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Getting the flex right

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Buying boots shortly and going to a well recommended place but ye never know who ye'll get on the day so just been researching to spot if i'm given something that doesn't suit.
Most say flex comes down to a mix of ability, agressiveness, weight & brand but all these things are fairly arbitrary and getting it right is crucial.

I watched a video where they said you should be able to flex the boot in the shop so your knee goes over the top of your toes (or maybe beyond cause your in a shop). Is that reliable?
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Too soft imv
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Thanks, anything you'd watch out for or do most people go with their gut
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@colly10, if you 'watched' the videos you'll know the problems...

Quote:

Most say flex comes down to a mix of ability, agressiveness, weight & brand but all these things are fairly arbitrary and getting it right is crucial.


I think you will never get it perfectly right. In the right 'ball park' is the best that can be hoped for. Stiff boots are easier to soften by removing material than soft boots are to stiffen although adding an additional cuff bolt does work a little if there is provision. It's a gut retching decision to take a knife to a pair of ski boots however, it could be 'pared' down bit by bit IF you're prepared for that 'mission'.

Personally finding the perfect ski boot is more difficult than finding the forever perfect partner - it's an idealist dream...I think there's greater value in finding the best fitting boots for your feet than the 'nebulous' and shifting quality of perfect flex

In last 2 years i've bought Salomon Xmax 100 and 130. Both a very close fitting boot AND both feel about 10 / 15 flex points harder after 2 hours in a fridge! I've been in -20c and the 130 boot i just can't bend, felt like steel not plastic !

Because you are asking about this subject, i'm thinking you're at an intermediate level - perhaps you have some video of yourself skiing to show the shop 'your skiing' - then that could be a fair gauge of current and near future requirement.
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Tell the fitter as much as you can about where you like to ski, piste, bumps, offpiste etc, how you ski, agressive carver or happy to pootle along etc.
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Men's boot come in a range of stiffness from about 70 to 130. Factors that influence what stiffness will suit you best: your weight; speed/skill; and how flexible you are, specially your ankles. For the first two factors you can compare yourself with others and decide if you're above/below average and therefore if your boot flex should be above/below average. Ankle mobility might well not be a factor for you, but I've got very limited mobility in one ankle. It's very painful when a soft boot lets it reach the travel limit.
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@Valkyrie, Atomic now go up to "170"...

@colly10, I reckon (and noting that the numbers are not all consistently measured) that a grown adult of "normal" proportions shouldn't be on anything lower than 100-110 and few people require higher than ~130.

A lot of it is down to personal preference.

But too soft and you will over power them and have less control. Too stiff and you won't have the necessary range of motion.
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I found that I prefered a slightly softer flex for off piste. it also depends on the type of ski you use, a pair of stiff GS skis do usually need a stiffer boot to drive them. I like to be able to bend them a little in the shop, flexing just so that you can see the shell deform round the ankle and the cuffs move forward a cm or two, but I have a big preference for a stiff boot.
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Give men a choice of 'soft' or 'hard' and guess which one they go for...

Same applies to 'long' or 'short' etc, et al
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Salomon in fact go up to 180 flex as evidenced by this pair I saw last week at Chillfactore! Sorry can't embed image due to photobucket demise, another new skill for me to learn!
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8EXA-8nhiskbEllQy1NVlFab3M
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I'd say the off piste rating is usually about 10 - 20 behind the pure piste boot with both quoting the same. Plus there are so many variables such as shin length. I've put on a 110 off piste boot that felt a huge amount stiffer than a more technical 120 flex that in the shop I could nearly fold in half.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Slightly surprised by reports of a Salomon 180 in the wild as they only show up to 140 on the website. Mostly white and yellow, right?
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under a new name wrote:


@colly10, I reckon (and noting that the numbers are not all consistently measured) that a grown adult of "normal" proportions shouldn't be on anything lower than 100-110 and few people require higher than ~130.


+1 100-130 has gotta be right for most people.

The progressiveness of the flex is probably more important than the outright rating though. Plenty of 120-130 'beef' touring boots available these days, but they're rarely as smooth as deeply into the flex as an alpine boot - often a little softer to begin then you hit a wall.

As with everything in skiing, the feel is far more important than the numbers and harder to quantify.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Personally I don't like really stiff boots because I find it difficult to move up and down while keeping my weight centred (effectively my backside gets pushed back if I can't push my knee over my toe - the alternative would be to fold at the waist so that my shoulders counterbalance my bum but I find that more awkward). I think a huge part of good skiing is moving up and down to manage pressure without getting out of balance. However everyone's physiology is different and where you carry your weight can be as important as how much you weigh.

I actually find that softer boots become more of a problem with big skis off piste - particularly in heavier snow. One of the great things about fat skis is that if you come off a roller etc a bit forward you can just lean on your shovels and the won't dive. With soft boots you can "go over the front" in an alarming fashion. For piste skis - at least the way I ski them as a non-racer - lateral stiffness is much more important than forward stiffness. I just don't need to pressure the fronts that much - edge grip comes from edge angle.
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under a new name wrote:
Slightly surprised by reports of a Salomon 180 in the wild as they only show up to 140 on the website. Mostly white and yellow, right?


Yes, I'll work on the picture share, all will become clear!

IMG_3735 by Bill Seddon, on Flickr
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@endoman, hahahah

definitely not then. Those are X-Max (so not the full on race models, which are "S-Lab") and by the look of the graphic they're 120s and someone's been at them with a black marker pen.
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under a new name wrote:
@endoman, hahahah

definitely not then. Those are X-Max (so not the full on race models, which are "S-Lab") and by the look of the graphic they're 120s and someone's been at them with a black marker pen.


Laughing Laughing

why would you ... rolling eyes rolling eyes
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under a new name wrote:
@endoman, hahahah

definitely not then. Those are X-Max (so not the full on race models, which are "S-Lab") and by the look of the graphic they're 120s and someone's been at them with a black marker pen.


Inventive though!! I'd love to see them being skied wink
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Quote:

I'd love to see them being skied


Why ever?

Someone whose skillz don't speak for themselves and needs to take a sharpie® to their boots to bolster their ego?
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under a new name wrote:
Quote:

I'd love to see them being skied


Why ever?

Someone whose skillz don't speak for themselves and needs to take a sharpie® to their boots to bolster their ego?


Yet the artwork will be mainly hidden under the trousers, I think I left a small puddle on the floor where I was sitting when I saw them. Didn't see the owner though. There's a lot of those boots at Chillfactore, must be a S&R favourite.
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red 27 wrote:
Give men a choice of 'soft' or 'hard' and guess which one they go for...


Was back at ProFeet a few weeks back for a free refitting of my 7yr old boots and asked about flex as I'm no longer the 2-week skier who bought them. Advice was that they were fine and although the flex 'number' on my boots is quite low compared to most new boots on the shelf that's down to the book makers just increasing all their numbers for the same stiffness as much as anything.
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@Mjit, “the book makers just increasing all their numbers for the same stiffness as much as anything”

I’m not sure I believe that...

My wife has had 3 or 4 pairs of Lange 130s since they started using those numbers and I assure you she’d have pointed out any changes.
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It's really simple, if you feel that you are overpowering your boots, getting really sloppy feedback and chatter then go up in stiffness. If you can't tell you don't need to NehNeh
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Thanks for all the replies, i'm sure i'll get it right, know what feels right and what doesn't, just a bit fussy for my own good sometimes 😊
It's alot of money though so hoping to get it spot on
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@colly10, there are still some of last seasons boots around at decent savings of about 1/3 to 1/2 off. Providing there's no compromise on 'fit' or 'ideal flex' in your current estimation, THAT will / must reduce the £££'s risk in making a less than perfect choice. Another way to think of it, you might improve a fair amount, you might like off-piste, you might like 'park features' etc , any of these might necessitate a future change of boot for the better. Get the best fitting boot for your feet and be in the 'ball park' area for flex. Go skiing, i'm sure you will adapt to the boot flex and learn to use what you have...enjoy.
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@colly10, per observation, the vast majority of skiers don't get it right. What feels right is usually wrong, especially for new boots after a week of foam compression.

Most people are in boots way too big for them.
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Flex - find a good bootfitter , be honest about your ability and dont worry about it. I ski boots way softer than I technically should just fine cos I ain't racing.
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When CEM fitted me recently he went straight for 130's due to my height and weight which surprised me as most of what I'd read said that was too stiff for most, but I can easily flex them, and he is the expert!
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Similar to above. I was fitted in 120's which I am told get stiffer in the cold due to the plastics used. First 2 shells tried were 130 but bit quite right. I don't care what it says, they work for me on the few hours so far in them.
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@martinm, assuming your joints work fine, weight is arguably as important as skill you want your boots compatible with weight and strength.
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The plastics, for want of the technically correct name, may have improved, but in the past I had Tecnica TNT's that would be so soft they were un-skiable after stop in a warm restaurant, but then went solid around -15C, the rest of the time they were fine.

As others have pointed out, there is no official flex value, so brands can't easily be compared just by the flex value.
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@PowderAdict, that was a benefit not a bug. Skiing slush in spring you had a softer, more progressive flex, in January a nice rigid hold for bumps.
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@under a new name,
hang on - bump skiers tend to ski a softer boot surely?
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@jedster, I thought I meant to type “ice” not “bumps” clearly a senior moment!
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@under a new name, Unfortunately it was way beyond a little softer or a little firmer. It was more like trying to ski in Wellington boots when soft, so I would have to bury them by standing in deep snow for a few minutes. Alternatively when very cold, they were solid, like having a plaster cast on your foot, with really no movement.

I havent had the same issue with any other boots to the same extent since. Yes, I know it probably is just my appalling ski technique being highlighted, and Rule 5 applies wink
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@PowderAdict, which TNTs were they? I had the originals (truly lovely boot) then the Explosiv explosives, then the next but one generation and I never noticed a huge problem...
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@PowderAdict, A similar experience with my Salomon Xmax's and their custom molding shell material.

I go to Hemel regularly. I really notice the flex (10 plus flex points) difference over 2 hours - can't be good and isn't useful.

Just wondering if this attribute is common in the thinner, custom molding shell material's ? The market is running off in this direction, i suspect with new boots on shelves, they'll NOT have received reports / comments about this...

In fairness, i have had issues with boots and persistent shin blisters. I'm very fussy about my feet in ski boots.

I don't want to put any off from buying the new lighter material custom shell materials - all i'm pointing out is, i experience a the larger stiffening coefficient than i'd ever experienced or noticed before...

So i hope my next boots will be A Technica Mach 1 LV 110 - (not custom shell) Razz Standing in them in next few days or i'll be putting up with the Xmax 120 Salomons...
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@Tim Heeney, I'd noticed that with the xmax too, having the same issue that the flex is very sensitive to temperature. They're like plasticine after sitting in a warm car, takes some time standing around at the dome to stiffen up. Fortunately that usually coincides with chatting time anyway! It's the best fitting shell I've had by some margin, even straight out the box, so have just got used to the soft flex and am on my second pair. A local shop suggested trying the latest atomic race boot, which I've still to do.

The "180" boot pictured above is a 130. The Rossi 9.1 I had from 2004 was much stiffer, while rated at just 110. I needed a foam liner to make that one fit well though.
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@balernoStu, i think it’s actually the 120. Pretty sure due to the dodgy marking.
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@under a new name, yeah ok, I looked closer now, just the boots look otherwise same as my old pair. The 3 on the 130 would of course make a better 8 than that wink
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