When a company like Arcteryx decides to enter the game, you can be assured they want to take things to the next level. It’s what they are known for. This is the company that brought seam welding technology into the fray and made it a staple of their designs. The cut and stylings their softgoods define elegant simplicity and compliment the form of the human body while remaining consummately functional.
The Procline Carbon boot is their initial attempt at putting out a “game changer” in the ski boot market. It has all the hallmarks of Arcteryx design. I’d argue that it’s perhaps the most eye pleasing ski boot on Skimo Co wall. A sleek, low profile toe. Bright orange color. Carbon cuff. Quality zip up gaiter. Visually, it stands out like a Ferrari.
The walk ability of this boot is unparalleled in its class. It walks with little to no noticeable restriction. The much touted 30 degrees of lateral movement may or may not help this. In my experience while wearing this boot, it wasn’t noticeable. I tend to wear my upper cuff pretty loose while skinning and climbing so perhaps it’s not something I can feel but it may be working in the background. Dorsiflexion and plantarflexion are so smooth, free, and easy that I often felt disoriented at the loss of feeling from the cuff. This is a positive thing once you become accustomed to it and makes going back to other boots kind of a drag.
The same features that make the boot walk so well, lend to it climbing very very well (for a ski boot). Range of movement with little restriction allows natural movement, keeping the wearer in balance and collected. I have not climbed any water ice in it, but have climbed enough rock and firm snow to believe it would do well. I could certainly see myself climbing up to WI4 with little to no change in technique from my dedicated climbing boots. The rubber sole has proven to be sticky and durable with little visible wear.
The downside is that this is a 4.5 star shell cursed with a 1 star liner. It’s short lasted and slips fore/aft in the shell while skiing, it lifts out of the pocket in the heel while skinning, the tongue doesn’t stay put, and it’s not very moldable. A little surprising that Arc’Teryx missed so badly with this. My solution has been to use a Palau Tour Lite Performance liner in place of the stock liner. By doing so, I feel like I’m getting 100% of the performance from this shell design. Not too big a deal in the long run. Replacing liners for something of higher performance is common, even with high end boots.
Procline Carbon can ski. It’s very very stiff laterally. Provided the user stays balanced and drives the ski from the ankle, it’s capable of driving a much bigger ski than its competitors. While it does have a very mild forward flex, when paired with the Palau liner it has never actually betrayed me in such a way as to lose control or crash. My complaint with the ski mode is the aggressive forward lean and no ability to adjust its position. Some won’t find any issue with its lean angle, but I prefer to be able to be slightly more upright.
All said, this is a 3.5-4 star boot in my book. A better liner from the factory and some options for forward lean would bring this to a 4-4.5 star boot. If you are the foot shape that this boot fits, and are willing to play with different liners, the Procline Carbon is a capable, high performance, ski mountaineering machine.
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