Boots: 2011/2012 Tecnica Cochise, size 27.5, 100mm last (manufacturer’s stated width).
Skier: 6’2”, 210lbs, athletic, technically proficient, fast and fluid skier.
Foot: size 10.5 / 11 street shoe, C+ width (105mm width, static/weighted), high instep, low volume ankle and lower calf.
My regular ski boots: Nordica Jah Love, 98mm last, 130 flex, with no grinding or punches.
Conditions tested: Backcountry powder, sun effect, wind effect, inbounds soft, chalk, firm. Basically everything.
Duration of test: 3 days.
The Tecnica Cochise is a new AT boot on the market that has generated quite a bit of buzz. Here’s what I found:
The Fit: Out of the box, the Cochise is quite a bit more roomy than a like-lasted alpine boot. It feels more like a 101-102mm width in my opinion.
It also has the worst stock liner I have ever tried on. This thing deserves to go straight into the garbage can and should be replaced immediately with an aftermarket liner, or a liner from just about any other high end boot.
The stock liner is made of a very low density foam that will probably hold up for about fifteen days for the average skier before significant pack-out occurs. The exterior material will not bond to boot fitting foam, and there is very poor padding on the tongue of the liner. The tongue also lacks adequate stiffening material, causing the boot to ski softer that it should with a proper liner.
The rubber sole material of the liner is also made of a very soft, low density foam. It showed significant wear after just three days of skiing. Finally, there is no anatomical adjustment for the heel pocket, calcaneous bone, or Achilles tendon, the liner is just a single thickness throughout, which contributes to significant heel lift.
After trying the boot on with a few different liner and foot bed configurations, I was quite disappointed with the boot, and kept referring to it as “the bucket.”
[First editor’s note: This must have been about the time that Marshal sent me the text message: “Cochise review – not going to be positive.” But you’re going to want to keep reading….]
The last might only be 101-102mm, but the boot is quite tall. I decided to keep adding Bontex boot fitting shims until I could at least FIND the top of the shell with my foot….So, two thick and one thin layer of bontex later – and with the shell mated to a pair of intuition liners formed to and pulled from my Nordica Alpine boots – it was like BANG. This thing fits. Wow. Really nice.
The Finishing Details: While doing all the playing with liners, footbeds, and the like, I was constantly buckling, unbuckling, and micro-adjusting the boot buckles. Hopefully the buckles on my pair are just pre-production stand-ins, but the range of micro-adjustment and the overall mechanics of the buckles were rather disappointing. The buckles micro-adjustments did not turn exceptionally well, and their shape didn’t sync with or mate to the ladders very neatly. However, once everything was dialed in, there were no further frustrations.
The Stiffness: The boot itself felt fairly soft until I buckled it up super tight. I also found myself needing to really crank the power strap down, far tighter than I normally would. But once done, the boot feels like a legitimate 120 flex alpine boot in the cold. (With the boots moderately buckled, they feel more in line with a 95-100 flex boot.)
The power strap functions differently on this boot compared to others, and once I got used to it and how it worked, I really came to like the design. It allows you to get the highest portion of the shell’s cuff very tight – and with even pressure – across the shin. If Tecnica had used a buckle here instead of a power strap, the shell would deform at the same level of tightness and cause cramping in the leg. Overall, quite a nice design.