Calling it Contour 4, Dalbello has spent a lot of time mapping the feet. Is foot mapping something new? Yes and no; ski boot designers must have a complete understanding of the biomechanics of the lower extremity, the biophysics and dynamics of skiing. Going deeper, there are bootfitting problems that occur at all levels of the sport, with all levels of skier.
Dalbello has taken the knowledge of related biomechanics that has accrued over the millennia and combined it with the understanding of the problems that have plagued skiers since the first Laplander strapped long skinny wooden billets to their feet to go from place to place.
From this information they mapped out four points of the foot that present persistent problems and made accommodations within the shell molds. These problem areas are well known to bootfitters and although the mapping in the Dalbello shells may not correspond to the points on your feet (though with the thousands of feet that were measured they have it pretty darn close) at least someone is thinking about problems from our side of things (bootfitters) and putting that thinking into their product at the manufacturing side.
Concerning the trend toward abduction, Dalbello moves the whole foot to the lateral-or outside. Called Medial Power Transmission (MPT), functionally what this does is place the medial aspect of the feet directly over the inside edge of the ski. It is not abduction though in fact all ski boots have a certain degree built in. MPT is a deliberate utility of the medial pillar of the boot shell to efficiently transmit energy through the more supportive medial wall of the shell.
Because a vast majority of ski boots are built with much more vertical medial walls, the net effect of Medial Power Transmission is like that of a skate rail; immediate and very precise engagement and excellent capability for modulating turns.
The Scorpion SR 130, Scorpion SF 130, Scorpion SF 110, Scorpion SF 105 W and the Scorpion 90 are fine examples of Dalbellos commitment to creating product based on what is best for the athlete. All are at 98mm forefoot width, feature Contour 4 foot mapping and Medial Power Transmission.
Aside from all that, the Scorpion skis extremely well.
In the Scorpion series the SR stands for Scorpion Race, the SF for Scorpion Freeride. The difference is the SR boots have a one piece sole whereas the SF boots have replaceable toe and heel. The freeride boots have softer liners and anti-shock bootboards along with more contemporary cosmetic treatments.
The Scorpion is more medium volume than it looks from the exterior. The heel is one of the most defined and close fitting of any ski boot and is coupled to a commensurate mid-foot…back to that vertical medial wall…and there you’ll find a Contour 4 relief spot in the shell for the navicular.
The lateral aspect of the mid-foot is equally close and where you’ll see (perhaps feel is more accurate) the shell contouring for the base of the 5TH metatarsal. Instep volume is adequate and the throat of the shell accommodating the girth around the ankle joint from where it bends at the front to the back of the heel has good room.
The forefoot is surprisingly generous-the Contour 4 point for the head of the 5TH contributes to the feel. The toe box leaves good wiggle room and lets the great toe start the turn.
The rear spoiler is really solid, it is a bit abrupt until you get used to it…getting explosively ejected out of turns at first is disconcerting. Staying within the boots range and making more subtle moves (dorsi-flexing) internally at the finish of the turn accomplishes a lot.
Both the Scorpion SF 130 and SR 130 are real 130’s…stout 130’s. The SF 130 has a softer feel because of the softer liner and shock absorbing zeppa. The SR 130 comes with an additional bootboard that lowers the ramp angle-a different fore/aft balance that needs to be tried to find the right stance for a particular skier.
The Scorpion SF 110 is produced from the same molds as the SF 130 with softer shell material giving it a more of a congenial nature. As with the stiffer 130’s, the SF 110 is a fairly burly 110 flex.
The ladies Scorpion SF 105 W is for strong experienced women skiers. There is lots of precision throughout the Scorpion series making them pretty demanding. The Scorpion last is good for women…a generalization but one that applies…the typical model for women’s feet have reasonable forefoot width, high arch and instep and narrow heel. The Scorpion fits the bill.
We carry the Scorpion SR 90 as we have in the past. It is the junior race boot but the 90 flex and the Scorpion fit work really well for smaller, lighter women and it has all the attributes of the stiffer boots.
New at Footloose last season was the Viper Surge 120 and the Mantis 10. The Viper replaced the Proton and the Mantis replaces the Electra. Both the Viper and the Mantis fit into the 100mm category-probably the broadest segment of the market. The width of the Mantis is given at 99mm but the shells are from the same molds as the Viper.
The Viper is a good 120 flex, the Mantis flex is rated at 100 putting it at a higher performance level for women. The range of motion is clearly defined and has a nice progressive feel.
Both boots feature Contour 4 and have a similar mid- and rear-foot to the Scorpion…not exactly but still very close.
The 100mm forefoot width is ample, the instep room is really good and the toe box lets the toes spread flat.
Snow feel is excellent in both the Viper and Mantis, precision and control are not as exacting as would be in the Scorpion-a plus actually-however both are very substantial high performance ski boots.
Good fit, predictable skiing characteristics and replaceable toe and heel make the Viper and Mantis very good work boots for instructors and patrollers.
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