Yes, the perfect ski boot is out there, waiting. Maybe you’ve been wronged before by ill-fitting boots leaving you with a powder-day souvenir of sore feet and a blackened toenail. Properly fitted boots prevent your foot from sliding back and forth—which is helpful information if your feet fall into the typical size range. But options have been limited for small-footed people who want high-performance boots…until now. Salomon is releasing the new S/Pro Alpha series in sizes down to a true 22, or a women’s street size 5. It’s like a fairytale romance—But make it about footwear.
The 130 EL (EL stands for “expert line”) is a hard-charging, stiff boot built for many feet—mondo sizes 22.5 to 30.5. This is a big step forward in a market where the stiffest boots have historically been designed for folks with bigger feet. “Prior to the Alpha, the only boots you saw from Salomon at that size and flex were World Cup race boots. This is the first time we’ve taken a consumer boot down to that size,” says Chris McKearin, Salmon’s alpine commercial manager. “Small feet can shred too!”
Salomon’s 22 is a “true 22,” which means that the mold and unisex last were developed specifically for that exact size. (That is, it’s not made from the shell of, say, a 23 with the extra space taken up by a thick liner.) This investment in design, molds, and research means a better fit for more skiers.
The custom fit
Size alone doesn’t make for a perfect fit, which is why the S/Pro Alpha has a Custom Shell 4D shell that’s fully heat moldable. Most boot fitters will be able to get your shells molded in about ten minutes. The shell is made of thinner plastic to help not only with fit but with getting in and out of the boot, and the second lower buckle is positioned to put less pressure on the top of the foot. The upper forefront buckle is set at a 45-degree angle to ease entry and egress and to help create a stronger heel hold to keep the foot in place while you’re out there ripping.
One of the coolest features of the EL boots is the full removability of the tongue and hardware (buckles, tooth plate, strap). This means boot fitters can get at the entirety of the boot while working on customizing the fit.
The S/Pro Alpha Expert Line boasts Salomon’s newest technologies and customization features and comprises three boots: the Alpha 130 EL for the strongest, most aggressive skiers; the Alpha 120 EL for skiers looking for high performance with a slightly softer flex; and the Alpha 110 W EL for high-performing skiers with lower and wider calves.
Born in Annecy, in the French Alps, in 1947, Salomon creates premium footwear, apparel, gear, and winter-sports equipment that are superior in function, radical in design, and obsessive in style. At the Annecy Design Center, engineers, designers, and athletes collaborate to write the future of sports by creating products that transform outside-sports experiences and enable a deeper connection with nature, allowing people to unleash the best versions of themselves so that they might positively impact the world.