TOP TRENDS | WOMEN'S SKI BOOTS
LIGHT ON WEIGHT, HEAVY ON FIT, WOMEN’S SKI BOOTS SHED POUNDS, ADD BOOT-FITTER FRIENDLY CUSTOMIZATION FEATURES
AT BOOT SALES (IN DOLLARS)
selves from online stores and skiers search for the ‘perfect-fitting ski boot.’”
Fischer’s director of marketing and product, Matt Berkowitz, says the trend is to make “comfortable boots that still have power,” and the new RC Pro 110 W has a lever that helps with entry and exit, along with Active Fit Zone technology and Grip Soles. Rossignol’s Sensor Grid—found in several women’s models— makes a gridded pattern in the shell that provides wrapping of the foot and ankle. Salomon continues its evolution of customization with the QST Pro 90 W, which uses the same technology from the unisex MTN boots such as Sensifit shell construction and Motion Flex with Surelock mechanism. Tecnica’s new women’s Cochise Freeride boots include the 105W, 95W and 85W and focus on a more ana-
PICK OF THE DAY Comfort and power? Check out Fischer’s new RC Pro 110W women’s boot, which aims to provide both in the brand’s booth #4411.
▲ NORDICA SPEEDMACHINE 105 W
THREE TRENDS STEAL THE SIA FLOOR THIS YEAR — customization and the adaptability of shells and liners, walk-hike mechanisms and weight-saving designs. Many of these women's ski boot trends were introduced last season, but the challenging weather can be blamed for sluggish sales. In fact, sales of women’s and girl’s alpine boots were down 4 percent in dollars sold in the 2014-15 season. But early season research for 2015-16 shows improvement. “Sales of girls' and women’s alpine boots were up 38 percent in dollars sold to $7.5 million,” says Kelly Davis, director of research for SIA. Furthermore, the AT hybrid category—known as alpine touring and loosely defined as boots with a swappable DIN and Vibram soles—has shown tremendous growth. Women’s AT boot sales increased 34 percent in the 2014-15 season to reach $1.3M. Whatever the weather this season, new women’s boot models offer an attractive incentive to buy. Along with more options to customize the fit, comes an overall movement to save weight. “Just as we have seen with skis and bindings, boots have started to trim down and become lighter while maintaining their high-performance stature,” says Ethan Korpi, boot product manager for Nordica. “Customization remains a hot topic in ski boots as the traditional specialty retailer seeks to differentiate them-
tomical shape, better fit and more custom-fitting options. Tecnica’s C.A.S. (Custom Adaptive Shape) includes a preshaped liner of hard-to-fit areas. The Cochise models and the new Zero G Guide W Freeride both have Power Light Design, which makes the boots 20 to 30 percent lighter than other alpine models.
Walk-hike mechanisms help consumers walk in the lodge or along ridge tops by two modes: One that increases mobility and the other that provides a “locked down” feeling for alpine turns. Freeride boot models with these features continue to make up a large segment of the market. “Consumers now see the benefit and increased skiability of this technology,” according to Thor Verdonk, director of product development for the Rossignol Group. Dalbello, who has partnered with Marker/Völkl, features a new freeride-inspired 98-mm lasted boot called the DMS 100 W. It has a foot-wrapping overlap design, and the new all-mountain Avanti model has a wool lining and Thinsulate insulation. K2’s wide-lasted BFC (Built For Comfort) includes two new models (90 and 80 flex), which house convenience features such as grippy replaceable outsoles that work in concert with Marker’s new GripWalk binding system. (The challenge with rockered soles is that the binding toe height needs to be adjusted to accommodate the rocker and new bindings now raise the AFD device.) Lange looks to find balance between uphill mobility and downhill performance with the XT 110 LV Freetour W. This follows in the footsteps of the original XT, but with low-tech soles and Dynafit inserts. The acronym WTR— new to some consumers—means “walk-to-ride,” and essentially includes a relatively soft alpine sole with rocker at the toe piece. Nordica combines Gripwalk/WTR soles, walk/ski systems and thermal liner insulations with the new N-Move W boots. Its Speedmachine W boots have customization technologies and lightweight materials.
SNOW SHOW DAILY 2016 | DAY 1 SIAsnowshow.com
▲ DALBELLO AVANTI W 85
▲ LANGE XT 110 LV FREETOUR W
New plastics, liner materials and the evolution of the placement of power transmission to the lower shell helps manufacturers make lighter boot models. Apex launches a new series called XP, with a shorter sole length, 10 percent lighter chassis and a new three-buckle system with a Serpentine lacing pattern. Head’s new AdvantEdge line of boots is the next generation of AdaptEdge. Using a “Hi Top” shell design, Head reduces the upper cuff and adds 5 degrees of ramp angle and 14 degrees of forward lean, which puts skiers in a more upright position and is designed for “better skiing with less effort." —Krista Crabtree