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All-Mountain Boots

The Best Ski Boots of 2022: Nordica SpeedMachine 3.0

The third generation of Nordica's classic medium-volume boot sheds grams without sacrificing performance.

Brand: Nordica

Model: SpeedMachine 3.0



Specs

Gender

Both

Level

Intermediate to Expert

Weight

4lbs. 4.8oz.

GripWalk

On Some Models

Flex

130 S, 120, 115, 105

Last Width (mm)

100

Sizes

24.5-31.0 M, 22.5-27.5 W

The third generation of Nordica’s iconic SpeedMachine line sees the brand officially enter the world of working with lighter, less dense plastics in key parts of the boot, and heavier, denser PU materials where performance counts. The SpeedMachine 3.0 also has a revised liner that builds on Nordica’s usual use of cork, and adds in strips of EVA to improve performance even more.

The system that makes the Nordica SpeedMachine 3.0 unique is called 3Force Technology (pronounced “tri-force”). The liner’s 3Force technology combines asymmetrical EVA reinforcement that is placed around the rear of the ankle bone, and is thicker on the inside of the foot compared to the outside. EVA—or ethylene-vinyl acetate, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing—is a flexible, BPA-free foam that is noticeably stiffer than the rest of the lower liner. Combined with black cork, which is both heat-moldable for fit and quite damp for performance, and the liner has an ideal performance to comfort ratio for skiers who want high performance without sacrificing comfort.

The 3Force technology in the shell starts with a honeycomb-designed hard plastic material that swallows the ankle, heel, lower calf, and arch area of the foot. The honeycomb-design sheds grams and increases surface area at the same time.

The rest of the shell is made from less-rigid plastic that makes the boot easier to get in and out of, and is easier to modify during the fitting process. It also reduces the overall weight of the boot and is designed to work in sync with the harder honeycomb plastic for optimal performance.

After a month in these boots in Colorado and Utah—including going bell-to-bell five days in a row during SKI Test at Solitude Mountain Resort—the reduction in weight was much appreciated compared to the previous generation of Nordica SpeedMachines. The third generation is both easier to get in and out of, and less taxing on the feet after a long day of skiing.

The use of softer plastics in the shell does give the boot a more progressive flex, however, it feels softer overall. I did increase the stiffness with the flex adjustment on the rear, and I added an after-market strap as well, which definitely helped. But the 130 flex rating still felt a bit more oriented towards recreational skiers, and probably wouldn’t pass muster for some former racers.

In addition to the flex adjustment, it’s the little things that make the Nordica SpeedMachine 3.0 stand out. GripWalk comes standard, and, in my opinion, the cork liner still provides one of the best comfort-to-performance ratios of any boot. The EVA inserts increase the performance as well. The liner tongue is easy to adjust for comfort, and Nordica’s non-damaging Infrared fit system makes customization fast, easy, and won’t hurt the longevity of the boot.

The use of softer plastic is continuing to become more popular in the world of ski boots, with only a few brands left holding out. It will be interesting to see who takes the plunge next, or if the marginal performance adjustment starts making brands reverse course.

Buy Now: Skis.com

Learn More: Nordica.com

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