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  1. #1
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    Apr 2014
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    Salomon/Atomic Moldable Boots Info/Review

    Thought I'd post an update here for other people's future reference. Quick refresher on my issues: https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...mn-Dirty-Boots
    Have just a couple days on the boots, but think for the most part I have a good feel for the boots now. Figure it might help some people. Bottom line for me- if you can, stick them in a Vacuum Machine! Of course a lot of people have been loving the boots with just the normal heat molding process, so maybe it's not that big of a difference. I probably will never know. But I think the logic behind the Vacuum/pressure process while molding is sound.

    Anyways, after years of boot issues for my odd, wide feet and narrowish heels-

    SUCCESS!!! But really I'm kicking myself that I did not get these boots last season. My feet are warm! And not numb! And I can leave them buckled the whole day! And the biggest improvement of all- so much more control. Makes a world of difference in all types of my skiing, much more confident, precise, quick, etc etc. Can honestly say the boot change has improved my skiing considerably (of course the old boots were too big and had very little heel hold, while also crushing my feet). They hurt for about 1 run, then it went away. Guess that's the break in period? Most likely everything just seating itself properly. Tightened them up some as the day went on and had no pain.

    I ended up with the X-Pro 120. Pro boots have higher volume than the max, so that worked well for my feet. I have a pretty normal instep, so I didn't feel like it was crushed, which I think a few people have felt in the pro and/or max boots? The Atomic Hawx 2.0 is supposed to be higher overall volume, while also being stiffer all around than the comparable Solly boots. So for some that might be a better option- it also has some nice features like forward lean and 3 flex settings. I'd assume the same things I discuss below will apply to the moldable Atomic boots.

    Flex wise, I can't confirm but I believe for the X-Pros the "sport" setting is supposed to be 110 flex, and "performance" setting is 120 according to Solly. The X-Pro 120s do seem to be a soft flex for a 120, even in the "performance" setting. However temps were mid twenties when I skied so I'll assume they'll stiffen up in colder temps. Not sure if I'll regret not getting the 130s, but the 120s seem plenty powerful and let me get into the shovels a bit more, which I sometimes don't do enough. Plus for air and an occasional park lap the softer flex is nice.

    MC Slayer first got me thinking about the Fischer Vacuum Machine with the Salomons- He reported having good success with it, but I never got to talk to him about the pressures he uses. Despite Larry (In Boulder) not recommending sticking the boots in there, I went ahead and had it done at another shop (Larry didn't have any boots in stock for me anyways). Not that complicated of a process- makes sense to me. A large portion of the shell is moldable, and although Solly designed it to expand, the plastic can bend/mold either way (or be prevented from excess expanding). On top of that, the Fischer machine lets the boot align precisely to your stance and forward lean preference as well (not sure if going to 17 degrees would actually change the boot's forward lean- I did mine at 14 because I ski with a more upright and centered stance. I'd imagine the 17 degree setting would, at least to some degree, add some lean.)

    Before molding, the boot was definitely too narrow all around, heel was slightly pinched on the sides as well. I have wide feet (`105mm)- so the shell needed to expand a good deal. But I didn't want to lose a secure heel fit- I wanted it very snug. We padded the outside of my feet (roughly 3 inch long section) with one strip of foam, and did a toe cap. Toe cap is a must (I could feel the top collapsing, and believe the toe box would collapse too much without it)! As far as pressures go, the forefoot was originally set to 180 psi, but we kicked it down to 120 psi 3 minutes in. Heel and upper cuff 320 psi. I was wearing thin socks, maybe more medium-thin.

    Originally I was concerned the shells hadn't expanded enough for my forefoot- but on the snow I didn't have issues. However, I am leaving the bottom two buckles pretty much as lightly buckled as possible without them popping up while skiing (or just not buckled at all). I think that for people like me who need a lot of expansion in the forefoot, psi around 50, with padding as needed, would be good (Get same fit with them more firmly buckled as I do with very light buckling). Just enough to keep things snug. Or perhaps no padding, and no pressure for the forefoot. I may go back and remold, but probably not. Even unbuckled everything is quite snug down there and I do not feel like there is any movement or loss of power transfer. I also expect the liners to pack out a bit.

    For people who do not need expansion, or very little, higher pressure (100-120) would be fine for the forefoot, just use a toe cap and pad any odd/bony/problem areas.

    For the heel and upper cuff, I think 300~ 320 is probably just about perfect. Very, very snug, fit, but not uncomfortable. I do feel like the upper cuff overall molded quite well to my leg's anatomy. I will note that at the moment I think I would be in pain/pinched a bit with the socks I molded with, or anything besides very thin socks which I'm now wearing. For me this is perfect- feet are warm with the thin socks, and over time if/when the liner packs out I can just go to a thicker sock (may not happen, we'll see). Not sure if I'm actually recommending molding with a thicker sock than you normally wear. Perhaps wearing your normal socks and lower pressure (250~) would be the ticket. As with the forefoot- the more the boot has to expand for your heel, I'd think the lower the pressure you want, and vice versa for people who don't need much expansion if any.

    Length wise- lots of people say size down one or two sizes for the Salomon moldable boots. My feet are about 26cm long, from heel to second toe (which is about 1/4 inch longer than big toe and 3rd toe). With the 25.5 shell I think before molding I had maybe 1-1.25cm shell fit (These boots run long). However, after molding I think they actually shrunk- more like .75-1cm shell fit now. I think this is partially due to the toe box having a lot of moldable plastic. Can't stress how much you need a toe cap, maybe even two. Just standing my toes are slightly brushing the ends (mostly on the right foot, which is 26cm exactly, left is slightly shorter)- if my toe nails are long I'll know it. Perfect length IMO after skiing them for a bit. My advice would be do not go down two sizes if you vacuum them- only one or stay with your regular size if you are at the end of a range.

    Also something to note- after molding I read the foam boot boards should be taken out of the shell while heating, to prevent deformity. We did not do that. I wasn't sure if they came out at the time, as they are stuck in with some adhesive on the bottom. Afterwards I got them out by prying up from the sides of the boards up by the toe. Be careful- it's foam. My boat boards did not deform though. They might have even molded a bit to my foot/custom footbed, no idea. Probably something to ask the boot guys.

    Hope this helps people. Just happy to have finally found some high performance boots that don't make my feet hurt/freeze/go numb.
    Last edited by Muggydude; 01-25-2015 at 02:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Right on man! Nothing like a good fitting boot. I have the atomic hawx 2.0 130 and after heating with foam on suspect areas, they are money. The hawx has 3 lean adjustments and two flex, 120 and 130. I run at 130 and 15 lean. They are nice and stiff. I wish I could have put them in a vacuum but the only shop with a vac. has horrible techs. Nice write up too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Pittsburgh
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    132
    Anyone know how the heel hold on these boots compares to the Fischer Vacuums? I have the same foot shape and have had both recs (by different shops).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hood of East Jackson
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    196

    Salomon/Atomic Moldable Boots Info/Review

    I have the vacuum 130 with zip fits and I'm definitely locked in. Put on the zips first, step into the shell and barely need to buckle. Getting out is a bit of a yoga move, especially if the shell is cold, but not too bad.

    After a lifetime of semi-boot issues, these are the best I've had and I spend 80+ days in them

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Colorado
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    I mentioned in the other thread but I did try on some fischers. Those fit better out of the box, but that also meant the heel and overall boot was wider to begin with. Those are supposed to become smaller in the vacuum process though. I ended up going salomon because A- they didn't have the fischer I wanted (ranger 130), B: supposedly the Fischers are not that durable, C: boots are supposed to be colder, and D: considerably more expensive, especially if you get a different liner. Still a cool boot though

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    New Mexico
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    997
    Thanks for the write up, very helpful info here!
    Fear, Doubt, Disbelief, you have to let it all go. Free your mind!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh
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    So I'm in Fischer Progressor 120s. I've sized down 2 sizes, bought Zipfits with extra cork in the tongue and heel, added shims and then punched the crap out of the forefoot. It's taken four years to make them comfortable. Should I now just leave well enough alone or should I pull the plug on the Xmax? In other words, comfort aside should I get better performance with a boot that didn't require extensive revision?

  8. #8
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    Apr 2014
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    Do you need new boots in general? If the old ones are comfortable and work well maybe don't mess with it. But if you need new ones (for wear or performance issues) I'd definitely take a look at the Salomon boots over the fischers. I'm a believer. I was honestly still expecting these to hurt on the hill after I bought them, and it just never happened.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2006
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    voting in seattle
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    FWIW, I would do this with just about any boot currently sold. i dont use the vacuum machine, but have had great results from just 'custom shelling' most boots. The vacuum process most likely would help any of them.

  10. #10
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    Apr 2014
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    Little Update. After a couple more days I went back and had them remolded due to some foot pain on the inside and outside of my feet (would sort of switch around where it hurt). Did 320 psi on the heel again, and the lowest pressure possible (80) with a little more padding on the side for the forefoot. Not sure if it's better or not. I'm not exactly sure what to think of these boots. Most days they're ok, but they almost always hurt in the morning, whether its for an hour or three. Last week my feet were just killing me until noon, and then after that they were just fine, very little discomfort. Not sure what they deal is, whether it's warm temps later in the day, the liner packs out a bit to my foot during the day, or just my feet get used to it after a while?

    I will say the performance is much, much better than my old boots and I'm very happy with them control wise. Makes a world of difference skiing. I think the custom footbeds I have might have too much arch, and are "over supporting" my feet. So this weekend I'm going to try the stock footbeds, which are a less substantial and see if that makes a difference. If that doesn't work, next step might be remolding without the pressure bladders. Don't really want to do that, love the heel hold these have.

    The saga continues...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Sandy, Utah
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    10,757
    My bet is since you claim the arch of custom footbed is high the early day discomfort is foot adjusting to the added arch support. I sometimes have the same pain in am and fine in afternoon issue too. Boots unbuckled every lift ride til about noon then I don't have to touch em. Weird.

    What I think you'll lose with the custom footbed removal is some of that edge to edge feel. When I finally got footbeds the difference in ski control was night and day. Won't hurt to give the stocks a try though to see if they ease the pain and you still maintain the control you desire.

    Good luck ski boots and funny feet can suck.
    http://www.firsttracksonline.com

    I wish i could be like SkiFishBum

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Colorado
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    Skied today with the stock insoles. They are a bit thinner and less substantial than the customs, and the arch is close to the same (but less stiff). First two runs it hurt, after that I was golden. Still unbuckled most of the time on the lifts, but I can live with that. Felt like the control was a little worse edge to edge and response time, but not much. There really isn't any extra space anywhere in the boot, it's very snug all around. Heel hold was still great, maybe even slightly better.

    Afterwards I went to Boulder to talk to Larry, he thought it was a volume issue with my feet combined with my feet not needing/being used to the support. He thought it was fine to use the stock footbeds.

    I did go back to where I bought the boots, and they grinded away some of the bottom of the custom footbeds to make them thinner, and ground away a lot of the arch support underneath (make it flex more, less volume too). Going to try those out, if they still aren't working I can return the footbeds.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Another update. Had about 10 days on these in the past few weeks. (Think I had roughly ~15 on them last season) Grinding away some of the arch support and making the insoles thinner overall was definitely the ticket. Boots have been spot on the whole season. The liners have packed out just a tad. With my thinnest sock on (kind of a slippery material) I felt like I was maybe over buckling a little to really lock the heel down. Went to a somewhat thicker sock (smartwool phd light cushioning). Snugger overall, no need to crank the buckles as much to lock the heel down.

    I keep the foot buckles only lightly buckled, ankle buckle pretty tight, and have been leaving the top buckle a little looser to let me flex the boot more - one thing about this boot is I actually feel like it's too upright and sometimes promotes getting kicked into the backseat a little. Especially when it's cold and I have the buckles cranked. If I molded them again in the machine (I'm not, they fit too good now) I'd want to try 17 degrees of forward lean instead of 14 that I originally did.

    Boots are pretty warm, I always start them out warmed up some with my dry guy (not toasty, just warm) and on the coldest days my toes get a little numb, but everyone's have on those days. 30 minutes in the warm lodge at lunch and they're good to go.

    I still unbuckle on the lift usually in the mornings, by afternoon I can usually leave them buckled.

    Overall I don't feel like I've ever overpowered the boot, does great on hardpack and powder. Very minor shin bang after ~ 6 days consecutively skiing.

    To sum up everything I've learned-

    Yes stick the Salomon moldable boots in the fischer vacuum machine. Use a toe cap. Pad problem areas (liberally if you have a wide foot like me). Use lowest (80 psi) forefoot pressure if you need a lot of expansion, if you don't I'd think ~120 would be fine. I'd say everyone should use 320/very high heel and upper cuff pressure. I wore medium thickness socks when I molded them, worked well I think. Started skiing in thin socks originanlly and after 15 days went back to mediumish thickness socks after the liners packed out a tad (still feel great on day 25). I had to make my custom footbed have less arch support and thinner overall for my boots to really fit perfect, meaning after the molding process I think the boot was slightly too low volume-wise. As I said before, I have a very wide foot (~105mm last) so this might not be an issue if the shell doesn't have to expand much for your foot.

    Sizing wise, a lot of people say to size down 1-2 sizes for the normal Salomon molding process. If you do vacuum I'd say only size down 1 size (about ~1.25 cm of shell space behind the heel before molding was good for me) as in my experience the shell shrunk a tad lengthwise (mine are perfect length, have maybe a little under a cm shell space now).

    Hope this helps. Happy skiing.

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