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Lateral vs. Rotary boots?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any words of wisdom about the benefits of lateral boots vs. rotary boots? I read an article at howtoski.net and it's got me to thinking. Here is a link to the portion of the article that is of most interest to me. ARTICLE

Here is an excerpt from the article:
The terms rotary or lateral describe the movements a skier must make to bring the skis to the edge. A rotary boot promotes rotary movement (foot steering and knee rotation) while a lateral boot supports lateral, tipping or tilting movements to engage the skis in the turn. The difference between the two types of boots is demonstrated when you stand on your skis. The direction your knee moves when you make a turn is called "tracking". Rotary boots force the knee to move or "track " to the inside or big toe edge during a turn. When the knee tracks inside, it creates a skidding action that makes it impossible to put the skis on edge. The tail washes out and results in an "A" frame where the knees are touching and the feet are apart. The "A" frame can be seen distinctly at the middle or end of a turn as the downhill ski breaks away. This action will give less control of your feet and skis as the "A" frame will block the hips from moving inside the turn. It becomes even more pronounced if you intentionally try to move the downhill or outside ski to the big toe edge.
Here is what the article says about telling the deference between a rotary boot and a lateral boot:

How can you tell the difference between a rotary or lateral boot? ยท Look at the position of the hinges or rivets on the upper cuff. (The rivets are directly alongside the ankle knuckles.) All lateral boots will have the rivet or hinge higher than the outside one. Rotary boots will have the inside rivet equal to or lower than the outside rivet. Check your "ramp angle" and forward lean. The ramp angle is the height or lift of your heel, measured in degrees on a plane from the ball of your foot to your heel. A high ramp angle puts you in a position similar to wearing a pair of high heels. The higher the ramp angle and the greater the forward lean of the upper cuff, the more rotary or skidding movements you will encounter when you try to put the ski on edge. Lateral boots have a lower "ramp angle" and less forward lean of the upper cuff. All that is needed to put the ski on edge with a lateral boot is a tipping or tilting of the skis. Lateral boots, combined with the right movements, can give greater edge control with less effort and less torque on your legs and knees.
I have a pair of Langes that are two years old and were given to me. They are definitely rotary boots according to the article. I will be skiing on shaped skis for the first time this year and I've not skied in 12 years. Would I be better off finding a pair of lateral boots or is the above article off-base? I want to advance as fast as possible. Any comments you could make would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 2
it's not quite as easy as the article says, Jake.

Lange have had lateral design in their racing boots for over 20 years. Their "AC" or "comfort" boots might not be lateral boots, but their better boots surely are.

The true test is whether your boot translates lateral pressure into edging pressure, or tip flexion pressure. In other words, does angulating to the inside translate into flexing your ski's tip, or does it put the ski onto a firmer and steeper edge?

If your boot has adjustable cant on its cuff, you can change the degree to which your boot responds as a "rotary" or "lateral" design.

If a boot's cuff tracks your tibia's motion, it's less likely to be "rotary."

If a boot's cuff tracks outward against your tibia's forward motion, it's more likely to be "rotary."

Whether a given skier can ski a "rotary" boot depends more on the skier's athletic abilities, and less on the boot itself. Boot fit and adjustment can have as much to do with "lateral vs rotary" as the basic shell design. It's all dependent on the boot's interaction with your leg when flexing or pressuring the boot.
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