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Will I actually notice the difference if I upgrade boots?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Two or three years ago, I purchased a pair of Rossignol Salto GTX boots. I've never had a problem with them; they have always seemed quite comfortable. However, I've frequently wondered if I'm missing out on something; as I've seen them reviewed as good boots for intermediates who are looking for comfort rather than responsiveness.

I've been skiing for about 17 years. I ski about 5-10 weekends a year. I would describe myself as an advanced skier, comfortable on just about anything except huge, steep bumps (although I'm not fond of skiing in the trees--Sonny Bono comes to mind...). I favor precise, controlled style over adrenaline-producing tricks, but I am not afraid to tackle very challenging trails at higher speed. I am also not light: I'm 6' 1", 220lbs.

Getting back to the boots: so as I look at boots, I wonder if I'm limiting myself by sticking with lower performance. If you were me, what would you do? Look to upgrade? Or stick with what has so far seemed to be a comfortable pair?

...And if you would upgrade, what might you pick? I've heard some good things said about the Salomon X-Wave 8.0.
post #2 of 14
The first thing i would do if i were you is to go to a shop and try on some higher performing boots jsut to see if you like the feel of the boot. I would try the salomon x-wave series and other boots that fall into this category. You will also want to consider the stiffness of the boots you are trying. Note whether the boots that you like are stiff or if they are soft. If you are enjoying the soft boots more than the stiff ones then you may want to hold off on your upgrade. Contrary, if you enjoy a stiffer boot in the shop then i would say you are ready for an upgrade. Make sure that the boots you chose are comfortable above all else, and i reccommend custom footbeds for them as well. Once you do that the boots will last you for several years.
post #3 of 14
At 220lbs you are a big guy who could probably use a stiffer boot for better control. My suggestion is to buy a boot that can be adjusted for stiffness - as long as it fits well, of course.

For example, I have the Technica Icon XR, which can be adjusted from a setting good from most intermediates, to a setting for NASTAR racing. On the other hand these boots have an aggressive angle that keep you forward - not so good for those that like a tall stance.

Try a few models and do not look at brand. Good luck!
post #4 of 14
Jack do you already have a custom footbed in your Boots? If not i would start there. Get a good footbed made by your boot fitter. If After skiing with the footbed with the footbeds you still feel the need for new boots I would say go for it. Keep in mind that the footbeds will work in any new boot you buy.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
No, I haven't had that done; it seems like a great next step. Thanks.

Originally posted by Utah49:
Jack do you already have a custom footbed in your Boots? If not i would start there. Get a good footbed made by your boot fitter. If After skiing with the footbed with the footbeds you still feel the need for new boots I would say go for it. Keep in mind that the footbeds will work in any new boot you buy.
post #6 of 14
My guess is that the boots you are in now are probably a tad too soft for somebody of your height and weight, especially for someone who skis fairly agressively. The Salomon X Wave series are great, I bought a pair at the end of last season. I think the 8 might be too soft for you too, however. You would probably be better off with the 9, although I found those to be a little soft for my liking, I'm 6'1 and go about 205. I think a trip to a good boot fitter would be in order for you, I'd hold off on the footbeds until you decide wich way you want to go, although any of the X wave boots or others in that category would be a big improvement from what you're in now.
Good luck
post #7 of 14
Hmmm.... How to answer that question....

I guess the only deffinate answer is maybe. It will depend on the boots you end up choosing. If your choice is exactly the same as your present ones, you will not notice any changes. If you choose something different, then you will notice something.

The only way to truly find the boot for you is to spend time at a competent ski shoop with a competent boot fitter. It is best to have a few shops to select from, since very few shops retail every brand. The brands and models suggested are good boots, but might not be ideal for you. Without seeing your feet, it is very difficult to point you in the right brand and model.
post #8 of 14
Get new boots.

post #9 of 14

However, I caution you to avoid the word and concept of "upgrade."

"Upgrading" is a trite term created by advertising folks to make you think your present gear is inferior, and therefore you need to buy new gear to get what is good.

I participate in two forums, each related to my favorite activities -- mtn biking and alpine skiing. People commonly talk about "upgrading" to a new piece of gear, as if the "upgrade" itself would improve things. My best advice to those people, and to you, is to completely eliminate from your mind and vocabluary the notion of "upgrade." It is a hollow and misleading term, and an equally worthless concept.

Now, what you need to do is determine whether your boots are preventing you from improving as a skier. If they are, you do not need to "upgrade." What you need to do is find the proper boot. The new boot won't necessarily be an "upgrade." I've seen skiers who delude themselves into believing they need a hyperstiff race boot, and then find their skiing goes right into the toilet. Then they assume they "need to upgrade to different skis," when all along it's the WRONG BOOT that is causing the problem, and the RIGHT BOOT is a model that is lower in price and softer in flex. There's no way to call the change to the proper boot an "upgrade." That makes utterly no sense.

It's pretty rare that a boot is "too soft" for a skier. A good skier can ski in soft boots, because it's the tiny and finite ankle and foot movements that work the most control over one's skiing. I've skied with my two cuff buckles completely undone -- almost completely ridding myself of any boot structure above the ankle -- and skied just fine with these "downgraded" boots.

Tell us more about why you think you need to switch boots, and then we can help you make your decision! Be honest with us and with yourself. This is no time for one's ego to take control. Humility will go a long way when selecting the proper equipment.

Remember, you don't need to "upgrade," you need to find the PROPER BOOT. That boot may not be closer to the "top of the line," and that's fine.
post #10 of 14
one big question you need to answer, you say the boots you have now have always been comfortable, that generaly means they are too big to get the precise control you say you want, your boots should have a very snug precise fit with no heel movement lift ect with thin socks, you need to go to a good bootfitter with your boots, have them check your current boots for fit wear ect just as if you were buying them & see if custom footbeds would make your current boots work for you or if another boot would be better. remember you can ski well with boots that are softer than you could use but not in boots that do not fit well, getting boots that fit correctly is the first step towards becoming a better skier no matter what level skier you think you are, do you have somewere nearby to get your boots checked by someone you would trust not just someone trying to sell new boots.
post #11 of 14

I agree with almost all you said, with one exception.

A "comfortable boot" isn't necessarily a bad boot. What you need to clarify is that "comfortable" doesn't mean "bedroom slipper."

My boots fit very precisely and still are comfortable. Comfort and precise fit are not mutually exclusive. However, a precise fit doesn't give bedroom slipper comfort - but it can give comfort like you wouldn't imagine possible from such a precise fit. That's where bootfitting technique is critical.
post #12 of 14

I just when thru the samething. I was not thinking of upgrade in that term, but i was not sure i needed new boot. i took my 4 yrs old boot to my favor shop in killington and have one of the boot fitter (there are four there and they are all very good, ray, kurt, bill and ?) recommend a pair that he think is a good fit for my foot shape.

as a ski instructor i average about 40-50 days of skiing per year. i am an advance skier that try to ski everything. my old boot was the salomon equipe 9 with new footbed from the same shop made last year by ray.

i came into the store with a few things in mind. i told bill how old my boot are and how many days i have skied in them. i asked bill to look at the old boot and see if i need the replace them. first thing he did was measure my feet sitting and standing. had me wear the old boot and looked at the sole. he reviewed my stance, size, shape, and how my old boot was buckling. we talked about the old boot performance, in the end he told me that i can ski in the old boot for one more year and it should be ok. but he felt that the old boot was a size to big for my feet, they were 25.5 (194 mm sole). he took the footbeds out and showed me that lints had gathered on the footbed in front of my toes and the backside of the heel-cup as evident of the old boot being to large for my feet.

i told bill that i like the new atomic boot to go with my atomic r11 ski, but i like him to recommend the boot. he came back with the salomon wave 9 with 90 dins (stiffness). first thing came thru my mind was that is was not an atomic. i asked why the wave 9, he felt that the salomon would give me the best fit. he also said that the size of my feet are small (24.5 285mm sole) and it would be harder to find male boot in that size. he also told me that he felt atomic was a wide boot and would not fit my small narrow feet well.

in the end i went with the wave 9 with 100 dins for stiffer feel. bill took out the old footbed and adjust it to my new boot. did some adjustments to better fit my feet. check the alignment and stance and i was a happy camper. by the way, he found me a new pair of last year wave 9 and it was not that much diff than this year for $360 including fixing my binding to fit the new boot.

the only thing i was not sure about was how much to tip bill. i gave him 10 bucks. does anyone have an opinnion on this.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
True. "Comfortable" is a relative term. For me, "comfortable" means that I'm not reeling in pain at the end of the day. Comfortable is a solid, clamped-down fit, which neither cuts off the blood supply, nor allows for wiggle room.

Originally posted by gonzostrike:
A "comfortable boot" isn't necessarily a bad boot. What you need to clarify is that "comfortable" doesn't mean "bedroom slipper."
post #14 of 14
gonzo it is a pretty safe bet that if you buy a pair of boots that are comfortable from day one with no break in period you have either & most likely a boot that is too big or less likely you are very fortunate, most people unless steered in the right direction would buy a boot that is too big for them because it is more comfortable in the store, they don't understand that most likely the boot they should be in won't be that comfortable until they ski in it a few days so the liner will pack out & mold to their foot, I did not mean that you could not have both the correct fit & a comfortable fit, my icon x fit like a driving glove & I can ski all day long my only problem with them is they get wet in the toe box then get very cold. that is why I suggested to Jack Martin that he go to a bootfitter he can trust to check fit alignment ect of his current boots & to see if new boots are the way to go. I would venture to say that there is a very high percentage of skiers in boots that are to big for them just as there is a low percentage of skiers that can utilise the skis they ride, as we know there can be a direct connection with these situations. on the other hand most people just want to slide down the mountain & have fun they don't take skiing as serious as we do so this works.
just another sunny day at the beach
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