Apex Ski Boots

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Apex Ski Boots

Postby rstraker » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:42 pm

I'm curious if anyone has tried the new, expensive Apex ski boots (http://www.apexsportsgroup.com)? They're basically modified snowboard boots with ski boot liners and a rigid carbon fiber exoskeleton.

Peter Keelty (http://www.expertskier.com), who's a fan of PMTS-favored, stiff, upright boots like Head Raptors and Nordica Dobermanns, gave them rave reviews. Said they skied at performance levels close to plug boots but were amazingly comfortable.

That's interesting to me, since I'm tired of my high-performing boots (Dobie Pro 130's) beating the hell of my lower legs. Have collected enough scars with various boots over the years. I've also noticed that I enjoy skiing a lot more in springtime... when my boots are softer.
Last edited by rstraker on Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby zuschauer » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:00 pm

I have a set coming to me for an extended test, should have them by the end of the week. I am skeptical but curious as to what the boots are about (spoke persons Billy Kidd and Chad Fleischer swear by them. Are they applicable to PMTS skiing movements? We will see.

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby rstraker » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:39 pm

Richard, looking forward to your review!

Here's the "Performance" part of Peter Keelty's review:

"We skied the boot in January—on actual boilerplate—and were blown away. We had advance word that Chad Fleischer of U.S. Ski Team and NBC World Cup broadcast fame liked the Apex so much that he refused to return his test pair and is presumably skiing them now. That's a strong pre-test confidence builder . . .

What we found was excellence. This is the one of the most comfortable boots we have experienced, one of the warmest, one of the easiest to put on, perhaps the most convenient off-snow boot ever built and certainly one of the lightest skis boots since the days of Scott. We expected all of that.

The real surprise came on the snow.

Because of the rigidity of the carbon fiber exoskeleton and the tight connection from foot to inner boot to walking boot to exo-shell, this is among the most responsive boots we've skied, in a league with the plug boots upon which we generally report. The thing is lightening quick and provides massive but manageable power to the edges—all four edges. It can be skied in high edge angles and with softer edges agreeably. It is forgiving, but also capable of impressive rebound-performance and serious ice hold.

It is not especially stiff in forward flex. We'd guess it to be in the 90 - 100 range, but that scale is all but meaningless when applied to the Apex. In fact, the boot encourages skiing through the soles of the feet rather than by pressuring shins against a traditional tongue and upper shell. An easy adaptation for many skiers and, from a skill development point of view, not a bad thing.

Forward lean is more than we are used to in plug boots, on the order of 17°, vs. 12 to 14. Interestingly, Hanson reports that there has been feedback that the forward lean could be increased. That is a matter of personal choice, but the boot skis well at 17. One thing is certain; it is important to approach the Apex with an open mind, understanding that various aspects of the unconventional design work together and integrate into a functional whole. It may prove tempting for hard core traditionalists to dismiss the Apex as too different to consider, but as Fleischer discovered and we learned, that would be to miss something authentic, revolutionary and functional."

Note: It's interesting that Keelty described the forward lean as 17 degrees. Denny Hanson, the developer of the boot, says it's 10 degrees and that they get some complaints about it being too upright.
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby midwif » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:47 am

These boots probably won't be right for me with a narrow, low volume foot and lower leg, but they sure do sound interesting!
IT will fun to hear the feedback from a variety of skiers thru the season. A possible breakthru innovation or the biggest bust since rear-entry!
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby zuschauer » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:18 pm

Just got here today, I'll have them on snow this weekend, I'll post pictures and a report Sunday-Monday.

Hey, Lynn, these look like real mean pole dancin shoes!

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby midwif » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:15 pm

Richard
I look forward to the review AND any accompanying pics of you doing some "pole dancin' '' in them!
:lol:

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby rstraker » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:26 am

Richard,

Looking forward to your observations. Enjoy!

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby zuschauer » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:21 pm

Pole dancing photos will only be provided after full forum disclosure of why the plumbing at the Arapahoe Basin upper lodge occasionally backs up since early December. ( all expletives used must be included)
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby midwif » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:17 pm

What happens at the A-Basin December Blue camp, stays at the A-Basin December Blue Camp!! :oops:
I thought we all signed that disclosure on the first day. :lol:

For all those wondering:
Both Harald and Bob H. were demonstrating the proper counteracting using the support poles at the A-Basin lodge.
I told Diana all they needed was.....a different outfit.

Someone flushed their really loved smartwool beanie down the toilet at the midmorning break. Those damn automatic flushes!!! :o
And it was SO COLD that day. :shock:

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby zuschauer » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:44 am

Thanks for gory details Lynn :lol:

Anyhow, I tried the Apex boots for a half a day on saturday. Conditions packed powder, some windblown, around 18degrees windy.

The boots are easy to enter, the walking boot is very convenient, uses boa fastening cable. To my foot (med width sorta wide at forefoot) the toe box feels roomy, i feel a little pressure on the "sixth toe area" which decreased through the day. The boots feel very light, with the binding interface or without (refer to Peter Keelty's test on realskiers where he shows the three portions of the boot.)

When flexing the boot while standing, it feels relatively stiff, though less so than my Dobie 130s. I try static tips, good response, easy to balance, next some railroad track tips on flat terrain and a little robotipping (see other posts). The boots responds very well, skis come up on edge predictably and controllably.

At higher speeds w/ PM, same deal, everything is good. Excellent response to edging inputs. Up to higher speed and in some crud and soft piles (baby bumps) I got a a little in back seat, as the forward lean and fore/aft balance point are different from the Nordicas, not bad mind you, just different. Also some of that feel where I can feel the entire boot along the surface of my foot with the nordicas is absent. Not suprising give the generous width and plentiful cushioning of the inner liner and walking boot. Also,these are size 26, my Nordicas are 25. The Apex's carbon outer boot makes sizing somewhat different from a plastic shell where blowing out or ginding the shell isn't going to work. There is some room for expansion in both the liner and walking boot though, you just can't expand the walking boot outward into the carbon shell very much.

The fore aft was so different I felt a little chafing from trying the extremes both fore and aft so much.
After skiing some more I still am not sure about the foreaft balance and the way the boots flex fowards. I need more time to ski them some more and figure out just what really feels different here.
Also, these things are extremely warm, the comfort depends on how tight you dial the boa cable dial and the two snowboard binding style buckles. The stiffer the buckles are set, the stiffer the flex, the tighter the boots feel especially around the shin/calf. The heel hold was good, but the liner is more softly padded than my usual preference.

The overall performance kind of reminds me of the old Salomon 91/92 equipes. Not as "connected" feeling as a racing 4 buckle, but very quick and light feeling, easy to adjust and get in and out of.

These things are just so different that I need more time to try and let my mind sort out the differences.

Would i buy them? If I had real problems fitting into a convention 2 piece four buckle boot and if warmth, lightness and ease of walking, entry and exit were important me, yes. Also if I was a snowboarder, I could just take the walking boot and step into a snowboard binding. So for those folks, it's a great option. I hear next year, just the carbon portion might be available for those with compatible snowboard boots. Right now, I like a slightly undersized and stretched Nordica just fine (except for the cold toes) I might want to try the next size down in the Apex, but I think my toes won't find enough room in the size 25. I see this issue as one of the main sticking points for those who are used to a very exact fit. The Apex people seem to think that most folks will be fine with some stretching /padding of the liner and the walking boot. I'm going to try a little of that over the next couple of days.

Does this boot perform well enough for a person to ski PMTS and do it well? I am not sure about the fore aft question. The edging response seems excellent. I don't think everyone will like or do well with the perceived lack of stiffness. (i used the stiffest of three elastomer cushions that can be changed to adjust flex) I also adjusted the cuff pivots to best replicated the shaft angles after plating on my Dobies) The pivots aren't canting per se, but the angling helped and I had excellent range of motion to each edge on each ski. For those who would choose a comfort fit over a real performance fit, this boot has possibilities, but really needs to be tried out due to the different feel.

Sorry for the incomplete report. After some more snowtime I'll give a more detailed report.
and the previously promised photos

Richard B
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby rstraker » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:31 pm

Sorry for the incomplete report. After some more snowtime I'll give a more detailed report.
and the previously promised photos.


Richard,

Wow, if that's an incomplete report, I'm looking forward to the complete one. Thanks for the great info.

Interesting to hear that you're in Dobie 130s, too. Do you have a low-volume foot/lower leg?

Rick
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby zuschauer » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:41 pm

Not really on the volume. Larger calves, slightly wide at 5th metatarsal, lots of stretching at various points on the boots.
It would be quite a job to get me into Raptor RDs or Dobie World Cups

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby rstraker » Mon May 31, 2010 6:34 pm

zuschauer,

You're right on the fit. I demoed a pair of Apex boots earlier this year and they did NOT fit my low volume ankles and lower legs. The tongue buckled into a v-shape when I cranked them down enough to get them snug enough.

I demoed the boots with Steve Mills, Apex's Boot Tech, who didn't have any fit suggestions to accommodate narrow legs. In fact, I had a surprising bad experience with him. After being very helpful on the phone, he was distinctly UNhelpful when we met at Vail for the demo. I had to try on the boots while standing in a muddy parking lot and he offered function and fit suggestions only in response to direct questions. To be fair, he'd had a short night after problems with the van, but I expect people to be courteous and professional.

The boots also had softer forward flex (at their stiffest settings), and significantly more forward lean, than my Nordica Dobermann Pro 130's. So I think they'd probably be more rotary than lateral.

And, finally, the graphite exterior shells cannot be ground or pressed out, so fit options are limited to changes to the soft boot liner and padding.

Rick
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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby zuschauer » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:22 pm

Rick, while the Apex boots show a lot of potential, I don't get a real sense from the people there that they put a high value on precise fit. It is a shame with a different and very expensive item such as this. I think they see the target market as folks who just want the flexibility and convenience of the alternative boot.

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Re: Apex Ski Boots

Postby gelliott1 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:20 am

Hi guys, I'm new to the forum....I wondered if any of you had any updates on using the apex ski boots? I'm looking at the new model with the dual BOA. Im skiing in Japan, tend to do a lot of off piste with very light powder, and rest of the time carving shortish pistes, get a lot of soreness particularly on shins and top of feet (high foot),aged 45, 175cm, 82 kilos (podgy!), Im particularly interested in edge hold, responsiveness, and what they are like on small jumps. thanks for any help,Graham.
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