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What is a (semi-)plug?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I'm not a native English speaker.
Nor am I a wizz on skigear although I always I was (until I cruised on this forum a bit more ).

What actually is a plug? :
How do they differ from consumer boots? : I ask this because in most European shops they are on the shelf right between the so-called consumer boots, without any distinction.
Why is it called that? :

Anyone care to elaborate or I am just asking plain silly questions?
post #2 of 7
A plug is a real race boot, what the sponsored guys have, or at least very close. It is characterized by very thick plastic, especially in the lower, that is intended to be nothing like a human foot, but leave much room for grinding and punching to ideally result in a spray-on fit. Consumer boots have much thinner plastic.

Also, the boots tend to be uncomplicated in design, usually with a one-piece lower and a one-piece upper, secured with a rivet instead of the goofy cuff cant adjusters on consumer boots. A proper cant is only achieved by sole planing anyway... Plugs tend to be a little more upright, on average, than consumer boots, and tend to be stiffer. Also, due to the thick plastic and very thin (often leather) liners, they are very cold. They are the best-performing ski boot you can buy.

Examples: Salomon Course X2, Nordica Dobermann WC 100 and 150 (NOT the pro 110 and 130), Atomic RT Ti (Not the CS), Head RD96, Tecnica Diablo Race R, etc.

A semi-plug is basically a watered-down plug. Still somewhat above a consumer race boot like a salomon course spaceframe, but not a full plug. They are a little wider, have a little more padding (most plugs have none except at the ankles and tongue), and are softer. They offer most of the performance without the 7 (for me) hours of grinding and stretching to get into the boot.

Examples: Tecnica Race Pro 110,130. Atomic RT CS, Nordica Dobermann 130/110

A consumer boot has a thicker liner, a thinner shell less tolerant of grinding, and is significantly softer, on average. The shell is usually made up of multiple pieces (3+), sometimes with elastomer layers for shock absorption. The contrast is illustrated here:
RT CS (semi plug)

Note the 2 -pice shell and lack of shock-absorber garbage.

M10 (consumer "expert" boot)

You can see the contrast, how the shell is made up of many pieces and that rubbery stuff is everywhere.

Hope that helps.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
It does!

Any idea why it's called a plug though?

Also, you mention plugs aren't warm, would a semi-plug be warmer?
I'm prone to get cold toes (and fingers for that matter) all the time.

All in all my guess I'd be best of with a semi-plug to give me most performance with still a level of comfort and warm toes
post #4 of 7
When a skiboot shell is being molded the part of the mold that forms the inner void of the boot (where your foot goes) is called the 'plug'. In raceroom boots the 'plug' is narrower and smaller creating the thicker plastic walls of the boot, hence the slang name 'plug boot'.

If you're worried about your tootsies getting cold you're barking up the wrong tree thinking about plug boots. Recreational skiers can get all the performance they need out of a PROPERLY fit consumer boot and be more comfortable and warmer. The performance of the plug is a virtue of the hours of custom fitting that goes into making them fit. Not some magic plastic.
post #5 of 7

Check this out!

I believe original plug was made for Tomba by Lange.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Great link "Headman", thanks!
post #7 of 7
At least they are Austrian! Being mounted as we speak. might get to ski on them at whistler May 19th
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