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New Member, Boot discussion. Step up to 100+ flex, or stay in the 80-100s?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
 Hey everyone,

   I didn't think this was "boot guy" related, I have no problems with fitment. So here it goes.

My equipment:
   To begin, I'm currently still skiing my ' 00 Nordica Trend 07's and I'm noticing quite a bit slop.  10 years on a set of boots is pretty good.  So, I'm due.   My 08/09 Tigershark 10 foot 175cm's are fresh off the rack mid last season from my previous K2 Four's (oldies, but goodies.)  Now, with the new aggressive ski, and the older, probably fatigued boot, the slop has been amplified.   

My ability:
    I'm a big guy, 6'1'', 250lb and a power skier.   I would consider my ability intermediate to expert, leaning towards the expert.  I ski the blacks here in the east 90% of the time, but warm up and cool down on blues.  I'm not a huge fan of moguls, however, I've noticed myself taking them on more often this season in hopes to quicken up my knees a little.   I occasionally leave the corduroy to the nice fresh fluff, but until I pickup a set of mid-fats in the late season sale, I usually stick to the groomers.  When I finally bite the bullet and grab some mid-fats, I'll do a little bit of everything, depending on conditions.

New boots?  
   I'm debating on getting into the 100+ flex area for a new set of boots.  I tried on both Tecnica and Nordica boots, and liked the fitment of both.  It seemed that the Nordica Sportmachine 80's may have been a little more plush than the Tecnica Pheonix 80's.  Both of which felt nice in the store, but who knows how they ski.    My next concern is, do I step up to the 100+ flex designation in either the Tecnica Dragon 100's or the Nordica Sportmachine 100's?  I know the ratings are guidelines and aren't consistent between manufacturers.  

I'm always trying to ski better and improve my ability.   Which boots would you recommend for an 8+ hour day on the hill based on the above?  

Thanks in advance!


post #2 of 11
I would definitely go with a 100+ flex at your weight and skill level. High level skiers that are 220lbs+ are almost always going to be skiing in a 120 flex +. If you find the technicas fit your feet well take a look at the dragon 120. I ski the dragon 120 with one of the bolts out and i'm 185lbs. If you really wanted to soften it up you could pull both the bolts or if you find you like the added stiffness you could ski it with them both in for the full "120" flex. Remember- you can always soften a boot up but you will not be able to make it any stiffer. Many people I know that weight less then 170lbs ski 120 flex boots but most ski them on the softer settings and some have put cuts in the shells to soften it up even more.  
Find a good shop and see what they recommend.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

 Thanks tmay11 for the feedback!    I wasn't sure if after a long day on the hill if I would be a "hurting unit" with sore feet.  I'm sure the first few initial days will be horrendous, but I want to make sure it didn't stay that way for the long haul.   Considering the Trend 07's have no rating, its hard to get a benchmark.  Lucky for me, I have probably the best ski shop in NY about 5 miles from my house, so I frequent, and purchase a considerable amount of garb there.

Is there much of a difference between the 08/09 stuff and the 09/10 stuff?

Anyone else have thoughts or recommendations?

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
 Well, my reply post was "held for moderation".  I'm too new I guess....

Thanks tmay11 for the reply.  I'm just concerned that I'll have "barking dogs" after a long day on the hill.  Right now, I'm not having too much of a comfort issue, I've noticed slop in the toe box, and the occasional heel lift.   My buckles are maxed out.

Anyone else?  
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 11
Step up.
A well-fitted boot won't be uncomfortable.
post #7 of 11
I'm 5'7" 145 lbs and ski a 100 flex boot (Solomon X-Wave 9).  Like others have said, at your weight and reported skill level you should definitely be in a boot with at least a 100 flex rating and probably a 120 flex.  A stiffer boot should not be more uncomfortable.  Most boots you'd be considering can be heat fit which will significantly shorten the break in process.  Your bootfitter should be able to heat fit your boots for you as well as make any shell modifications that are needed.  Also, as has been recommended many times on Epicski, consider getting custom footbed, especially if there's anything abnormal about your feet.
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Step up.
A well-fitted boot won't be uncomfortable.

 Second this. Again, if your boots fits properly, a 120 flex can be just as comfortable as an 80 flex. A good shop will do whatever shell modifications necessary to get the boot fitting your foot. The key is starting with a shell that will need as little modifications as possible, often though when trying to achieve a performance fit, some small shell modifications will need to be made.

Make sure that you do a shell fit on every boot you try. First, stand up and slide your foot all the way forward so that your big toe is just touching the end of the boot then look at the space between your heel and the shell, your looking for a 1/4"(performance) to 5/8"(comfort) gap. Keep in mind though that a 1/4" shell fit can be just as comfortable as a 5/8" if the boot fits properly. Also look for 2/3 mm gap all around the sides of your foot. If you have any prominence on your foot happens to be touching or very close to touching the shell do not necessarily rule out that boot. Example- A boot might be very closely shaped to your foot minus one particular spot, if this spot is easy to punch out then it might be worth it to go with that boot if the rest of the fit is spot on, this is opposed to buying a larger volume boot to accommodate one particular prominence- resulting in slop and a poorly performing boot. Next, with the liner still out, lift you foot off of the bottom and check to see how much room you have from the top of your foot to the shell, some boot have high insteps, some have low ones, you nee to find one that matches your foot. The basic idea being with all of this is that you are trying to find a boot that matches the shape of your foot as closely as possible.

Next put the liner in and buckle up the cuff buckles just slightly and then stand up and flex the boot, this will seat your heel back in the pocket of the boot. Do the boots up the rest of the way and stand, your toes should be lightly touching the end of the boot, as you pressure the cuff and flex the boot your toes should come back just off the liner. Also while flexing the boot notice the heel retention, then, purposefully try to lift you heels from the boot, you are looking for a boot with as much retention as possible. Your heels and ankles should feel "locked in" without any accompanying discomfort. It's very important to leave the boots on and stand in them for a minimum of 20-30 minutes because any pain the boot will cause will usually be 100% undetectable for at least that long. The buckles should not be maxed out, half way up is best as the boots will pack out requiring you to start doing them up a notch tighter. 

Maxed out buckles and heel lift are both signs of an overly big boot. Knowing that I would say that you could probably get a 120 flex boot that would fit more comfortable then your current boots. Right now i'm skiing over 25 hrs week in my Dragon 120s which have a 1/4 shell fit and my feet are never sore. Foot beds are also key, you do not necessarily need custom foot beds, just something other than the stock ones - http://www.superfeet.com/activity/skiing.aspx.

A good boot fitter will walk you through all the above.  Good luck.  
post #9 of 11
 Also read the wikis here on boot fitting. 
post #10 of 11
I'd say go 100 or more for the only reason being a shop `can soften flex pretty easily. If you don't like stiffer flex you can modify.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
 Wow, thats a great write up tmay11.  Thanks, that will help a lot.  I did the latter part of the fitting with the liner in, however I didn't do the shell fit part.  

    I went down to a mondo 29 to get the desired feel with the liner in, and it felt nice.  It seems like I'm comfortable with the buckles on the toe section cranked up pretty tight while keeping the upper buckles on the mid to loose side.  It could be the shell design.   I get minimal to no heel lift, my toes come just off the liner, and I feel no slop left to right in the toe box.   GRANTED, these are spankin' new, with less then 5 minutes of foot time.  I'm sure they'll feel amazing at first..  I think my flex concerns are more for the left to right, edge to edge, rather than front to back.  It seems any boot with my weight and lean will flex front to back.    Is there a boot with a lower volume toe box with a medium to high volume upper?  (Damn you, moutain bike racing, for huge calfs!)

Thanks again everyone for the help!  All this info will really help me step up my game!

   So, am I right to say that a 1/4" shell fit will resist to packing out, and a 5/8" fit will gradually feel looser and looser as they pack out?

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › New Member, Boot discussion. Step up to 100+ flex, or stay in the 80-100s?