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go softer with boots?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey freeskiers, racers and PSIA- I grew up racing ice. I've been on stiff boots for 27 years. The last 12 years have been skiing pow and scary, rocky lines. Thinking about going softer this year because I'm sick of shin-bang. I know I'm not a racer and don't need racing boots but I've been scared to give them up in the recent years. I've met so many skiers who like softer boots yet I just can't imagine it. But the pain is getting old. Is that all I give up?

Why do you love softer or stiffer boots?

I still ski 4-5 days a week, mainly steep pow and trees with medium airs. Big airs have subsided. inverted rotations only happen on golden days too.

current boards; Gotamas/frische, AC4s

(although i claim to be the sickest skier your girlfriend has ever met, I know nothing technical about boots.)
post #2 of 15
I would like opinions on this too.

Altho' I also have stiff boots (Salomon XWave10), I've also been thinking about the soft boots. I find it interesting that the people that I personally know using them are PSIA LIII's, Certified Trainers, and Certified Examiners. Must be something there. I have been told by the peeps I know using them that it took a day or so skiing greens to get used to them.

Also wonder if one tele skis, would it make the transition period easier.
post #3 of 15
I don't the X-Wave is that stiff compared to the Course. I am currently using the Sal. Pro-Model which is slightly softer than the X-Wave, 95 vrs. 110 and like it. I would not want to go softer than the Pro-Model though
post #4 of 15
I had a pair of the Salomon XWave 10's that I didn't keep very long. Aside from packing out too much, to me they were stiff in the wrong places. I found myself constantly fighting to keep balanced. It wasn't the stiffness, although it was a stiff boot. The stance was just wrong for me. Boots today are not only getting softer, but they are all getting higher in volume, which makes them feel even softer. The main advantage of a stiff boot is that if your stance is balanced to begin with, then a stiffer boot will help you stay centered, and will make it easier to recover when you do get out of balance. In the old days a stiff forward flex was more necessary to put pressure on the ski tips to make them turn. Most of the ski shops today will want to tell you that you don't need a stiff fore and aft flex anymore, that lateral stiffness is more important. This may be true for some recreational skiers, but for high performance skiing, a stiffer boot (within reason, I'm not talking plug boots here) is still an advantage. Most of the high end boots sold at retail ski shops are still fairly stiff and of lower volume by comparison. I have a feeling that if you are experiencing a lot of shin bang, then there are probably more issues going on there other than just the stiffness of the boot.
post #5 of 15
I'm a stiff boot person (Lange WC 130 LF). I knew a few people who tried the soft boots. Women in their 50s, PSIA L2 certs, very unagressive skiers, who bought them on the hype, skied in them maybe a half dozen times, and got rid of them. The concept was interesting, but I think it was more akin to rear entry boots (although the whistle was blown a lot more timely than the whole rear entry fiasco).

If you're having shin bang, you might want to look into boots that just fit your feet and lower legs better. I'm in a stiff boot, but never get shin bang (I do have to move the upper bales back, since I have thin calves, so that the boot is properly tight when on the 1st or 2nd hook). If you're just looking for something a bit more comfortable, and are willing to sacrafice a little performance, go down the line a bit, to a less racey boot, which will have a slightly thicker liner, and/or possibly a slightly larger last. Or, again, maybe a different brand that uses a different mold which will fit you better
post #6 of 15
What do you consider a soft or stiff boot? An X-Wave is 10 soft compared to many race boots. That said, most boots today are pretty soft compared to some of the race boots of the past...

I'm assuming you're not talking about some of the marshmellow "soft" park and recreational boots.
post #7 of 15
A booster strap will help with the shin bang. X-Waves are soft compared to a Nordica Hot Rod or the like, much less a race boot.
post #8 of 15
First lets define some parameters.

What are you on now? What are you thinking of switching to?

One mans stiffy is another mans noodle. Just ask your girlfriend
post #9 of 15

A lover not a fighter.

Boot stiffness preference is a matter of your personal style. If you want to attack the mountain you need a stiff boot. If you want to make love to the mountain get a soft boot.

I'd say get Kryptons, you won't be sorry (or sore). They can be made stiffer or softer to a very large degree.
post #10 of 15
I got soft boots last time and I don't regret it.

The "soft" are Cross-max 10s (same as X-wave I hear) and say "Flex 100" on the back of em. After putting on 20 lbs since the older boots, I'm at 165 lbs. I used to have stiff boots, triple-stacked foam Koflach Comp 911s. I can't tell you what the flex number was but I think it was pretty close to 1/0 on those 40 below days. "How stiff?" you ask. Stiff enough to give you a work out putting them on. Stiff enough that the most dangerous part of many days was the risk of hernia getting them off. Stiff enough that you had to go to the lodge after skiing or spend 20 minutes with your feet next to the car heater if you wanted to get them off without breaking a few foot bones.

There is a noticeable decrease in performance in the sense that there is a greater fraction of a second delay between command and action. It's simple mechanics really; it takes more time because you have to move more to get the same force transmitted. At really high speeds/forces I also have to move a little farther from centre than I might like to.

The cross-maxs still allow me to bend a ski. Even with these softer boots, I still had no difficulty bending some old-style Fischer RC4 slalom skis into super tight carves.

There is also an improvement in performance for me at most speeds because with the stiff boots, my motion was not as far from centre as would have been ideal. I also really enjoy the added suspension in the sense that I am able to flex my ankles more with less force absorbing bumps and such. It's like having a stiff suspension set up on a car verses a little softer springs and dampers.

Is it easier or harder to ski with the softer boots? Both. The softer set up is a little more forgiving of mistakes and gives you a wider range of motion which is easier to adjust and fine tune the force, but a little harder to ski very fast because you have to anticipate and account for the added flex, just like accounting for slop in my wagon pretending it's a porsche.

On the whole I would say I'm willing to give up that fraction of a second and just not put myself in a position where I'll need it back. I must be getting old:.
post #11 of 15
I ahve a question. I have Crossmax 10s that are a 110 flex. Did the X-wave 10 essentially replace the Crossmax?
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tief schnee View Post
First lets define some parameters.

What are you on now? What are you thinking of switching to?

One mans stiffy is another mans noodle. Just ask your girlfriend
amen to that. Oops, forgot that smidget of a detail.
currently riding Atomic's race shell from '02 with a zip-fit and boosters. (don't actually remember the atomic name; the grey/red shell with red heel and toe pieces with the black and white checker under the sole. sorry never even paid attention)
I'm loving the fit of the new Falcon 10 with their custom race fit liner and want to hop on them. My 25 shell size is only a 100 flex which I believe will be fine for my pow skiing, I just don't want to be one of those guys who regrets it. I still love arcing morning cord at mach-o-my-god.

I could just get a new liner for my atomic shell, but I'm over it. Wanna modernize my world.

Any thoughts on that Falcon 10?
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by Birdman829 View Post
I ahve a question. I have Crossmax 10s that are a 110 flex. Did the X-wave 10 essentially replace the Crossmax?
One year, the Crossmax and X-wave 10's were the same boot with different graphics. Another year, one was rated a tad stiffer. After those years, the Crossmax disappeared.
post #14 of 15
I have always skied a "soft" boot. I skied my Flexons and now Kryptons on the soft side. Stiff lateral and rearward is more important than a stiff forward boot.
post #15 of 15
I thought that my Dobermann WC 150's were too stiff for free skiing (unsoftened for racing). I was right. I do however LOVE the volume of the Dobie. When I was shopping for new boots a few seasons ago I ended up in the Head S12. Supposedly it was supposed to be a stiff boot with a comfy fit. the comfy fit was right... but the boot is like skiing with wet pasta as your boot. I rarely use them when I am doing anything performance related - plus they do not have the foot hold that the Dobie gives me. For this season I am thinking of taking one of the screws out of the back of my current Dobies, and getting into a Dobie Agressor for carving and racing. That would leave me with the fit I love in a soft and stiff flex. I am also considering trying a Booster Strap again (the WC), but the last time I tried the regular model I did not like it... so we shall see.

So bottom line... buy a boot that holds your foot not a boot that flexes how you want it to. Flex is something that is very customizable. If you enjoy your current boots, consider adding a booster and having them softened a little bit for alleiviate some of the pain and annoyance.


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