Leather boots care and maintenance

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MikeK

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by MikeK » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:46 am

lilcliffy wrote:Leather Nordic boots I want to try:

Crispi Stetind
Alfa Quest Advance
Crispi Svartisen
I dug up that article you posted long ago with the boot review.

My thought based on re-reading that is the Stetind would be similar to the Alaska and the Svartisen softer in the sole but with a better ankle support.

I don't recall if the Alfa was in there...

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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Falketind 62;Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Scarpa T4
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Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:19 am

Pretty sure that all of these boots (Alaska, Stetind, Quest Advance, Svartisen) have the same NNN-BC sole-flex. The 75mm versions, with the Vibram sole, have a softer sole flex.

To be honest, I would expect the Alaska, Stetind and Quest Advance to have VERY similar performance. The "best" one is likely due to personal fit.

And yes the Svartisen- probably in a class of its own (perhaps the Fischer BCX8 is similar- at least to the75mm Svartisen?).

The boot to test against the Alaska NNNBC, is the Svartisen NNN-BC- this is likely my next boot purchase! Not sure if the Crispis will fit my foot- they are reportedly wide?

Too bad they didn't test the Alaska in that UTE test- but I do expect that it would have tested similar to the Stetind.

(I think that they tested the lighter-duty Alfa- not the Quest Advance)
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

MikeK

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by MikeK » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:28 am

The article said the sole flex of the Svartisen NNN-BC was softer than the Stetind (which the testers were surprised by).

The Svartisen, despite this, won the test in the NNN-BC class. The Andrews boot (not surprisingly) won the 75mm test.

Yes they are wide in the toe box. I actually went down a size from my Alaska, but I think I could fit a 43 Alaska lengthwise if it were wider.

When I was in Quebec this summer I tried on Johnny's 43 Alaska real quick. My foot fit! Maybe it was summer socks or the insole (or lack of?). When I tried on the 43 here in the US the first time I couldn't even get my foot in all the way, but I had been skiing a lot so maybe my foot was slightly swollen?

I think the insulation on the Alaska is better as well, particularly in the toe area.

Anyway, I hate fitting boots. I'm glad I have two pairs that kind of fit me right (none are perfect).

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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Falketind 62;Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Scarpa T4
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Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:10 pm

Just re-read the article as well...

Yeah- I had forgotten that the Svartisen BC had a softer flex than the Stetind...they also found the Stetind to be torsionally stronger as well...weird eh? The testers seem particularly disappointed by how soft the flex was in the Svartisen 75mm...strange move by Crispi.

Telemark Pyrenees had the Stetind on for $100EU this spring- should have bought a pair before they sold out of my size!
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

MikeK

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by MikeK » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:48 pm

'tis strange. I don't know Crispi? Maybe cost cutting somehow?

The 75mm Svartisen is softer than the Alaska NNN both in bending and torsion as far as my calibrated foot can tell... BUT, the 75mm Alaska is by far the softest, mainly due to it's thin duckbill.

The only time I really noticed the Svartisen 75mm twisting on me was in about a foot of fresh, wet snow. I was just kind of lightly arcing them, letting the ski do most of the work. If I really had to horse it to make a tight turn, it would have been bad. I'm pretty sure any leather boot would have felt flexy in this situation but my guess is my 75mm Alaskas would not have even made the skis respond. I could feel them twist all over even in light, fresh powder.

The NNN BC Alaska OTOH in hard, dense breakable crust. Twist. Nein.

Never really got to try it in deep wet snow, so no direct comparison.

Anyway, I'd say if you are happy with the fit from the Alaska, be done with it. It's a good boot! I don't know what out there is going to give you ankle support with that fit?

MikeK

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by MikeK » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:11 pm

Another thought...

Based on the UTE tests, they rated the NNN Svartisen a point higher in stiffness than the 75mm. They said the 75mm was one of the softest boots they tested! And I'll tell you this. It can move a mid-fat xcd ski just fine! So the NNN version must be quite a bit better. I'm tempted to buy a pair myself because the Crispi fits my foot better, but honestly it isn't as comfortable as the Alaska... but...

My guess would be what the Alaska lacks in ankle support, it more than makes up for in sole stiffness. Overall, combining both is helpful to me... but if you have strong ankles and good balance, then the Alaska NNN is probably just as good if not better.

This is the main reason I bought my wife the Crispi and sold her Alaska. She was saying the Alaska was hurting her foot too... but I think that was from her getting tired from lack of ankle support. She always needs a fair deal in any boot she has. The Excursion obviously gives her the most and tons of control but it's a slug to K+G in compared to the Crispi. For her she could barely control a ski like the Epoch on flat terrain with her Alaska 75mm - she'd be sideslipping all over the place and rolling her ankles in the rougher terrain. She was terrified on any sort of hill. Put her on different skis or boots and all that would change. She still doesn't feel like she has the control with the Crispi on a ski as wide as the Epoch. She'd probably do better with a the NNN-BC Crispi, but she, like myself had such a bad experience with rental NNN gear that she won't even try it.

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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Falketind 62;Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:44 am

Yeah- I should probably get another pair of Alaskas before I begin experimenting with another boot. But, I do want to try something new at some point. And it probably makes sense to try something with similar design-intent- Stetind or Quest Advance. After all- I'm not really looking for a boot to fill the gap between the Alaska and a boot like the T4.

The Svartisen is clearly designed to try and offer both the feel and flexibility of a trad leather boot while K&G-touring; and the ankle and instep support/power of a light plastic boot. How much of a difference does the instep buckle make on the Svartisen? I imagine it must tighten up the flex of the boot and increase resistance? The fact that the Svartisen has less torsional strength, is particularly strange...

Most people's dissatisfaction with the torsional strength of system bindings (NNN/SNS/NNN-BC/x-adv) is due to the lack of torsional strength in the BOOT, and has little to do with the binding (especially with NNN-BC/x-adv).

I agree with your comments regarding sizing and sorting out boots- difficult and frustrating.

The Alaskas last fits the shape of my foot very well- the heel is narrow enough and the forefoot is broad enough. I imagine they are narrow for those with wide feet though. And for their width, I find they are cavernous, in terms of boot volume. I have a high-profile insole in mine- I still have to gather up a lot of material in order for them to be snug enough. When my Alaskas are tight enough- the tongue is buried in the sides of the boot.

Ankle support...challenging issue. My wife wants ankle support as well- for similar reasons. She wants to steer her skis. All of wife's habits come from alpine skiing. On the downhill- she needs the ankle support, to do what she wants to do with skis.

I have very mixed feelings about ankle support. And it is very different for me on skis than on foot. When I am carrying a lot of weight (e.g. backpacking); climbing/descending steep terrain (e.g. mountaineering); heavy, precision labour (e.g. tree felling)- I want a lot of ankle and lower leg support. But on skis? When I am K&G touring I can't stand the lack of flexibility and range of motion of a plastic boot. On skis my balance is so centered, so solid, and I want that flexibility and range of movement to STRIDE! I keep improving my ability to stride my way through the telemark- thus reducing the need to steer. Although, at this point, I am uncertain about how far I can take my skills (I am not under the illusion that there isn't a limit to my skills) (reading SB is awesome- I am not under the illusion that I will ever ski like him!). I have been on some extreme terrain, where I cannot imagine being able to ski without steering my skis! Steering requires ankle support- the greater the speed, and the more challenging the terrain/snow- the more ankle support you need to STEER skis. I don't see my wife learning to stride her way through the telemark any time soon. There is simply too much alpine muscle memory there. Once the terrain gets steep enough and the speeds get high enough, I too find my body shifting to alpine technique- which requires ankle support.

To me- the best way to build up that Nordic striding technique, balance, and muscle memory is to spend a lot of time xcountry skiing- on light, flexible equipment. As pointed SB out it so well- the best way to practice/prepare for the telemark is the diagonal stride. When you spend enough time focusing on efficient K&G- your strength and balance improves so much. I get out everyday and free-heel fly, constantly transfer my weight from one leg to the other- strength and balance. I also have a pair of track skis in town- to get out on the groomed track a couple of times a week to practice my stride.

Mike- do you and your wife xcountry ski on track much?
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

MikeK

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by MikeK » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:56 am

lilcliffy wrote: Mike- do you and your wife xcountry ski on track much?
Groomed track, not much. Only at this place: http://www.breiax-countryski.org/

I do ski in my own or others tracks quite often. I'm a pretty good strider. I can do it for a long time and keep good speed without expending much energy. I think a lot of that is balance and placing weight properly on the skis. I try to apply the same principles going down hills, but everything happens much faster, and I often screw it up, or choke out.

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lilcliffy
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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Falketind 62;Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:27 pm

The groomed track close to home?

My true love is the same as yours- backcountry touring.

But, IME, there are great gains in strength- and as you pointed out- BALANCE, through straight-forward xcountry skiing on light, track-oriented equipment.

With very-light, flexible gear, and the stable platform of a track; I can easily develop and maintain the strength, balance, and muscle memory needed for Nordic skiing.

Although I would rather be in the backcountry (even out my backdoor backcountry), regularly xcountry skiing at the track improves my backcountry Nordic skills.

As long as nobody expects me to wear a spandex suit- I'll keep going to the track!
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

MikeK

Re: Leather boots care and maintenance

Post by MikeK » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:48 pm

We actually don't have much spandex skiing close to home. That place is two and a half hours from me, and it is anything but spandex skiing. The do put in machine tracks but it's not like a racetrack or anything. It's very much a wide-open, backcountry-type experience.

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