In Search of the Perfect Ski Boot

In Search of the Perfect Ski Boot

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One of the coolest parts of my job is that I get to attend new product clinics.  Local sales reps for all of the brands that Jans carries come in and show off their latest and greatest products and technologies.  It’s kind of like Disneyland for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Last week, we gathered at the Jans store in the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley Resort to learn about hard goods – skis, boots, bindings and the like.  As is often the case at these clinics, I came away lusting after new ski equipment, boots in particular.

I’ve been alpine skiing since I was four years old and while I love the sport with every ounce of my being, I generally despise ski boots.  This is due to the fact that I have a wide foot, high instep and poor circulation in my toes (due to many Michigan winters spent outside in the cold.)  And while most alpine ski boots these days come in a women’s specific fit to address these issues, I always worry that I’ll be forced to sacrifice performance over comfort.  Despite being an expert skier, comfort is a priority for me.  I can’t very well hike the peak in ski boots that feel like torture chambers on my feet.

Based on the clinics, I came up with a short list of 2012-2013 women’s specific ski boots that I will be checking out.  Beginning with the Head Dream 90, which is the first women’s outlasted shell in the industry.  This baby boasts a narrow heel and more specialized fit designed to match the anatomy of the female foot, such as the dreaded high instep.  The Dream 90 also comes with Head’s Dreamback rear tongue to eliminate pressure points on the calf.  And it has reflective material embedded in the boot liner that should fix my cold toes dilemma.

I also want to try the Technica Cochise, touted as “a modern interpretation of the all mountain ski boot.”  Since I like to ski both on piste and off, the Cochise sounds like it might be just the ticket, and the walk mode could be especially handy when hiking to my favorite powder stash.  Plus the Cochise was designed with more instep volume than the average ski boot.  And it provides great range of motion in a true high performance alpine ski boot.

Last, but not least is the Dalbello Raya, offering the same features as the Dalbello Boss, but in a women’s specific fit.  This boot was designed for wide feet like mine and features a walk mode similar to that of the Technica Cochise.  The Raya also includes Dalbello’s signature Cabrio design so the boot is easy to get on and off, while still delivering quick and responsive performance.  And it features Contour 4, which creates relief zones on the four points of contact when you step into a ski boot.

Since my left foot is currently broken, due to an unfortunate incident where I accidentally dropped a laptop on it, I won’t be purchasing my new ski boots until early January.  Luckily, I’ll have Jans Expert Boot Fitter, Paul Archer, to help me along the way.  Check back here in late January to see which boots are “the ones.”

Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor of