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Gear

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.

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.

Cochise Pro 130

Tecnica

2016

price$840

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX130

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH98

SIZES22.5–30.5

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The Cochise Pro 130 is one of a handful of hike-mode models that stand apart from the field, providing a flawless combination of fit, skiability, convenient cuff release, and sufficient range of motion. It rolled back into our test this year with an improved, Cochise-specific CAS (Custom Adaptive Shape) liner but was otherwise unchanged. The focus on foot-shape-driven design is apparent in the Cochise. Testers lauded additional contouring at the navicular bone, asymmetrical ankle pockets, a more ergonomic groove for the Achilles tendon, and a taller, squared-off toebox that makes skiing and hiking more enjoyable. It's right down the middle of narrow-class fit tension but with grip and give zoned perfectly. The Cochise skied like a solid alpine boot. Testers loved its solid flex feel. Its deep-trenching torque spools up quickly turn-to-turn. It can hang on locked-up frontside boiler plate, tear through breakable crust, or float along in well-earned untracked pow, all in a day's work. For those who choose to earn their turns, the metal-on-metal cuff-release mechanism is simple, intuitive, and bombproof. The cuff's range of travel is better than that of most sidecountry hybrid boots, with a gliding, low-friction feel.

Mach1 105 W MV

Tecnica

2016

price$720

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX105

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH100

SIZES22.5-27.5

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Women testers with a very wide variety of foot and leg shapes and different skiing styles all loved this boot's fit and absolutely freaked out about how well it skied. Tecnica would explain this by pointing out how the Mach1's interior and exterior shape was meticulously designed to closely hew to the anatomy of a foot. The company would note that its liner shape and construction mates closely with the contours of the shell's interior. And our test team would buy that; they're pretty tech savvy. But it doesn't take expert knowledge to buy in; the curves in the CAS liner and shell are readily apparent to the naked eye. That level of detail also led to sky high fit scores. There's additional room carved out for the toes, outside of the forefoot, navicular, ankle bone points and Achilles tendon. Testers loved the stout and true 105 flex. It was solid and progressive without any collapsing or feeling of being under-powered. More responsive than virtually every other women's medium width boot in the test, the Mach1 W MV had the highest initial fit and performance scores of all women's boots tested.

Mach1 130 MV

Tecnica

2016

price$840

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX130

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH100

SIZES24.5-30.5

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"Medium-fit standard bearer" and "100-mm benchmark" were a couple of the recurring themes on tester forms. There was unanimous love for this easy-fitting, strong-skiing, go-everywhere and do-everything four-buckle overlap. The punchable, grindable Custom Adaptive Shape (CAS) liner and punch-prepped dimple zones of the shell are easily tailored with traditional bootfitting 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. Our testers who are also professional bootfitters were impressed by the ability to make space specifically where needed while leaving the rest of the fit alone. Amazingly, the boot fit everybody's feet so well out of the box that we didn't have to mess with mods on the MV. We did put the CAS system to test with the 130 LV version (see above) and the good news is that if you experience any discomfort, it can easily be eliminated. On hill, the MV demonstrated a characteristic flair for unflappability all over the hill. Dead-flat and neutral feeling underfoot, it rolled up on edge like magic and hooked into fat carves with absurd confidence. It's easy to ski but powerful and agile. "Stupid fun," one tester said.

Ten.2 120 HV

Tecnica

2016

price$660

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX120

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH106

SIZES24.5-30.5

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While many wide boots make it difficult for slender-footed testers to find center, nobody had trouble zeroing in on the Ten.2's sweet spot. Testers liked the way it skied. Its stance angles are balanced and its construction is tuned for performance skiing. The instep ceiling is vaulted and the calf fit is flared, so high-volume feet and legs will find a welcome anatomical match here. Got a really big calf? Just pull the Velcro spoiler for even more room. Got a tight ankle joint (meaty-footed guys ain't generally yoga masters)? There's room for a heel lift. But don't tab this one as a bucket boot. The 120 flex is legit solid, built to handle the beat-down applied by big dudes. Let's spin the vocab dial and call the Ten.2 a spatially-enhanced all-mountain crusher that's agile enough so long as a skier's got the flesh to fill it up.

Freedom SL Women's

Scarpa

2016

price$779

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX120

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH101

SIZES21.5-27.0

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Our test team called the Freedom SL the "Best one-boot quiver for hard-charging women as interested in going uphill as down." Crisp, racy power and quickness are paired with light weight and huge touring range of motion to make this a BFF for skiers who regularly venture beyond area boundaries for day-long or even multi-day missions. The Scarpa fit varied for our team, who bounced between their normal size and a step-down. Those who took advantage of the model's slightly longer fit in the toebox to drop down a size, found a form-fitting narrow feel. Those who stuck with their normal size experienced a Medium fit with extra toe room. For those doing extended tours, the latter is the go-to option as creating more toe length in the thin Pebax lower boot is tricky for even the best bootfitters. Note that even our veteran test team experiences some confusion over sizing with Scarpa due to the fact that the brand's shell length changes on the half-size (i.e. the 24.5 and the 25.0 are the same sole length at 287mm). The Freedom SL series merits try-on with a topnotch bootfitter to ensure you get the desired fit.

G2 130 Powerfit

Scott

2016

price$700

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX130

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH97

SIZES23-30.5

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We're not going to call the G2 an antique-it's completely modern in its last shape, construction and liner technology. But it sure as heck fits like performance boots of days past. Shorter than most, with a tighter toe box than most and a slightly more forward lean angle than most, it gave our testers a welcome blast of nostalgia. It's awesome. This boot swallows the foot and lower leg like a boa constrictor. The fit contours around the navicular, sixth toe and ankle bones are rubber-glove tight. The Ultralon PWR Fit liner is pre-molded, but we found a full cook job eased compression enough to gain an all-day fit. This boot skied as strong-or stronger-than any we tested. It's brick strong and nano-second quick. It is not a boot for racking up massive amounts of easy cruising vert. But serious skiers will appreciate its ability to drive at speed directly at the trickiest pockets on the slope ahead. It's built to adventure off-piste with a rubberized boot board, replaceable soles and a grippy mid-arch. Expect a stiff suspension.

Freedom RS

Scarpa

2016

price$829

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX130

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH101

SIZES23.5–31.0

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Our test team called the Freedom SL the "Best one-boot quiver for hard-charging women as interested in going uphill as down." Crisp, racy power and quickness are paired with light weight and huge touring range of motion to make this a BFF for skiers who regularly venture beyond area boundaries for day-long or even multi-day missions. The Scarpa fit varied for our team, who bounced between their normal size and a step-down. Those who took advantage of the model's slightly longer fit in the toebox to drop down a size, found a form-fitting narrow feel. Those who stuck with their normal size experienced a Medium fit with extra toe room. For those doing extended tours, the latter is the go-to option as creating more toe length in the thin Pebax lower boot is tricky for even the best bootfitters. Note that even our veteran test team experiences some confusion over sizing with Scarpa due to the fact that the brand's shell length changes on the half-size (i.e. the 24.5 and the 25.0 are the same sole length at 287mm). The Freedom SL series merits try-on with a topnotch bootfitter to ensure you get the desired fit.

X Max 120

Salomon

2016

price$725

YEAR2015/2016

LEVEL

FLEX120

GENDERFemale

LAST WIDTH98–104

SIZES24.5-29.5

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Custom shells and liners can perform slick sleight-of-hand tricks, not big-stage magic, so the initial fit still has to be as close as possible. For our slender-footed, lower volume testers the X Max 120 was an ideal starting point. This year's version sports a revamped, pre-molded liner that grabs the instep, ankle, and heel with an even but persistent grip. It's perfect for railing high-speed arcs and rapid-fire short radius rippers. In testing, the 360° Custom Shell molding process took the sting out of peak pressure points and generally relaxed the all-over fit just enough to turn a stiff-suspension track car into a performance-oriented sport sedan. Testers liked the close feel of the shell-the new liner is thin and dense, so communication from foot to ski was "quick," "resilient" and "accurate." Some of our longer-legged guys were able to overpower the 120 but knew from experience that the sturdier X Max 130 would give them plenty of support.

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