or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Boots by HEAD, need some advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Boots by HEAD, need some advice

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Ski season is here in the East and going strong, and once again I have some major boot issues.

Currently I am skiing 05/06 Head RS80, they have been ground a bit, heel retainers taped onto the liner, liner has been modified a little, and custom foot-beds were made. These boots are 103mm lasts. There is a rigid insert (Head FCS system) that can narrow these boots to 100mm. An expert boot-fitter told me this weekend that my foot-beds are grossly in adequate and poorly made. He also told me that my boots are too wide, stating that I need a 100mm width boot. What prompted this investigation was mainly the unbearable pain on the sides of my foot. The boot-fitter said that its because the boot is too wide so I am clamping them down to gain the control I seek, thereby deforming the boot and causing me pain. This was greatly exacerbated this weekend while trying to ski in 6-10" of powder.

To add to this I have always felt that this boot and just about every boot I have owned did not give me the control I was seeking (all have been high performance boots). Its not so much that the plastic was bending, more so that the foam in the cuff seems to give just enough that when some challenging terrain came into the mix I would be tossed forward or backwards within the boot.

Now a little more info on me: aspiring ski racer, East coast skiing only, on-piste skiing only. I like to go fast to super-fast, no parks or terrain parks. I have flat feet, medium ankles, 200lbs, 5'11". I would like to stay with Head products.

So my questions are as follows:
  1. Should I look into one of the new Head Raptors? If so which model?
  2. Should I invest more money into my current boots? They do not have much skiing time in them.
  3. Would a foam liner resolve my issues?
  4. Any other suggestions?
post #2 of 34
Hey, maybe it's just me, but shoudn't this be in the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum?
post #3 of 34
Boot Guys good idea - but ...

Raptor Supershape or Raptor 120. I don't have the widths with me right now but think they are 100 not 103mm. Will check. The S line has S13 similar stiffness to RS80 in a 100 width vs S11 in 103. The S series does not have the low valume liners that the Raptors have.

Also consider other manufacturers. My Tecnicas (4 pair over 15+ years) were all 99 mm and fit well. On the other hand Solomons are reported wider and Rossi has a reputation for narrow.

Pick the shop with the best boot fitter and then pick the boot from that shop.

post #4 of 34
Don't limit yourself to Heads, especially if another brand fits you better. Brand loyalty is not something you should put ahead of fit/comfort. I'd let that expert boot fitter lay out a plan and go with it.
post #5 of 34
Originally Posted by mikehoyt View Post
Raptor Supershape or Raptor 120. I don't have the widths with me right now but think they are 100 not 103mm. Will check. The S line has S13 similar stiffness to RS80 in a 100 width vs S11 in 103. The S series does not have the low valume liners that the Raptors have.
I highly recommend the Raptors but they're 98 mm not 100 so some adjustments may be needed. (note: the supershape is a bit roomier than the 120 due to thinner plastic)
post #6 of 34
Here's my 2 cents and I have no credentials to provide any boot fitting advice, but based on what you have shared with us I think you have been skiing in boots that are not providing a good shell fit. You need to find a boot whose shell is a good match for your foot shape eliminating your current method of getting a better - snugger fit by clamping down on the buckles too tightly. The boot shell able to achieve this could be a Head, Atomic, Dolomite, Salomon whatever. But I think the Raptor with a 99 width last. Atomc CS , Salomon Falcon , Dolomite Z and others have this last width and narrower heel cup that will deliver you a solid fit.(you had indicated that you have a heel retainer attached to your liner) This makes me think you need a boot with a narrower heel cup, which I believe the above mentioned boots represent.

The other thing I think that is going on based on your comments is your footbed is not stabalizing your foot and becasue you are flat footed and probably a pronator your foot is "splaying" out in the liner . If you could get a footbed that would support your foot, its more likely you could fit into a boot that has more of a narrow last (98-99 mm) that also has a narrower heel pocket. I'm guessing because your foot beds don't support your foot when you try a boot shell on that is more narrow, you get a great deal of pinching and rubbing and end up thinking you need a wider lasted higher volume boot which ends up giving you foot pain as you over buckle to compensate for a poor shell fit.

If your foot bed is as lousy as GMOL indicated it was, I think you have to get a new foot bed that will support your foot before you can make any determinations on what boot shell will work for you. If you have to tighten the buckles on the boot more than the ideally the first or second bail , you don't have a very good shellfit and over buckling is compensating for the compromised shellfit.

I think if somebody with footbed know how can stabilize your foot first with a well made bed, you will then be able to make a shell selection that compliments the dimensions of your foot and will optimize your fit without the need to over buckle. Its easy for us to tell you how to spend your money but the sport you enjoy is being greatly compromised by what I think is very fixable. Somebody previously said you need to buy the boots where you get your footbeds made which based on your current circumstances has a lot of merit. SureFoot guarantees a fit. You pay out the a_s for it , but they will work with you till they get it right. I can't believe they are unique in offering this service. Its a shame that you have not been able to achieve a painless good fit yet as you have already spent a considerable sum of money.

We need to help RR here . His season is being ruined by a crappy boot fit that IMHO can be remedied with a well made footbed and a shell that compliments his foot architecture.
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, good advice.

Anyone else?
post #8 of 34
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Thanks guys, good advice.

Anyone else?
You've been given good advice. Forget brand loyalty when it comes to boots.

Find the shells that fit your feet. Concentrate on heel (pocket) fit first. Room can easily be made for ankles and forefoot. Instep room is also important and somewhat harder to modify. A good bootfitter can select some shells to start with. The Head Raptor RS130 (low instep) may be among them. Not too much difference between them and the Nordica Dobermann Pro's. And if you race, this is probably the lowest level boot you should be looking at.

Footbed's may or may not be required, depending on your feet. The unfortunate thing is it is rare to find any two technicians who both agree a particular footbed is "good".

Edit: Instep mods
post #9 of 34
1. Don't limit yourself to one brand.
2. What the expert boot fitter told you sounds perfectly logical. Why not let him set you up with proper footbeds, the right shell, and make the adjustments?
3. Get a boot that is narrow and stretch, punch, grind to make it bigger as needed; don't get a boot that is too wide and add inserts to make it smaller.
4. What Roundturns says makes sense.

Ok, so I didn't have anything to add, except that you should expect to go back for additional stretching and punching several times until it fits right.

PS. I hate buying boots.
post #10 of 34
I agree with most of what was said above. Shell fit is way to go. Most brands fit different types of foot. Find the brand and then boot that fits best.

If you are pronated and flat footed (pretty much same thing) then you need a foot bed that supports your arch. Possibly an orthodic. The foot splaying comment above is right on the money as far as I am concerned.

In 1990 I was fitted for a pair of Tecnicas. The boot fitter said the same thing about pronation, splaying and arch. He sold me a pair of Petersen Superfeet foot beds. These ones have the cork support underneath and cannot collapse. These footbeds are so nice that I am still using them in their fifth pair of boots (they do look pretty ugly now). Prior to that time I was booked for surgery because of the splaying of the foot and pressure points on side of foot. Surgery was cancelled in favour of foam fitted boots previously but nothing worked like these footbeds.

Note that I almost NEVER do up the bottom buckles on my boots. The boots fit so snugly with these two buckles undone that I have great control.

As for brand loyalty - if you find a boot that fits well then stick with it. I went from one pair of Tecnica TNT in 1989-90 to another Tecnica TNT AVS in 1995 to Tecnica Explosion 8 in 1998 to Tecnica Icon in 2003 and only now rather reluctantly to Head boots. Each pair of Tecnicas had the identical fit to the previous pair. I had found a boot I loved and stick with it - but only because it fit my foot!

Hope all the advice from everyone here helps. Just don't buy a boot with a thick liner that feels comfortable in the store without ensuring it won't pack down too much later. Also don't scrimp on the footbeds.

post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Last night I got to try on the Raptor 120 RS. Wow that boot is shiny and red, like a Ferrari! As nice as it looks in person, its one of those items that will look like crap quicker than anything else. Painted buckles that started to chip even while just test fitting, painted on graphics that will easily wear off, and that shiny finish that is sure to dull after one long weekend.....but I digress this isn't about appearance this is about me finally getting a boot that I can really ski in.

Even though this was just the 120, the plastic on the cuff was very thick, thicker than any other boot I have ever seen. Very nice fit for my feet, immediately felt better than what I am currently using, and way stiffer...but not stiff enough. I still felt that the cuff area needed even less give, so that being said, I asked the store manager, who is assisting me, to see if he can get me the 130 or the 150, he will get back to me today. He said if Head still has any available he will get it for me...I am keeping my fingers crossed.
post #12 of 34

Remeber that these boots stiffen A LOT in the cold. Someone at your level is probably not going to benefit from an extremely stiff boot because your turns will not generate the force to bend them enough to keep you out of the back seat. I would caution going any higher than the 130, and suspect that in the cold a 120 would be plenty of boot for you.

I have a pair of Head S12's that I use the Head FCS insert in to bring them down to 100mm, and you are right that they are not a high performance boot at all. They ski reasonably well, but they are not a race boot. I believe that your RS80 is nearly identicle in design and flex to the S12. If I had it to do over again I would have purchased the RS100 instead of the S12 as my teaching/bumming around boot. The other boots I own (Dobie 150's and SOMA 150's) are much more suited to high performance skiing.


post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, I figure if I do manage to score the all out race boots, they can always be cut up to be softened. All these painful bedroom slippers called ski boots (now that's an oxymoron if I ever saw one) that I have been skiing in for the past 7 years just wont cut it anymore.
post #14 of 34
It's worth noting that the RS130's are a 120 flex by default, there are places to drill in two more screws to go to 130 or 140, so you may find that out of the box the flex is alright, and not have to cut up the boot so you have the option of going stiffer as your skiing progresses.
post #15 of 34
The boot fitter said the same thing about pronation, splaying and arch. He sold me a pair of Petersen Superfeet foot beds. These ones have the cork support underneath and cannot collapse. These footbeds are so nice that I am still using them in their fifth pair of boots

I had a pair of the Petersen footbeds made I think in the mid 80's . Still have them and they are rigid. Replaced them 10 years ago with a Sure Foot product. Until your post I couldn't recall the Petersen name. I remember the shop that made them for me sent them up to Lake Placid to be finished or something. I wonder if they are still in business ?
post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
They located a pair of 150s for me!!!! I am so excited I cant sleep! I hope to have them by next week...then off to the boot-fitter to get this done right....I hope.

When I started this thread ski season was going strong and my boot situation was going no where, now the boots are looking good and the ski season is getting washed away by mid-spring weather....cant win.
post #17 of 34
Whiteroom has a pair of 150s. I think he's a little cared of them. He's a big guy, and a good skier. I think you are making a mistake here, but that's your call.
post #18 of 34
I'm not scared of much... the 150, well, maybe a little.

That boot is a beast. It will be ready to go when I get back from Nelson.

I was talking to the boot designer for Head last night, he told me that Bode is skiing in a Raptor 180. Ouch. That boot is all white because they couldn't get the plastic that hard without chipping with the red pigment in it (next years race boot will be white due to this).

Richie, you do realize that the 150 and the 120 are different lasts, right? There is a RD last and a RS last. There is a significant difference in width, there's plenty of room to grind the 150 but it will need to be ground to get it to the 120 fit.
post #19 of 34
A couple things caught my eye here. First, it is very important to not overlook the temperature effect. I have had many pairs of boots that are loosey-goosey at room temperature, to the point where they flex so much that they squeak, and then they turn into logs out in the cold (even when it's mild temps in the 30s; below 20F the boots may as well be hogged out of billet material). So don't estimate the flex when in a heated shop, go by the flex index relative to other boots from the same manufacturer, when you have your own calibration in cold weather.

Second, I think it's easier to stiffen a boot than loosen up a boot, certainly if the primary means of flex adjustment is rivets or bolts (this is a different case than boots that are meant to be loosened by cutting material away).

When I am shopping boots among models that have the right fit, I take flex adjustment into account. For example, I was looking at the Salomon Xwave 8,9,10 a couple years ago. All three have the same shell fit. The 9 and 10 share the same liner, which is an upgrade from the 8. The 9 and 10 shells differ only in a couple extra rivets on the 10. So rivets can be added to the 9 to make a 10, or rivets can be drilled out of a 10 to make a 9. There is a notable retail price difference between the 9 and 10 just for those measly rivets. In this case, it was a no brainer to get the Xwave 9. I never needed to stiffen the boots to the 10 level; the basic 9 shell is already stiff enough for me.

Long story, but I hope it makes a point that you should evaluate and understand the flex characteristics and mechanics carefully. Especially given Whiteroom's comments in the fit difference between the 120 and the 150. Don't be a hero and jump on the 150s based on a spec sheet! Get the fit right and choose the model that can be stiffened if needed, it will be easier and more effective than starting too stiff and trying to back off.

Good luck!
post #20 of 34
Speaking from experience, that 150 boot is a beast. I skied in the old Head RD96 (more or less the same flex as the Raptor), and had to soften it a TON, and even then, it was typically too stiff for freeskiing. I thinned the cuff by at least a millimeter, thinned the flaps of the lower boot by the same, and cut as much out of the back of the boot as I could. The cuff on the RD96 must weigh 2lbs itself; the plastic is so thick!

I ski the Raptor 120 now, and it is much more manageable. At 150lbs, I have the flex set on 120 (1-screw). I tried 2 and 3 screws, but it was stiffer than I preferred for freeskiing (I don't run gates much anymore).

The 150 is a much narrower last as well, the 96mm last, as far as I know. The 98mm last is very snug, so the 96mm will take some boot work.

As far as cosmetic durability goes, don't sweat it. Mine still look great after almost a whole season in them.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I am very happy with my Raptor 120's: easily the best boot I have yet tried, but they seem to work for my anatomy with regards to ramp angle and forward lean. I was very balanced in the boot from the start.
post #21 of 34
Here's a link to a discussion about the last widths for the different Raptor models. http://www.realskiers.com/pmtsforum/...pic.php?t=1616

I've looked at the Raptor RS 120 and Raptor Supershape. The RS 120 is a noticeably tighter fit. Peter Keelty has a lengthy review of the RD 150 and loved the boot, but is is a beast according to him and basically designed with the assumption you will have extensive shell modifications to get a good fit.
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks again guys, at this point I have pretty much accepted that in order for me to ever get the right fit in a ski boot, I will have to pony up the cash and get some serious work done. The boots I am replacing had over $200 worth of work put into them and they still were horrible, so its still a gamble but at least this time I feel that I am on a better track to success and starting off with a much better canvas.

While I know the plastic will be even stiffer outside, in my experience the difference has never been enough to make a difference in my favor.

As great as the 120 felt I still think there was too much padding that would only soften with use and body heat. So while I realize the 150 has a completely different last I will have the option to run them as 140s. I am not a powder skier nor a moguls guy, I just like to run fast and do whatever racing I can, so far that's been only NASTAR, but this was to be my first year in masters....till these boot issues came about again.

Right now I am relatively light at about 200lbs, not having worked out seriously since my injuries last January, but when in shape I weigh 220lbs lean muscle, so I am pretty heavy and usually have the power to handle the gear; even with my lousy technique.

That's a wild story about Bode's boots, I did wonder why his and the other pro racers were on the tinted translucent boots that look like last year's race boots and not the new red Raptors.
post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
Okay ran into a stump. Would like your advice here.

The shop manager has been trying to get me the 130s or the 150s but the store filed chapter 11 a while back, so they need to pay for things upfront, no more credit lines with vendors. As such I think the owner is not too keen on the whole transaction. The manager said he wants me to be happy, so if I could get the boots elsewhere get them and just use the credit from my boots (about $580 I think) towards the new boots my girlfriend will be getting and be stuck with a $280 credit. OR just take the Raptor 120s pay the difference ($60) and buy my girlfriend's boots separately (about $300).

What to do what to do.

To compound things I have a line on some Raptor 130s in my size that are new never used for $400 from a master's racer.
post #24 of 34
I could be wrong here, but I think the 120 and 130 have different lasts. I've had the 130 on my foot and it is really narrow (94m?). You need to try them on. Which ones have you tried on?

IMHO - take the credit and get them from a store that has stuff you can try on.
post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 
Epic, I have only tried the 120, I want the 150 or 130 because I want the a stiffest boot and thinner liner. No one has the 150 that is near me.
post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 
Anyone else?
post #27 of 34
I saw some 150 flex Atomic TI 's on ebay last week, they were green and black. I think they were $199. I know you want the Heads but the TI is going to give you the flex you want and a high performance fit with a thin liner. The last width at 95 mm is as tight as a race fit gets. I forgot about the green and black TI's from a few years back as almost all the TI's were white and red. Sorry I can't recall the seller on ebay. They were there last week.

I think when you get to the level of performance you're looking for in boots that fit the prerequisites you've indicated the boots aren't going to vary much from manufacturer to manufaturer.Stiff, tight, and a thin race liner is pretty much going to be the same boot from a number of different manufacturers.
post #28 of 34
As a former racer and with kids that race, find a good boot fitter. He/she will make sure that the boot (shell) will fit your foot. As everyone has mentioned, don't limit yourself to one brand. Some boots will never work well with your foot. Make sure you do not get boots that are too big. Also, make sure that the boots are not too stiff. Its a fine line, but make sure you are totally honest with your boot fitter, concerning your skiing style and ability. Get setup with the right shell, foot beds, then make adjustments. cmr
post #29 of 34
Slightly different take on this. How many days a year do you ski, 20? Do you really want to spend 10 of those days d***king around with boot fit problems? You want to race in a stiff-as-hell boot? Fine, here's what I'd do. Stump up the cash for both. Get a pair of reasonably stiff yet comfortable boots for freeskiing, the pair you've tried (probably numerous times, rightly so) and seem convinced won't hurt much. And then take on whatever flexless monster you think you need for gates, with the idea that a) fitting will be a long-term project; and b) you're willing to endure a little pain between the gates. Just my two cents. I don't race anymore, so what do I know.
post #30 of 34
Here's another thing to consider: The flex on all of the raptor models (or at leats the 12 - 150) can be modified by adding bolts in the back. If you go to head.com ,you'll see that there's a white plate in the back that has 3 slots. The default fit on the rator 120 is actually a 110, i.e., with only the bottom slot filled. With all 3 screws the flex is a 130.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Boots by HEAD, need some advice