Tecnica Ski Boots
Tecnica is much more than just a boot company now, although to the boot buying public little appears to have changed. The boot line remains a classic blend of narrow and wide lasts, with the now obligatory selection of boots with hike mode (HM). What most skiers don’t know is that the folks behind Tecnica also control Nordica, where one can see the influence of the parent company on current boot designs, and Blizzard, a ski brand so hot it can’t keep its award-winning skis in stock much past Labor Day.
All of which is of little consequence to you unless hold stock in the Tecnica Group. All you need to know as a boot buyer is that Tecnica’s line revolves around three different lasts and associated shells in a classic, four-buckle overlap design and includes a full selection of hike-mode boots.
Tecnica was first to treat its HM offering as worthy of full line extension by pushing the Cochise series to ever lower price points. This hasn’t turned America into a nation of hikers, but it has proffered an easy-to-operate walk position to skiers who will use it for just that: toddling around the base area with more glide in the stride.
Last season Tecnica made a strong move, rolling out a new medium-lasted (100mm), high performance model named Mach 1. Aside from delivering a much-needed boost to this critical category, the Mach 1 introduced a new approach to customization, developed in concert with a panel of elite American bootfitters.
But Tecnica didn’t immediately put all its chips on the table, holding back the introduction of the Mach 1 in a low-volume (98mm) last until this season. Tecnica now offers a complete range of performance boots with Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.), the concept that permeates the Mach 1 construction. C.A.S. anticipates every likely fit adaptation, giving the bootfitter a bundle of options for achieving the perfect fit.
With the arrival of the Mach 1 LV, Tecnica has completed transformation of the core line upgrade that began 3 seasons ago with the debut of the Cochise family of HM boots, a collection now likewise in full flower.
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Mach 1 LV
Flexes: 130, 120, 100
The Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) concept that is the key to the Mach 1 LV’s popularity with both bootfitters and their customers is a many splendored thing. Inspired by feedback from a cluster of America’s top bootfitters (including a few realskiers’ test shops), C.A.S. prepares the shell for customization in problematic zones by perforating the rigid polyether shell so it will heat and cool faster if the area needs to be stretched.
The C.A.S. liner is every bit as impressive. A semi-rigid exoskeleton adds greater structural integrity to the inner boot and gives the boot technician a preformed, 2mm shell they can cut, grind, punch, glue and/or heat mold. The C.A.S. tongue has a soft pocket over the instep, so it’s pre-adapted for a bony mid-foot. Once modifications are made, they’re stable, which is awesome. Even the boot board (aka zeppa) gets the C.A.S. treatment, with precisely spaced dimples that lend precision to what can be a trial and error process.
In the hands of an adept bootfitter, C.A.S. covers all the fit bases, and the classic, race-clone structure of the Mach 1 shell assures excellent performance properties. All in, the boot gurus appear to have given Tecnica some very good advice, and better yet, Tecnica seems to have listened.
BTW, if you aspire to racing greatness, check out the returning R9.3 130 or 150. The latter is a real race shoe, right down to its non-DIN sole.
♀ Mach 1 W LV
Flexes: 105W, 95W, 85W
The best women skiers with narrow feet have a problem: stick with a true race boot that’s good for running gates and not much else, or step off a performance cliff and accept the norm in made-for-women all-mountain boots. The new Mach 1 105 W LV works hard to bridge that gap, with a stout shell and equally beefy inner boot that can be custom fit to suit all but the Lindsays and Michaelas of this world.
While the focus of Tecnica’s Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) system is on fit, what makes the Mach 1 W LV’s such fine performance boots is the basic structure, with its relatively upright stance and polyester shell. The Crush and the Fling, that formerly occupied this slot in the Tecnica line, never had the total support that makes the Mach 1 105 W LV so macho. Of course not every woman with a slender foot needs a 105 flex, which is why the Mach 1 W LV comes in a 95W and 85W flex as well.
Mach 1 MV
Flexes: 130, 120, 110, 90
Tecnica’s Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) is an umbrella concept that influences how the shell, liner and other components are crafted. What C.A.S. enables are localized solutions that don’t require the entire structure to be stressed in order to relieve a pressure point that’s no bigger than a quarter. While superficially C.A.S. doesn’t sound as sexy as baking the entire shell, in fact it facilitates the implementation of artisanal bootfitting techniques that accomplish the same ends.
While any shell can be heated and deformed, no other liner has the anatomical C.A.S. exoskeleton encasing most of the lower liner behind the metatarsals. It tightens the link between liner and shell, improves energy transmission and creates a customizable interface between skier and boot.
The result is a more accurate fit throughout the steering column of the lower leg and ankle on the medium-lasted Mach 1 MV. The C.A.S. feature is found in a strong 130 flex, a close clone at 120 and the structurally softer 100 flex. The Mach1 MV 90 retains the basic shell architecture but dispenses with the C.A.S. to fit a more bargain-friendly price point.
♀ Mach 1 W MV
Flexes: 105W, 95W, 85W, 75W
When we described Tecnica’s 2014 100mm boot for women, the Demon 105W, as “a fortress,” we weren’t being complimentary. Mercifully, the Mach 1 W MV models address our principal gripe, that the foot and the shell were too disconnected in the Demon W. One of the virtues of the C.A.S. liner, standard equipment on the 105W and 95W models, is to give the inner boot the same defined, anatomical contours as the shell, tightening the linkage between skier, shell and snow.
Advanced women skiers with problematic pedal extremities should give a gander at the medium-lasted Mach 1 W MV in its stiffer incarnations. The C.A.S. customization tools these boots put at the disposal of the veteran bootfitter create a lot of options to cure chronic complaints. Of course even a great tool is only as great as the craftsman who wields it, so please click on the FIND button to locate both a Mach 1 W MV and a bootfitter with the savvy to optimize it for you.
Flexes:120, 100, 90, 80, 70
* 90, 80 na
The trouble with boots for big feet is they tend to overshoot the mark, making the boot so huge in all directions that, once set in motion, the skier feels barely held at all. The Ten.2 120 HV (High Volume, 106mm last) addresses the problem by making the liner and shell more anatomical and supportive. The 120 flex is plenty beefy for the big boy who belongs in this shoe, and the steering properties are accurate enough to keep any advanced skier happy who can fill this cavernous interior.
If you own a ski boot jargon decoder ring, then you know the Ten.2 in the boot’s name refers to a last that measures 102mm, the dimension on the 90- and 80-flex models in the Ten.2 family. If you have a high-volume foot that never seems able to find a satisfactory fit, or if you found the fit but when you flex the boot it folds like a lawn chair, the Ten.2’s should provide the right combination of flex and fit.
♀ Ten.2 W
Flexes:95W, 85W, 75W, 65W
A woman with big feet is justifiably afraid she’ll have a hard time finding a comfortable fit. What should cause her equal concern is whether the boot that seems to fit her can also provide the support necessary to convey her downhill.
The Ten.2 W models address both issues. The fit is generous from the wide entry aperture, through the instep and down to the toes. An adjustment on the low-cut, scalloped rear spoiler allows it fan open an additional 12mm; if you need it, you know it and you’ll want it. Just as important as its relaxed fit, the Ten.2 W’s, particularly in their stiffer flexes (95W, 85W), are stout enough to make advanced technique attainable.
Tecnica’s Ten.2 W’s are so well padded, they’ll feel perfectly marvelous on smaller feet that would fare better in a less oceanic environment. If you don’t really fill up the Ten.2, consider trying on a Mach 1 W MV. as a check on your width requirements. Remember, big boots never get smaller…
Flexes: 130 Pro, 120, 110, 100, 90
*130 Pro only
The top of Tecnica’s extensive Cochise line of hike-mode (HM) boots, the Cochise Pro 130, isn’t the most stripped-down, intent-on-the-uphill aspect iteration of this design. That distinction belongs the Cochise Pro Light (and its lesser Light, the 110), that comes equipped with a rubberized touring sole and tech inserts. The Cochise Pro 130 earns its top billing by delivering a narrower (98mm) last in the stiffest flex Tecnica offers in its large family of hike mode (HM) boots.
There are two traits all Cochises share: they use lightweight, elastic materials and the HM latch on the rear spoiler is a metal-to-metal connection, which imparts a sense of confidence whether trekking deep in the backcountry or swooshing down a groomer at breakneck speed.
If the longest hike you’ll ever make is traversing an endless plain of parked cars, the 130 Pro is not your shoe, but there’s a legion of softer and wider Cochises that are just as happy to be in-bounds as out.
At the end of the day, materials matter, and no boot made with featherweight plastic and a re-sutured spine can perform as a technical boot on a par with a clone directly derived from a World Cup race boot. This nugget of advice applies to all dedicated hiking boots, not just the Cochise, which does its best to strike an admirable balance between optimizing the uphill episode without diminishing the downhill part of the drama.
♀ Cochise W
Flexes: 105W Pro, 95W, 85W
*105 Pro only
Tecnica was the first major alpine brand to embrace the renaissance of the hike mode (HM) switch as an opportunity to create an entire line of recreational boots aimed, not at the dedicated hiker, but the resort skier who had other reasons to appreciate walking ease. The mainstays of the Cochise W family, the medium-lasted 95W and 85W, are essentially in-bounds boots that are not just easier to walk in, they’re easier to do almost everything in, including ski (when in the “SKI” setting).
Women actually intent on heading outside the resort boundaries, beyond the reach of lift service, will be better served by the Dynafit-compatible Cochise Pro Light W, with a no-nonsense 100W flex and hike-friendly medium (100mm) last. The woman in the middle of these two archetypes, who still wants to slay it in-bounds but can’t say no to an OB adventure, should zero in on the Cochise Pro W, amped up with a 105 flex and tightened up with a narrow (98mm) last.