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Equipment Rewiev: Head Kore Boots

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Head is now one of the brands who by circumstance or as a result of mere carelessness doesn't lead the way, but catches up with the rest of the industry when it comes to the ski boots with both alpine and TLT compatibility. Only this year the company demonstrated such a boot. It is a part of Kore collection.

There are two models of the boot - Kore 1 and Kore 2. They differ by flex and materials of construction. Both have everything that an efficient combination of skitouring and riding requires; for instance, there is a standard walk-to-ride switch, there are very practical buckle fixators, that we need in order for buckles not to come unhooked whilst walking which saves us much time when switching to the ride mode. The boots also feature a cuff that allows setting a convenient cuff angle during on-piste riding which is good news for frontside riders. 130 flex of Kore 1 is a perfect match for this feature, as such flex is perfect for aggressive riding on harder snow on-piste.

Another remarkable feature of the boot is liner with Liquid Fit technology. The tech is completely new and should, of course, be tested, but in theory, it is very useful. Liquid Fit allows customisation by injecting a special liquid into the inner of the boot through a removable tube. This provides good fit and comfort by filling the exact areas where your foot needs it. This customisation is not necessary if the boot fits perfectly anyway. But ski boot liners tend to get thinner after some time, so the technology should theoretically solve the problem of a liner losing its effectiveness at foot fixation. In that case, the liner, as well as the boot, will serve for a much longer time. The problem with this technology is that the customisation can only be performed at the official dealer stores using not so complicated, but special equipment.

The last width of the boots is quite large. For each size, there is a corresponding last width indicated on a boot. 25.5 - 98mm, 26.5 - 100mm, 27.5 - 102mm. A single size difference is not a huge deal, and it's clear that a half-size change can only be achieved by changing the liner which is not good, but not critical. At the same time, the last width is very concerning, since there is no chance of a comfortable fit for someone with a narrow foot even with bootfitting. This problem is supposed to be solved by Liquid Fit tech, yet this is not as good and convenient as it might have been.

As previously mentioned, Kore 1 and Kore 2 differ in terms of materials and flex, namely 130 and 120 respectively. And that's where another peculiarity of the boot lies. The 130 model is made out of light grill-flex plastic, that, in spite of being very light, provides decent flex. In contrast, the 120 model is manufactured using polyurethane, that is quite heavy. We can notice how Head tried to achieve a compromise between weight and flex: whereas lightness is achieved by simply using less plastic, flex is achieved by using a technology called Smart Frame (flex ribs). Therefore the 120 model is not as stiff as it should be and still not as light as the 130 model. As things stand now, we talk about not two versions of a single boot, but about two boots - the 120 model is not a simpler alternative to the 130 model. If Kore 1 can be called a ski boot, then Kore 2 can only be referred to as a demo-version of a ski boot. In reality, boots with thinner plastic don't have any considerable advantages - they break easily, lose shape shortly after bootfitting, and most importantly, are not consistent with expectations from the flex that they claim to have. Kore 2 is very easy to push just by applying slight pressure by a finger that it becomes clear that there are better 120 flex boots on the market.

In theory, Kore boots belong to the freeride category - they are light, wide, and warm. But don't jump to conclusions so quickly. The boots have a typical on-piste construction with only an addition of TLT. The boots will be a good choice for those who prioritise downhill effectiveness and control, whilst other things are considered as merely cool features. Frontside freeriders and amateur freeriders will wind the boots particularly comfortable and effective. On the other hand, these boots are not recommended for those who like freestyle, terrain parks, and doing tricks in general - their flex is not sufficient for these activities. These are also not skitouring boots - any uphill experience considering long tiresome ascents would feel like a torture in such boots.

The 130 model, judging by its quality, does indeed look promising and interesting. It is interesting how will it perform on real snow and not at an expo. The only difficulty is that such boots should be tested on snow for a longer period of time in order to understand how good they truly are. remains to be seen in the future.

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