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.
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.
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.
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.