Nordica Dobermann 5 Stiff

We're not going to say that the new Nordica Dobermann 5 Stiff is a real man's boot because it's clearly a real woman's boot too given the sizing available down to a 22.5, so let's just call it a re

Category 
Frontside
Last Width 
96
Flex Index 
130
Price (MSRP) 
$900.00USD

Tecnica Firebird R 140

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
3-10 UK (22-29 mondo)
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
Firebird R 120, $840
Cantology Compatible 
No
Total Avg Score 
4.46
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
polyether/polyurethane/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
4.30
Dynamic Balance 
4.70
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.90
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.80
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.60
Tech Compatible 
No

Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
23.5-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
S/Max 130, $900; S/Max 120, $800; S/Max 110, $725; S/Max 100, $675
Cantology Compatible 
No

The 2019/2020 Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon was tested in the men's Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

Speed becomes less concern than invitation to a party with the S/Max 130 Carbon, said testers who call the fit painted-on and gapless for the low-volume foot and instep. Built to absolutely crush early morning groomers, testers couldn’t get enough of the close-to-snow feel of the lower shell and directly linked feel between lower leg and cuff. This is a responsive, lightweight ride that put stiff skis on edge and hammered hard snow into submission with ease. The ultra-quick Custom Shell HD process succeeded in mellowing minor hot spots.

The Fit

One tester said the well-distributed and firm grip on the foot and lower leg foretold of responsive skiing, and he was right about that based on its performance scores. The fit is race-room tight with a particularly snug fit on the lower leg just above the ankles where the boot tapers to wrap the leg shaft and instep area in a highly transmissive match. Testers were initially concerned about the super rigid carbon fiber Coreframe insert affecting the navicular area fit, but no such complaints came to light after testing. As a side note the Coreframe insert area is able to be traditionally heat-stretched for additional room there. Testers who found the overall fit a bit too close for comfort and underwent the new Custom Shell HD molding process came out the other side all smiles and in only 10 minutes—impressed, they were (say that with a Yoda voice).

Performance

One can tell from the score spread, that the boot's best attribute is its quickness and precision feel underfoot. The thin shell wall polyurethane lower boot with the TPEX carbon Coreframe insert puts the foot in close and transmissive contact with the boot and ski and the Grilamid cuff adds snap while shaving weight (only 1664 grams). This construction combination made for a highly tactile feeling boot that responded immediately to foot steering inputs and transitioned turn to turn with synaptic speed, testers agreed. The boot is not lacking in power, whatsoever, testers assured, calling it a trench laying fool and a turn-completing stomper. Regarding post-Custom Shell process performance—we had one of our testers only mold one boot for the sake of comparison with an un-molded boot and he found no appreciable difference in stiffness between the two, afterward.

Cool Features

Kaprolene is the additive to polyurethane that allows for Custom Shell molding. New this year in certain models within the S/Max and MTN lines the Kaprolene used is pre-mixed in precise amounts into the polyurethane itself rather than as a somewhat random additive at the time of plastic injection. This creates a more predictable and defined molding response which, when used in the thin shelled S/Max and MTN boots, drastically reduced cook times from ten minutes to only two, molding from five minutes to only three and cool-down to five minutes. Our tests showed legit results without a degradation of performance, post-molding. This year Salomon offers a kit for bootfitters to drill out the Oversized Pivot cuff hinge point and replace it with a lateral cuff adjustment for skiers who need more stance angle adaptability than the Custom Shell process will provide. Cantology cant shims are available for the S/Max boots but require over-plating and routing along standard race room protocols.

Total Avg Score 
4.31
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
polyurethane w/ carbon /Grilamid/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
4.25
Dynamic Balance 
4.31
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.75
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.50
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.69
Tech Compatible 
No

Lange RS 130

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
22.5-30.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
RS 120, $700
Cantology Compatible 
No

The 2019/2020 Lange RS 130 was tested in the men’s Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

Once again, testers put the Lange RS 130 at the top of the Frontside category, backing up their decision with a slew of superlatives that speak to its ideal blend of anatomical fit, agility underfoot and unstoppable edge power and stability. The other boots in the group were similarly near flawless piste-beasts, so what set’s the RS 130 apart? It’s comfort and conveniences scores were head and shoulders above the rest—it’s a lovable beast, and a benchmark best of test, testers said.

The Fit

The challenge for Lange with this revised RS wasn't just to come up with a new shell and liner but to come up with both of those that were better than what they already had, which was pretty damn good. The shell was tightened internally in the heel pocket but also made more defined in the ankles. The liner is more anatomically sculpted with firm pre-molded material in the ankle and heel area and its exterior material is stiffer and also precisely matched to the interior shape of the shell. Testers said mission accomplished, again—the fit is stronger in the heel and more comfortable in the ankle, but with an even, performance-minded grip all along the foot and into the cuff. From the initial entry to the end of each tester's on-snow session, they said the fit was an ideal wrap of the foot and the leg.

Performance

Externally, the shell of the RS 130 is thicker in the heel counter and up through the spine of the cuff than in the past for a more powerful drive train, and modifications were made to the thickness of plastic in key areas to enhance feel for snow and prevent a fold-over flex feel when taxed. In both the shell and upper cuff, Dual Core construction employs a less dense plastic sandwiched between higher density plastic to generate a tensile energy in the material itself. Testers don't know how they did it, but they agreed on all counts again this year—stronger, more tactile, and quicker all around. Testers mentioned again that the turn seemed to start earlier and felt more round from start to finish than with the RS boots of old.

Cool Features

Everything a high performance skier needs and nothing else here: removable rear spoiler, double liner pull loops, cam lock power strap, single side set-screw cuff adjustment, easy-open bottom buckles and a toe dam that doesn't leak.

Total Avg Score 
4.48
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
Dual Core polyether/Dual Core polyether/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
4.27
Dynamic Balance 
4.67
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.58
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.67
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
4.27
Tech Compatible 
No

Atomic Redster Club Sport 130

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
23.0-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
Redster Club Sport 110, $600
Cantology Compatible 
No
The 2018/2019 Atomic Redster Club Sport was tested in the men's Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

No frills but no flaws—testers applaud the race bred perfection of the Redster Club Sport and its true-to-96 mm fit tension that grabbed onto the foot with performance-minded intentions and didn't let go. This one's the real deal, they said, and it got better at higher speeds on harder snows—sort of like you'd expect, right? Built for skilled skiers intent on carving hard and skiing fast, and it will not disappoint them. Our favorite Frontside Atomic in years.

The Fit

The tightest fit of the test is what our crew claimed, with a particularly aggressive grip on the heel and an extremely close fit along the lateral column, where testers squealed a bit about their styloid process bony bits. As one would expect from a true 96 mm Frontsider, this fit will require a bootfitter's help to even out pressure along bony prominences for all but the most slender of feet. The flex feel is firm, both in liner cushioning and shell movement, but appropriately so according to testers, who gave praise in the form of comments about little, brick-built structures.

Performance

Stance-wise comments revolved around different ways of saying, "perfect," and power and quickness scores both topped the graph. "Skis fantastically well." said one tester, and another mentioned that aggressive medium and long radius arcs were the boot's sweet spot, though its high quickness scores suggest it bangs out the shorties just fine.

Cool Features

Testers still like the basics of a polyurethane shell and cuff with no monkey business, and that's what you get here—traditional, tried and true, though Atomic uses what they call TrueFlex polyurethane in the Redster (and in Hawx Ultra) which has a more consistent flex over a broader temperature range. Most also liked the blood red hue, and most considered the boot easy-enough on and off for the racy Frontside group. Testers mentioned liking the 55 mm Dual power strap that allows for differential adjustment for where it strikes the liner tongue and the shell's cuff wrap. The polyurethane plastic is also infused with Memolink additive, so a Memory Fit cook job could be one tool in the bootfitter's quiver for opening up some breathing room as needed.

Total Avg Score 
4.27
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
polyurethane/polyurethane/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
3.83
Dynamic Balance 
4.57
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.71
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.43
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.71

Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
24.5-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
S/Max 130, $850; S/Max 120, $725; S/Max 110, $650; S/Max 100, $600
Cantology Compatible 
No
The 2018/2019 Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon was tested in the men's Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

Salomon drops a bomb (the good kind) on the Frontside category with the all new 2019 S/Max 130 Carbon that won our test team over with its properly tight Frontside fit and show-stopping quickness and feel. The connection of foot to liner and liner to shell was seamless and created a deep-trenching connectivity with the ski, testers said. The new Custom Shell HD process takes half the time to mold and our tests yielded the best results ever for the oven-cook-then-wear protocol.

The Fit

One tester said the well-distributed and firm grip on the foot and lower leg foretold of responsive skiing, and he was right about that based on its performance scores. The fit is race-room tight with a particularly snug fit on the lower leg just above the ankles where the boot tapers to wrap the leg shaft and instep area in a highly transmissive match. Testers were initially concerned about the super rigid carbon fiber Coreframe insert affecting the navicular area fit, but no such complaints came to light after testing. As a side note the Coreframe insert area is able to be traditionally heat-stretched for additional room there. Testers who found the overall fit a bit too close for comfort and underwent the new Custom Shell HD molding process came out the other side all smiles and in only 10 minutes—impressed, they were (say that with a Yoda voice).

Performance

One can tell from the score spread, that the boot's best attribute is its quickness and precision feel underfoot. The thin shell wall polyurethane lower boot with the TPEX carbon Coreframe insert puts the foot in close and transmissive contact with the boot and ski and the Grilamid cuff adds snap while shaving weight (only 1664 grams). This construction combination made for a highly tactile feeling boot that responded immediately to foot steering inputs and transitioned turn to turn with synaptic speed, testers agreed. The boot is not lacking in power, whatsoever, testers assured, calling it a trench laying fool and a turn-completing stomper. Regarding post-Custom Shell process performance—we had one of our testers only mold one boot for the sake of comparison with an un-molded boot and he found no appreciable difference in stiffness between the two, afterward.

Cool Features

Kaprolene is the additive to polyurethane that allows for Custom Shell molding. New this year in certain models within the S/Max and MTN lines the Kaprolene used is pre-mixed in precise amounts into the polyurethane itself rather than as a somewhat random additive at the time of plastic injection. This creates a more predictable and defined molding response which, when used in the thin shelled S/Max and MTN boots, drastically reduced cook times from ten minutes to only two, molding from five minutes to only three and cool-down to five minutes. Our tests showed legit results without a degradation of performance, post-molding. This year Salomon offers a kit for bootfitters to drill out the Oversized Pivot cuff hinge point and replace it with a lateral cuff adjustment for skiers who need more stance angle adaptability than the Custom Shell process will provide. Cantology cant shims are available for the S/Max boots but require over-plating and routing along standard race room protocols.

Total Avg Score 
4.34
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
polyurethane w/ carbon /Grilamid/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
4.33
Dynamic Balance 
4.50
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.50
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.60
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.80

Lange RS 130

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
22.5-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
RS 120, $700; RS 100, $600
Cantology Compatible 
No
The 2018/2019 Lange RS 130 was tested in the men’s Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

The patriarch of the RS blue boot family, 2019 Lange RS 130 returned to our boot test this year unchanged but packing the full slate of revisions it received last year to shell and liner which continue to set it apart from the rest. Again, after a week of rigorous testing the RS 130 topped the Frontside category again with nearly perfect scores for stance, edge power and quickness.

The Fit

The challenge for Lange with this revised RS wasn't just to come up with a new shell and liner but to come up with both of those that were better than what they already had, which was pretty damn good. The shell was tightened internally in the heel pocket but also made more defined in the ankles. The liner is more anatomically sculpted with firm pre-molded material in the ankle and heel area and its exterior material is stiffer and also precisely matched to the interior shape of the shell. Testers said mission accomplished, again—the fit is stronger in the heel and more comfortable in the ankle, but with an even, performance-minded grip all along the foot and into the cuff. From the initial entry to the end of each tester's on-snow session, they said the fit was an ideal wrap of the foot and the leg.

Performance

Externally, the shell of the RS 130 is thicker in the heel counter and up through the spine of the cuff than in the past for a more powerful drive train, and modifications were made to the thickness of plastic in key areas to enhance feel for snow and prevent a fold-over flex feel when taxed. In both the shell and upper cuff, Dual Core construction employs a less dense plastic sandwiched between higher density plastic to generate a tensile energy in the material itself. Testers don't know how they did it, but they agreed on all counts again this year—stronger, more tactile, and quicker all around. Testers mentioned again that the turn seemed to start earlier and felt more round from start to finish than with the RS boots of old.

Cool Features

Everything a high performance skier needs and nothing else here: removable rear spoiler, double liner pull loops, cam lock power strap, single side set-screw cuff adjustment, easy-open bottom buckles and a toe dam that doesn't leak.

Total Avg Score 
4.53
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
Dual Core polyether/Dual Core polyether/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
4.42
Dynamic Balance 
4.75
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.92
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.83
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.75

Head Raptor 140 RS

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
22.0-30.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
Raptor 120 RS, $700; Raptor 100 RS, $600
Cantology Compatible 
No
The 2018/2019 Head Raptor 140 RS was tested in the men's Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

Testers said skiing in the 2019 Head Raptor 140 RS is a little like seeing a big arena show featuring your favorite rock band from the early 70's, and they don't play any of their new crap—they play all the killer old stuff and they sound every bit as good! The Raptor 140 RS has been, and remains, the perfect Frontside boot, say testers, so why would you change it—and they haven't over the years, save some minor cosmetics and liner tweaks. Returning unchanged this year from last, testers comment that it's lasted so long in its current form that while other boots have gone too upright, its cuff angles of yore are now a welcome, refreshingly aggressive throwback. Now that other narrow boots have begun to feel like wides, putting on a--damn, that's tight--Raptor has become a breath of fit tension fresh air.

The Fit

The Raptor's fit is straightforward—tight and right. Testers gave it 1's and 2's--1 is true race boot tight--but also commented that there's enough shape built-in to house the common bony prominences and wider areas, but just barely. The liner is thin and dense, but padded just enough to separate bones from plastic and provide a well-wrapped and connected fit. The sense that the ski is not far from the foot is a common mention on test forms. The flex feel is a strong 130, so sure, 140 works, but the feel on the leg is accessible to good skiers—this isn't a World Cup race boot. Yes, testers mention some spots that'd need work for their particular hotspots (styloid process is a common one in the Raptor) but that's what a monoinjected polyurethane shell, cuff and a good ABB bootfitter are for. The Raptor 140 RS fits traditionally lengthwise (i.e. not overly long), so if the other narrows seem to be growing of late, this will remind you how they’re supposed to fit.

Performance

The stance set-up is strong, meaning with a little extra oomph to the inside edge, and this, along with the beefy, solid-sole lower boot construction and a bolted cuff, creates monstrous leverage over the ski for sick-and-wrong trenching on-piste. Note that out of all its many tests, it maintained a perfect score for Edge Power and Stability. It's just as strong off-piste, but it's not forgiving of mistakes and is transmissive of terrain hits back into the skeleton—so, highly skilled all-mountain skiers will be thrilled, but keep in mind a smooth surface is the Raptor's native habitat. Most testers find the fore-aft stance just right without the rear spoiler installed, which is the way the boot comes boxed. The Flex Performance tuning anchor for shell and cuff is designed to be drilled and pinned for an even stiffer flex rating—you won't need it, just make sure the one set-screw is tight and then fuggetabout it! Old school racers who've tried going wider and softer and hated it--well, come back home.

Cool Features

Testers like the Double Power Booster power strap that combines a Booster strap with a three-to-one mechanical advantage pulley for serious leg wrapping crankage and a snappy return to center. Dual-side cuff adjustment is a worthy amenity for fine-tuning edge angles, and the Spine Flex buckles wrap the radius of cuff and lower boot (and very few complaints about them from testers this year, they've pretty much given up).

Total Avg Score 
4.44
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
polyurethane/polyurethane/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
4.29
Dynamic Balance 
4.63
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
5.00
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
4.50
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.75

Fischer RC4 Curv 130 Powered by Vacuum

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
24.5-30.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
RC4 Curv 140 Vacuum Full Fit, $900; RC4 Curv 130 Vacuum Full Fit, $800; RC4 Curv 110 Vacuum Full Fit, $700; RC4 Curv 110 Powered by Vacuum, $500
Cantology Compatible 
No
The 2018/2019 RC Pro 130 Vacuum Full Fit was tested in the men's All-Mountain medium width category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.

The Gist

Testers were again pleased with the slightly re-named 2019 Fischer RC4 Curv 130 Powered by Vacuum (PBV) for its more neutral stance than past RC4 versions, its comfortable out-of-box fit and its quick edging moves on snow. They also liked getting a 130-flex boot with a Powered by Vacuum customizable lower shell at an affordable price.

The Fit

Testers say compared to the RC4 of old, the RC4 Curv 130 PBV is a breath of, well, breathing room! The toebox fits longer and more open thanks to a new seamless liner construction and the entire lower shell and cuff fits with an even narrow-medium fit that testers said sat nicely between the two width categories. Testers noticed a little extra relief on the medial side of the shell wall, at the navicular bone area. The lower boot is made of heat moldable Vacu-Plast which can be manipulated for fit improvements through a variety of different Vacuum methods, while the upper cuff is polyurethane and customizable with traditional bootfitting means.

Performance

The stance angles on the RC4 Curv 130 PBV are more in-line with others in the All-Mountain category than was the RC4 of old. The Curv 130 stands more upright and is less tipped-out, laterally. More neutral-feeling all around, said testers. A few of them mentioned the cuff was set-up too "in" for them and they'd perform a cuff alignment tweak using the solid race cuff alignment adjusters to better match their more bowlegged angles. The RC4 Curv boots are straight-lasted as opposed to abducted, Soma-Tec style, a trickle-down design change from the 92 mm RC4 Podium race boots. While testers may have a particular preference for one stance set-up or another there were certainly no complaints here. Testers did agree that the flex feel was a little shy of the 130 mark but they also concurred that the boot's precise steering and rapid fire edging game was amongst the best.

Cool Features

Bootfitters like the screw hardware for removing cuffs and buckles, and another bootfitting nicety, the RC4 Curv boots are Cantology compatible. Feeling soleful? GripWalk soles are available as an optional purchase as well, for use with GripWalk compatible bindings. The PBV lower boot (Vacu-Plast) can be molded via oven cooking or with the techie and quite cool Zone Fit adhesive heating elements.

Total Avg Score 
3.34
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
Vacu-Plast/polyurethane/n.a.
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
3.17
Dynamic Balance 
3.25
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
3.25
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
3.43
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.63

DaleBoot ST

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
22-34
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Cabrio/3-PC
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
n.a.
Special Sizes 
31.0 and larger
Cantology Compatible 
No
The 2018/2019 DaleBoot ST was tested in the men's Frontside category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit, but the ST is a fully custom built boot and can be made a narrow, medium or wide.

The Gist

We tested the 2019 DaleBoot ST in the Frontside category because it's the stiffest model DaleBoot makes, and testers thought it fit right in there alongside other race-bred powerhouses. Testers liked the power-to-weight ratio the ST brings to the table—stiff and strong with a close-feeling connection to the ski and snow surface.

The Fit

The guys at DaleBoot set up our Frontside test model as a narrow last to better match the other boots in the category, and they also chose to load it with their higher density liner option for a firmer, more transmissive Frontside feel—both choices that were favored by testers who gave the painted-on, custom fit the double thumbs-up. However, the ST could be built as a medium or a wide, and with a variety of different Intuition liner styles and densities. Similarly the height of the cuff is variable—selected for the particular skier the boot will be made for. The flex feel of the ST is pretty rigid—again, DaleBoot's stiffest set-up—and that appealed to testers in this particular category, though for bigger, taller guys the ST is a good All-Mountain option too.

Performance

The ST's rigid cuff design allowed testers to bury the rail at high speeds and on hard snows, but did so without loss of a tactile feel for the snow. Testers liked the way the three-quarter length, adjustable bootboard supported the rear foot and set the ramp angle but left the forefoot to sit directly on the thin shell base—as close as the foot can come to ski. Very high durometer (stiff) polyether plastic is used to make the lower boot rigid but with an unusually thin shell wall. This gives the boot a feely, connected character but without being flimsy. Light and sensitive but strong on edge—a unique combination, testers agreed.

Cool Features

The three-quarter length bootboard is adjustable laterally to better support the rearfoot or provide mobility there and can be set up for use with a posted or non-posted custom insole. A large part of the DaleBoot customizing process, beyond just fit, is ensuring that the skier's stance is dialed, and their unique, snap-on canted soles are a quick and effective way to fine-tune the boot's performance.

Total Avg Score 
3.60
Shell/Cuff/Tongue Plastic 
polyether/polyether/polyether
Anatomical Fit and Initial Feel 
3.50
Dynamic Balance 
4.00
Edge Power & Fore-Aft Support 
4.00
Quickness, Steering & Feel 
3.00
Convenience, Warmth & Features 
3.50

Salomon X Max Race 130

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
24.5-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
X Max Race 120, $725
Cantology Compatible 
No

The Gist

The 2018 Salomon X Max Race 130 is born of shrinkage—no, not like Costanza, but rather because this year's X Max utilizes polyamide plastic in the lower portion of the shell, and one property of polyamide is some shrinkage during cooling after being pulled off the injection mold. This shrinkage amounts to the 2 mm difference in last width from last year's 98 mm X Max to this year's 96 mm. Here, Salomon chooses to stick with a similar liner as last years, hence, tight tight baby--let's call it X Max Race! In the other 98 mm X Max boots this year a thinner liner construction is used to maintain a more "pedestrian narrow" feel.

The Fit

Did we mention that this one is tight, gentlemen? Testers said they were locked in a well-contoured vice with a little added dominatrix torture action on the ankle bones and across the throat of the boot at the instep. This had a few testers wondering if it was too tight, some others considering a Custom Shell 360 oven cook, and the rest loving how well it gripped the foot. The Frontside category is for grippin', tippin' and rippin', right? The cuff is similarly close to the bone, though test data indicated a little bit of give for the calf muscle at the boot top.

Performance

Testers agree that the cuff is a touch upright in its stance angle and also rides a bit high on the lower leg. This baby's stiff, too, so testers found that the combination of these factors put them back on their heels a little bit, creating a challenge for them to man-up and get over the top of this boot and into the driver's seat. Aggressive, tall testers had a better time finding the sweet spot. There is an X Max Race 120 that our sissy-boys might have had an easier time with. Lateral movements in the 130 were rewarded with deep, trenching carves and a lot of rebound energy in the transitions. Locked and loaded edge power.

Cool Features

The X Max Race models have sick cam-lock power straps and dual pull loop liners. Again, the Custom Shell 360 customization feature works best (we think) when the boot is a little too darned tight everywhere even after molding the liner, and the process also helps to fine-tune stance angles for the individual skier.

  • 2017-18 Salomon X Max Race 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • 2017-18 Salomon X Max Race 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • 2017-18 Salomon X Max Race 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
Total Avg Score 
18.00

Nordica Dobermann GP 110

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
22.5-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
Dobermann GP 120, $699; Dobermann GP 130, $799; Dobermann GP 140, $849
Cantology Compatible 
No

The Gist

The 2018 Nordica Dobermann GP 110 isn't the runt of the litter, he's just the softest flexing of the ass-kicking Dobermann family. Why were we testing the 110-flex and not the 120-, 130- or 140-flex Dobie? This was Nordica's Soft-Value entry—we ask every brand to submit a softer-flexing, bargain version to make sure we mix up the review offerings a bit. The Dobermann GP 110 was the highest-scoring Soft-Value ski boot of the entire test, men's and women's combined.

The Fit

It's a Dobermann, so it's narrow, but evenly so, from the toebox to the heel, the ankles to the instep and up through the upper cuff. On a scale of 1-5 (1 being World Cup tight), it got all 2's—perfect for the Frontside category. The fit is close, but without hot spots (beyond the normal bony point ouch zones), and testers loved the smooth and progressive flex feel—a bit stronger than 110, but still an easy-flexer. The Dobie 110 is great for low-volume feet, slender legs and lighter-weight skiers. It's a great low-volume, high-value option for teen boys and women as well.

Performance

This is consummate Dobermann on-snow dominance, just toned down a bit for the lighter and less-aggressive. Accuracy on edge defined, the Dobermann is precise and agile—a joy to ski for a skilled skier with a light touch for the snow. However, testers say there's plenty of low end torque and stability at speed, even on the hardest snow. Is it warm and cushy and easy to put on and take off—not so much. Does a Dobermann make you a better skier instantly? Yes it does.

Cool Features

This is classic four-buckle overlap land, so not a lot of frills, but the Dobermann GP 110 shares the same cuff adjustment mechanism found on the others in the Dobermann group—it's a dual-lateral adjustment that also has "rotational" tweakability to alter the internal- or external-rotation of the shell to either match or attempt to manipulate a skier's knee tracking during flexion, either for improved balance or increased inside edge power—pretty slick when needed and properly implemented.

  • 2017-18 Nordica Dobermann GP 110 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • 2017-18 Nordica Dobermann GP 110 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • 2017-18 Nordica Dobermann GP 110 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
Total Avg Score 
20.50

Lange RS 130

Gender 
Men's
Sizes (MP) 
22.5-29.5
Hike Mode 
No
Construction 
Overlap
Boot width profile 
Narrow
Also in this Collection 
RS 120, $700; RS 100, $600
Cantology Compatible 
Yes
The 2017- Lange RS 130 was tested in the Men's frontside category at Mt Bachelor by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters.

The Gist

The patriarch of the RS blue boot family, 2018 Lange RS 130 returned to our boot test this year packing a full slate of revisions to shell and liner. It left after a week of rigorous testing with the highest score of any boot, men's or women's, out of all categories.

The Fit

The challenge for Lange with the RS wasn't just to come up with a new shell and liner but to come up with both of those that were better than what they already had, which was pretty damn good. The shell is tightened internally in the heel pocket but also more defined in the ankles. The liner is more anatomically sculpted with firm pre-molded material in the ankle and heel area and its exterior material is stiffer this year and also precisely matched to the interior shape of the shell. Testers said mission accomplished—the fit is stronger in the heel and more comfortable in the ankle, but with an even, performance-minded grip all along the foot and into the cuff. From the initial entry to the end of each tester's on-snow session, they said the fit was an ideal wrap of the foot and the leg.

Performance

Externally, the shell of the RS 130 is thicker this year in the heel counter and up through the spine of the cuff for a more powerful drive train, and modifications were made to the thickness of plastic in key areas to enhance feel for snow and prevent a fold-over flex feel when taxed. In both the shell and upper cuff, new Dual Core construction employs a less dense plastic sandwiched between higher density plastic to generate a tensile energy in the material itself. Testers don't know how they did it, but they agreed on all counts—stronger, more tactile, and quicker all around this year. Testers mentioned that the turn seemed to start earlier and felt more round from start to finish than with the RS boots of old.

Cool Features

Everything a high performance skier needs and nothing else here: removable rear spoiler, double liner pull loops, cam lock power strap, single side set-screw cuff adjustment, easy-open bottom buckles and a toe dam that doesn't leak.

  • 2017-18 Lange RS 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • 2017-18 Lange RS 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • Jim Schaffner testing the 2017-18 Lange RS 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
  • 2017-18 Lange RS 130 at America's Best Bootfitters Boot Test
Total Avg Score 
23.19

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