You thought this was going to be a ski review didn’t you? Surprise! After a lengthy hiatus, K2 is now back in the ski boot business!
Why, you might ask…everyone else has.
K2 has realized that there are very few, if any, high performance ski boots that are not derived from pure race boots. None have been designed from inception as strictly “all mountain” ski boots. K2 traditionally has not spent much time building product for the race arena.
Race boots are extremely efficient-they are precision tools. The flip side is that they are also notoriously unforgiving and demanding.
A great majority of ski boots that have garnered favor from the best skiers, whether racers or freeskiers, are either race boots or ski boots pulled from race boot molds. For the most part K2 feels that race boot designs are best suited for a fairly narrow range of snow conditions and terrain. Fair enough.
Freeskiers that prefer this type of boot have adapted their skiing style to them or adapt the boots to their needs.
The principles that guide the design of race boots apply to all ski boot designs since they are based on biomechanics and a thorough understanding of skiing dynamics.
At that point why not create a ski boot that addresses the requirements of a majority of skiers-after all most skiers do not race. This is where K2 steps in.
K2 is not reinventing the wheel but they have changed the premise from which their ski boots are designed and their terminology is Energy Efficient Engineering.
In doing so K2 has developed the SpYne 130 and SpYre 110-the ladies version-in 100mm and 97mm lasts.
What is compelling is the construction differences between traditional 4 buckle overlap shells with rivets or bolts through the rear cuff and the K2 Energy Interlock and the Powerfuse Spyne.
The Energy Interlock incorporates the cuff and lower shell in such a way as to provide the power necessary to direct the forces the skier puts into the boot for steering and control without overloading the shell for the turn completion. The net effect of the Energy Interlock is to disperse the stresses induced by the cuff of the boot flexing against the rear of the lower boot shell through a broader area. This lends a very powerful yet progressive range of flex to the SpYne.
The Powerfuse is the large Y shaped structure at the rear of the boot. It reinforces the rear spoiler and augments lateral forces. The Energy Interlock is integrated into the Powerfuse unifying the lower shell and cuff and further distributes the load of the cuffs’ interaction with the lower.
What all this does for the skier is not necessarily revelatory but is unique in that on snow the power of the SpYne is not overbearing and the range of motion is well defined yet has a supple quality.
For freeskiing it is necessary to have the capability to adapt to varied snow conditions and terrain variations without being bucked around. The SpYne 130 allows the skier the latitude to do so without sacrificing any handling traits or power.
The fit is reminiscent of Lange, Rossi, the Head Raptor and others at a high performance level. The lower liner is Intuition-the liner cuff is harder durometer plastic like one finds in “normal” liners. The heat moldable lower takes a good shape and so far is more durable than the traditional Spiral Wrap Intuitions have been. Initially it feels a bit spongy but after a day or so of skiing it firms up and the feel cleaner.
Mid- and rear-foot are commensurate to the performance level of the boot-well defined and intimate. The medial wall is plumb with a relief for the navicular. The SpYne evenly envelops the feet and the cuff has a good proximal wrap around the lower leg.
The internal volume is in the low to medium range…subjective to be sure but for wide higher volume feet there will either be a fair amount of fitting or different boots entirely.
There is no compromise here; the SpYne/SpYre has power, precision, good feedback and is a refreshing take on ski boot design.
The boots have dual cuff alignment, replaceable toes and heels-unlike race boots-and an outsole bonded to the shells between the two for those who like to venture off piste, the K2 SpYne/SpYre will fulfill the highest expectations.
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