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Boot Flex

twinplanx

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I'm considering some new boots. I live in the Flatlands so this will be an web purchase. I'm considering flex in the range between 100-120. I guess I'm an advanced-intermediant skier. My glory days may behind me, but I do enjoy sking Black Diamonds. I have attempted Double Blacks, but at that point its more survival mode then actual skiing. My tecninc could use some improvement. Lol

I'm embarrassed to admit I have never paid much attention to boot flex. I just bought the boots I could afford. I'm finally in a position to get some decent boots, but I still want to get a good deal. The big questions are: Will I notice a difference between 100-120 flex? Should I consider something even stiffer since I am over 200lbs? Does weight even matter in terms of flex?

I thought there was a category for gear related posts here, but I couldn't find it. Anyway thanks in advance for any assistance here. Looking foward to some sort of normal 2020-2021 ski season [emoji482]

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thebigo

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Best advice I can offer is to not buy boots online. Best case scenario you use your boots in roughly six months. Wait until things get better and visit an established shop. If the boot fitter gives you less than a half dozen boots to try on, find another shop. Personally I have found superfeet to be a worthwhile investment.

One of my kids coaches once told me there are only three reasons people stop skiing: too expensive, too cold or their boots hurts. Eliminate the one you can.
 

Edd

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I believe weight does matter, like it matters when you’re deciding on skis. You’ll also hear that flex ratings aren’t the same across the industry. I’ve bought a lot of ski gear online, but never boots.


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mister moose

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Boots are first about fit, then performance. Very few skiers are going to get a good fit right out of the box off the internet. Realize a good fit doesn't mean just comfortable, it needs to be superb foot/ski contact and then be as comfortable as possible.

On that vein, consider custom footbeds, they are one of the biggest bang for the buck items in achieving the best fit. So right away you're into purchasing from a good boot fitter in a quality shop, not a big box store or the internet.

When it comes to what in your old boots may be holding you back, you don't know what you don't know. If you can afford it, discover what great boots do for your skiing. Some shells are now heat moldable, another process best done by a knowledgeable fitter.

Flex is somewhat up to you. As a general rule, the better the boot, the higher the flex, up to about 120. Over that starts looking more like a race boot. You're looking for the forward pressure you send to the boot to get transferred to the ski. If the boot mushes out instead of resisting, that pressure doesn't get delivered. You also want side strength to deliver strong edge control, and a firm fit to deliver those pressure changes and not get lost in liner slop or compression.

Many intermediates don't ski the front of the boot, and if you aren't sure what flex you need, this may describe you. You're right that tall and weighty will need a higher flex. Try on 100 and compare it to 120. You should be able to flex the boot to get your knee over your toe. If you can't do that in a 65 degree store, you'll be in a really stiff boot in 20 degree ski day. Yet another reason to buy in a good ski shop. I'll go even farther, and tell you that you should try on several boots in at least 2 different shops, talking to 2 different boot fitters. If you want to improve your skiing, you need to do the time.

After that, take a few lessons to get some instruction on stance, timing and pressure management during the turn.
 

twinplanx

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There are 2/3 somewhat legitimate ski shops on all of Long Island. One of them may have 6 boots in my range to try on. I doubt there is a decent bootfitter anywhere on this island. I hoping to find a boot that fits well enough to be tweaked by a bootfitter up North.

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skiur

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Don't buy your boots online or from a ski shop in the flatlands, go to a good shop in the mountains. I buy almost all my gear online but for boots you need a good boot fitter and you will most likely have to go back to him/her for adjustments after a few days. Also I highly recommend getting custom footbeds with your boots. Ask the fitter your questions about flex.
 

BenedictGomez

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The frustrating thing about boot flex is it isnt standardized. What this essentially means is boot flex doesnt really exist. I mean, sure, boot flex is of course a real thing, but if a 100 boot flex in Nordica is a 90 boot flex in Lange & a 110 boot flex in Rossignol, then it's value as a metric isnt as valuable as I think the typical consumer marketed to (who I dont believe understands this) believes.
 

mister moose

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Choose your compromise. If you want to be passionate and be the best skier you can be, get yourself to an excellent boot fitter. Prices now until this fall should be as good as they'll ever be. In the mountain shops most boot fitters are gone in the summer, so call around. Buy boots where you ski. If you're a roamer and ski all around different places, then you have another compromise. No decent after the sale service. What if you buy a boot and it turns out to be a half size too big? Then the best fitter in the world won't be able to fix it, only make do with it. What if a better boot for you didn't feel right off the shelf, but when molded correctly would have been the best boot for you?

As an intermediate, some of the what the best boots offer will be lost on you. But wouldn't you rather have some headroom to grow, rather than be limited by what you bought? I guarantee you that if you get your first well fitted responsive boot, you will have a revelation on your skiing. So much so it might feel like you can't quite ski your old way on your new boots. And after only a few days you'll realize how much you didn't know.

If you aren't that passionate, then make your best guess on what will work for you, and go with that inevitable set of compromises. Be advised that most people choose the wrong shell and shell size when on their own. I appreciate your desire to get a good deal. The problem is boots are the most labor intensive piece of equipment to buy, so it's hard to get that quality labor on the internet or big box store. You just can't go that route to get the good fit that better skiing requires. (You should plan on several after-sale tweaks) So the best deal on boots is the off season. Late spring or early fall at a knowledgeable well stocked dedicated ski shop. There's a few places where there's lots of quality shops - Killington and Ludlow for instance. Maybe North Conway, but I'm not a NH skier. Save your internet deals for tickets/passes, jackets, gloves, poles, maybe skis.
 

Edd

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Fit is so goddamn important. I think I’m on my 4th set of boots lifetime. Two seasons ago I got Atomic Hawx 110. I’d been fitted for boots every time but I think they were always too big. I dropped a full size and, at the beginning of the last two seasons, I experienced foot PAIN like I’d never felt, causing a couple of short days. It went away after a few days each season.

However, the fit is incredible. My bump skiing has improved, and the boots are light AF. For the first time, boots were a game changer for me.


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mister moose

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...but I think they were always too big. I dropped a full size and, at the beginning of the last two seasons, I experienced foot PAIN like I’d never felt, causing a couple of short days. It went away after a few days each season.

However, the fit is incredible. My bump skiing has improved, and the boots are light AF. For the first time, boots were a game changer for me.

Exhibit A.
 

ss20

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+1 on don't buy online and +1 on don't buy in the flatlands. Bought boots a couple years ago from a very good shop in CT. I had a growth develop on top of my foot. They tried some stuff but couldn't really fix anything for me. Northern Ski Works in Ludlow fixed me right up in two visits- more experience and more equipment to work with.
 

BenedictGomez

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Two seasons ago I got Atomic Hawx 110. I’d been fitted for boots every time but I think they were always too big. I dropped a full size and, at the beginning of the last two seasons, I experienced foot PAIN like I’d never felt, causing a couple of short days. It went away after a few days each season. However, the fit is incredible. My bump skiing has improved, and the boots are light AF. For the first time, boots were a game changer for me.

My wife has those boots and loves them so much she bought a 2nd pair on clearance a year later just in case they stopped making them.
 

twinplanx

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I have read your replys and trust me I value all your input, but I really think online is the way to go for me. I'm comfortable shelling out 300 bucks on a pair of boots. If they don't fit I can return them. Some of the reviews even mention bootfitter tweaking, so I'm fairly confident this can be done at a shop even if I didn't buy them there. If I have to shell out more in the area of $500 I want to try them on in a store.

The whole process seems grueling and it's not unreasonable to expect mercants to be accommodated for any service provided. But trying on multiple boots at different shops seems extreme. I should mention that I would be lucky to ski 10 days in a season, so thats a factor in my purchase. On the same token, I would like to make the most of those days.

I would rather be able to say, "I can ski a Black Diamond well" then "well, I skied a Double Black..."

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Smellytele

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With that said Try them on at places near you. At least you get an idea how they fit out of the box. Different boots fit differently. Going in totally blind you’ll have a bigger chance of getting something that sucks for you.


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cdskier

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If the boot fitter gives you less than a half dozen boots to try on, find another shop.

I don't particularly agree with this. A good bootfitter should right away be able to narrow down the brands to what will fit your shape foot the best. So off the bat you should be looking at maybe 2 or 3 brands. And within each brand, maybe 2-3 options based on what you describe as your skill level and what you're looking for. I think I tried 3 maybe 4 last time I got boots (and the shop had plenty of other choices to pick from...but they just wouldn't have been right for me).

I have read your replys and trust me I value all your input, but I really think online is the way to go for me. I'm comfortable shelling out 300 bucks on a pair of boots. If they don't fit I can return them. Some of the reviews even mention bootfitter tweaking, so I'm fairly confident this can be done at a shop even if I didn't buy them there.

No doubt you can get another shop to tweak them (at a cost if you didn't buy them there of course), but also keep in mind there is a limit to what they can do. If you bought something that is completely wrong for your shape foot, it simply may not be possible to make them work properly for you no matter how much tweaking you do.
 

machski

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Do yourself a favor and do not buy boots online. Go to a good shop, spend some time and get fit for your specific foot type and size. Some brands will work well for a specific type of foot, some won't. I am about 170 and 5'7", I ski on a 130 flex which is very solid in all conditions. The reason is I like the instant response and feedback I get without much "play" first in the boot. The big problem if you haven't paid attention to flext before, it is harder to notice a difference in the shop where the boots are warm. A warm boot vs a cold boot will obviously flex quite a bit differently due to plastics.

If you are mostly a laid back, maybe black skier and doesn't push the speed, 120 flex should be more than enough and if you want a more casual fitting and flexing boot, back off to 100-110. But fit to your foot type first and foremost is probably more critical for you than the flex rating.

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dblskifanatic

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I find this interesting! I have shopped online since 2007 mostly on Evo.com. We have not gone in to a store for a boot purchase since. We know what flex range we like, we know our foot last, we know what we want for features and most of all we stay in a couple boot brands Lange and Dalbello. We are also not a cram the toe in types. Feet get cold fast with a tiny bit of wiggle room feet do not get cold so fast. We are also lucky none of us - wife myself and four boys ever had foot issues. Also, I certainly do not find a good store and pay their price. I would want to shop around - screw driving to find a deal. Online I can find compare read reviews and find the best pricing - also buy last year models.

With all that. If you never had stiffer boots then I would agree with going to a shop. If you do not mind shipping things back then you can try online. We have only one return and was due to my son not liking the flex of his new boots.

I think in the 110-120 range there is not make a huge difference but your size might find the difference.




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twinplanx

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If you do not mind shipping things back then you can try online. We have only one return and was due to my son not liking the flex of his new boots.

I think in the 110-120 range there is not make a huge difference but your size might find the difference.




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Was your son able to determine the flex wasn't right out of the box or did he need a few days on the hill? This is one of my concerns with an online purchase. I'd like to have this all figured out for the few days I do get out. I don't think I'd be able to return boots online by the time ski season rolls around.

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deadheadskier

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Ultimately it comes down to performance expectations regarding how much you want to invest and the path you take. There's no substitute for a professional boot fitter. Everyone can also benefit from custom footbeds and booster straps instead of stock footbeds and powerstraps.

IMO the best there is, is Paul Richelson at Richelson's Feet First. I've used other well respected fitters such as Shon at The Boot Pro at Okemo and Benny Wax at Inner Bootworks in Stowe. No one I've found is as detail oriented as Paul.

http://www.richelsonsfeetfirst.com/

He's a Pedorthist. Doesn't run a ski shop. He's a professional footwear fitter and has US Ski team members as his clients as well as professional runners.

His process is totally unique. There's more to ski boots than just BSL, Last and Flex. You can't read that information on a webpage and ascertain how a boot will truly fit. It's really more about volume across multiple measurement points.

What he does is spend about an hour evaluating your feet and how you walk. He measures last not just at the forefoot, but also the mid-foot and heel. He measures your instep height. He measures leg circumference immediately above your ankle, at the mid-calf and at the cuff.

He then matches all of your measurements to a database he maintains of about 8-10 yearly models per major brand of ski boots. Each summer he has all the manufacturers send him boots and he takes the exact same measurements inside the ski boots as he takes of his clients feet.

Then it's just a matter of taking your feet measurements and finding the closest matched ski boots. He gives you a list of 6-8 boots closest to your personal foot anatomy. You go try and buy your boots elsewhere whether online or at a ski shop. You bring your boots back to him and he dials them in.

Paul's process plus custom foot beds runs about $325. Totally worth it IMO. Based upon my terrain preferences and performance expectations, Paul had me pick up boots not one size down from street shoes, but two sizes. Many professional racers actually go down three sizes. I asked him specifically for prior year models so I could save money buying them online. Picked up the prior year Rossignol Alltrack Pro 130 for $300. So, I'm into the boots for $625. Seems pretty fair to me for the most important piece of your equipment.

The boots hurt like a MFer the first ten days out. I had to go back twice to have him blow the shells out a little bit here and a little bit there. But, once he fine tuned them, they fit like a pair of latex gloves. Absolutely zero slop anywhere.

The investment of $625 moving forward takes on a different ownership thought process as well. The foot beds were $125. The expected life is about 500 days. A ski boot shell has a life expectancy of about 250 days and a liner about 125. Given I ski about 30 days a year, that means after year 4 I'll just buy new liners. Probably pay $175 or so. Year 8, replace the shells which will also include new liners at say $300 again. Year 12 replace the liners again for $175. Throw in a few refitting and shell work charges at $100 each.

So, I'm at $625+$175+$300+$175+$300 for a total of $1575

Compare that with spending $300 every 3 years just buying boots off the shelf. Why 3 years? Poorly fitting boots will have their liners break down in about 100 days for an aggressive skier. Slop contributes to liners breaking down more rapidly. So, under that model I'd spend $1600 skiing in boots that don't fit as well contributing to worse performance. i.e. spend more money than the "expensive" custom experience for lesser skiing satisfaction.

If Central NH is convenient to you, visit Richelson's. He has offices in Plymouth and Bow.

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ScottySkis

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