Dodge boot report

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Dodge boot report

Postby h.harb » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:22 pm

Geoff got his boots today, the fit went far better than I expected, so far no foam liners needed. He is normally in a 26 Head; we sized him down to a 25 no problem. I've been working on my 25's and they are coming right.

I also worked on a couple of Nor Am racer's boots today who ski for CU. Langes seem to be more aggressive this year, less volume in the plug boot. Katie Hartman, who is a top 3 Nor Am racer, (second at Lake Louise in the Super G) should be on the US Ski Team, but she is in College instead, lots of work on her boots, about three hours. So the Dodge boots were easy in comparison,so far. Sarah Schlepper same problem with Langes.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby geoffda » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:23 am

I just got back from skiing the Dodge boot. I'll post a more detailed report later when I have more time, but let me just say that whatever hype you may have heard about these boots is real. These boots are orders of magnitude better than my Head Raptor 130 RDs to the extent that I have no problem in suggesting that the Dodge boot is simply in a league of its own. The level of responsiveness and edge-hold is unparalleled (in fact, its unheard of). I don't care who you are, if you have even the slightest understanding of how to tip your skis, you should be in these boots. They will take your skiing to a whole new level. For me it was like strapping a couple of Porsche 911s to my feet.

Quick note to Harald, Chris & Diana. The boots fit great. The only issue I had was some minor discomfort in the right shin. Tried adjusting the tongue, but that didn't solve the problem. I think there is a good chance that the pain will go away once the Booster strap gets mounted. Other than that, my intial impression was that my left boot was too soft. I had the same impression in my Heads, but the difference between left and right was fairly minor. The Dodges are aggressive enough that I notice a fairly big difference between the two sides. I think I"ll probably want to come out by 1/2 a degree. Other than those two minor things, the setup feels really, really good. Thanks!
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby h.harb » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:04 am

Judging from the reaction Geoff had, my evaluation after skiing the boots saying, " This boot is a game changer", was not too dramatic or optimistic. I'll be out at Loveland on my boots Monday. If anyone is around and wants to ski I'll see you there.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby geoffda » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:52 pm

Ok, so here are my first impressions of the Dodge boot in more detail. I'm coming off a Head Raptor 130 RD with Nordica foam injected liners. I have a fairly low volume foot, narrow heel, low instep. I skied the Dodges with my 2009 iSuperShapes in firm conditions on man-made snow at A-Basin today.

Fit:
My feet are a fairly good match for the Dodge shell, although the perfect foot would have more volume. For me, sizing down to the 25 (my Heads are a 26) was a good solution. Length-wise it was just slightly tight, but there was enough room in the shell to solve the problem by stretching the stock liner. Which was good, since you can't stretch or push out the toe box of these boots. Width-wise, the smaller shell eliminated all of the slop that I was feeling in the 26 and left me with a snug fit that actually felt better than my Nordica foamed liners. There were no sore spots whatsoever, so we didn't have to try to push anything out. I have to say, I was almost a little concerned at how good the boots felt, but that is one of the most amazing things about the Dodge boots. Not only do they deliver amazing performance, but they do not require you to have a painful fit in order to get it. Make sure you get out of that traditional mind-set if you end up purchasing a pair. These boots don't reward you for squeezing into an ultra-tight shell; they are designed to be comfortable. Just accept that.

In case you are wondering about last, Chris wasn't sure (and the Dodge site doesn't seem to have the information), but it feels like something in the 98mm range. But again, the boot doesn't need to be toe-numbing tight to perform so quit wringing your hands over details that don't matter.

Flex:
Stiff need I say more? Oh you need to know the flex? Sorry, not published anywhere. But Warner Nickerson is racing these on the World Cup right now, so I'm pretty sure it is stiff enough for you. Oh and by the way, carbon fiber isn't affected by temperature so the flex doesn't change with temperature. The flex you get in the store is the same flex you get on the warmest day and the same flex you get on the coldest day. No more trying to find the average between a noodle and rebar.

Fore-Aft:
No boot board in these puppies to get between you and the feel of the snow. Let's not get too worried about ramp; the idea is that you plane for what you need. The forward lean out of the box is fairly upright. My impression is that these are slightly more upright than the Raptor 130 RDs which works well for me.

Canting:
The soles are plated, so any canting adjustments to the boot sole can be made by simply pulling the plates and planing them. In addition, the cuff is highly customizable so those of you with truly messed-up anatomies are going to love the customization options.

Entry/Exit:
The heel canal design is ingenious (yes that is right, ingenious, not genius--genius a noun people) and at least with my narrow heel, it works very well. While you could put your liner on first, entering the boot with the liner already in is dead easy. So for me, I see no reason whatsoever to put the liners on as a seperate step (and this is a very liberating change from my plug boots). The stock liners are laceable, but again why make it hard on yourself when you don't gain anything by lacing them up? With the liners in, you do need something substantial to hold onto while you are sliding your foot in (otherwise the liners tend to collapse inside the boot--and you need the leverage to push against). The stock liners have a large, beefy loop in the back that handles this job nicely, but if you go with a different liner, look for one you can easily grab onto. Along those lines, I'm not sure how well a liner with a rear spoiler would work with the heel canal, so if for some reason you aren't going to use the stock liner, make sure you can get into the boot with whatever liner you choose before making irrevocable modifications to liner or boot. And while you are at it, repeat after me, "you don't need foam..."

So back to entry exit. This boot is far, far easier to get in and out of than the Head Raptor 130 RD (or any other plug boot I'd imagine). It is also easier to get in and out of than any of the performance boots I've owned (various Lange and Salomon models). Basically you just push the tongue out a bit, slide in your foot, grab the liner strap for leverage and push firmly. Right about the time your foot needs to start flattening, your heel hits the heel canal and in you go. The process works equally well in reverse to get your foot out. In and out never takes more than a few seconds. These aren't slippers and some effort is required, but you will be amazed at how easy these things are to take on and off. And the best part is that carbon fiber is not affected by temperature. You don't have to heat your boots! It was below 10 degrees at A-Basin today, but putting these (unwarmed) boots on was identical to the experience I had in the shop.

As easy as it is to get these boots on and off, there are a couple of caveats. First, easy is not synonymous with pain free. The shell will likely bite your instep a bit when you remove the boots. If you have ever owned Lange boots, you know what this feels like. However, unlike Lange boots, there is no worry about getting stuck while the boot is chewing up your instep, unable to remove it. With the Dodge boot, the instep bite is just a brief moment of discomfort that you pass through as the boot comes off. There is truly no danger of getting stuck. The heel canal works wonders and egress is always smooth.

Second, the evil, biting shell also consistently tries to eat the boot tongue. When you push the tongue out so you can put the boot on or take it off, invariably the lower part of the tongue will end up getting pushed through the split in the shell. Once you get your foot where it is supposed to be, you have to get the tongue back under the shell where it belongs. Since carbon fiber is extremely stiff, pulling the shell back in order to make this happen can be somewhat difficult. It takes a bunch of effort of strategic pulling to make this happen. I've also found that swearing loudly at the boot helps in this process.

Performance:
Ok, so if you read my previous post, you are probably wondering what makes these boots so great. Then again, if you've read this far you already know the boots are comfortable and easy to get in and out of, so isn't that enough for you? Oh right, you want performance do you? Well let me tell you, the performance of these boots is out of this world.

The benefits of carbon fiber are numerous. The first benefit is that these boots are incredibly light. How light? I don't know for sure, but they feel about half the weight of a traditional plug boot. My guess would be around 8 pounds which is about the same weight as the current line of Dynafit AT beef boots. While this is obviously nice when you are schlepping across the parking lot, it really matters when it comes to tipping. What Dodge has done with these boots is eliminated fully half of the intertia you have to overcome in order to start a typical plug boot tipping. Not only that, the sidewalls of these boots are as stiff or stiffer than the best performing boots out there--and they are crazy thin. All of this results in a level of lateral responsiveness that simply hasn't existed until now. And, by default, the boots want to hang a bit out. They are ready to tip. They are EASY to tip, They are DYING to tip. And they respect no tipping point. While I'm sure you can park and ride with these boots, it ain't what they want to do. The natural inclination (no pun intended) when you are wearing these boots is to lay them over and KEEP TIPPING. And since they are thinner, you can tip even more before your boot contacts the snow. So when I say they will raise your game, that is one of the things I'm talking about. They make it so much easier to tip, that whatever your level is, you are going to tip more. Let me rephrase that. You will not just tip, you will be tipING. AND TIPPING IS GOOD. It was only day three of the season for me, yet from a tipping perspective, I felt like I was getting some of my best turns ever with these boots. I subjected these boots to a wide variety of turn radii and in all cases, I was tipping to bigger angles than ever before.

I've got to say though, that these boots are FREAKY light. It took me a run or two to get truly comfortable with how light they are because my brain was telling my that they were too light to possibly be stable. But they are stable, and eventually I figured that out and settled down. You'd think that a boot as responsive as these are would feel twitchy, but they don't. And I had ample opportunity to open it up today. These boots will go to eleven and have no problem whatsoever with it.

So beyond responsiveness, the other major feature of carbon fiber is its dampening properties. There is always chattering going on in conventional boots and that reduces your edge grip. The Dodge boots dampen the chattering out better than any other boot out there. In addition, the stiffness of the shell means that when you press your ankle against the side of the boot, the power transfer is instant and total. The combination of these properties is a boot that yields superior edge hold.

The snow today was firm enough that the superior edge-holding capabilities of this boot were very noticable. Since it was only day three of skiing, let's just say that there was more than one turn where I wasn't getting full pressure to the ski edge like I should have been. In spite of that, I was still holding in those turns--turns where I normally would have slipped. When I wasn't screwing up edge pressure & was doing what I was supposed to be doing, the feeling of grip was amazing and solid. By the end of the day, I was holding tighter arcs on steeper stuff than ever before.

So there you have it. Harald is spot on when he calls this boot a game changer. I think I'll close with a comment my friend James made as we were standing in the lift line. He looked down at my boots and said, "Those boots are pretty low profile; people will never notice that you are wearing them, but they will certainly notice your skiing." That just about sums it up.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby arothafel » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:10 pm

Geoff

Thank you so much for sharing your experience in such detail... and quite well written, I might add!

Great post. I can hardly wait to get in a pair!

FYI: Consider sending your post to Dodge as a testimonial. They have plenty of racers.. but I don't think I've read anything on their site from a "performance skier!"
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby Max_501 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:37 pm

Looking forward to your report on performance in bumps and crud.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby h.harb » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:41 pm

Of course I have yet to see Geoff ski in the new boots. I know what I can do in the boot that is different from my Head Raptor 150, and I think I'm only using about 60 to 70 percent of its capability; or let's say the capability I will derive from the boot when I have everything figured out. It's still new, very new, even the inventors are figuring it out and they have been working with the best skiers in the USA for the last year with the boot. This means we are investigating, learning, and developing. We will make mistakes and we will evolve with better methods beyond what we are already doing. We are very successful already, but you can't stand still.

I'm skiing in the original version, it's raw and needs more fitting than the new version we are selling, (I have the first 250 model ever made). The newer version, the one we have in our shop, is already a step up, it has better foot contour and dimensions. The great thing about working with "Dodge Boot", is I know the guys really well, (I've known them since they were teenagers) they are open thinkers and very knowledgeable, and they listen. Dave and Bill, want to make the best ski boot ever made for skiing.

I think they are a long way out in front of contemporary boot products. Why did I jump on board right away, because I saw the potential, I want us, Harb Ski Systems, to be and stay the leader in ski innovation, boot fitting and instruction. Knowing what the best and newest ski products can do, gives me a vision of the future and insight into what skiers can learn and how they can perform. This is how we develop educational information, ski instruction, what we teach, write, produce and what we coach. We do it by staying ahead and therefore leading what is possible in the sport of skiing.

Is the Dodge boot for everyone, maybe not, we don't know yet for sure, because we haven't tested it on everyone. Will it make everyone instantly better? No, you still have to make the right movements. A leg steering, knee driving, up extending, "Traditional" skier, will hardly notice that there is performance he will never tap, directly under his butt. But when you do right, it will reward you beyond what you can expect from what is presently available.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby h.harb » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Art, Bill Doble (partner at Dodge Boot) received an e-mail from me, at 1:00 pm with this link.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby geoffda » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:39 am

Max_501 wrote:Looking forward to your report on performance in bumps and crud.


Me too. If you look at the athletes page on the Dodge site, there is an intriguing caption about Nelson Riley taking his boots to freestyle camp. Pretty sure that was at Woodward, so I guess we can infer that these boots perform in the air. Wonder if they perform on the landings too? :mrgreen:
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby skimore » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:36 pm

Yes, great post Geoff. Are you sure you're not repping them? :lol:

I'm guessing the reason we may not all be on them might be price?
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby geoffda » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:46 pm

skimore wrote:Yes, great post Geoff. Are you sure you're not repping them? :lol:

I'm guessing the reason we may not all be on them might be price?


Nope, not repping Dodge. I already have a day job :D. Yep, they are not cheap. $1500 for the boot alone. But if performance matters to you, they are so worth it...
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby h.harb » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:17 pm

I find that many skiers short themselves because they look at price as an obstacle. You can spend $10,00 on travel, lift tickets, clothes, diners and lunches, in a season easily, but refuse to see that a $1600 ticket, for a performance product, that makes all the other stuff worthwhile, as a necessity.

Well, I guess, there are some that have priorities other than the skiing experience.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby jbotti » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:08 pm

No updated review after skiing the boots all day today? Please, inquiring minds need to know!!
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby tanman » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:17 pm

If we are interested in acquiring a pair of these ..do we have to special order them...and the question arises on the sizing you sized a full shellsize dowm fro your previous RD130. I also ski on the RD130's in a size 26.5. But I have done a fair bit of boot work hours to get the heal and width of the boot to fit perfect. Even then I toes get cold after a couple of hours skiing.
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Re: Dodge boot report

Postby geoffda » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:41 am

jbotti wrote:No updated review after skiing the boots all day today? Please, inquiring minds need to know!!


Even better than day 1. These boots are tipping machines. What more do you need to know? You know you want a pair of these, so just book your flight and come out and get fitted. And while you are here can I try your KERS iSuperShapes? :D
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