Ski Boot Glossary
Last- The Last refers to the shape of the inside of the ski boot. Boot companies make several different last and they are categorized by widths. For example a 95mm last is a narrow boot, while a 104mm last is very wide.
The column on the left represents the skier’s ability level while the row on top is the last width. Notice that the width of the boot often corresponds with the ability level of the skier, not necessarily only the width of the skier’s foot. Experts, or racers, will want a narrower boot for performance while a Recreational skier will want a wider boot that is more geared toward comfort. The reason why high level skiers want narrow boots is due to the fact that the closer the plastic is to the foot the better the boot skis.
Flex Index- The flex index refers to the forward flexing stiffness of the boot. There are 2 very important things to know about the flex index. 1) There is not an industry standard. Therefore a Salomon 120 flex is not the same as a Lange 120. 2) The flex of the boot has as much to do with the stiffness of the plastic as the way the boot in constructed. A 98mm last boot in a 100 flex will be stiffer than a 120flex in a 102mm lasted boot since the 98mm last is designed more towards performance. Generally as the boots get wider they will also be softer flexing than a narrower boot. This is true even if the
the manufacturer gives both boots the same flex index.
Polyether Bi-Injected Shell- Polyether is the best grade of plastic that ski boots are made out of. It offers the best rebound, which makes the boots feel lively, and it is the easiest plastic for boot techs to work on. The Bi-Injection refers to 2 densities of plastics that are injected and bonded together. Stiffer in areas where performance is needed and softer where entry and exit of the ski boot are important. The good thing about this is that it makes it much easier to get the boot on and off. The negative part of bi-injection is that is will slightly take away from performance. But typically only the highest level skiers will notice this slight reduction in power. We offer almost exclusively polyether boots.
Polyether Mono-Injected Shell- Polyether is the best grade of plastic that ski boots are made out of. It offers the best rebound, which makes the boots feel lively, and it is the easiest plastic for boot techs to work on. The Mono-Injection refers to the same density of plastic through the shell. This allows the boot to perform extremely well and creates lots of energy and rebound. The negative part is that they are harder to get on and off, especially when it’s cold. Most expert level boots are constructed with this type of shell.
HP Slide In- The Hp Slide is a technology specific to Nordica. The Slide In allows for the plastic over the instep to slide back and forth when getting in and out of the boot. It creates a boot that is much easier to get in and out of than a Mono-Injected Shell.
Polyolefin Bi-Injected Plastic- Polyolefin plastic is often used on boots where the skier is not as concerned about rebound and high end performance. The plastic is also a bit harder for a boot tech to work on, but it is usually not important since these boots are typically wider and require less boot work.
3 Density Shell Technology- This construction uses 3 materials of different hardness to offer the best performance, fit and comfort. Depending on the boot, the % of hard material versus soft material changes. For example, an expert level boot will have more hard material than an entry level boot.
• Hard material in the heel and toe to offer torsional rigidity ensuring energy transmission and power.
• Medium structure offers a secure wrap and fit while enhancing power.
• Soft material allows for easy entry and exit and a great wrap around the lower foot and instep.
Zeppa- The Zeppa is also known as the bootboard. It is the platform that the liner sits on top of while in the boot. It offers a flat platform and often has materials to help keep your feet warm. Many (Freeride) boots are now coming with zeppas that help to absorb shock. Nordica makes a Zeppa for many of their 09/10 model boots that will measure heel height to 43mm in order to comply with FIS racing requirements.
I Flex Zone- The I Flex Zone is specific to Atomic. It is an insert in the middle of the foot that allows natural flexing movements and transmits them directly to the ski. The result is an improvement in balance and control in every phase of the turn. This can be a great technology to help intermediate and low level experts progress to the next level. Expert level skier who have proper balance will probably not see a benefit.
Soma Tech Offset- In many of Fishers boots they use Soma Technology. This allows the lower shell to be slightly offset to the outside allowing the skier to stand in an abducted stance. The offset crates a more natural stance for the skier. The result is many skiers will reduce the amount their knees and ankles twist inward as they flex forward. Many people can notice this standing in their living room. Put your feet parallel to each other and flex forward. Your knees will probably flex inward. Now point your toes outward a few degrees and again flex your knees forward. You may notice that your knees do not twist inward as you flex forward. That is the goal of the Soma Technology.
Natural Foot Stance (NFS) – NFS is designed to put the feet in an abducted position by veering the foot towards the outside edge from the heel. This foot position provides faster turn initiation with stronger edge grip and better ski control throughout the entire turn. It allows for more performance, precision and better balance. This technology can be a great benefit for the entry level to upper intermediate skiers. The high level expert skier will probably not benefit from this technology.
Custom Shell Technology – This technology allows for easier forefoot expansion. They are using a Kaprolene material in the medial and lateral part of the shell. The boot tech can them heat this material using and oven, heat gun, or hot water. The skier then steps into the shell and the forefoot will expand. It is really no different than what we have been doping for years, but it will allow many shops to be more accurate than in the past. While this technology does work it is not solely a reason to buy this boot. But if the other characteristics of the boot fit your needs, then get it.
Click here to view an extensive dictionary of foot alignment, orthotics and ski boot terms.
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