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X-Waves or Speedmachines?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Need some help with a new boot purchase. My backgound: 6-0, 185 lbs., 40 yrs. old, getting back into skiing after a 14 year layoff. I was formerly a pretty strong, advanced skiier who got in 50-60 days/ year. I'm looking for an all-day comfortable boot that will let me "get the hang of things" again but also rip it up once in a while. I've now been trying on tons of new boots the last several weeks and it has come down to either the Salomon X-Wave 10 or 8, or the Nordica Speedmachine 12 or 10. Both boots are fitting great right out of the box so fit isn't really an issue. The sales guy was REALLY pushing the Nordicas for some reason. He went on about the liners and plastics being much more advanced than the Salomon X-Waves. He was also really pushing the stiffer boots (Speedmachine 12 and X-wave 10) over the softer models. Kinda spooked me, so I left. Any thoughts on what might be a better boot? What kind of flex do I need?
post #2 of 21
I think he's right about the stiffer boot. Either one can be softened, but you can't go the other way. As for which one to get, I'm not touching that. Get the one that fits. Do you know how to tell if it fits?
post #3 of 21
Been in xwave 10 for 5 years and just bought speedmachine 14. Have not skied them yet so no review other than shop fit. Flex wise I thought they felt somewhat similar with a more of a progressive flex than the sollys. I agree with epic, get the ones that fit best.
post #4 of 21
Non-race Nordica liners pack out far more than other brands, as they are designed to feel very comfortable and cushy in the shop. Look for a much firmer fit in a Nordica than you would in say a Salomon or Tecnica.

As far as why he was pushing Nordica hard- the shop may have a close connection with the rep as far as procuring free gear for shop employees based on sales. While almost all brands offer something in this vein, some brands push it much harder than others.
post #5 of 21
shell fit is 1-2 CM?

he removed the liners to check this right?

if not, walk away
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
We did shell fits on all four boots and the fit is as close to perfect as you can get right out of the box. I was most concerned about first, why he was almost insistant about putting me in the stiffer boots when I haven't skiied in many years, and second why he felt so much stronger about the Nordicas while refering to the Salomons as dated. Because the fit on both brands were literally identical, I was leaning towards the Salomons because of looks but backed off and decided to think about it.
post #7 of 21
In short: yes, stiff boots are good, but fit is much more important. No, the nordicas aren't necessarily stiffer because they feel stiffer in the shop. and: Yes, it is confusing.
As for the salesrep's talk: if he's that enthousiastic, try getting an extra deal on a pair of nordicas. If he bites, then you know for sure his advice is worthless. Think about it...
The material of the Nordica and Salomon shells seem alike to me. Don't know theire relative stiffness though. I've used the X-waves (new model, no fitting done) one season now and their shell isnt hard at all, stiffness seems to come more from the carbon bridge which fixes the heel in line with the footsole=>ski. Anyway they're great.
Could be that the Nordica's shell was made harder to achieve the same effect.
I'd probably go with the most comfortable fitting shoe, and get a pair of felt inner soles (yes, the ones you can get of your walking shoes to keep your feet warm) to place under the liner when it will be finished 'setting' to your feet.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ikke View Post
In short: yes, stiff boots are good, but fit is much more important. No, the nordicas aren't necessarily stiffer because they feel stiffer in the shop. and: Yes, it is confusing.
As for the salesrep's talk: if he's that enthousiastic, try getting an extra deal on a pair of nordicas. If he bites, then you know for sure his advice is worthless. Think about it...
The material of the Nordica and Salomon shells seem alike to me. Don't know theire relative stiffness though. I've used the X-waves (new model, no fitting done) one season now and their shell isnt hard at all, stiffness seems to come more from the carbon bridge which fixes the heel in line with the footsole=>ski. Anyway they're great.
Could be that the Nordica's shell was made harder to achieve the same effect.
I'd probably go with the most comfortable fitting shoe, and get a pair of felt inner soles (yes, the ones you can get of your walking shoes to keep your feet warm) to place under the liner when it will be finished 'setting' to your feet.
No, stiff boots are not necessarily "good." Look for a boot that fit-wise matches both your leg power but also the dorsiflexion of your ankle- which for some people means a very soft boot. Yes, For years Salomon relied in part on the carbon link at the rear of their boots for stiffness- until the Falcons came out. This does not mean that the shells the X-wave series is made of is of any less quality. No, him giving you a deal on the Nordicas does not make his advice worthless- maybe he just is willing to cut his margin in order to make the sale. Yes, the construction of Salomon and Nordica shells do share several similarities but also several differences: Both use a variation of Salomon's "Spaceframe" design- for different reasons. Salomon uses the honeycomb pattern (lovingly referred to as "speedholes") to control pressure on uphill edges. Nordica uses a harder plastic skeleton that wraps down around the foot to transmit power in combination with a very soft plastic shell that combine to wrap the foot comfortably yet still provide power transmission. What is "ikke" refferring to when he says "felt inner soles"- aftermarket trim-to-fit footbeds or some sort of footwarming device?
post #9 of 21
Aftermarket trim-to-fit footbeds.
post #10 of 21
i picked up a pair of the nordie speedmachine 14's and love them. I went to these from a nordie grand prix which was way too big and far softer, 26 vs 28 and 120-130 vs 90. I was worried about them being too stiff when really cold but i didnt have any problems the other day at jay. Im a big noride fan so id push you in the speedmachine direction. These boots will make you better, they allow you to put more energy to the skis, no slop. But your best bet is to try everything on, see which ones fit you best and go with them.
also, i have aline footbeds, better than anything ive ever used
post #11 of 21
I'm 165 lbs and have Solomon Crossmax boots with a flex index of 100. I used to have customized race boots that were much much stiffer. I've also got experience in tons of sloppy rentals, and with more than a few demonstrator rental boots.

From my perspective, for everyday skiing the 100 flex index boots are a lot better, but I wouldn't want to go any less stiff than these boots. In short the salesman is right about going with 10 over the 8 for your weight and ability. I think they are a little too soft for very high speed stuff, but the payback in rough terrain and slower speeds is worth it. Too soft means delay in transmitting force to the ski, and extra movement required to generate that called for force. Too stiff means that you cannot move enough for optimum balance without putting a lot of force through the boot and if extreme also means that you will have to be going at insane speeds to work the boots properly. I would guess a flex index of between 120 or 130 is probably ideal for you if you like to rip.

As to Nordica or Solomon, get the one that fits the best. Consider how tightly it grips your heel. I am surprised they fit right out of the box, but maybe you are one of the lucky ones.
post #12 of 21
You're right intuiting that both are great boots - whatever the salesman says - but you're wrong about one thing: They can't BOTH fit you equally well. They have different lasts, different engineering.

So try the same strategy as researchers who give rats way more of a toxin than we encounter:

Make sure your toes just brush against the ends of the boots when you're standing upright in them. In thin socks. That's the correct fit. Then go walk around the store for a while, until you begin to feel some discomfort in places. Rotate the boots until each has settled in and begun to press on the odd bone. Then get on an incline and pressure them like you would in skis, so your toes pull back. Repeat if necessary. You'll find that each boot has its own fit, and you'll like one better.

That's much less difference (and potential discomfort) than you'd feel after a day of sking hard at -10 C, with the shells vastly harder...
post #13 of 21
Put the Nordica boot on one foot and the Solomon on the other. Walk around the store until you know which fits best. Change Nordica foot to Solomon foot and repeat.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
First off, thanks for the replies. But, my question was not about fit. I've worn all of these boots on both feet extensively. The variation in fit is negligible as they are both geared toward simi-wide forefoots with high insteps. My concern is more about which flex will work with my level of skiing. Do I want one of the stiffer boots(Nordica Speedmachine12/Salomon x-Wave 10) or a softer one(Nordica Speedmachine 10/Salomon x-Wave 8). The second issue, which is more of a curiosity is why the boot fitter was so strongly pushing the Nordica line when he knew the fits were very similar. He refered to the Nordicas as "higher tech" and the Salomons as old somewhat dated. Thanks again for the responses.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1gunner View Post
First off, thanks for the replies. But, my question was not about fit. I've worn all of these boots on both feet extensively. The variation in fit is negligible as they are both geared toward simi-wide forefoots with high insteps. My concern is more about which flex will work with my level of skiing. Do I want one of the stiffer boots(Nordica Speedmachine12/Salomon x-Wave 10) or a softer one(Nordica Speedmachine 10/Salomon x-Wave 8). The second issue, which is more of a curiosity is why the boot fitter was so strongly pushing the Nordica line when he knew the fits were very similar. He refered to the Nordicas as "higher tech" and the Salomons as old somewhat dated. Thanks again for the responses.

Always have used cheapo, eBay type purchases for boots and gotten away with it. As I have gotten older and wiser I am looking to get rid of my current boots and do the wise thing. Anybody want to buy some old boots off me!?

What is the deal with flex index? Understand that a high range is what you want for gate bashing, but what range is good for the typical advanced all mountain resort skier who everyone once in a while gets the chance to hit some nice off-piste terrain?

My assumption is that a 100-110 boot should do me fine. (I am 5'11", 155lbs, intermediate/advanced skier). Am I wrong? I have been checking out the Nordica Speedmachine 10s, but the local shops don't have enough size variations to let my really try the Speedmachines the way I would like.
post #16 of 21
1gunner,
Get the x-wave 10 or Speedmachine12. I don't know enough about the companies boots to say why someone would favour one over the other, but some people do play favourites.
Snowride,
100-110 should work well enough. At 165 lbs I'm happy enough with my Crossmax 10s (flex index 100). Without access to a WC DH course, I cannot think of any sane example where I would prefer my old Koflachs.
post #17 of 21
1gunner, I'd be more interested in how you flex in the boots. There is a mix of opinion about soft/stiff around here. If you're well-balanced in neutral in the boots, I have found stiffer boots to be wonderful. If you're not, though, the softer ones may be more forgiving. If you have a boot specialist who is going to get you balanced in the boots (fore/aft, lateral, and flex), then I'd recommend the stiffer ones. If not, it's a toss-up and depends on how close to neutral you are naturally in the boots.
post #18 of 21
To add to this a bit, where do you ski and what type of skiing do you prefer? If you want to do more off piste/ freeride skiing rather than on piste, speed oriented skiing, then more flex can be helpful. If you are not finding the flex in the shop to be too stiff in the stiffer boots, then my inclination would be to go with them (you can soften a boot but you can't make it stiffer) as you will likely want a stiffer boot as you progress back to your previous level of skiing.
post #19 of 21
I have the Speedmachine 12. They can be set at 110 and 120 stiffness. I am 5'6" and 165lbs and I find the 120 stiffness very reasonable. I often wish I had stiffer boots, but in rough snow and bumps they are perfect.

I only skied them once at the 110 stiffness setting and they were very flexy. My advice is to get the Speedmachine 12. At least you can play with the stiffness. I don't think the X-Wave has that. Also, the X-Wave is older technology - but that does not necessarily mean that it is not as good as the Speedmachine.
post #20 of 21
gunner: did you pull the trigger on a pair? or still looking around?
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmanmlh View Post
gunner: did you pull the trigger on a pair? or still looking around?
Sure did. But I didn't get either of these boots. I was fortunate enough to hook up with Jeff Bergeron in Breck last week and he put me in a Fischer RC4 Race. This was primarily to compensate for my toes-out (think duck foot) stance that I was never aware of. After a bit of tweaking, I will say that even after a looooong layoff I've never skiied better technically. I give full credit to Jeff. I will never buy another boot without his assistance.
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