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Gear

ZR 130

Zay

2016

price$850

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX130

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH98

SIZES25.0, 25.5, 26.0-27.5

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It doesn't take a long look to see that there's something different going on here. Zay forgoes tried-and-true buckle concept for securing the foot. Instead it uses a proprietary, forefoot-wrapping cable closure that simultaneously secures the foot in the lower shell and governs flex. The cables loop the forefoot of the lower then route through the sole, out the spine, and into a cuff-lever assembly. Zay is not a household name, but it is not brand new either. This is our second time testing the still-fledgling brand and we found it better mannered after a year of seasoning. Testers were very positive about the new liner fit, which eliminated many of the hot spots they found last year. Testers said the shell's unique polyurethane "cast molding" process creates a light, lively feeling boot that is both laterally and torsionally stout. All this comes with a long, progressive flex that tethers back into the cable system. It's certainly different, but it added up to snappy, stable, high-performance skiability at any speed.

Mach1 130 LV

Tecnica

2016

price$840

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX130

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH98

SIZES22.5-29.5

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A trimmer sibling to the acclaimed 130 MV (Medium Volume), which debuted last year, the LV bested its older brother by a slim margin in a friendly face-off. It then crushed the competition, tying for best in class. It fits snug like a 98-mm lasted boot should. While the liner and shell design mirrors the curves of the average foot, it's tight enough that many testers felt their bony bits protest a little bit. Good. That's how a narrow-class boot should feel. And any discomfort can easily be eliminated. The punchable, grindable Custom Adaptive Shape (CAS) liner and punch-prepped dimple zones of the shell combine to make it especially malleable in the hands of a bootfitter with traditional tools. The unique pock-marks on the shell make stretches more defined and permanent. The exterior of the liner is also built to be heat stretched and ground. Testers who make their livings as bootfitters were again impressed by how easy it was to make space specifically where needed while leaving the rest of the fit alone. More importantly, the Mach1 skis as well or better than any other boot we tested. It has cat-like dynamics, a perfect balance of power, and a flex that instills confidence.

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