While the X-Wave four-buckle high performance group powered sales in specialty shops during the past year, Salomon product manager Mike Aicher reports that the Performa 7.0, aimed at the advanced intermediate skier, remains the all-time best seller in the boot line.
But that's not where Salomon has placed its big bet. Most of the new-product action focuses on the Verse soft boot series. "That's the future for leisure level skiing," Aicher says. "We'll expand that group to four price points, adding a boot above the original two models and one below."Course Series: The low-volume red Course race boot ($695) has been softened slightly for use with the new shorter race skis. The softer-flexing black Pro Model ($645), aimed at park-and-pipe skiers, returns unchanged.
Unchanged: Course Pro Model.
X Wave Series: Look for new colors in this popular group, but no technical changes. The top model, the Crossmax 10.0 ($625 SMRP), gets a translucent red shell and will be merchandised with with the Crossmax 10 ski.
Modified: Crossmax 10.0, X Wave 10.0, X Wave 9.0, X Wave 9.0W, X Wave 9.0, X Wave 8.0W, X Wave 7.0, X Wave 7.0W, 1080, X Wave 6.0 and X Wave 6.0W.
Evolution 2 Series: These four-buckle overlaps get a minor cosmetic uplift, including updated buckles.
Modified: Evolution 2 10.0, Evolution 2 9.0, Evolution 2 9.0W, Evolution 2 8.0, Evolution 2 8.0W.
Performa Series: The group expands upward with a new top model, cosmetically matched to the Crossmax ski. The Crossmax Performa ($450 SMRP) is pitched at advanced skiers, in contrast to the rest of the Performa line, aimed at intermediates.
New: Performa Crossmax.
Unchanged: Performa 7.0, Performa 7.0W, Performa 6.0, Performa 6.0W, Performa 5.0, Performa 5.0W, Performa 4.0, Performa 4.0W.
Verse Series: The Verse group is designed primarily to provide effortless entry and exit and a soft, comfortable leisure fit, all based on a one-pull speedlace closure, with two buckles for support. The new boot at the top of the group is the Verse CF (for Custom Fit), at $450 SMRP ($359 street price). Aicher reports the boot offers the same level of performance as the original Verse AF, but there are more options-a heat-moldable liner, translucent shell and aluminum buckles. The AF ($385), with its Autofit liner, gets a mild cosmetic facelift, and so does the Thermofit Verse TF ($340). The new entry-level model is the Verse ($325), using the basic Thermic liner and stripped of the walk/ski adjuster, lace cover, and micro-adjustments on the buckles.
New: Verse CF, Verse CF W, Verse, Verse W.
Modified: Verse AF, Verse AF W, Verse TF, Verse TF W. -S.M.
The song remains the same for Strolz, the world's oldest independent boot maker and the only company using leather liners. Strolz offers a custom fit in different widths and sizes and features an exact match to the shape of each foot. Strolz offers a wide range of possibilities to accommodate a problem foot or leg through interchangeable cuffs or by special ordering liners.
Strolz offers three designs. The FSX/T is the problem solver in the Strolz line. It comes in three degrees of shell hardness, and offers cant adjustment, a ski/walk mechanism, and a liner available in two different lengths. The SST/R is tailored to racers, with the red shell offering a stiffer flex than the black boot. The Sportive SST/S is for demanding recreational skiers and the Sportive SST/SWM offers a wide cuff for skiers who have a hard time finding a good fit.
Tecnica has undertaken a major redesign, focused on comfort and ease of entry while preserving the on-snoow performance level of each model. There are three major new technologies.
Rapid Access cuff: To improve ease of entry, Tecnica has added a mechanical nylon hinge to the front of some cuffs. The hinged cuff opens wide with no resistance. In addition to making for effortless entry and exit, product manager Bart Tuttle points out that the new construction means that the cuff parts can be molded in their final shape, rather than as a single flat sheet. "This means that the cuff gives a cleaner, tighter wrap for better power transmission," he says. The Rapid Access cuff is found on the new Icon Alu and most models of the new Entryx series.
Hot Form liner: Plug the Hot Form liner into a 12 volt source (like a cigarette lighter) and it heats up to about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, just right for a comfy fit on a cold day. Plug it into a 22 volt source in a ski shop, and the Fabroc heat conductor sandwiched between the layers goes to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, expanding the EVA foam to create a close, custom fit. In both modes, the heating process takes about 15 minutes, Tuttle says.
[250AD]Entryx boots: Replacing the Duo series, the new Entryx group features a wider last and easier entry, via the Rapid Access cuff or a simpler riveted Easy Access cuff.
Icon Series: Unchanged is the minimalist Icon XT race boot. All new are the Icon Alu Comp and Icon Alu models, featuring aluminum reinforcing ribs on the back of the cuff and the hinged Rapid Access flap on the front. These boots are available with custom foam, Hot Form, or standard Ultrafit liners. The Icon DPX and Icon DP models (with the dual pivot cuff for fine-tuning the direction of the cuff flex) are available in Hot Form and Ultrafit versions.
New: Icon Alu Comp, Icon Alu, Icon DPX, Icon DPX L, Icon DP, Icon DP L.
Unchanged: Icon XT.
Rival Series: The high-volume series, based on the double-pivot cuff design, gets a cosmetic upgrade, and a new model, the X8. In addition, there's a new aluminum buckle design for the RX version. The RX and X9 versions are available in Hot Form and Ultrafit versions; the X8, X7, and X5 are sold with Ultrafit liners only.
New: Rival X8, Rival X8 L.
Modified: Rival RX, Rival RX L, Rival X9, Rival X9 L, Rival X7, Rival X7 L, Rival X5, Rival X5 L.
Entryx Series: This new group features the wider last of the Rival series, with a conventional single-pivot cuff. But in the Entryx 9, Entryx 7, and Entryx 5, that cuff incorporates the new Rapid Access hinged front. The Entryx 3 uses a simpler cuff with the soft front flap riveted in place. The Entryx 9 and Entryx 7 feature the Ultrafit liner.
New: Entryx 9, Entryx 9L, Entryx 7, Entryx 7L, Entryx 5, Entryx 5L, Entryx 3, Entryx 3L. - S.M.