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Dale Boots, two varieties?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My old Rossi's just catapulted me into the dark world of ski boot shopping after a day at the terrain park yesterday. Must have gotten brittle with age because my right boot split into unuseability.

The LAST thing I want to be doing on my trip to Fernie this March is breaking in new boots. The last time I sat for orthotics (at a reputable bootfitter, Salters in PA), he described my feet as an orthopedic nightmare. Nearly came between me and the sport, and of all things, a used pair (those Rossignols) saved me in 1997.

I'm definitely on the side of comfort over stiffness, but, a level 7-8 skier, I ski somewhat "aggressively" or fast. I have two good friends who swear by their Dale Boots, in fact, if you run a search, one, pcwood, posted his testimonial of picking up a pair two years ago when we were in Utah after Sure Foot painstakingly outfitted him in a pair of Technicas that killed two days of his vacation before he gave up, returned them, and kept the footbeds, replacing them with a pair of Dale Boots.

Unfortunately, I'll be nowhere near Salt Lake City anytime soon, but I CAN go visit a fellow named David Caruso at "Priority Medical" who is contracted with Dale Boot--the outfit works with braces for the handicapped, etc., so presumably he can get the measurements a little better than I would for the mail order process, which I'll still have to do--but when they arrive he'll do a second fitting, so I guess it's as good as it gets without going.

My winded treatise arrives at two boots being available now, the traditional Dale Boot VFF, and the new ST 2002 "for people who like a stiffer boot."

I've read ad nauseum via the search engine here all the comments on fore/aft flex and softness versus control, etc. Has anyone had any experience, or know anyone, with the more stiff St 2002? I'm inclined to "go with what I know," that is to say, two people I know personally with the VFFs that love them. But I ski harder than both, and if I was confident regarding the comfort issues, the "control" argument does bear some weight...

Any thoughts?

Wilmington, DE

[ January 30, 2004, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 12
Aaron, I really don't have any info on the new stiffer Dale Boot. In the past some people who raced didn't think Dale boots were good for racing. I can only tell you what I Know about Thier over all service. IMHO Dale knows more about boots and boot fitting then anybody. Give the salt lake store a call. witrh some of your personal info they might be able to give you a better Idea of what boot would be best suited to you and your skiing. As I understand it for Park and Pipe and Bumps you would want a boot with some flex. by the way Dale boots are pretty stiff from side to side just not fore and aft.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback. Good tip about flex and the terrain park. I'm 41 and not exactly the inverted aerial studly type, but I like getting a little air from time to time. Not into racing, either, really, but I do enjoy skiing fast if the crowds/conditions are appropriate.

[ January 30, 2004, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
post #5 of 12
Sorry Aaron, I read your post and somehow got it into my head that you were doing jumps. After rereading I didn't see anything there about aerials. I'll just blame it on old age or something like that. Ok back to subject. I have friends that were about to give up skiing due to foot problems Daleboot put them back on skis again. I have easy to fit feet so I can buy tecnica boots at sure foot for 1/2 price at Surefoot at thier Labor day sale. However I do have a Daleboot liner in my old boots. As soon as the Techinca liners in my new boots pack out, I'll replace them with a DaleBoot liner.
Like I said give Dale a call at thier Salt Lake store. I'm sure that they will give better advice then what you could here or anywhere.
post #6 of 12
How much do you weigh? I've heard of guys on EpicSki ranging from 140 to 270+ lbs. A boot that a 150 lb person would find stiff could easily be wimpy for a 270 lb person (almost no matter what their skiing skills / athleticism).

FWIW, I used a pair of Dales for many years and absolutely loved them. I would probably still be using them if I hadn't screwed up and left them out in the shed once, whereupon in the space of a few weeks they were gnawed to shreds by some animal. No being able to try Dale's newer models locally when I needed to replace them made me buy a boot from a different mfgr.

Tom / PM
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Chuckle. I read your rodent testimonial in an old post when I did a search on Dale Boots. Catastrophe! And, you can imagine my groan (boot pain flashing before my eyes, not to mention the expense) when I looked down and realized why my boot felt so loose.

I'm 5'10" and weigh ~195lbs. My "hot spot" has always been my in-step. I have high arches, and I pronate quite a bit (favor the inside of my foot when I walk, apparently). I'm inclined to go with the VFF (less stiff) boot, in want of erring on the side of comfort. Wish I could pull off a trip to SLC but it's not in the cards. If only I'd known in 2001 when we were at Alta for a week (and my two compadres, already mentioned, came home with Dale Boots).
post #8 of 12
> "...Chuckle. I read your rodent testimonial in an old post when I did a search on Dale Boots..."

Oh, NO! I'm repeating old stories - a sure sign of old fartdom.

I'm very impressed that you found that obscure old post of mine. It reminds me of the oft-repeated caution never to say anything on the internet that you wouldn't want your mother to know (ie, given the power of search engines).

Anyway, back to your question. I was probably around 195 lbs when I was using my old Dale boots, and I found their flex (in the "ski" position) perfect for relatively smooth snow conditions (typically hardpack). Whenever the snow got choppy, I would flip the little lever in the back to "walk" and it would immediately make them significantly more forgiving when skiing such conditions. I absolutely loved having that control. In my experience, the ski/walk control on other boots that I have tried have had much less effect.

I will say that from the looks and description of the current VFF it looks like they haven't changed it very much from the model I owned, but obviously, I can't be sure of this because they easily could have changed "invisible" things like thicknesses, springs, etc.. FWIW, I also have a high instep and I found them quite comfortable.

I wish I had more recent experience with them to be able to help you out. FWIW, a good friend (another physicist and quite advanced skier) loves his 3 or 4 year old pair of Dale boots.

Good luck,

Tom / PM
post #9 of 12
Not sure how much work was done on those Rossis you had, but wouldn't it be easier to track down another pair of those, since you know they fit and perform how you'd like?
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's a thought, but they're about a 1995/1996 vintage...
post #11 of 12

Have you asked Dale if the boots can be changed from the VFF to the ST or back? It might be just a change in the cuff.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
I wound up ordering the VFF through a local (mid-Atlantic) bootfitter Tuesday. Asked him about the ST and he said his experience has been if you're looking for a very stiff boot, Dale Boot wasn't the answer (basically saying there are better solutions than the ST)--note, Dale Boot is the only thing he carried, and the ST would have been more.

Still, had I been at the SLC shop I would have wanted to try both, and if I were there for a period of time, I might have even rolled the die for the ST because I could always have switched over mid-week based on experience. But, without that luxury, I err'd on the side of comfort and all the personal, great testimonials I've gotten on the VFF.

I'm hoping this bootfitter got those measurements right!
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