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Some input on Head ski boots requested..

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My current boots are a pair of 2003 Nordica The Beast size 29,5 335mm and its time for me get new ones, long story short.

My foot is at least 100mm wide and its long as well so I have a hard time finding high performance boots that fit. Im a ski instructor and jr coach and I take part in masters events locally. Im not looking for a racing boot since I dont need a racing tight one minute fit and its kind of cold here as well so they should not be too cold and also not too hard to get in and out of.

I tryed on a pair of last years S10 today in the size 29,5 and 30. The 30 was way too big I could feel it but the 29,5 fit pritty well straight out of the box but they are way too soft and I can get new better models but they have to be ordered. Dont want to do that before I know more about the models Im interested in.

This years boots that interests me are:
- RS110 Superheat3
- S13 Superheat3
- S11 Heatfix

How is the fit compared to the old S10? Anybody own a pair of boots mentioned or that has tried some on at some point. Any input here would be greately appreciated.

post #2 of 15
Tom, why don't you do yourself a favor and measure your foot? Use this chart. Then, tell us what you found and maybe we can recommend something. Don't forget to substract 5mm from each measurement.

FYI, a 100mm wide foot can be considered wider in shorter sizes but in longer sizes (335mm is very long) it is medium or even on the narrow side.

Give us more details about your foot. Is your instep low or high, is your heel is narrower or wider?
Do you want to be more upright or more flexed?
Weight? Height?

FWIW, my foot is 271mm long, 99-100mm wide. According to the chart i have size US 10 foot. The width is D (average).
IMO it is a good chart.

One more thing. I saw some of your videos and i can say that you are a good skier. If i were you i would not look at anything below the semi-plug level.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks sywsyw for your reply. I made some measurements of my foot and they are as follows:

Length: 29,6cm
Width: 10,25cm
US size: 13
Mondo point: 30,6 (dont know what that means)
Boot width: B

The Atomic Race Tech CS 100 size 29 fit me perfectly but it was way too soft. And yes, my foot is not that wide and regular wide Atomic high performance boots were all too wide.

Thanks for checking out my videos .
post #4 of 15
So you have a size US 13, B width foot.

Your foot is narrower than average! IMO only a full plug or a semi-plug will work. If you don't have access to good bootfitters or don't want to deal with a full plug then a semi-plug will be the best. The CS you tried is a semi-plug.

You did not tell me anything about your instep or the stance you prefer.
Luckly, there are enough semi-plugs out there, some have a higher instep, others have a lower instep. Some have a lot of forward lean, others have an upright stance.

If you have a low instep the Atomic CS will be great.
If you have a higher instep the Nordica Dobermann Pro or Hot Rod Top Fuel or Lange WC 130/120 will be good.

If you want to be more flexed, the Atomic and Lange will be good.
If you want an upright stance the Nordica Dobie Pro/HR Top Fuel and Head RS 96 will be great.

These factors are very important. You can't ignore them.

Regarding the stiffness, i tried the CS 100 and it is very soft (i weigh 155lbs). IMO the 130 is the boot you should try on if you want the atomic.

Regarding the boot size, i want to tell you how i ended up in a UK5 shell.

My foot is 271mm long. This is exactly a US10. If my foot were 1mm shorter i would be a 9 1/2. Same goes for you.
I downsized 4 sizes and i got a UK5 shell (US 6). I recommend you downsize 3 or 4 sizes. 4 will be best IMO. So IMO you should try on a US 10 or US 9. I tried both the Nordica HR and Atomic CS 3 sizes smaller than my street size and they were too big. Your foot is even narrower than mine so it will be easier for you to downsize.

both Atomic CS and Nordica Dobermann Pro/ HR Top Fuel run big! It is easier to downsize.

So my recommendation would be a 28 or 27 mondo. A 27 will probably require a thinner race liner which you will have to get separately. Don't worry, it is the best fit.
I fit in a boot 3 sizes smaller w/o any problems but in a UK5 (27 for you) the boot is unbearable with the stock liner (which is not thin). For you it will be even easier to fit in a 27 because your foot is narrower. Width-wise i do not think you will have any problems in a Dobie Pro shell. I cannpt guarantee this with the Atomic because it is narrower in the heel than the Dobie. You will have some pressure on the big toe. do not worry. You can solve this problem if you use a thinner race liner (like me) or go to a bootfitter. I recommend the Nordica Dobermann WC lace-up liner.

Nothing will ski better than a 27 (wiith or without the race liner). You will end up with a semi-plug boot with a fit very close to a full plug. Even in this size it will not match the full plug but it will be very close. IMO a 29 is way too big.
The Heads do not run big. In fact, i think that the RD/RS run small so you want them in a 28. But this will not be ideal because the lower shell is the same. So they do not have a semi-plug shell for you.

The correct size will take your skiing to a whole new level...if you want to try it.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
sywsyw, a million thanks for you input. I dont know how to measure my instep but I recall a bootfitter telling me my Nordica The Beast as being the wrong boot for me because it has a too high instep. He told me Technica would be a better choise. An other bootfitter told me the opposite.

Anyway, I recall a way to measure foot volume that included a measurement going arround your heel and instep (top part of foot). In my case its 375mm. Maybe you can get some pickture of if my instep is high or low.

Here are a couple of links I have found on the net. This first one is one of the better ones and it lists current gear in a very smart way especially boots with their 3 measurements:

Here the Nordicas and the Heads also reviewed:

You are suggesting that I go for a size 27!!! When I bouth my Nordicas the salesman wanted me to try on a pair of dobermans in the size 27 but I could not even fit my forefoot down the chimney. Last year a young salesman asked my shou size and I told him 13. He then pulled out a pair of Technica size 10 and told me they were perfect for me..... Remember I want boots I can also stay in all day while skiing in the Alps.
post #6 of 15
I am glad you found my reply helpful.

IMO the guy who wanted to put you in a 27 Dobermann knows his stuff. I would go to that guy. It depends on the Dobermann model, though... A WC 150 is much narrower than a Pro or a HR. With your forefoot width, you should be able to put on a Dobie WC. Maybe you are not used to trying on narrower boots. They are very different than what most people ski in.
I never suggested a full plug like the Dobie 150 because it will take some time to fit (if you have a good bootfitter) and will be colder than a semi-plug. So the semi-plugs seem to be your best bet.

The Dobermann Pro 130 is a good medium volume fit in the size most people get. This is 1,2 or 3 sizes smaller than their street shoe. For me, a 3 sizes smaller Hot Rod/Dobie Pro has a medium volume fit throughout.

This is how i see your situation:
UK 8 27.5 Sole 315mm - is the best size but it may require a thinner race liner (like the Dobermann WC leather lace-up) which would have to be one size bigger than the shell. Your feet are narrower than mine but still you probably need the race liner. It is very important to get it ONE SIZE BIGGER THAN THE SHELL. So you have to get a UK9/28 race liner because the liner even with the neoprene toe box, will be too short in the toes. The race liner is very low volume and fits in the smaller shell without any problems. You can also try the stock Nordica liner one size bigger than the shell. Maybe it will fit in the shell.

This size offers the ultimate in performance but the boot will be colder because your foot sits closer to the shell. It will be warmer if the stock liner fits in the shell. I would be very interested in seeing you ski in a UK8/27 Dobermann Pro. You will be amazed at the performance difference. Basically, you will be a much better skier than you are now.

UK 9 28.5 Sole 325mm - don't get anything bigger than this. If you get this size you will have a medium volume boot. You won't have to change the liner. But you will have to do a shell fit. IMO full plugs and semi-plugs work well only if you have <1 finger behind your heel when you shell fit. It will be more comfortable and warmer than a UK8/27 with a race liner. It will not be warmer than a UK8/27 with a UK9/28 stock liner.

It seems to me that this is the size you're after. It will not offer the performance of the UK8/27, however... But it will ski well as long as you don't have more than 1 finger behind your heel when you shell fit.

UK10 29.5cm Sole 335mm - too big.

The Dobermann Pro/Hot Rod Top Fuel have an upright stance and if you want to be more flexed you can put in the adjustable velcro spoiler. Plus the plastic compound is better for SL than brand's A plastic.

That measurement did not tell me anything about your instep. The Atomic you tried on has a low instep but in that size it is too big so you won't feel the lower instep. If you try on a 28 or 27 you will feel the lower instep. IF you have a higher instep it will not work well at all because it will be too much pressure on your instep. This leads to many problems.
The Nordica Dobermann in a 27 will have a lower instep.it will work for all but the lowest insteps IMO. Those with very high insteps do not do well in this size.
post #7 of 15
IMO the '06 race boot reviews from bootfitters are good. Some of the '07 reviews are good but not all of them.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sywsyw View Post
IMO the '06 race boot reviews from bootfitters are good. Some of the '07 reviews are good but not all of them.
What do you think of the Kandahar site? Are the green, red and blue numbers correct? At least on the RTCS100 the flex is 5 and that seems to be correct!
post #9 of 15
I would not pay too much attention to that site. IMO their measurements are not accurate.
I haven't tried on all the boots in the test so i can't comment on the fit of every boot but i can tell you this. The Atomic is very narrow in the heel. It has ankle pockets for the ankle bones. If it didn't, articulation would be blocked. The forefoot of the Ti and CS is somewhat wider than other semi-plugs but this does not mean that they should get a 7. This is not an accurate number. Plus their instep is low so a 7 is, again, not accurate.

The Atomic CS is narrower in the heel than the Nordica Dobermann Pro. In the same size the difference is huge IMO. The Atomic has ankle pockets for the ankle bones which enhance articulation. This is why Jeff B. loves them. So if you try on both boots 3 sizes smaller than your street shoe, the Atomic will be relatively narrow in the heel, medium in the forefoot while the Dobermann will be medium throughout. The Atomic will be lower over the instep. The difference will be noticeable.

Now, if you try on (and get) the boots 4 sizes smaller than your street shoe size, everything will be better with regards to the Dobermann. It will be relatively narrow in the heel (the ankle pockets are smaller than the Atomic pockets but they help with articulation), it will be relatively narrow in the forefoot and slightly lower over the instep. So it will be a relatively narrow fit throughout. It is not really narrow because the Atomic in the same size will be narrower in the heel. The Atomic in this size will not work for those with wider heels IMO. It will also be lower over the instep. This fit will not work for some people. IMO The Dobermann fits more people than the Atomic in this size.

The stance is very different between these boots. If you try on the Atomic you will be more flexed. If you try on the Dobermann you will have a more upright stance. This is the second most important thing (IMO) once you know what size you will be getting. It is much easier to get a boot with a stance that matches your needs than to make (major) modifications to the boot. I need an upright stance and for me the only boots that work well are the Nordica Dobermann full plug or semi plug and the Head RD/RS boots. The Atomics, Langes, Tecnicas have too much forward lean for me.
post #10 of 15
Sywsyw, you're thorough knowledge of race boots blows my mind. I just won an auction for a pair of Atomic CS 26 shell used boots. I'm getting the boots for $125 shipped, so not much invested if I screwed up, but I think they'll fit . I'm in a 26 Atomic shell now in the TriTech Line(Race10) . I have skinny calves so I'm sure the CS's cuff will be a big improvement . I have flat feet so I think the low instep shouldn't bother me.

I wanted to mention that on the website www.levelninesports.com, they have a number of Head boots at very low prices. The have the older Race TI 97 for $100! Very low price for a very good high performance boot.
post #11 of 15
Thanks roundturns! I hope the CS will work well for you.

That website has very good deals on those N97 race boots. I even found an XS. A potential problem is the fit in the heel. Jeff B. said that they are not really narrow in the heel and i do not know if they have ankle pockets or not. The Tecnica Icon XT is a boot from the same year and it doesn't have any ankle pockets. This is bad and is the reason i retired my XT. They should have some ankle pockets, even if they are smaller because they will enhance articulation. A boot without ankle pockets can block articulation. The ankle bone will rest against the medial wall. Plus there is room between the shell and the heel. With ankle pockets both ankles are in the pockets. This leads to better articulation and a tighter fit in the heel. The result? Better control on snow.

Some boots have a narrower heel and larger ankle pockets (Atomic) and others have wider heels with smaller ankle pockets (Nordica). The Lange is somewhere between the Atomic and Nordica. All work well if you get the correct size. My UK5 HR Top Fuel is 2mm wider on each side of the heel than the UK6 Tecnica Diablo Race R. I was told that the Tecnica is even a shade narrower in the heel than the Dobie 150. I think that the heel of my boot is similar in width to the heel of the UK6 Atomic CS. I did not measure,though...
The Atomic you got is very narrow in the heel. It has generous ankle pockets and has a wonderful flex (in the correct size).

IMO especially with the Dobie Pro/HR it is very important to downsize if you want a narrow-ish heel pocket that will hold your heel down. The boot won't hold your heel down very well unless you add some padding in the heel. It is simply wider in the heel than other semi-plugs. It does work well for those with wider heels. I was not suprised to see that Jeff B. said the same thing about the Dobie Pro/HR. He was referring to the size that most people are getting. This is the only thing he would change. You can get a narrower heel only if you downsize because the padding will compress and the fit will be loose again. IMO a boot of this caliber deserves a narrower heel. Nordica puts some padding in the stock liner (especially in the heel) for a tighter fit out-of-the-box. After a few days on snow the skier finds that the boots are loose in the heel. Quite a few people have complained about this on epic.

FYI, Head will offer a new race boot for 2007/2008. It will have a new last. I hope the upright stance will remain unchanged.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
sywsyw, on monday I whent to the local pro shop and tried on some boots. They have Salomon, Technica, Nordica and Atomic. Turned out they had no Atomic RT CS 100 or 130 in my size. The yellow Technica semi plug boot did not fit at all neather did the red Salomon. Both felt horrible. From the Nordica line I first tried on the SpeedMashine 14 but that one was way too soft and too wide. Then I tried on the Hot Rod and to my surprice I fit in it very easily. I was trying on boots in the shell size of 29, 335mm. There was some instep issues and it was causing a little pain but other than that it felt nearly perfect. Could have been stiffer. Next in line was the Doberman 130 and I was very surpriced when my foot slid into it without any problems. There was only one pressure point and that was midfoot outside bone sticking out. It caused pain but its easy to widen out. I tried the Doberman in the size 28 and could not fit my foot inside it so I will stick with the size 29.

My question is now wether you think I can fit into the Head RS boot and if it should be the 90, 110 or the 96?
post #13 of 15
I will tell you what i think but first:
the Dobermann 130 and HR have a medium volume fit so they will be comfortable for your B width foot. If you had some pain over the instep this means that you have a very high instep. The instep on both 130 and HR is higher than average.
The Top Fuel is stiffer than the Nitrous.

Now, to the factors you should consider.

First, did you like the stance of the 130/HR? The stance is upright. Compare it to the Atomic RT Cs which has a lot of forward lean. This is more important than you probably think. If you get the boot with the correct stance for your needs you will be balanced over your skis (the turn initiation will be effortless; you will ski much better with less effort; you will be a much better skier). So do not ignore the stance. Do this: try on the boots and see where your knees plumb out. The knees (for most skiers i guess) should plumb out over the boot's toe box.

Check out this link from www.gmolfoot.com


You have to be balanced over your skis.
So try on the Nordicas, the Atomics and try to have that stance in neutral.

Second, the size. You told me that you tried on a UK10 (29). Fine. But IMO it is probably not the correct size. To prove me wrong do a shell fit. You haven't said anything about a shell fit so i suspect you didn't do it. This will tell you if a 29 is the correct size. Keep in mind that semi-plug and full plug boots work best with <1 finger behind your heel when you shell fit. Ideally, you want max. 1.4cm behind your heel. This is 1 finger fit for me.

To shell fit: remove the liner, put your custom/stock footbed inside the shell, slide your foot into the shell; your big toe or toes should lightly touch the plastic in the front. Now look to see if you can slide 1 finger behind your heel and the plastic. If you shell fit a 29 and you have almost 2cm behind your heel the boot is too big. Look for less than 1.5cm.

no, i do not think that a Head 110 or 90 will be tight enough for you. Only the RS 96 could work but it might be too narrow. Head does not make a semi-plug. The RS 96 uses the plug's shell. It does have an upright stance like the Dobermann/HR. Sizing is different though... they run short.

In the end, if you can't possibly get into a 28 (i can't believe it), IMO a 29 Dobermann 130/HR will ski much better than your Beasts. Make sure you like the stance though... Try on a 28 Speedmachine 14. IMO a top-of-the-line production boot like the SM 14 in the correct size will ski much better than a full plug or a semi-plug in the wrong size (assuming the stance works for you).
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks sywsyw, invaluable information again . Yes, I allways do a shell fit. In the Dobie 130 I could fit my finger barely behind my heel. Otherwise my foot toched the sides and the top pritty much everywhere so I was much surprised but I guess that the linear is very thin and it tightens up arround the foot for that perfect fit. Only needs that one little widening from the inside.

I will go down to the shop tomorrow and take my Beasts with me and shell fit and swap inner boots and try my old trusted custom footbeds. The personell in the shop are a bunch of jerks and they think they know everything. Well I now know more than I knew before and I will most certainly put it all to use.

Good input on the Head boots. You dont call the RS110 line semi plug boot! I was kind of hoping I could find a proper Head boot since I get them allmost at half the price of Nordica. But Im not going to buy boots that are cheap, Im going to buy the best I can get.

BTW, just tried on a pair of Dalbello Proton 12 size mondo 29 and it fit perfect. It felt stiff as well. Much stiffer in the shop than S10, Speedmashine 14 or the RTCS100. I get them cheap as well. If I was looking for a all mountain ski instructor boot it might be an option.
post #15 of 15
I think that you're on the right track. Get the correct size and the correct stance and you will be amazed at the difference. Imagine how you will look in the new videos!

The Dobie is the correct size. Less than 1 finger is great. This is how they work. Now you know how it fits. All you have to do is check the stance. If it is good, i would not hesitate to get it.

The RS110 is just a production boot like the SM 14. It will never ski like a Dobie 130.

You want to swap the liners? I doubt that the Beast liners will fit in the Dobies. You probably can't even put on the Dobie with the Beast liner.

Let us know what you find.
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