Would a stiffer, more form-fitting boot have a greater potential to contribute to injury than a softer boot with a less restrictive fit? Do you guys have information, conjectures, or experience regarding such a subject?
A little background: I have been gravitating around boots in the 110-130 flex range for the past five seasons. I am currently skiing on a Raptor 120 and a Salmon Falcon 10. The Raptor is by far much more form-fitting, stiff, and tight all-around than than the Falcon. In fact, I even had to have the 6th toe area ground a couple times to keep my feet from falling asleep. THe boots have been correctly balanced and canted by fitters. I am not into high-speed but would say a lot of times I am high-energy. I like to ski mostly groomers at moderate speeds and rarely ski above 30MPH or so. I prefer high-energy short slalom type turns on narrow skis on blue-black groomers or through a NASTAR course. I do not race. My groomer ski of choice for the past 4 years has been the RX8. When I tire, I get on my the IM77 Chip from 4 seasons ago and just cruise.
Anyways, the reason I ask is that I have noticed when I have a mishap while wearing the Raptor and have had to bail, I really get banged around and the knee and shins tend to take the brunt of it. This never happens with any other boot. It's as if there is so much leverage once the boot hits the snow and very little give in terms of space between foot, liner, and shell that any jarring is immediately transmitted to the shin and knees. I also noticed that if I catch an edge, man does that hurt the knee and shin. I don't just toppple over like I would on a softer boot, it's pretty jarring on the lower leg. Ten years ago I wouldn't give it a second thought but as I am getting up there a bit, I am now thinking more about safey concerns than I would have in the past --not to the point of paranoia, but just prudent caution. I am thinking perhaps that too stiff a bit is a recipe for a boot top fracture in a fall or an ACL rip?
I really don't need a 120 flex boot, I simply like the response it gives me. I could easily get by with my old Head RS 110, it just wouldn't be as precise or quick.
I really am not asking anyone to help me make a deicision, just looking for any opinions on boot stiffness and injury potential.