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When will rear-entry boots return?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
billhook wrote:


My conclusion is that once you have found a comfortable boot which allows you to walk normally, that does not give pain and you are keeping up easily with the people you are skiing with why change? I also have to say that they are stored properly out of the sunlight and extremes of temperature.

Until quite recently, I used to have exactly that view.

When I was hiring in the 70s, before Rear-Entry boots were made popular by Salomon, I found that Front-Entry (hire) boots were instruments of torture...worthy of something from the days of the Spanish Inquisition. Bruised and bleeding shins were a daily occurrence, along with constant cramp. Then one holiday in La Plagne (around 79/80), after I was about to give up, I spotted the SX80 in the hire shop.

After making the swap, I realized for the first time in my life, that it was possible to ski all day without pain; but now, not only did I now have an unshakably strong loathing of Front Entry boots, but it set me on a path for the next 15 years, of using Rear-Entry. I owned SX80s, Nordica N955 and SX92.

Then around 1995, I tried some Integral Equipe, which were a sort of Mid-Entry system. They were just as comfortable, but gave more control and were closer fitting. Such was my innate loathing of true F/Entry boots, that I simply refused to consider changing them (for all the reasons you stated above).

Roll on to Jan 2016, where I was skiing in Tignes in a blizzard, with temperatures of -20 and with my 2 sons, who were struggling in the conditions and needed a lot of support. At the end of the second day, on removing my ski, I noticed that a third of the plate for raising the ski brakes had snapped off. I then removed my boot to discover that the rubber heel pad was completely missing and the 4 retaining bolts were sticking out, like gruesome metal stalactites. It horrified me that I had been skiing on them like this.....I was so absorbed with my sons and the conditions, that I hadn't noticed. If I hadn't been going very slowly, the outcome could have been nasty.

Now I had the impetus I needed to get something modern (and from this Century)....especially as I was aware of a highly rated Bootfitter in Lac.

The result is that I am now in the best fitting, most comfortable boots that I have ever been in.

The reason I have rolled out my history, is to show that there was nobody more in your camp than myself....and if I have been converted, anyone can....though it took a very near miss to hammer it home. Without that incident, I would be merrily risking the minefield of having boots of that age.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 18-02-17 16:34; edited 2 times in total
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Sorry, double post.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm always intrigued to see the occasional person on old-style rear-entry boots.
(and the occasional person in old-style narrow skis . . . )
Best of luck to them, I say.
I started in on rear-entry Salomons, then a pair of "mid-entry" boots (forget the make - think they're still in the loft somewhere), but now have a pair of Perfect 4-clamp front entries that i wouldn't change for the world.
Fit snugly, don't need to loosen on lift or in restaurant, but they do punish me if i start skiing in a lazy manner.
The Perfect Boot: practical, functional, comfortable, and tutor, all in one.
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Well if you were in Alta this week you would have seen me skiing 200 cm Atomics wearing Salomon SX 92 Equipes.

I bought Salomon SZ 90 Equipes in the early 80s think 82 but could have been 81. In those days I skied on 215 Authiers that were race quality GS skis. I used those boots until 6 years ago when the shell failed. I then spent a lot of money and time with boot fitters trying to find a modern 4 clip boot that would give me control and comfort with out success. I was ready to give up skiing when I stumbled across a pair of SX 92 Equipes on Craigslist. I tried them on and it was like coming home to a comfy armchair. My feet said "OH YEAH pay the man".

Now it may be that I have funny shaped feet. I am a big fat guy with very wide feet and high archs. But the cable layout allows me to adjust the cables to hold the heel down and the foot back in the boot.

One last thing the it is easy for a creaky old git to do up the 92s as you can use the other foot to push down the rear lever.

Long live Salomon rear entry boots.
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i hear you all and do not take your warning lightly, hence my return to the ski shop in Hinterglemm. I do examine the boots carefully before each holiday to the best of my ability.

I am rather on the side of the previous poster who compared his boots to an Austin A35. I too prefer the old classics though mine leaves out the u and replaces the i with an o.
Yes it is potentially very dangerous with no crumple zones or airbags or even inertia reel seat belts but the enjoyment and comfort is worth the risk.
With the Salomon SX62s the comfort is worth the risk or rather it is not worth the risk of discomfort to change.
By the way I have a very broad size 11 UK foot and weigh fifteen stone ( pure muscle!)
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@Old Fartbag, So what did you buy ? (just curious...)
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albob wrote:
@Old Fartbag, So what did you buy ? (just curious...)

Atomic Hawx 2.0 110
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I did not buy any boots, I asked if I could try the best modern boots in the shop, tried six pairs and when the best pair was taken out to the piste I fell twice and hurt my shoulder. I have not idea why and could not be bothered to waste any more time finding out.
I took the damn things straight back and the old SX62s took me through that two week holiday with no problems as they did this last one.

Long live rear entry boots!
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Sorry albob I thought you were asking me
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billhook wrote:
I did not buy any boots, I asked if I could try the best modern boots in the shop, tried six pairs and when the best pair was taken out to the piste I fell twice and hurt my shoulder. I have not idea why and could not be bothered to waste any more time finding out.
I took the damn things straight back and the old SX62s took me through that two week holiday with no problems as they did this last one.

Long live rear entry boots!

Did the shop spend a considerable amount of time taking measurements/doing a shell check/asking pertinent questions...or did they just throw out 6 different sets of boots and tell you to pick the ones you thought were the most comfortable?

There is a subtle, but important difference, between the best boots in the shop and the best boots for your feet/needs....the former needs a boot seller, but the latter needs a bootfitter.
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@billhook, dats Ok.. Smile
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I've got a pair of SX50 (yes 50) boots that I bought in 1984. I've skied every year in them. I'm an aggressive skier, going into the board parks, over rails, jumps, hard carving piste runs, big mogul fields and ten years of HELI skiing in Jackson Hole and BC.

I have ONE buckle to do up per boot (not four), my feet are warm, and I can walk easily for miles and in a manner that hasn't worn down the nose or heel.

I need options for when the boots finally give up......
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@old fartbag, I felt that I had their whole attention as they had no other customers. The two metre man was trying to make a point rather than just fobbing me off. They did measurements and were constantly adjusting and asking my opinion but i do not remember a shell check.

@Glroberts Good man! My feet are also never cold in these boots and this year I just put them straight on unadjusted from last season and found that I did not need to adjust them again during the week. Normally they need tweeking.
There still seem to be some ebay bargains of hardly used Salomons, perhaps worth buying a pair as an insurance.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
billhook wrote:
@old fartbag, I felt that I had their whole attention as they had no other customers. The two metre man was trying to make a point rather than just fobbing me off. They did measurements and were constantly adjusting and asking my opinion but i do not remember a shell check.


An experienced and knowledgeable Bootfitter should be able to narrow your options down to much less than 6....and will always do a shell check. In my case, it was narrowed down to 2.

Whenever you do decide to change, don't let this experience taint your view as to what a proper fitting experience should be able to achieve.
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I guess like skiing technique, every6hing is ultimately driven by racing. Rear entry boots were a bit like shell suits. Comfortable to ha in but you didn't really wanna be seen associating with them. There s probably a fat girlfriend joke in there somewhere.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Glroberts, All I can say is that your feet must be an exact match for the last used by Salomon when they created the boot, everyone I can remember using them considered them as instruments of torture, a forefoot adjuster that squashed your foot, and a cable the tried to cut your instep in half. As far as I am aware rear entry boots are only available for small children now.

Salmon SX50's are available for £9.90 on eBay - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SALOMON-SX50-LIGHT-GREY-BLACK-BUCKLES-LINERS-SKI-BOOTS-SIZE-340-45-MONDO-315-/142264567209?hash=item211fa105a9:g:RG8AAOSwal5YIPc6

Alternatively you could upgrade to Salmon SX71's for 9p more.
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I am very happy with my boots for all the reasons stated above. The only thing that I and many others including Glroberts are unhappy about is the fact that they are very old and we cannot buy new replacements.
As for calling them instruments of torture Powderadict, everyone on the web seems to be asking for their return mainly for comfort and convenience.
They are perfect for many people, we all have different feet. Mine are size 11 UK and so broad that they did not fit on the measuring gauge.
Perhaps I should have been an Olympic swimmer!
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@TQA, well I am afraid you are compromising your fun and arguably safety.

Modern kit allows for a much better experience. I am somewhat surprised your heli guides allowed you to accompany them!
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Rear entry boots were a revolutionary design. It's a shame they have not been progressed. Lighter, simpler boots that are comfortable to walk in and don't dislocate your ankles, would be as welcome today as they were 35 years ago. Laughing
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Alpina R4:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=alpina+r4+ski+boot
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@Peter S, no. They weren't.

Frankly a really stupid idea.

Today's boots much more sensible.
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I notice that some manufacturers now make boots with fewer clips that claim to be easier to get on and off. I'd like to try some except that they all seem to be very wide (high volume/last in boot fitter language). I have narrow feet and ankles, the only part of me that's skinny. Toofy Grin
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@queen bodecia, then seek out brands with low volume versions. E.g. Lange, Tecnica, etc.
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I'd suggest the sudden loss of control and falls that rear entry fans suffer on trying modern boots is because they aren't used to having their movements translated so directly to the ski.
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@queen bodecia, I am also unconvinced high volume is as high as you think it is.
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Due to baggage delays I once ( 1992 ish) had to ski for 2 days in a rented pair of SX92 Equipes and wearing a pair of jeans with gaitors. I had some Raichle Flexons at the time. It was the most miserable 2 days on skis I've had, I was so glad when I found my bag in the boot of a Crystal Ski reps car in Val Claret. That's my one and only experience with rear entries, simply didn't do it for me.
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under a new name wrote:
@Peter S, no. They weren't.

Frankly a really stupid idea.

Today's boots much more sensible.
That may be your view but not everyone shares it. I currently have a pair of Strolz boots from the Strolz shop in Lech. Great boots but utter agony to get on and off. Once they are on then quite comfortable and translate my movements to the ski as required... But prior to that I had Salomon rear entries and can honestly say they were almost as good to ski in as the Strolz's and 1000 times better to get in and out of. This was with long skis prior to the days of carvers, so the direction of force from leg to ski was even more important than it is today imo. I'm fairly certain that with a bit of effort and modern techniques the rear entry could make a comeback and would be a good solution for some. Not sure why this such an emotive subject. Some boots are good for some people, others are good for others. I used to ski powder, ice, moguls, steeps with my old Salomons (and my old 207 RSs) and I would probably do so again if they made a comeback and the boots suited me.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
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A lot of the 3 buckle freeride boots with a touring mode have a low volume narrow fit. Salomon do some nice ones in the Quest range.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Without looking very hard I counted 11 pairs of rear entry boots on the snow at Alta yesterday. 10 of the 11 were Salomons.

I guess for some of us rear entry boots have never gone away.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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TQA wrote:
Without looking very hard I counted 11 pairs of rear entry boots on the snow at Alta yesterday. 10 of the 11 were Salomons.

I guess for some of us rear entry boots have never gone away.

Ah, but Alta's snow is so light, that any old boots will do. wink
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
2 plus points for my old SX91 Equipes, the easily grindeable inner boot (I have lumpy feet) and the easily removable flex adjuster (or easily adjustable flex adjuster for the less crazy) which gave for a great boot for moguls!
FWIW I never had a problem with the retention being over the instep, although as a ski tech, I had plenty of experience modifying this area Very Happy
Did look a bit Star Wars though, I guess back in the early '80's this didn't matter so much........
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"Did look a bit Star Wars though, I guess back in the early '80's this didn't matter so much........"


The Force is with Us!!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The fact that so many salomon boots are still around and being used is presumably evidence of their successful design ?
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Or the fact that some people don't buy new stuff until their old stuff actually falls apart, perhaps.

--
Here's a story which may give you some hope. There's a race snowboard boot (a hard shell boot) which stopped production in 1999 called a Northwave .950. It's still in common use by World Cup snowboard racers as it was so good. You can buy other hard boots, but these are coveted, so much so that ebay prices run close to 4k a pair, used. The moulds were "lost" and that was that. Until a couple of years ago someone used modern technology to create a remake called the .951.

The point is that if people really like those old boots, they can always make some more. (Personally I hated them with a passion, but each to their own.)
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I started skiing in Australia in 1991 and think I just missed the rear entry revolution when I bought my first set of boots not long after - they were the legendary Raichle Flexon with bright pink buckles!!
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I had my old SX80's til about 8yrs ago. They were totally goosed, but very comfy. A dog that is now ashes ate the top cuff of one as a pup. Made skiing a bit uneven but not unmanageable. The biggest difference I noticed with my new boots was the insulation values, man they are warm in comparison.
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My first boots in 1987 were sx70 ex hire boots, absolute torture!!!, bought a pair of sx81s the same year, I struggled on for nearly 10 years trying to make them comfortable, the cable dug into the top of my foot and my inner ankle got bruised, heel retention was poor so my foot would slide forward when I landed a jump or slammed hard into a mogul bruising my toes.
My 1995 Solomon integrale 8.0 lasted me 21 years till the inners fell apart they weren't completely comfortable but far better than the previous boots.
The custom fitted Salomon xpro100s I bought for this year are bliss! No pressure points even when I tighten them right up but they do allow water to get in the front.
Rear entry boots were not at all comfortable.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Steilhang, I would argue - but am quite happy to be corrected - that the forces in play with modern skis are actually greater and require a better fitting/operating boot than with old style skinny skis.
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@philwig, Here Ya go !

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Northwave-950-C-Shell-Alpine-Snowboard-Boots-/322404131008?
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@under a new name,
I suspect that is true - laterally. But perhaps not forward and back?

On a somewhat related point, I recently started a thread about 3 piece boots on the equipment board triggered by my experience of skiing recently in the Full Tilts which are almost complete replicas (same shell molds but with Intuition liners) of raichle flexons from the 80s. I'd argue that if you are not seriously racing AND the Raichle last fits your feet then the original design is very competitive with modern boots. I've certainly enjoyed skiing in them this season - very comfortable, very light, smooth flex and GREAT heel hold for narrow heels (without having to cram your feet into really tight boots).
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