2011-2012 Fischer Vacuum 130 alpine ski boot

Photo of the Fischer Vacuum 130
Game Changer?

Boot: Fischer Vacuum 130

Last: 98mm

Weight Per Boot: 2005 g / 4.42 lbs.

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: ~20

Any ski shop that didn’t pick up Fischer in the last few years missed a great opportunity to sell some really good fitting boots. Not only do Fischer boots fit well but they ski great.

And now, Fischer is about to redefine the industry.

The Fischer Vacuum shell is, in a word, amazing. I was lucky enough to get in on the introduction of the Vacuum boot two weeks ago, thanks to Charlie Webb, Fischer’s regional sales rep.

We have already seen a custom shell boot from Salomon that has been well received, but the Vacuum is a whole different animal. The Fischer is a full “custom shell.” The shoe and the cuff are made of a combination of plastics that truly mold to the foot and leg.

Furthermore, this boot doesn’t just get wider where it needs to be wider or taller where it needs to be taller. It actually gets smaller where it needs to be smaller. (To everybody out there who has dreamed of a boot that really, truly locks down the heel, take a few deep breaths and try to contain yourselves.) Not only does the Vacuum’s Fit process take care of shape, but it also deals with stance. The cuff is supposed to move to a more neutral stance relative to the skier’s lower leg, assuring the skier is standing flat, resulting in easier simultaneous edge initiation.

Part of the FIT process.

The fitting process is straightforward: put the boots on, measure the skier’s stance, set the stand to that measurement, and set the forward lean bar. The boots are then placed in an oven and heated to 175 degrees. It takes twelve minutes to bake them. The skier then puts the boots back on, and the technician wraps a cold pack around each boot, then a pressure bag (Think of the doctor’s blood pressure cuff). The pressure bag is then inflated, exerting an inward pressure on the boot that molds the shell to the contours of the foot.

It is Thursday morning at Taos Ski Valley and I am itching to make some turns. I put my new boots on and notice how easily my foot slips in. The next thought: SNUG. REALLY SNUG! I have never had a fit around my heel and ankle like this before. Also, the fit over my instep and forefoot is incredible.

As I ride Chair 1, I am reminded of the the first foam fit I ever had. It took two full weeks to break in. Now I am a little concerned about how tight this boot really is; I can feel every aspect of my foot. I am worried that my feet are going to get migraines and that I am going to have to unbuckle (I hate unbuckling my boots). But when I get off the lift and glide toward Chair 2, I am relieved to find that my worries were unfounded. All perceived tightness fades as I flex the boots and start rolling edge to edge.

And the surprises keep coming: the ease in which these boots roll is incredible – I can’t remember the last time I felt this kind control. My Dynastar Pro Rider 105 now feels a little more slalom-y, and edge change is quick and smooth. Now I can’t wait to hike Kachina Peak.

21 comments on “2011-2012 Fischer Vacuum 130 alpine ski boot”

  1. Well done Charlie! I’m going to start disseminating your reviews to the Pro Staff at Windham Mountain as well as post them in a prominent location at my boot fitting bench! Peace Bro!

    Marc Stewart, C.Ped.
    Head Boot Fitter
    Windham Mountain Boot Lab

      • Has Fischer done any work to improve the stiffness of their more recent models? I’d like to get something in the 120 to 130 range as I have skied a 110 (Head S11) and am finding them way too soft.

    • I’ve skied 2 days now on my Fisher Vacuum 130’s and I can tell already they’re going to be great. I skied this last weekend after having them fitted a few weeks ago and it’s the first time in years I’ve felt totally balanced fore and aft. I am rather duck footed and have always (even with cants) had to do some compensation to get my skis on edge. With these, it was just simply like magic…perfect balance, easy on edge, now I instead of compensating to get into the right position, I’m automatically in the right position and I can concentrate on making micro adjustments in forward pressure and edge to increase the pressure on the ski. Also, I had my boots totally refitted at the end of my second day, because there was some tight spots on the toes and 6th toe. On the recommendation of Corty Lawrence at Footloose in Mammoth, we increased the pressure of the fit from 200 psi (I think that’s what Fisher calls a performance fit) to 280 psi. We also used a different toe cap to make more room in the toe box with additional padding on the side of my foot from the 6th toe up through my 4th toe. I tried on my boots last night (after waiting 24 hours) and they feel amazing….!!! Nice roomy toe box for my wide surfer feet and snug and tight everywhere else. I won’t know until I ski them for sure, but I think they will be “perfect”. I think if you have any questions about pressure….go higher, make them tighter; you can have them tight with no hot spots. Enjoy.

  2. Good review. Considering 130 98mm vac for next year as a local shop is getting them. Do you think toe caps would take care of the toe issue -I have narrow heel wide forefoot so I needed a fair amount of stretching in toe box for my current fischer rc4 130. Also do you think it is advisable to prep the foot with ankle and bone spur pads like you would do for a foam liner?

    Thanks

    • Toe caps can increase volume in the toe box. i don’t think it is necessary to pad the ankles or bony prominences. The liner itself does that. Remember the boot can be heated up to 5 times.

  3. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful information specially the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  4. next season it seems fischer is working on making the liner warmer (seems cold toes is a repetitive kavetch by owners) with some mods….

    speaking of custom boots, has anyone ever compared the fischer vacuum with the TS1 custom model by Topshelf sports who operate out of both fernie and whistler bc? amazing reviews too, but no ”custom” heat forming i think.
    links below as i’m interested in both products for next season.
    http://www.top-shelf.ca/fernie-boot-fitting-footbeds
    http://www.juliewilcoxmethod.com/ski-season-custom-ski-boots/

  5. What are the thoughts on packing out? Do the new processes eliminate packing or promote it.
    No one can possibly know yet. Others have tried and boots get to be wellys n’est pas.

  6. Hi Charlie,

    It would be very intersting to hear your mid- and long-term impression on the Fischer Vacuum. How many days have you skied since spring 2011. Does the boot still fit the same way it did during your first rides? Did you re-heat in the meantime? I am a skier who has a foamed liner… (have you ever tried foam liners from “Strolz” in Austria?). Strolz is in my opinion probably the best standard foam on the market. My first foamed liner was a comformable liner and it only lastest about two weeks. Strolz really is a different game in my opinion. I ski them in a salomon quest 120 shell and I am very happy with the performance. Heel retention is bomber and it is also comfortable during both, skiing and hiking. However, the long-term durability is still an issue. If you hike and ride, even the very good strolz foam lasts about 60 skiing days and after this the liner starts to wear-out more and more.

    Boot fitters told me that the fact that I “hike and ride” with the boot and that it is a non-strolz shell contribute to the faster “wearing-out” of the liner (Strolz claims a good performance of 80 to 100 days per liner). This February I got the second foam liner into a 2010/2011 shell. I have a wide fore-foot and a narrow heel and achilles tendon. So far everyone was telling me that there is no way around foaming – and my boot fitter did in fact introduce the Fischer Vacuum in 2012, however, could so far not render an educated opinion due to the fact it is still quite new – or getting a whole custom-fit boot with 3D screening and where they take a 3D model of your foot and mold the shell around this (costs EUR 1500 and above, compared to approx. EUR 650 to 700 that you pay for a standard boot that is heat treated here and there and then a Strolz liner plus custom sole is fitted). Therefore, I am really interested in alternatives, if they provide the same performance and last. I would really appreciate to exchange thoughts with you on the Fischer and learn more about it. Have fellow skiers of yours skied the Vacuum Shell as well?

    Thank’s, Hannes

    Would you say that this is really an alternative

  7. I have not skied in the vacuum boot since I wrote this review. However I have many clients in the boot. Some of whom are ski instructors in taos ski valley. They put very many days in these boots and the fact that it is the shell that takes the form there is very little if no break down at all. This years Fischer vacuum comes with a brand new liner which holds a lot of promise since the first and second generation liners were crap. If you really want the best performance fit with the vacuum boot you should go with zip fit. The materials in zip fit do not break down. Zipfit combined with the vacuum boot is probably the closest fit you will ever have.

  8. Thank you for the input charlie. I have visited the zipfit page. They do have some retailers in the UK, France and Switzerland, so it should at least not be impossible to take a closer look.

    The Vacuum has my attention at least. Thank`s again…

  9. Any idea how the Vacuum 130’s compare to the Vacuum Ranger 12’s (other than flex – 130 vs 120)?

    I ski mostly in the east, but can get a sweet deal on a pair of Ranger’s. I’m a pretty aggressive skier, but don’t see much powder (does anyone in the east?). Although the Ranger’s are a “freeride” boot, I don’t know if there’s a compelling reason to hold out for the Vacuum 130’s

    Thanks in advance. JS

  10. the ranger is a higher volume boot. it is a 102 or 104 mm last where the soma vacuum 130 is 97mm. the ranger is also higher over the instep and bigger in the heel and ankle pocket. if you have a narrow low volume foot I would not recommend the ranger. as you know the ranger has a hike mode cuff and hike friendly sole. if you do a lot of hiking this may be important to you. I prefer a full riveted cuff for performance sake and I will ski the vacuum 130 in any condition. the biggest difference is the fit. the ranger and the vacuum 130 are two entirely different boots. try them on and make your decision.

  11. I have the Vacuum 110. My feet are too high and narrow for ordinary boots, I get pains after one hour.
    The Fischer Vacuums sit just perfect. This winter I am getting the Ranger as well.

    Tailoring the Fischer is real workmanship, it is worth finding a good shop and probably reserving time when they are not too busy. Mine took 3 hrs to make.

  12. I picked up the 2015 ranger 12s from online (level9). Has anybody skied vacuums right out of the box with out first molding them like the description says you can. Since I bought online and not at a shop I’ll have to find a shop that will do my molding in jackson / Teton village for a decent price / beer. May ski first day without molding them.

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