Head has increased their presence dramatically in the recent past. For those few in the US who watch World Cup racing this has been quite apparent.
Head has hit on a combination of products that fill a broad range of fit and performance with good lasts, sound mechanical elements and practical accessories.
Apparent to us mere mortals is the increased on-hill presence of Head ski boots- the most visible is the Raptor. The Raptor 115, which you will find on our shelves, is clean and simple; four “Spine-Tech” buckles, bolted rear cuff, dual cuff alignment, Power Strap and that’s just about it…oh yeah, liners. No replaceable toe or heel.
This boot differs from others of its’ ilk by virtue of subtle differences in internal configuration (the last) and stance. Most if not all boots at this level vary subtly as discussed earlier, however these subtle differences have significance on snow.
Mid-foot and heel, as one might guess, share the attributes one will find in any of the boots at this level. Instep height is comparable to the Dalbello Strike-greater than the Atomic Redster. Head is one of the few that rates the volume of their boots with cubic centimeters as opposed to strict width measurements. The Raptor is 1800cc’s (98mm+/-). The toe box has ample room side-to-side and good wiggle room.
Stance is neutral…ramp angle is 4 degrees; forward lean is commensurate.
There is minimal flex adjustment-again like most if not all boots of this caliber-accomplished by either installing or by removing bolts at the rear of the cuff. In the case of the Raptor 115 removing a bolt makes it a 100 flex.
The Raptor is a precision tool-edge to edge is crisp and subtle movements are all that’s needed for making changes in trajectory. Feedback is detailed.
The AdaptEdge LTD is listed at 104-102mm however Head has been putting the internal volume as well on their boots; good because width measurements are all over the place and do not tell the whole story. The AdaptEdge LTD is a 2100 cc last.
From the first generation Head Edge into the current AdaptEdge LTD, the high volume shells have been workhorses for the Head line-up for a number of years.
There is good reason for the success the Edge has enjoyed. The shells provide the forefoot width, instep height and internal volume for wide, high volume feet. Coupled to the ample forefoot and instep, the AdaptEdge has the mid-foot and heel configuration to provide the retention and stability necessary for steering.
With the AdaptEdge LTD there is additional versatility given the shells “Adapt-” capability; there is a simple and effective mechanism incorporated into the toe lugs at the bottom of the shell that allows the user or the boot fitter to alter the width from the stated 102mm to 104mm.
Boot fitting is a game of millimeters-one or two here and there makes a big difference. Generally once the width is established the “Adapt-” gets set once then left alone.
The AdaptEdge Mya ladies boot sports the same features with the addition of a cuff adjustment for the calf coupled to a lower rear spoiler.
The LTD has a flex rating of 100-110 and the Mya 80-90. The AdaptEdge LTD/Mya ski well, both very solid high performance recreational ski boots.
The Vector series has set a standard for wide lasted high performance ski boots. The Vector is not the width of the AdaptEdge and has no “Adapt-” capability. The distinction between the two is the Vector has a medial mid-foot and heel pocket that one would expect in “racier” ski boots…that’s what makes the Vector a step above many wide lasted ski boots.
The Vector 115 and Vector X L 100 have a stated forefoot width of 103 and the internal volume is 2000cc’s-just 100 cc’s less than the AdaptEdge but the distinction here is in the construction of the mid-foot and heel, that plumb medial wall.
The forefoot and toe box are anatomically well shaped, the instep height is ample and the mid/rear-foot is pretty intimate. The Vector X L 100 has the usual rear spoiler mod for lower calf muscles.
The Double Power Booster Velcro Strap (say that 5 times fast) on the Vector seems at first to be overkill but in fact works really well. The Spineflex buckles follow the curvature of the shell and so far have had very few issues with durability.
The Vector 115 and X 100 L are powerful-a characteristic not normally associated with “wide” lasted shells. Rolling into turns can be done deftly. The Vector has enough race in its genealogy so that holding an edge, modifying turn direction and finishing turns are quick and efficient. The feel underfoot is clean…having replaceable toe and heel mutes the feedback some but does not detract from the performance.
The stance is well balanced-the ramp angle is at a default 4 degrees, forward lean is not given but it falls in line with a vast majority of current boot models…14 degrees give or take.
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