush $295. I could be wrong, tho!
post #10 of 68
I am glad you found something that you like. I would like to ask you a question, though... How thin is the liner you got?
post #11 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
I am glad you found something that you like. I would like to ask you a question, though... How thin is the liner you got?
Very. Especially in the forefoot. It's definitely a similar thickness to the stock liner. Is there something in particular you'd like to know about it?

Note: the sides of the forefoot (black in the pics on the zipfitna.com web site) is neoprene, so obviously very thin.
post #12 of 68
I also took the plunge for the ZipFit Plug Leather liner - and I'm ecstatic about them. I finally have liners that work perfectly in my Dalbello Kryptons. As Steve said, the Plug Leather liner is very thin in the forefoot area (it's a wrap-around double layer neoprene toe box) and that allowed me to get my foot and the liner into the Krypton without any shell modifications (yeah!).

I demoed the ZipFit by using it only on my right foot while using a traditional dual-density Thermoflex on the left (I demoed the liner in my Flexons and skied like this for the entire day). I found the ZipFit to be just as warm as the Thermoflex (surprisingly - the weather on top of Mt. Baldy was 50-60mph winds and exposed skin was prone to frostbite extremely quickly). The ZipFit is a much higher performing liner that provides a much more responsive feel than the "cushier" Thermoflex while still providing the custom fit around the heel, ankle, instep, and shin. The velcro strap and lacing system on the liner helps maintain smooth contact with your entire foot/leg during all skiing motions. The heel hold down was phenomenal and only gets better the more you ski in them.

I know that many other ESA attendees also jumped on the opportunity to demo and purchase these liners (maybe onyx_jl will weigh in here). When I was leaving Snowbird today I ran into one of the coaches, Nick Herrin, who was also getting fitted for new ZipFits.

One of the great features of the ZipFit is that they can SpotFit inject additional compound into areas of the liner to fine tune the fit. Steve Bagley added more flow compound to the instep of my liners and really dialed them in.

BTW - for you Colorado Bears, Steve Bagley recommended that I visit Jacques at Le Foot Lab (used to be Le Ski Lab) in Winter Park if I needed additional fine tuning of my ZipFits. Jacques carries the ZipFit line also.
post #13 of 68
OK, I want these now for my XT's. Either the plug Neoplush or Leather - not sure which, I'd like to see them both first.

Anybody know of a good bootfitter in the NY or VT area that carries these? I see the website listed Foot Dynamics in Queensbury, NY. But that can't be it, can it? :
post #14 of 68
I thought I'd add that I've figured out how to "work" on these liners at home (my method is a touch simpler than the one posted on the web site or used at the shop).

We have a 1200 watt microwave oven - I found that 40 seconds on power level 8 was perfect for getting the liner ready for fitting. It's a touch too hot when it comes out, but by the time you get your footbed in the liner, the liner heat will be just right for your foot.

Instead of using the boiling water method to heat the shells (as posted on their web site) I just stuck my shells into an oven preheated to 200 degrees. I covered the rack with 2 sheets of foil and placed the boots with the buckle side down to the rack (so the plastic is never directly resting on the rack). I heated the shells for 5 minutes and they came out just like they did when Steve heated them in a convection oven (really the Raichle Thermoflex oven) at his shop.

I then used the method posted on the ZipFit web site where you put your footbed and foot into the liner BEFORE slipping everything into the shell. This is different than how the shop did it (they put the liner into the shell first and then your foot). When they did the process at the shop I noticed that they had some trouble getting the hot liners into the shells smoothly. Doing this step with the liner on your foot seems to work well, but I guess it depends on the shell that you're working with.

I buckled the boots at a medium tightness and really drove my heel back in the pocket by leaning forward a bit and pushing against the kitchen counter with my hands (hopefully you can picture this). I did NOT bang my heel against the floor! That method actually produces a looser heel hold for both Thermoflex liners and the ZipFits - just drive your heel back and down as hard as possible. Don't move around a lot or do any dramatic forward flexing (when the shells are hot they are extremely flexible). I stood in the boots for about 15 minutes and then sat down for another 15 while they cooled. Once the shells felt cool to the touch I removed the boots and checked out my work - they came out awesome and feel even better now.

I also shortened the laces on my liners so that there's just enough length to slip them on and off without having to deal with finding a "place" to tuck almost 2 feet of extra lace material (when they're tightened).
post #15 of 68
Just looked at their website and it doesn't seem like anyone in Quebec is carrying these, wich is a shame, since they sound so good. Would you recommend ordering direct from them and fitting them at home? If so, how does their sizing system for the liner works? The same as a stock liner? Or should I go smaller/larger (you get the drift)?

Thanks for pointing out this product, I tought I maybe had to buy new boots for next season (currently in Lange 130 that have packed out a lot), but maybe I won't have to.
post #16 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister
OK, I want these now for my XT's. Either the plug Neoplush or Leather - not sure which, I'd like to see them both first.
Definitely the leather... As Bud mentioned to me, the leather tends to grip as it gets wet, meaning that the liner holds you better as you perspire instead of letting you slide around.
post #17 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffr
Just looked at their website and it doesn't seem like anyone in Quebec is carrying these, wich is a shame, since they sound so good. Would you recommend ordering direct from them and fitting them at home? If so, how does their sizing system for the liner works? The same as a stock liner? Or should I go smaller/larger (you get the drift)?

Thanks for pointing out this product, I tought I maybe had to buy new boots for next season (currently in Lange 130 that have packed out a lot), but maybe I won't have to.
They are in mm, I believe. If you call Superior Ski or Snowind (Bud Heishman) and tell them the boots you have, they'll know which ones to send you. BTW, if you do, please let them know that you learned about them from EpicSki!
post #18 of 68
Thread Starter 
Noodler, you are amazing! Thanks for the post... I may need some additional SpotFit at some point, but I'm going to ski them as they are for now.
post #19 of 68

Punched boots

I've had the big toe area of each boot punched to make more room. If the shells are heated I understand the punch will likely go away. If I get the Zipfit liners and still need the additional room provided by the punch will the shells need to be repunched after the Zipfit liner fitting or can the liners be fit without heating the shells?
post #20 of 68
Steve fitted me up two years ago and I have enjoyed the zipfits. One comment: they do get out of shape when I try to shove my foot into a cold boot. To overcome that I filled two socks with white rice, these are heated in the microwave before leaving for the mountain. One hot sock into each boot during the drive up. When I put on the boot the heat is adequate to soften the plastic which aids entry and the liner is warm enough to refit around my heel and foot. Every day is a new perfect fit.
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Very. Especially in the forefoot. It's definitely a similar thickness to the stock liner. Is there something in particular you'd like to know about it?

Note: the sides of the forefoot (black in the pics on the zipfitna.com web site) is neoprene, so obviously very thin.
When you said that it is a similar thickness to the stock liner, you told me what i wanted to know. But, there is something else i would like to ask you about them. You said that the liner is very firm in the heel pocket and that the the ankle area was ground. Does this mean that the liner is foam-like in that area? Is the liner soft or not in the heel/ankle area?

When i first read your post i thought the ankle area was ground b/c the liner was foam-like in that area.

Thanks.

Jamie
post #22 of 68
Thread Starter 
Sorry for not being clear. The ankle needed to be ground with the stock liners, too, but I hadn't had it done, yet (it hurt, but not enough to get me to a shop to have it ground). The volume was effectively the same. The cork material is highest volume in the ankle area, but it is no higher volume than the stock liner, IMO.
post #23 of 68
Ryel - love the rice in socks idea! Phenomenal method for dealing with the ZipFit liners when they're really cold. I've found though that just wearing the boots for about 30 minutes at normal room temp seems to soften up the liner quite a bit.

Sywsyw - the "flow" material is a rubberized ground up cork material that never really fully "sets", but does become stiffer in colder temps. I didn't have any trouble getting in or out of my Flexons or Kryptons with the liners (so I don't think that I would need to heat them before every day of skiing), but I do see where a very close fitting 2 piece overlap style boot could be troublesome. I saw that the shop used silicone spray for some customer's boots to help them get the boots on (they just sprayed a shot down into the inside of the liner). My only concern is that repeated use of silicone on the leather liner would reduce the "grippiness" of the leather and probably build up in your ski socks over time.
post #24 of 68
Thread Starter 
I think putting the liners on first, then slipping them into the shells is another way of dealing with this issue. I will not try getting my boots on with the liners in the shells unless they are warm, and probably not even then!
post #25 of 68
Jeffr, measure your boot shell on the inside (without liner).
Metric. This is the dimension they want. You can order from
Utah.
Prosper, Tom Gabrielese at Snowcrest handles them.
I usually just leave the boots by a floor heater in the car
as I drive to ski. They are nice and warm and pliable.
It does seem to help using the pull on the liner several times
after your foot is in method (as you drive foot down).
Silicone? I use plastic bags behind my heel to get my foot into the
liner (already in the boot) The heavier type or gallon type (cut the side
seams). I would never get the liner in my boots (Technica)
with my foot in there.
post #26 of 68
Thread Starter 
I am definitely finding that there is no way that my foot is going to slide in and out of the ZipFit when it's in the boot. I have to put it on outside, then slip it into the shell. Even with the tight and small XT shell, I can do that pretty easily.

I do think I'm going to need more SpotFit, though. Somehow...
post #27 of 68
ssh, is the velcro strap they come with removeable?

I was thinking of demoing them at the ESA, but was worried about my credit card after having Bud do my boots and getting a new pair of planks in the same week.
post #28 of 68
It is great to see a superb review on the benefits of Zip Fit liners. I got my (leather) Zip Fits last year to fix the stock liner pack-out of my Nordica Beasts. I switched them to Nordica Hot Rods this year. I skied the Hot Rod stock liner a couple times to get a baseline on the boot performance and then switched to the Zip Fits. I haven't gone back to my nearly new stock liners.

The Zip Fits do seem to improve the quickness of both boots. Lateral response is superior with the firm liner. One of the additional benefits of Zip Fit liners not mentioned above is their amazing durability. Steve Bagley is claiming 500 plus days of skiing. I have 65 days on my liners and they are as good as, if not better than new. I believe they are a great investment because the new heat moldable stock liners of today seem to have traded durability for out-of-the-box comfort.

The Zip Fits will work with any liner. Thanks for the great review and for those of you looking for a long term fix to boot fit, comfort and performance, give the Zip Fits a try. You won't be sorry. If you have trouble finding a local shop that just gives you an excuse to head to Snowbird and get them from the master and ski some pretty great conditions here in Utah, also!
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I am definitely finding that there is no way that my foot is going to slide in and out of the ZipFit when it's in the boot. I have to put it on outside, then slip it into the shell. Even with the tight and small XT shell, I can do that pretty easily.

I do think I'm going to need more SpotFit, though. Somehow...
Are your shells warm enough to open easily? the zips seem to get out of shape if I don't keep them in the shell, they then require extra work to refit the toes and ankle so now I leave them in the shell and use a shoe spoon and nylon to help the heel slip down.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by marc gledhill
but was worried about my credit card after having Bud do my boots and getting a new pair of planks in the same week.
but marc, isn't the boot work worth it once you ski with a balanced, aligned boot and stance? I completely forgot how much I paid Bud the moment I paid him. I still don't remember what it cost.
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