2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

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John Dee
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:15 pm

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Tue Dec 28, 2021 7:27 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Tue Dec 28, 2021 2:27 pm
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 19, 2021 10:10 pm
Make sure to take of the metal goretex emblem off of the laces if you didn't already.
Why?
That was in response to the post above it. The gore tex emblem prevents you from snugging up the bottom lace.

Another thing about fit: The heel pads are a memory foam that needs to warm up to fit to your feet. So your have to wait for them to warm up, or relace them after a little while.

These things are FLAT. I think that most people will need insoles for them. Theyre still causing me pain with a variety of less expensive insoles that I've tried. I haven't bought $50 insoles yet, but some shoes cause me problems and I'm not sure why. Others just work, like Fischers.

The fit of the Guards got a little better when I bought a contoured insole. This filled up volume in the heel and arch, but less so in the toe box where I couldn't afford it. I suspect that the heel may be breaking in some, thus contributing to the overall length, but I don't think that this "memory foam" stuff will change much. I'm more optimistic, but I still wonder if they will continue to loosen up as they break in, and I will be continually fighting to snug them up.

User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 1447
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Location: PNW USA
Ski style: Aspirational Hack
Favorite Skis: Armada Tracer 118 (195), Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178), Nordica Enforcer 94
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Pro
Occupation: Beyond
6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Thu Dec 30, 2021 4:22 pm

John Dee wrote:
Tue Dec 28, 2021 7:27 pm
lilcliffy wrote:
Tue Dec 28, 2021 2:27 pm
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 19, 2021 10:10 pm
Make sure to take of the metal goretex emblem off of the laces if you didn't already.
Why?
That was in response to the post above it. The gore tex emblem prevents you from snugging up the bottom lace.
I didn’t have that problem, but did take the metal bit off so that my gators would hook onto the bottom lace.
John Dee wrote:
Tue Dec 28, 2021 7:27 pm

Another thing about fit: The heel pads are a memory foam that needs to warm up to fit to your feet. So your have to wait for them to warm up, or relace them after a little while.

These things are FLAT. I think that most people will need insoles for them. Theyre still causing me pain with a variety of less expensive insoles that I've tried. I haven't bought $50 insoles yet, but some shoes cause me problems and I'm not sure why. Others just work, like Fischers.

The fit of the Guards got a little better when I bought a contoured insole. This filled up volume in the heel and arch, but less so in the toe box where I couldn't afford it. I suspect that the heel may be breaking in some, thus contributing to the overall length, but I don't think that this "memory foam" stuff will change much. I'm more optimistic, but I still wonder if they will continue to loosen up as they break in, and I will be continually fighting to snug them up.
I did not have a problem with needing to retighten laces.

Also, from new, I wore mine for about 350 miles last year.
They continued to fit better and better as the miles went by.
I would say they started to feel pretty good about halfway through the winter.
I was having to preemptively tape my heels for most of the winter to avoid blisters.

Still give the Guards a strong favorable rating.
As they say, YMMV…



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greenbluegreen
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2022 9:39 pm

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by greenbluegreen » Sat Jan 01, 2022 9:42 pm

Hi, first-time poster here. Looking through this thread has just about convinced me that these are the boots I want to buy. I found them on this site: https://varuste.net/en/p95762/alfa-guar ... e-gtx-mens for significantly cheaper than then elsewhere. Has anyone ordered from varuste before? is it legit?



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John Dee
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:15 pm

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:43 am

Totally legit. Backorder times may not be accurate, but they will cancel and refund you promptly if you ask them to.

Telemark Pyrennes is also really good. Fedex to my door in 2 days as advertised.'

Be sure to measure your feet standing up.



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kicknglide
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:43 am
Location: Interior Alaska
Ski style: XC to XCd
Favorite Skis: Madshus Voss
Favorite boots: Alpha Guard Advance GTX
Occupation: Fixing Radios

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by kicknglide » Fri Jan 07, 2022 4:46 pm

Update on my Alpha Guard Advance size 46 I purchased in the spring. I didn't get too many opportunities to ski on them before the snow melted and then we had a late low-snow fall/winter this year forcing me to do my first two hut trips with snowshoes. Because of this I still haven't done a long multi-day trip on them, but I have been skiing the neighborhood multi-use (ski, dog-sled, snowmobile) trails with the dogs almost every day for the last few weeks with the Guards on a pair of waxable 210cm Madshus Voss skis.

I think the boots are finally starting to break in, but heel blisters are still a problem on tours over 4 miles. I have discovered that preemptively taping and moleskin-ing my heels before skiing allows me to ski with no heel pain, but it definitely makes me miss my synthetic Solomon XADVs that were essentially broken in the moment I first tried them on and only started to produce blisters on the fourth day straight of touring through the mountains. Fortunately I am sensing progress and I think if I keep up with my daily quick 3-7 mile ski they will be broken in enough in time for our planned 3-night tour of Resurrection Pass in a few weeks (45ish miles through the mountains pulling pulks). If they destroy my feet I'll post another update in here :lol: .

On the positive side, the boots are warm, extremely light, stiff, and responsive, and all that extra space has been nice for a second pair of socks (this week bottomed out at -32F and I was able to keep up my daily ski). When laced tightly they have enough control to skate ski uphill on an icy plowed road on 210cm skis, which definitely bodes well for downhill control. I'm looking forward to trying them on some wider skis to see what kind of control I get. I just picked up a pair of Black Diamond Glidelite 147's (OAC KAR 147) and am mounting them up with NNN-BC Magnums for playing around off-track in the woods. If they prove to be fun I'll post a review since no one here has posted much about them.



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randoskier
Posts: 888
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Location: Yank in Italy
Ski style: awkward
Favorite Skis: snow skis
Favorite boots: go-go
Occupation: International Pop Sensation

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by randoskier » Sun Jan 23, 2022 3:49 am

lilcliffy wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:59 am
Wood.
Magic substance that grows on trees!!!
I love wood.
As the poet said, "Only God can make a tree"— probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.

Woody Allen



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John Dee
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:15 pm

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm

The bars came loose after about 2 months of skiing. I assume it happened from 2 afternoons at the lift. I was playing with my skis on the lift and I noticed a clunk feel, and could see the ski wobble. Both bars move with my hand, one very obviously. They still ski ok. Will they blow out eventually?

The first time I tried kick waxing, I was doing a lot of climbing and some slipping. It was like scampering, and my feet seemed to be push on the back of the boot with more force than usual. I was bottoming out the ankle foam and my heel was holding most my weight against the rear of the boot. Afterwords, any time I used the boot I would get regular sharp pains. I think my heels were rubbing a few stitches where there wasn't much padding, and the exterior plastic cup made it harder. I continued using the boot but for a long time got regular sharp pains. I wasn't sure if it was me or the boot at first because I couldn't see any bruising, and nothing else besides these boots caused pain. It got better as the season progressed. I suspect that I may have broken in the rear of the boot a little too much, maybe shifting the memory foam from where it should be. A foot will push against the the back of any boot when climbing, but my theory that a roomier boot does it excessively.



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telerat
Posts: 206
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:09 am
Location: Middle of Norway
Ski style: Telemark, backcountry nordic and cross country skiing.
Favorite Skis: Any ski suitable for telemark or backcountry skiing, with some side-cut for turning.
Favorite boots: Scarpa plastic telemark. Asolo and Alfa leather boots.

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by telerat » Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:52 am

John Dee wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
The bars came loose after about 2 months of skiing. I assume it happened from 2 afternoons at the lift. I was playing with my skis on the lift and I noticed a clunk feel, and could see the ski wobble. Both bars move with my hand, one very obviously. They still ski ok. Will they blow out eventually?
Sorry the hear. The bars could hold for long, but they could also fail any time they get additional stress, so I would not take them to lift based skiing or any longer tours and/or in demanding terrain. You could try warranty and if that doesn't work out try gluing them with a strong adhesive like slow cure epoxy. You then would have to evaluate them yourself and check them regularly, but I fear they are toast.



User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 1447
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Location: PNW USA
Ski style: Aspirational Hack
Favorite Skis: Armada Tracer 118 (195), Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178), Nordica Enforcer 94
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Pro
Occupation: Beyond
6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Thu Nov 30, 2023 2:05 pm

telerat wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:52 am
John Dee wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
The bars came loose after about 2 months of skiing. I assume it happened from 2 afternoons at the lift. I was playing with my skis on the lift and I noticed a clunk feel, and could see the ski wobble. Both bars move with my hand, one very obviously. They still ski ok. Will they blow out eventually?
Sorry the hear. The bars could hold for long, but they could also fail any time they get additional stress, so I would not take them to lift based skiing or any longer tours and/or in demanding terrain. You could try warranty and if that doesn't work out try gluing them with a strong adhesive like slow cure epoxy. You then would have to evaluate them yourself and check them regularly, but I fear they are toast.
I don't want to be negative on the idea of trying to repair, but I doubt it would be successful. The dynamics are not favorable for that, what with a flexible sole material and the sometimes high leverage placed on the metal bar.

I have put some pretty heavy force on that boot and the bar (where I wouldn't have been surprised if something let go!), and think I may have even bent the metal a bit, but, so far, it's holding up ok.



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Capercaillie
Posts: 147
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Location: western Canada
Ski style: trying not to fall too much
Favorite Skis: Alpina 1500T
Favorite boots: Alfa Horizon, Crispi Nordland

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Capercaillie » Sat Dec 02, 2023 1:14 pm

John Dee wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
The bars came loose after about 2 months of skiing. I assume it happened from 2 afternoons at the lift. I was playing with my skis on the lift and I noticed a clunk feel, and could see the ski wobble. Both bars move with my hand, one very obviously. They still ski ok. Will they blow out eventually?
That is a badly molded pair of soles and is 100% a warranty issue. I have had multiple boot-twisted-like-a-noodle ski tip burials on my Guards and Nordlands, total binding rip out from a buried ski tip with wimpier NNN boots, and the bars on all of them are still solid. This is not repairable because the sole material itself is compromised, for whatever reason.
John Dee wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
I wasn't sure if it was me or the boot at first because I couldn't see any bruising, and nothing else besides these boots caused pain.
I also have heel problems with Guards on one of my feet. It seems there are a lot of us. I have become convinced the Guard is a defective design. The combination of that stupid plastic heel cup, poor heel retention foam, and a comically oversize and soft shaft all combine to make a proper fit or break-in impossible. I am going to try 2 new things when/if there is snow to ski on (looping the laces around the lower part of the shaft to put more pressure on the foam around the achilles, and high-arch insoles) but don't have high expectations.



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