Review: Best Ski Boots For Skating Right Now, Part 2

This is part 2 where we look at what Madshus, Rossignol, Salomon – and an exciting newcomer, Spine – have to offer to discerning users.

Part 1 where we looked into Alpina, Atomic and Fischer could be found here

Once again, briefly on definitions: “best” means racing boots, those used by the world’s elite skiers to compete & win. In 2019 those are invariably carbon-fiber soled – and, naturally, with carbon cuffs for ankle support.

Madshus, Norway

The brand from Biri was long known for the relative warmth of its top-line racing boots – which is entirely expected given the company roots & location.

Super Nano were among the first carbon-soled boots on the market and still could be found in elite competitions. Super Nano are probably the cheapest all-carbon boots one could get right now ( when on sale)
As of last year Madshus athletes started to switch to the latest boots model – RedLine, These are made of different carbon and much lighter than Super Nano. Note single-element construction of cuffs = those are early models or Redlines
the latest iteration is identified by a Madshus logo spreading to the cuff – and two-piece cuff construction kept together by a rivet. We don’t know why rivet – Madshus is yet to answer our query on that.

Rossignol, France

The company from Saint-Jean de Moirans was a bit late to jump on the carbon-sole train, but doing a great job of catching up and, with upcoming model, perhaps of taking the lead, we shall see:

X-IUM Carbon Premium are set apart by its construction: carbon sole is not a single element but an amalgamation of two sheets of carbon “glued” together. Extremely light boots but likely not as torsionally rigid as those of competitors. X-IUM Carbons are currently both used by the very best of Rossi athletes like Alex Bolshunov – and could be bought at a shop
We are not allowed to show you what’s coming out of the Rossi lab next month – but we’ve seen them, held them – and they are bomb! Don’t get your hopes high though, not yet – only the very best Rossi athletes would get them this year

Salomon, France

The company is only making its own cross country skis for a decade or so – but they have been making boots for over 40 years! The bootmakers from Annecy are obviously utilizing both the experience and the know-how from other Salomon departments. Their boots in particular are often praised for both comfort and durability.

You could buy exactly same S/LAB Carbon boots as being used on the Wordl Cup by Maja Dahlqvist and Sjur Roethe. Beware though: they are the most expensive racing boots on the market with RRP tag of 999 euros.
eagle-eyes Dailyskier caught a prototype of the next generation of S/LAB Carbons being tested. Can in no way guarantee they will be looking that way – plastic cuffs will be replaced with carbon ones for sure – but it clearly shows that the new generation of Salomon boots is almost there

Spine, Russia

The manufacturer from the Volga river is anything but a newcomer in the ski boots game. In fact, the folks from Yaroslavl grew into the world biggest boots producer by volume, working on OEM basis with almost all brands mentioned in our review. In 2017 Spine took a big decision to expand into racing boots – and as of this winter starting to offer Ultimate, its first true racing product, to athletes and skiing masses alike.

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Ragnar Bragvin Andresen won the FIS World Championship in rollerskiing this summer wearing Ultimate ( Ragnar is on a forefront)
Spine is the only manufacturer apart from Fischer that is offering more than one color scheme – in the case of Ultimate, it’s 5 ( or more – it keeps on growing, from what we understand)
perhaps, the most fascinating thing about Ultimate: they are the first boots that are made-to-order. This machine here is a 3D foot scanner from which an individual mold is made. Spine is not disclosing more info as to exactly how it’s done but that individual mold option hitherto was only available to absolute best athletes. Very expensive tech indeed but the Russians promise to keep prices in line with off-the-shells competition.

In conclusion:
Modern racing boots are true marriage of high-tech and extremely individual skills – that’s working with carbon fiber for you, no conveyor belt there. They are produced in small quantities – we estimate the total worldwide production not exceeding 50000 pairs per year. Until and unless there is a significantly higher demand, they would remain extremely expensive – even compared to similarly complicated carbon-layer running shoes like Nike Vaporfly or Hoka Carbon

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