Innovations making waves in the world of ski boots right now
Hinge and flex
Fischer is rolling out its Motion Support Liner to some of its Soma Vacuum Hybrid models which cater for a range of skiers, for example, the Hybrid 12 plus (£450) aimed at top performers
A new hinge at the ankle of the liner means they now also flex along with the shell, giving both you and the boots even more freedom to move. The idea seems simple but this is the first time it’s been tried by a ski boot manufacturer.
Lighter, stronger, better
Last season Tecnica introduced a super-light shell material called Triax which is touch and rubbery. Boots made from this material are extremely strong and lightweight, but still easily mouldable.
Tecnica has expanded the use of the technology throughout the Cochise freeride line, such as the Cochise 90 (£239), aimed at freeride skiers. The range is designed to complement the Cochise ski line created by Blizzard, Tecnica’s sister company.
Adjust to fit
Head has tackled the problem of getting a good fit across the forefoot with its AdaptEdge range of boots, launched last season. They are the first boots to allow the width of the shell to be altered – and with the turn of a screw. The narrower setting corresponds to a 102mm-wide fit for precision skiing, the wider setting to a 104mm-wide fit for more comfort.
You can adjust the settings to fit your needs on the slopes with just an Allen key. AdaptEdge technology is now available on five Head models (three men’s, two women’s), including the AdaptEdge 100 (£250), for advanced all-mountain skiers.
All over fit
Fischer introduced the Vacuum Fit process last season and brought unprecedented levels of comfort to many skiers with a shell which was completely thermomouldable, as opposed to just parts of it. After being heated to 80°C in a special oven, the shell and liner is cooled onto the customer’s foot under pressure to create a totally customised fit.
Originally this was available on five high-end Fischer models; this year it is available on a further seven. And now, Salomon has joined the fray with its new 360 Custom Shell. Apart from some tougher material around the sole, heel and spine, the entire shell is thermomouldable. The 360 Custom Shell will be available in the X-Max range, including the X-Max 120 (£360), aimed at piste and all-mountain skiers, and the Quest Max range of hike and ride boots which come with a flexible walking mode.
Most shells come in two sections – a cuff and foot piece. Adding a third piece, an external tongue is not exactly new technology since the design was made popular by Raichle’s Flexon boots of the 1980s. However, it’s making a comeback. Dalbello and Full Tilt, who make boots in this way, have now been joined by giants Nordica.
It’s using this design for its new Transfire range, including the Transfire R1 (£300), for advanced on-piste skiers. The aim is to provide superb lateral support, heel hold and a smooth forward flex and to improve edge-to-edge transfer.
Hike and ride
Following Salomon and Atomic’s launch of new boots that allow you to change between stiff for skiing and loose for walking or hiking at the flick of a switch, more boot companies are coming up with their own hike and ride offerings.
Now, Fischer’s Hybrid range has a lever on the rear of the boot which can be set in three different positions – hike mode for free movement while walking, ride mode for a more upright stance for softer snow and lock mode for an aggressive, stiffer setting for optimum performance on piste.
Lange’s technology, the V Cut Power V lock, is designed to give maximum rear support in ride mode, while allowing for full movement in hike mode. It’s available on Lange’s hike and ride XT range, including the XT 120 (£395).
Tecnica also has what’s called a Cuff Mobility system – available on models in the Cochise freeride line – where the cuff pivots back and forth in walk mode but is easily locked into place in ride mode at the pull of a loop.