I used these boots throughout winter 2017, probably ~130k of vert and many days and hours, including a couple of hut trips in Idaho, a bunch of Utah powder days, even the Powderkeg. Can't say I abused them by trying to do rocky ridge traverses and mixed climbs or anything, but I did walk about 5 miles of City Creek pavement in them once.
For reference, I ski in tecnica inferno 130 boots in the resort and have previously used Mercuries, ONE's and the Maestrale RS for touring. In all those boots, I've used intuition liners and custom footbeds.
Touring on Voile Vectors 180 with Superlight 2.0.
Maybe I got very lucky on these, but it's the only pair of ski boots I've ever had that did not require any fit modifications. In all my other boots, I've had issues with width and instep height, so I would imagine that this boot is fairly wide in the forefoot and the BOA system is forgiving on the instep. The heel hold when the liner is new is fantastic and, even now that the liner is pretty packed out and showing signs of wear, is still good. I do wish the cuff could be tighter, the buckle power strap design limits the amount of velcro you can pull through and I have it on max tight all the time, but I'm used to cranked down alpine boots and I like to ski the front of the boot if that makes sense. I would like it if they had an extra molded spot to move the buckle.
The Palau liner is very thin, light and flexible and is perfect for this boot IMO. That said, it has worn quickly, to the point that I have thought about trying to get a new set. The gaiter system is a tad fussy, but I haven't had any issues with snow intrusion and it makes the walk mode much more free. The BOA system works very well, I can crank it down and achieve a close fit without pressure points. I think this contributes to the great heel hold. Zero reliability issues. Ski/walk mechanism is a simple solution that works really well. I see no reason for the more complex mechanisms in some boots. There is a tiny bit of play in ski mode that I notice on the bench, but it doesn't bother me when skiing. The cuff buckle/power strap has a really nice long throw that enables you to leave the power strap tight, unbuckle for full range of motion and buckle to ski. No fuss, no problem.
Empowering! I think the range of motion is better than the hiking boots I have to wear all summer. I've never used race boots, but these have got to be close. I've tried on F1s and TLTs and they don't come close to the Fischers. I barely use my heel risers now. Transitions are pretty much fuss free, with just two easy lever throws per boot. Would be cool if they had a one lever action a la race boots, but no big deal. Like I said, I walked about 5 miles of pavement in them with no issues (other than my burning desire for Domino's, but that had nothing to do with the boots). Also, they are very warm, possibly due mostly to the good fit, but my feet haven't gotten cold anytime other than a zero degree dawn patrol. And that was probably due to some sensitivity from a bit of recent frostbite.
These aren't powerhouse stiff boots, but they do feel intuitive, skiable and confidence inspiring. I don't go out into the backcountry to crush crud and rail groomers anyway. The upright forward lean is one of the reasons I bought these, having had issues with ramp and lean on past setups and it works well. Combined with a nice, easy ski like the vector, I think I ski better and more confidently in these boots than on my past setups (huascarans and mercuries). The torsionally stiff sole and the "duck-foot stance" thing mentioned above might be beneficial here, but I can't really tell enough to say. All I can say is that they ski well enough that I wouldn't hesitate to use them on any terrain. I wouldn't be charging, but I could make a nice turn and be in total control.
No issues here, other than the liner packing out, which doesn't really affect the performance of the boot very much. Sole shows basically no wear, but I haven't done hardly any rocky bootpacking stuff. Seems to me it would hold up well.
Bottom line, for me, backcountry gear should be intuitive, light and reliable and these check all these boxes in spades. I never think about them when I'm touring, they just work.
Nice review, simple and straightforward. Getting a pair from Skimo this fall.
Hope they are still got it going on for you.
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