It doesn't matter how nice your new skis are if you have an ill-fitting boot that will affect your holiday so much more!
We always recommend when purchasing boots you go to your local specialist (hopefully us) and get them fitted in the correct way instead of winging it and hoping for the best.
We have a huge range of Ski Boots and all the kit to modify your boots if they need a tweak or two to get them spot on. We also include two modifications for free with your purchase, as well as "£10 off Custom Footbeds" and £10 off a Physio session with Christian in our "in House" Physio Clinic should you need it before, or after, your holiday!
ALPINE/WALK TO RIDE/ALL TERRAIN/TOURING – WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
With an ever-wider choice of Ski Boots now available it is extremely important to clearly understand the differences between them and what those differences mean.
Since the introduction of more types of Ski Boot their different functionality means that it is critical to ensure the ski bindings you are using/intend to use, are totally compatible with your ski boots.
Historically, ski boots had either Alpine Soles, or Touring Soles, now we’re afraid, it is no longer that simple. There are now ski bindings that interface with Alpine, Walk to Ride, All Terrain, Touring and Telemark boots and there are subtle but very important differences between them. These are primarily in the shape and composition of the boot soles and how in particular they sit on/in the Toe Binding unit (and how that binding toe unit is adjusted).
Ski Boots with the traditional ALPINE soles have soles that are of a hard composition and sit on an AFD (Anti Friction Device) Plate in the Toe Binding unit positioned under the ball of the foot.
Whilst some of these AFD’s are as simple as a high-density plastic or polished metal plate on which the base of the boot toe plate sits and in turn slides off in case of a release, some are not. Other AFD’S come in the form of a sideways rolling “Caterpillar Track”, or with a metal or plastic AFD set in a sprung unit that will deflect from side to side. This promotes release of the ski boot when the binding has decided, in the interest of the skier’s safety, it needs to let go of the ski boot.
The WTR (Walk to Ride) soled Ski Boot has all the usual elements of an Alpine sole except that the area that interfaces with the AFD on a WTR Binding is smaller and positioned slightly further forward than the traditional Alpine sole. These boot soles also have a much more rubberised (almost Vibram type) surround to both the Toe and Heel plates and quite often a rubberised arch under the instep to facilitate safer walking on uneven ground. Behind the AFD (as you move toward the underside of the instep) the rubberised sole of the Toe footplate is also thicker (2-4mm) than an Alpine sole and rounded; this helps to make walking safer and more natural.
Because of this difference in shape, depth and functionality, WTR soles are not compatible with what is seen as the traditional Alpine binding and if used in standard Alpine Bindings will, almost certainly, increase your risk of injury in any fall or accident and thus could nullify your insurance in the case of an accident.
Both Specialist Ski Shops and the Hire Shops should be fully aware of these facts and provide you with both advice and guidance as to which ski/binding combinations are safe and available to you both in the case of a purchase or when hiring.
TOURING Boots are different again and usually have the option to be used in either an ultra-lightweight “PIN” binding system or a Touring “Frame Binding”, both of which allow you to walk uphill with your boots still in your bindings (usually with Climbing Skins attached to the base of your skis to stop you slipping back downhill).
These ski boots all have thicker, more rubberised soles throughout than Alpine or WTR soled ski boots so are incompatible with both Alpine and WTR Bindings because the soles are too deep and too grippy to enable the AFD systems to function correctly. Use of any such boots in Alpine or WTR bindings will significantly increasing the risk of injury to the skier and again is likely to nullify your insurance in the event of an accident.
As well as Traditional Alpine and WTR, there is a further type of Alpine Ski Binding which is aimed at the skier who may have several pairs of skis for different terrain and purpose but prefers to use the same ski boots in them all; for those persons, a binding with an AT (All Terrain) configuration is what is required as, with the correct adjustment, these can safely accommodate, Alpine, WTR and Touring soles.
Finally, for downhill skiing there are also the TELEMARK boots that are used only with a specific Telemark Binding, of which there are numerous variations but only two fundamental types: the Traditional “Duckbill” (78mm) boots have a very large protruding front lip and have been around for years, the more recently introduced NTN Boots have a more complicated Toe Interface but are generally deemed to be lighter and more responsive, especially with the wider waisted modern skis.
CROSS COUNTRY or LANGLAUF skiing, although very popular in other countries, is very low key here in the UK and a genre of skiing that hasn’t captured the imagination of the great British skiing fraternity. As a result, very few shops in the UK carry any stock of either Cross Country Boots (a bit like a re-enforced training shoe with a fixing at the toe, similar in principle to a Telemark boot that allows the heel to lift as you walk/skate but much lighter and less cumbersome).
Here at Snowfit Revolutionz we can (and do) get specific boots/skis in for Cross Country Skiers but since the market is so small we are afraid that we do require them to be paid for up front and as a result these are non-returnable.
Ski Bindings are now produced in the following formats and we have listed these with their compatibility with the various Boot Types to ensure our customers are fully aware of their responsibility (as well as ours) to provide us with the fullest information possible so we can be certain that their ski bindings are compatible with their ski boots.
It really is a noticeably more complex issue these days so do please talk to your Specialist Shop; winging it could prove to be both dangerous and very costly.
Ski Binding Type Type(s) of Ski Boots (sole types) these Ski Bindings can safely accommodate
ALPINE Alpine only
WTR (Walk to Ride) Alpine, WTR
AT (All Terrain) Alpine , WTR, Touring
TOURING Touring only
TELEMARK Telemark only
BINDING MOUNTING POSITION
Manufacturer’s Recommended True Centre Specific Position
Generally speaking, the “Manufacturer’s Recommended Mounting Position” (which, to be fair, their testers they have spent a considerable amount of time determining) is the position we recommend and where we generally mount ski bindings.
However, we fully understand some skiers have their own preference and we can of course mount your bindings where you would like them.
When bindings are to be mounted on Twin-Tip Skis then there is some variation in where skiers like to have them positioned. If the skis are primarily for use in Park and Pipe then often the Freestyle Skier will ask for the bindings to be mounted “True Centre”, i.e. the bindings are mounted so that the centre of the boot sole is exactly over the half way point between the tip and tail of the ski. This position is chosen to give the same swing weight in front of and behind the skier and does reduce the tendency for “tip-drop” in spins, which in turn reduces the chance of the tips of your skis clipping the snow before they are fully round and upending you.
Most other Freestylers prefer to be say 15mm or 20mm back from True Centre whilst some will come back even more, based on what they have found works best for them. What proportion of time is going to be spent in the Park compared to skiing Backcountry Freestyle (where a position a little closer to the tail gives a better balance all round) will have a significant bearing on this.
If you are in any doubt, please do call/e-mail us and we will be happy to advise you.
What are the benefits of a WTR (Walk to Ride) Skiboot?
Well, as you would hope and expect, they are certainly easier to walk in; not just because of their more rounded soles, but also because they are noticeably lighter in weight than most standard Alpine boots. That is in part due to the design but more because of the newer, lighter plastics that are generally being used in their construction.
So that means if you like a short or even moderate hike off the top of a lift, to access some un-pisted fun, then these will make that hike both safer and more comfortable so you arrive at your destination in peak condition.
They also make any walking around resort to and from the lifts a more comfortable and natural experience. As to them being better and safer for dancing on tables, I’m afraid that’s a guarantee we cannot give!