Kneissl Boots 2001-02
Kneissl boots? That's not a misprint. The company that brought you the first skiboard (Bigfoot) and one of the first shaped skis (Ergo) now offers its first-ever boot lineup. Kneissl shares common ownership with Raichle, as well common U.S. management (based in Denver) and is now headed by industry veteran Scott Mellin, formerly of Nordica and Marker. The Kneissl brand will let Raichle attend to the needs of expert skiers, while it goes after the meat of the market with comfort-oriented products grouped in the key $249-$399 price points. Its inaugural offering is anything but a me-too knock-off: The signature product is the innovative Rail 22, which stakes out pioneer status in the emerging "soft-boot" category with a radical approach to flex management.
Ergo Power Series
No, it's not a warmed-over Dachstein: Kneissl says it started from scratch in designing the all-new Ergo. It's a conventional four-buckle overlap design, aimed at upper-intermediate to low-expert skiers. The Ergo can be had with optional foam-fit or the Ergo Thermo Fit Liner, a Thermoflex-like product designed to yield maximum customization without demanding too much of the retailer's time.
New: Ergo Speed X, Ergo Power X, Ergo Cruise/L.
Rail DTI Series
Kneissl set out to marry the performance of a four-buckle overlap with the comfort of a snowboard boot. Designers removed the hard plastic over the instep and in front of the ankle, replacing it with a semi-rigid liner called the Soft Shell. The open lower shell and the cuff, which has no petals in front, are hard plastic, constituting what Kneissl calls its Frame. Forward-flex resistance is provided by the Frame's Direct Transmission Interface, which amounts to reinforcing alloy bars, providing forward-flex resistance (and linking shell and cuff). The buckling system borrows from snowboard boot design. A 45-degree Velcro strap provides instep closure and locks down the heel; a ratchet buckle and a power strap provide cuff closure.
New: Rail DTI 22/L.