If you haven’t experienced it yet, the transition in the skiing world is well underway. The main focus of it all is the accessibility to side-country and touring. Even after short times on skis, we are seeing everyone try to attempt this type of skiing, but the constraints have always been price of equipment and weight, so your ski boot sole may be changing.
Changes In Ski Boot Soles
If you have followed the improvements in equipment from the last season you have probably noticed some things compared to your current or older gear. See our men's ski boot and women's ski boot sections for the latest releases. Boot brands have released more in the range of ‘cross-over’ boots, where they have all the capabilities of on-piste terrain and precision, in order to also focus on hiking. More rubberised grips were installed on soles, also boots have gradually reduced in weight. A curved boot sole provides the added benefit of easier walking as it rockers up the lip. These are all features to create better mobility almost at the level of true alpine touring boots.
Now, it all sounds well and good if you’re getting these awesome features, but there are a few drawbacks which could start to get technical, so you’ll have to bear with us when we explain it.
If we look at what happened before the advent of this technology, we had a standard sole and a touring sole. If we are crossing the two together, we have the introduction of two more styles of soles.
Alpine, WTR and Touring soles
Originally, you would have two sets of skis for alpine and touring, mainly because of the soles and bindings wouldn’t sit properly with the Anti Friction Device (AFD) if they weren’t compatible. The main concern for this is your DIN is affected and would release inconsistently, and this is not what you want happening.
Introduction of Walk-To-Ride (WTR) and GripWalk Soles
We now have the introduction of Walk-To-Ride (WTR) and GripWalk, which are being installed, or may have already been installed on your boots and you didn’t realise. If you have purchased Salomon, Atmoic, Lange and Rossignol boots in the last year or so, you may have these already on your boots. If you do, you don’t need to worry, it just means currently, if you don’t have boots like these, or the types of soles, you can’t use them with Multi Norm Certified (MNC) bindings.
WTR and the AFD
MNC Bindings with GripWalk or WTR are currently being released by different brands and some models becoming standard to this function.
What Can You Do About Your Ski Boot Soles?
The best thing you can do if you’re interested is:
- Follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for the specific sole match and binding, and essentially marrying them together.
- Don’t just buy WTR or GripWalk soles and expect them to work. Talk to your local ski shop or workshop and ask if they can be used of the boot. The sole heights could change and still disrupt the AFD.
- Most people should only be worried about touring bindings, regular setups and boots should all be fine. If you are still worried, give us a call.
See our Ski Boot Buying Guide if you'd like more advice on buying ski boots. We hope we haven’t confused you or made you second-guess your boots and bindings. We are all going through this change in the ski industry and overall it will mean more people having fun, which, at the end of the day, is what we all want. Get all your snow gear at Snow Central today.