I think I may “vacuum” my boots more than I vacuum at home!
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be one of the first “civilians” to get a pair of Fischer Vacuum boots made for me. I flew to Salt Lake City and the Fischer Race support guru molded my boots. He had been fitting the revolutionarry new boots to all the Fisacher World Cup race athletes and was excited to fit his first potential dealer.
The process started by heating some boot shells in an oven. Then he put my foot into the liner and laced it up with shoe laces. When the plastic boot was heated up enough, he put my foot in it and put some big bags around the boots. I was placed on a machine that held me in one place. Then the bags were pumped up to a high pressure which pushed the boot against my foot and leg. When the process was over my boots were “molded” to my foot shape! I skied them the next day and was sold on the concept. I knew after 30 yards that they were the best boots I had ever skied.
That winter we partnered with Fischer as one of a dozen or so shops in the country to carry the new boot the following season. Our initial order was for about 60 pairs. I skied the boot that spring and was overwhelmed with the great fit and performance. Before the shipment date we upped the order to over 250 pairs!
Since then we have made the vacuum process a big part of our program. The vacuum boots have become our best selling models. They also have the lowest percentage of “comebacks” for modifications. This is great for the customers. Everybody prefers to get a pair of boots and just ski them happily from the very first day.
As we have worked with the boots I have been the guinea pig for a variety of upgrades and experimental processes. First I worked with a liner company to develop a warmer liner as the initial models were a bit on the cold side. I remolded my shells a few times to help sort that out. Then I molded them to my Intuition brand liners from my old boots to compare the fit to the newly developed warmer liners. After that I worked with a company that makes a “foam injection” liner and they molded my shells with the injected liners (in Salt Lake City again). That was a wild one- Vacuum bags getting pumped up to pressure while the foam was injected into the liner at the same time! After skiing that liner for the best part of last year I got Fischer to send me a pair of their 2014/15 liners and I remolded the shells again. My plan was to ski this excellent liner for the 14/15 season.
Now we have obtained a new piece of hardware available from Fischer to help mold the boots even more effectively and quickly. We can now control the fit of the front half of the boot separately from the back half. Guess who got to be the crash test dummy on the new device? Right – ME!
But it is all in good fun, and I need to learn with my staff. Somebody has to to get up there on the machine and give input. So at this point I can probably say I have more experience from the “consumer” side of the process than about anyone. I have had numerous liners and have molded them at a wide variety of pressures and stances. If I do the process just as we have developed our shop protocols, they come out spectacular every time. I simply love these boots!
And for anyone that thinks the vacuum boots don’t mold and change A LOT to each customer as needed, check out the photo above. The left boot is mine and the right boot is a stock boot of the same size and model. Apparently I pronate quite a bit and I also seem to have chubby heels…but you know that your feet always look heavier in photos right?
To see a video of the Vacuum process go to:
To see the Vacuum part of Fischers web site:
And THINK SNOW!!!