So Fischer has blessed me with the all new and long awaited Soma Vacuum Race boot. Yup, same boot Kostelic is wearing. Just his are the 150 flex and mine are the 130flex for mortals.
The new boot is an RC4 World Cup made of an all new proprietary plastic that is very easily molded at 180F. So the boot I received was the 98mm
last, and 130 flex.
Usually when I put this boot on, the first thing that stands out is that I need to spend about two hours of punching and grinding to get this boot fit
for skiing. This is not including boot sole planing and making the boot more upright. Yes, upright. These boots come with 18degrees of forward lean, which for me is way, way, too much.
The first thing I asked for before molding the boot was "let's make this boot as upright as possible", and sure enough it cane be done with 14 degrees being the molding limit and up to 18 as the maximum.
Molding required heating the shell for 8 minutes, then the liners are inserted without too much haste since the plastic holds heat for a significant amount of time. A cooling pack is installed with an inflatable wrap over that. The machine then is set to 1 of 3 preset pressures, sport, high performance, and racing.
Racing applies the highest pressure, and of course sport the least. I chose high performance of course because I wanted these boots for all applications. During the 8 minutes of cooling time, you can feel the boot give way to the pressure and interestingly enough the boot feels like it gets flatter and flatter in the stance.
With the molding and cooling packs off, we measured the forward lean and cuff alignment. Sure enough, 14 degrees of forward lean and the left boot increased inward by 1.5 degrees and the right boot increased outward by 1 degree. This is within 60 to 70 percent of my canting requirement. Pretty impressive.
The fit was really quite good, with most of the problems areas resolved. The only exception was the 6th toe area where more room would be appreciated. This can be addressed with extra surrogate padding during the molding process for skiers with extra sensitive areas, but I wanted to see how good this process was without extra help. And I have to say it's about 80%. So if you plan on getting a set of these boots, I recommended padding up parts of your foot that are extra sensitive, ie, heel bumps, 6th toes, and bunions. The ankle pocket molds in great, and does not need extra shaping unless you have HUGE ankle bones.
So far, I can't find too many cons with this boot. A couple are obvious though. Heat bag users, if you put these boots in the bag on Hi you will be way too close to the 180F molding limit and the initial fit will be lost. Fischer is recommending that you use Lo heat only. Also grinding is not easily possible. The heat created during grinding melts the plastic in the carbide ball. After molding punching is recommended if you need more relief.
Part 2: How do they ski? Stay tuned.......I just need to get healthy enough to test them out.
My new Fischer Vacuum Race boots, Part 1
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