Tecnica has been remarkably consistent in developing compelling products for the skiing public over the years. Like any good boot maker, Tecnica ski boot designs take into consideration the biomechanical requirements of the sport as it evolves.
Tecnica was amongst the first to create two completely different shell molds at a very high performance level; the Tecnus Comp which became the TX and the TNT RS. At the time the TX was for a weighted foot and the TNT for an unweighted foot. Simply put the TX was wider than the TNT. In that era there were neither width measurements nor flex ratings…now they’d be labeled 98 mm and 100 mm boots and probably 120-130 flex. Both the TX and TNT were very good ski boots.
Tecnica has maintained a solid place at the top of the Footloose boot lineup by continuing to make relevant gear at a high quality…at times perhaps at the high end of the price spectrum but always well thought out and well executed.
Nothing has changed!
The R 98-formerly the Inferno and before that the Diablo Race Pro-we carry in both a 130 and 110 flex. Although the name R98 is not particularly imaginative it is logical because the R 98 is a 98 mm boot (in a 26.5-common practice for all boot company’s to call out the width numbers for a 26.5 shell size).
The R 98 is a clean, simple ski boot; four buckles, dual cuff alignment (careful with these adjustment rivets-very soft aluminum), power strap and “Quick Instep”…a softer plastic insert at the front of the ankle joint of the shell that allows easier access into and out of the boots.
The single complaint with the R 98 is the replaceable toe and heel. They are indeed replaceable but they are also recessed into the sole of the boots. The entire perimeter of the soles is exposed to wear long before the replaceable parts need replacing...this creates excessive wear on the shells and, even if the replacement soles a get installed, the wear is on the actual shell. A silly thing but…why? They can be replaced with 3mm or 5mm lifted sole that covers the entire toe and heel lug including the perimeter, but there are a lot of people who neither want nor need lifters.
The R 98 is medium volume…nebulous terminology again…but wide, high volume feet won’t fit into the R 98. The rear-foot has the requisite, well-defined contour for the heels. The mid-foot features the medial buttress and intimate proximity one should expect from a ski boot of this caliber and from Tecnica. Instep is fairly low, high arch and instep and feet with big cuneiform bumps need not apply. Forefoot width @ 98 mm is sufficient and the toe box has good up’n’down and radius.
The R 98 has a confident presence on snow-a rock solid performer that’s safe at any speed. From short to long, slow to fast, the R 98 does not play favorites.
As with all boots in this class, there isn’t a ton of material in the R 98 liners-just enough padding to provide the necessary individualized support and to cushion the feet from the shell plastic.
Not having a ton of padding is a good thing-no disguising the fit and also energy transmission through the boots is direct and feedback is crisp.
There are two Ladies models of the R series- the Crush and Fling. The shell configuration is the same between the two but the Crush has a 100 flex and the Fling is rated at an 80 flex. Also the Fling has a shorter cuff height than the Crush. There are the usual adjustments to the liner support in the Achilles/rear-foot for female feet.
Both the Crush and Fling have been exceedingly popular-testimony to good fit and the very same functionality as the R 98’s.
New Tecnica entries into the 100 mm domain is the Mach 1 series: the Mach 1 130, Mach 1 120 and Mach 1 95 Ladies.
No more Demon.
The Mach 1 has a completely new last and the graphic treatment of the 130 flex harkens to a long-established Tecnica orange.
The shell has relief contours for the traditional fit problem zones; 5th metatarsal head, big toe, navicular and ankles. The toe box of the Mach 1 has been shaped to let the toes spread out and there’s enough wiggle room to keep’em warm. The instep height is commensurate to the volume of the boots-not excessive but certainly not too low. Mid-foot is supported by a plumb media wall (a little navicular bump here) and the heel pocket is tenacious.
The Mach 1 95 L is modified in the usual areas for the lower extremities of a woman-lower and scalloped rear spoiler and slightly augmented padding for the Achilles.
The 95 flex in this boot is fairly stout, no compromise here. Lateral strength and power is incisive and very self assured.
In addition to a revamped last, the Mach 1 feature that may well distinguish it from all other 100 mm ski boots is the C.A.S. liner.
C.A.S. is an acronym for Custom Adaptive Shape. A mouthful to be sure but it describes a rigid “shell” incorporated onto the mid- and rear-foot of the Mach 1 liners. The liner shell is shaped exactly to the contours of the inside of the shell and provides a firm backing to the anatomical padding against the feet.
This accomplishes a couple things; a firmer layer between the liner and shell enhance energy transmission, reduce the long-term effects of liner attrition and ups the performance.
The C.A.S. material can be manipulated with a heat gun for shaping and, for the occasional bony prominences, can be ground if need be.
Other than the C.A.S. liner…the out-of-the-box fit is unreal…features are standard; dual cuff alignment (again, really soft metal-exercise care when adjusting), flex adjustment by way of a 90 degree turn of a bolt at the rear of the boots- “Sport” (a wee bit softer) or “Performance” (a wee bit stiffer)-no increments and replaceable toe and heel.
The Mach 1 sets a very high standard for performance. Finesse skiers need only a deft touch and power riders can push as hard as they want. Setting and holding an edge at any turn shape or radius and at any speed is akin to thinking turn and done.
The supplemental support offered by the C.A.S. liner does as advertised-additional stability and increased precision merge with a uniform, second-skin proximity that brings an intuitive feel to the boots.
The C.A.S. liner is a feature of the Mach 1 models we carry.
In the interests of “transparency” I am proud to have a proprietary interest in the Mach 1. I, along with three top bootfitters from around the US, and a couple from Canada, were invited by Tecnica Group to help with designing the Mach 1. It has been educational, enlightening and rewarding. And, yeah, the boot has come out really well.