It is the holy grail of skiing. The single quiver go anywhere, do anything setup. With the Fritschi and Naxo binding range, light but wide skis and stiffer, taller freerando boots we are (almost) there.
What is true for downhill boots is also true for ski touring boots. You need to find shops that have a good range and try on a lot of boots and select the one that fits and most closely matches your program. You have the new Fritschi Freeride Plus binding so Dynafit inserts are not a sine-quo-non. You probably don’t want an Alpine Uni sole option although it might be nice to have if you are testing skis. This gives you a lot of options and as you have discovered, almost too many.
What sort of touring are you doing. You can get away with a heavy boot if you are doing an hour of skinning from lifts to find fresh tracks, or maybe day touring but at a reasonable 250-300 meters per hour ascent? Are you an aggressive skier looking for performance? We will assume a Thermo liner as essential. They are lighter, keep feet warmer, at the expense of being less robust and, ahem, smellier!
I thought the Garmont Endorphin Mg was pretty good although the 4kg weight is quite a lot to tour with. Four buckle design with powerstrap and the ice-breakers are a great idea. I would definitely favour this boot over the Adrenalin. The only caveat is that it is the first year of production. Will they have the fit problems that scuppered the Dynafit Aero range? Probably not, Garmont are a good solid boot manufacturer with decades of experience. If you want to go more in the touring direction then look at the Mega-Ride-G-Fit. This also gets the ice-breaker buckle and has been stiffened with the addition of the Adrenlin’s tongue. I would also look at the G-Ride which is similar to the Mega-Ride but without the Dynafit inserts. I would discount the Hi-Ride, very similar to the G-Ride but without the thermo-liner. I have found the fit varies between the different Garmont models but generally they fit a mid to narrow lower volume foot.
For Scarpa the choice seems to come down to the Tornado, a heavy alpine style touring boot and the Spirit 3 for a performant touring boot. The Spirit 4 adds a buckle to the 3s shell and also adds quite few grammes. I’m not sure it is worth it. You may want to get the Spirit with the stiffer “ski” tongue. I toured around 50 days on the Spirit 3 last year and found it to be a great boot. As you don’t need Dynafit inserts you may consider the plain Spirit, however it has a standard liner and is heavy. I think the Garmont G-Ride is a better choice. There is nothing else in the 2007 Scarpa range worth looking at for your use. I skied about 120 days on the Matrix which is still in the catalogue but a little bit lightweight for a mixed program. The Spirits fit a slightly lower volume foot than was the case for older Scarpa boots which had quite a wide/high fit. Scarpa says this better matches the foot morphology of most skiers. If you find the Denali XT then it is also worth looking considering.
As I said Thermoliners are the way to go but don’t be too convinced by boot fitters frothing at the mouth about how they cure all ills. They don’t expand (except during the baking process) and don’t contract a great deal. If the boot doesn’t fit right then a thermo liner won’t fix things. If you are not doing approach marches then you may get away with a closer “performance” fit. Otherwise your toes should do no more than lightly touch the end of the liner at most.
David, Thanks - that is a really great help. In the interim I also found more great articles on Pistehors dealing with touring boots and bindings. The ‘Freerando’ article has been especially helpful as I have been able to articulate and define the type & use of boot. Now I have a shortlist of boots and a clear idea of what I want.
Thermoliners - I presume these are the generic term for say a ‘Comformable’ bootliner?
Now for the next question......! Groan he says....!
Bootfitters - any recomendations for good bootfitters near to Paradiski that will have the stock and know how? I used Nevada Sports for alpine boots, but they don’t do touring boots. I prefer to use a local bootfitter, partly to leave what business I can locally, but also to be able to tweek fitting if necessary after skiing for a few days in new boots.
Hi Bernard, to cut through all the technical stuff, i can hightly recommend the scarpa denalli TT with a sidas thermal molded inner..... half the wieght of your heads, stiff enough for steep terrain and great for short or long skinning or a trip to the pub afterwards! Try a pair on if you get the chance.
All the best, houghty.
Ps. Dont go for a foam fit!
Thanks! What exactly is the difference between a ‘Thermal moulded’ and a ‘Foam Fit’...?
Hi Bernard, a sidas thermal moulded liner is put in the oven for ten mins then quickly placed on you foot with toe caps, covered in your ski stock together with a silk liner, inserted into your boot then strapped up tight then left on for 15 mins, not to be confused with the salomon comfort fit, the sidas liner is far more technical (no disrespect to Salomon) A foam fit, suitable for downhill boots, is a bit more involved, where by liquid foam is injected into the inner boot to form a perfect imprint of your foot, great for down hill, but not soft enough for skinning. Check out http://www.sidas.com, hope this helps, houghty