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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:50 am 
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Location: a mile high COLORADO
+ one on a dynafit toe piece in a metal shanked soft boot. :thatrocks: :thatrocks:

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 2:16 am
Posts: 106
Location: New Zealand
I've had a good look at these boots since I got my first pair of my own in early 2012, which as far as I know were out of the first production batch. Since then the boots have evolved slightly but not a significant change in the base boot. The addition of the powerstrap and a slightly better lace are really the only significant changes. The heels are nicely bevelled, and I suspect the later boots have just a whisker more off the heel too - quite sufficient anyway. The latest shipment I got a few weeks back were same again with the addition of some embroidery on the powerstrap and a logo on the inner liner pull loops. So far the boots in NZ conditions have stood up to plenty of abuse in heavy moraine and rock bashing.

To answer the question re stiffness, I don't think they have become any stiffer in more recent batches, apart from the support the powerstrap gives which is really dependant on how firmly that is used.

As for the addition of the tech binding inserts, I have put that to the Backcountry development guys but so far no response. My gut feel though for the tech insert is that the boot would need some quite serious rework in the sole and inner "shank" area to link the forces transmitted through the toe piece to be spread through the boot sole and bodyshell evenly and well to avoid stress points. This is easily done in a hard plastic shell but not so easy in a boot made from sewn and glued materials. Not saying it cannot be done and with more demand its worth putting this to Fitwell again, but it will come down to demand and sensible economics. The beauty of this boot is that it is a great riding softboot, it is a great climbing boot, and it is very simple and reliable design and is a development of some great ideas using the best practice traditional proven manufacturing methods mixed with modern materials.

I have most sizes in stock right now so hit me up if you are interested ok folks. Anyone interested in a 275 size, I have them at a reduced price if you can live without the powerstrap, still a few of them in that size left here too.

cheers
Rich

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:32 am
Posts: 108
Location: Pyrenees
I've been on them for about 5 days and I just love them!
I would say it's a reallly stiff boot, for sure the stiffest one I've used.
Last year I used the Deeluxe Spark XV, and they softened up very easily after a few days, the Fitwells seem to hold better.
I usually don't use the powerstrap for touring and strap it on the downhill.
The touring efficiency is definetely higher than any softboot that i've tried.
The laces have some kind of lock to separate higher and lower part, my left foot is a bit messed up so I leave the lower part of the left foot pretty loose and they work just fine.
With the Deeluxe XV I needed voile risers for touring, and not with the Fitwells. They also have way less heel drag, and the rockered toebox makes a great difference of length with the Deeluxe.
The liners are fine, better than I expected. I've owned better liners though.
What I like the most about them is the quality. You can tell that they're handmade in Italy, and I'm sure this will affect the durability.

Here's a link with some detail images of the boot:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.176499825891419.1073741831.159399434268125&type=1

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:16 am
Posts: 490
Location: Salida, Flagstaff
Edit: Now add such a toe piece (below) and a walk mode to a Fitwell and we'll have what I would consider to be the first real splitboarding-specific production boot.


Image

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:56 pm 
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As of now I have spent a little over 2 weeks on the Fitwells and I am thourgly impressed.

I thought they would be too stiff to skin in but they feel solid and secure.
I had to cross an icy log a total of 4 times and there grip was amazing.
Looking forward to getting in some technical climbing as I am sure these babies will work 10x better than my softboots of the past.

My only grip.....Why Zebra print. :( I would have loved Cheetah.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:34 am 
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Posts: 636
Kyle Miller wrote:
My only grip.....Why Zebra print. :( I would have loved Cheetah.


My wife joked that they were made from rare Italian Zebras. Finest leather in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 2:16 am
Posts: 106
Location: New Zealand
They might have zebra stripes but underneath they have mountain goat traction!

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:32 am
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Location: Pyrenees
I think the zebra rubber was a smart move from Fitwell!
that makes them super noticeable, easy to distinguish even in a blurry pic! :bananas:

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:24 pm
Posts: 262
Location: Salzburg / Austria
Agree!



My first thought when I saw the first pictures, "seriously?"
However I started to like the zebra rand a lot. Looks great! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:39 am
Posts: 10
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
can anyone comment on the sizing of the boots? Compared to more established brands, e.g. Burton.
I know it's complicated with boot fitting, but of course as these are almost impossoblie to find in a store, I'm left with ordering them online.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:21 am 
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I acquired these boots at the beginning of this winter season to replace my Sparks, which had been hurting my feet for the past two seasons.

First impression putting them on in the living room:
- Sizing seemed pretty standard relative to US and EU sizes (size like my old Burton DriverXs). A bit on the wide side, which I thought surprising for an Italian boot. I guess it's a logical move to tackle the US market.
- The boots seem hyper stiff, way stiffer than the Sparks or the DriverXs when new
- The liner is comfortable, but I notice some heel lift, due to the outer shell being too stiff to tighten properly and due to the insole, which is not at the level of the rest of the boot.
I replaced the insoles with some SureFeet ones, and the problem was mostly solved.
The boots are quite a bit less bulky than the Sparks, especially in sole length. They are on par with the Burtons, which are quite compact. The chamfer on the heel really helps fitting it into the binding without risking too much toe drag. This had always been an issue with the Sparks.

First day downhill (resort):
Damn these boots are stiff! They feel like my old hard boots from the 80's... :rock:
Very precise, great for freecarving, not so great for moguls and forget about the park, you'll break both of your shins.
The cuff is quite low, leading to some pressure points at mid-shin height. Also, I notice a slight design error with the knot of the lacing placed under the powerstrap, which adds a little peak of pressure that can become uncomfortable. Sorted by "forcing" the knot down when closing the strap, but placing the strap a tad higher might be a better answer.

First day splitting:
UP: Best skinning experience of my life on a splitboard. The boots seem a tad on the heavy side when held in the hand, but weirdly they seem lighter on the feet for some reason. 1000m+ up in 2 hours and 15 minutes, not too bad for a first day, kept up with my two-planked pals without issue. Not many technical bits, but a couple of icy traverses that the boot coped with very well. A real improvement in lateral support and edge hold relative to the Sparks (and I won't even mention the Burtons). No comfort issues, just a very slight irritation on the heel due to the limited heel lift that remains.
DOWN: Same impression as the previous day at the resort. On a relatively softer board though, the stiffness of the boot is even more noticeable.

After 3 resort days and 5000m of up-and-down backcountry use:
The boots have broken in a bit and have gotten closer to a "soft-boot" feel, somewhere close to the stiffness of the Sparks when those were new. However, the lateral stiffness was not really affected too much, the edge hold remains excellent in skinning mode. I don't usually have to use the crampons before my bipedal colleagues do, a real improvement over the Sparks and Burtons.
The boots have become a bit easier to tighten up as well, and the heel lift is gone. I still prefer having the upper laces a bit looser when skinning and need to tighten them at the top, which is a bit annoying to do without a "quick-lacing" system. Still, I understand the design choice of a classic lacing system for reliability's sake.

The boots are a dream of comfort. I had not planned on using them on the resort other than once or twice to "test" them before taking them in the backcountry, but I will leave the Burtons in the closet for good and use the Fitwells for both the resort and the backcountry. Best boots I ever owned (taking into account the following track record: Sparks, Burton DriverXs, Salomon Malamutes).

The only negative point that remains is the quality of the insole that was provided with the boot, which is really not up to par with the rest of the product.
And the fact that I now need a new splitboard to go along with the boot performance. My 1st gen S-series is not really cutting it anymore, poor old gal...


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:07 pm
Posts: 63
Got my fitwell just now. Was aiming for last season's but the size I was looking for was sold out. They feel good and are really stiff. Will try them sidecountry in Whistler next weekend then after that there is a splitboard trip planned. First looks and feel are awesome. So glad I did not buy the sparks.
sekiller wrote:
can anyone comment on the sizing of the boots? Compared to more established brands, e.g. Burton.
I know it's complicated with boot fitting, but of course as these are almost impossoblie to find in a store, I'm left with ordering them online.

I struggled in undestanding the different size guides. In the end I went with mondo sizing based on my Burton boots. I think it is the only option as the seller said they were small in size, so take a drop in size. I was like that doesn't make sense. Forget EU and UK sizing.
I just think they are like burtons in mondo size which makes sense as they are supposed to be the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:06 am 
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I haven't read the whole thread (but it's right here that I discovered these boots' existence).

Here's my first impressions after two easy hikes. Both times I was with snowshoes and neither time I had to use crampons (it's a little early in the season). Oh, and I used last year's model (no strap).

They weigh a little more than the 2009 DriverX - 1.45 vs 1.25kg per boot. About 13% more, if I'm not deceived.

They're really stiff. I thought the DX where stiff, but this "ain't the same f*cking ballpark". I'm not a good rider, and the first descent I had some trouble. Had to get used to it, the second one was much better.

One downside of the stiffness is that sometimes they limit your movements just a bit. They won't bend backwards, so longer steps might be a bit difficult, especially when walking downhill (which of course doesn't happen very often).

They're clearly serious alpine boots, and I think you pay this "seriousness" by giving up a litte comfort. They feel more like ski- than SB-boots. The driver x's felt like slippers compared to these. Of course this means they're more reliable, that it's much easier to climb without crampons, that you can kick in hard snow without much trouble, which wasn't the case with the DX. They're also a bit narrower - they look like real boots and not like apres-ski stuff. ;)

After these first two hikes I'm starting to fall in love with them, and I really look forward to better snow conditions to try them on some steeper narrower stuff. I got a feeling they will work perfectly. Will post again (I know you're all dying to know :D )

My impression is that they're worth using if your hikes can get a little "hairy" - rocks, steep slopes, hard snow, and so on. If you only do easy stuff (like, if you don't plan on ever having to use crampons or axes) maybe it's better to stick with traditional boots, which are more comfortable and soft. Needless to say, in this case you'd be missing the best part of the sport :)


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