Tecnica R9.8 130

Tecnica R9.8, Blister Gear Review.
Tecnica R9.8 130

Tecnica R9.8 130

Size Tested: 27.5, 98mm last

Reviewer’s Foot Size: 278mm long, 105mm width

Skier: 6’2’’ 200 lbs.

Location Tested: Alta and Snowbird, Utah

Days Tested: ~50 days

I’d started this past season on the Lange RX LV (low volume) boot. They skied well and were comfortable in the shop, but I consistently noticed a strange phenomenon: while skiing with speed through chopped up snow, I’d feel the tip of my unweighted ski pivot laterally out from under me as I crossed the fall line.

The more time I spent in the RX LV boots, the more I realized this wasn’t a ski-style or a ski tuning issue. Rather, the boot wasn’t providing enough compression around my ankle to lock my foot in place.

I did everything I could to fix the problem—from L pads to injecting more foam into my liners— but if the boot’s too large, it’s almost impossible to take up that extra space. (It is very easy to push a boot out for more space, however.) Eventually, I threw in the towel and retired the RX LVs.

That’s when I got the Tecnica R9.8 130.

Fit 

I should start by saying that, now, these boots fit my feet wonderfully—they lock down my heel and ankle very well.

But to achieve this wonderful fit, I had to take the boots into the shop three times to get punches and grinds before I could comfortably ski them for a full day. The toebox is actually 98mm wide, and I have a 105mm wide forefoot. So yeah, do the math…

You know what they say: You date your skis, but you marry your boots.

In the end, the R9.8 required some significant work in order to accommodate my fat feet (across the metatarsal heads). But the point is that these issues (e.g. creating more volume) are easy to remedy with a little patience and a good relationship with a skilled boot fitter.

And this is why we want to make clear that dialing in an excellent fit with a ski boot is almost always a process. It takes time. It’s why good boot fitters are absolutely crucial to the sport of skiing. Go to them. Support them.

After three days of testing the boot on snow to figure out where it needed these punches … I’m stoked. The R9.8 does an exceptional job locking down my heel and keeping my ankle from moving within the shell—and that’s not compared to just the Lange RX LV boots, but also most top-end race boots I’ve skied. This includes the Tecnica TNT, the Salomon Course,  X-Lab, and  X-2, and the Nordica Jah-Love.

The Head Raptor 95 and the Nordica Dobermann 98 gave me similar ankle retention, but they also required much more work to keep my foot from being crushed. (I think I have something like 14 punches per boot on the Raptors.)

Tecnica R9.8, Blister Gear Review.

By the Numbers 

I wanted to provide some numbers to show how differently the R9.8 130 fits across the ankle from the Lange RX. I should also note that the Salomon X-Max 130 is as wide, if not wider, than the Lange RX LV.

All boots listed below are size 27.5, and all have a ~3.5mm wall thickness to the plastic. I draped my calipers across the width of the ankle at the fold and measured the width where the calipers bottomed out, so these numbers are not an absolute value and are somewhat rough. But they’ll at least provide comparative data between these boots.

They also underscore the on-snow issues I had with the RX, and show why the R9.8 is such a pleasure to ski.

Tecnica R9.8, Blister Gear Review.

You need some compression in the liner’s foam to prevent your foot from sliding around. The width of my liner with my foot in it is 78mm. Combined with the wall of the boot (7mm) and you get an 85mm width.

In the R9.8, I get about 5mm of compression in the liner. The liner is about 20mm thick here, so the shell compresses the liner foam about 25%. I’m very happy with how this translates to on-snow performance—it’s firm and responsive and it keeps my foot from sliding around, but it doesn’t completely sacrifice comfort.

With the Lange RX LV, the shell is actually a bit wider than my foot when it’s in the liner—this is bad news. While the RX LV boots ski well in consistent snow, they lack precision in variable snow.

I included the Scarpa Freedom to illustrate how wide boots can get. I would still need to make a small punch to the Freedom to get my forefoot in it comfortably, but it’s way too wide in the ankle for me to ski. The Freedom “fits” the most comfortably right out of the box if I was looking for a boot I could put on and jog to the grocery store in, but it would be challenging for me to ski anywhere other than pristine powder conditions, since the ankle is so wide.

So How Does the Tecnica R9.8 Ski?

Let me start by saying that I have never skied the old orange Inferno 98. Rather, I have the 13/14 black R9.8, which Tecnica claims offers some favorable skiing benefits for WC ski racers.

I can say, however, that the R9.8 has perhaps the most progressive and smooth flex pattern I’ve ever felt in an overlap alpine boot. It skis like an amazing combination of a Raichle Flexon and a four buckle race boot. Initially, the R9.8 has a very controlled yet supple flex, and the deeper you flex into the plastic, the more firm support you get.

The progressive flex of the boot offered great suspension in heavy, chopped snow, but was very responsive when I really needed to drive the tip of the ski. I never felt like I was pushing through the boot, nor did I feel that I was slamming my shin into a brick. Simply put, it was very intuitive to ski.

This was especially nice since I was coming off a boot with a linear flex pattern. The Lange RX LV is firmer initially than the R9.8, but it offers less support deeper into the flex.

The R9.8 is called a 130-flex boot, but it’s an absolutely rad all-mountain freeride boot both because it’s less punishing on the shins compared to many other 130 flex boots out there, and because of how much precision it gives you.

Cons?  

I am a tinkerer, and I generally hate it when boots are all riveted together because it can be a hassle to replace broken buckles and power straps, and it is generally more difficult to screw around with the boots. Other than the ankle hardware, the R9.8 is completely riveted together, which was something of a bummer. Granted, there is also nothing I wish to change about the boot, so I suppose I ought to quit complaining…

Since I haven’t skied with the stock liner, I can’t really comment on them. I’ll just say that they’re thin, low-volume, race-style liners. My ZipFit liners slid right into these boots, so I didn’t think there was a reason to mess around with fitting and molding new liners.

Power Strap / Buckles 

The power strap is a cam-lock style, and it works very well. It pulls tight and holds its tension, and helps bend the boot at the spine. I did not feel there was a need to add a booster strap, which I normally add to almost all my boots.

The buckles on the R9.8 are made of plate-steel rather than cast aluminum, so while it’s possible to rip a buckle off, it’s also extremely unlikely that the buckle will shatter if you smash it into a rock.

Tecnica R9.8, Blister Gear Review.
Buckles and power strap on the Tecnica R9.8.

Bottom Line 

I normally rant about all the things I had to do to get a boot to work properly.  A million liners, a million straps, tons of labor and effort. Not so with the R9.8.

This is a super dialed boot with a flex pattern that is unlike any overlap boot I have ever skied in. It is very precise and very powerful, but the progressive flex offers a bit more forgiveness than other 130 flex boots.

While there are certainly feet that won’t mesh well with the R9.8, if I was a boot-fitter in a shop, I would be inclined to start everyone with a medium-volume ankle and heel in the R9.8. (If you have a low-volume ankle or very slender foot overall, then consider the 93 or 95 plug versions. If you have a fat forefoot, then just punch out the R9.8’s width.)

I would really only recommend the Lange RX/RS boot or the Salomon X Max 130 to those with high-volume ankles. If your ankle fits into an R9.8 ankle pocket, I don’t know why you wouldn’t ski this boot.

My never-ending desire to find the perfect alpine boots may be over. I will more than happily ski another 100 days in the R9.8, and retire them for wear, and then likely replace them with the exact same punches. In the meantime, I am confident that these are the best ski boots I’ve ever put on my feet.

P.S. 

Tecnica, pretty please, make a “Cochise” style AT boot based on the R9.8 last. You would have a true winner.

66 thoughts on “Tecnica R9.8 130

  1. Nice review Marshall. I have been skiing the Cochise 130 exclusively for a season. They are pretty good through the heel and the forefoot, but even with shims and an instaprint footbed, there is too much room over my instep. Does the 9.8 fit tighter over the instep? How about calf volume and forward lean comparisons? And is the flex progressive in cold temps? The 130 sometimes gives me shin bang in cold temps.

    Thanks

    • hey dan,

      the r9.8/inferno mold is totally different than the cochise. you would really need to try a pair on, but the boot is much lower volume thru the ankle, heel, and instep.

      the cochise is a couple degrees more upright.

      the flex pattern of both boots are different for sure. the r9.8/inferno is a thicker and different plastic material. IMO the cochise is stiffer off the top and softer deep into the flex pattern than the r9.8. however when its sub zero F outside, they all get much stiffer.

      hope that helps?

    • the easiest way to gauge if this is a liner or shell issue is to put your feet and footbed in the shell and see how much space there is. if is less than 10mm, then its a shell thing (and can be punched). if its more than that, then remove material from your liner, or have a skilled bootfitter do it.

  2. Good write-up…I am also having the same exact issues with my Lange RX’s that I am on season 3 with. Good insight and is making me think.

  3. Please clarify which RX boot you were skiing in- LV or standard. Seems like the RS boots would be a more direct comparison to this boot. I tested the 9.8 last year and it skis like a an old doberman. Blocky, too stiff laterally, and not a lot of rebound. Felt like a tech boot from 10 years ago.

  4. Interesting take on the RX. I ski the RX130 because after one season, I found the original Cochise way too big in the ankle pocket. The RX? Fits like a glove and I have a very wide forefoot, very high instep and I heart the RX.

    • i skied the jah love (~same as patron pro) 2 seasons ago and the dobermann for a number of seasons a long time ago… and i think jonathan will be posting a patron pro review soon.

      • Jonathan ~ Any progress on that Patron Pro review? You’ve tested a lot of skis with that boot, and there are a lot of us readers curious about a reputable take on this boot as there is not a lot of info on it available.

        Thanks. Kevin

  5. Intrigued. My ankles swim in my LV RXs as well, but my tall, pointy insteps still don’t play well with them. How crushing are the R9.8’s across the instep? And how is the sizing compared to the Langes?

    • the easiest way to gauge if this is a liner or shell issue is to put your feet and footbed in the shell and see how much space there is. if is less than 10mm, then its a shell thing (and can be punched). if its more than that, then remove material from your liner, or have a skilled bootfitter do it.

  6. Man, this is really exciting! But now that I’m all excited, I obviously have a bunch o questions!

    1. Any idea how the R9.8 compares to the older Inferno? They obviously changed away from the temperature-sensitive orange PU to a black PU, and I heard they ditched the steel shank/chassis. How did they change the boot to achieve such a progressive flex pattern? Or do you think that comes from the PU they sourced?

    2. Do you miss the stiffness at all? What would you recommend for people with medium-narrow ankles who find the boot too soft? Or is that a total non-issue for anyone but a WC racer?

    3. I recently bought a pair of Dalbello Scorpion SF 130 (now the Strike 130) which I love for their stiffness and snug fit. It’s rumored that the Scorpions are supposed to fit and flex similarly to the Inferno 130…can you substantiate this at all? If this is true, the Inferno/Scorpion were rumored to be among the stiffest flexing “130 flex” boots out there, begging the question of why they reduced the stiffness in the R9.8. Without making this too much about me and my boots, I have to say that my snug shell fit and Dalbello’s “Contour 4” pre-punched mold creates the best heel-hold I’ve ever personally experienced in an alpine boot (but maybe that’s not saying much). I’d be really curious to see how it stacks up against the R9.8. Please let me know your thoughts if you’ve tried one of the newer Scorpions on.

    4. I’m having a little trouble understanding your procedure for measuring width and calculating liner compression at the ankle. You say “I draped my calipers across the width of the ankle at the fold and measured the width where the calipers bottomed out.” and “The width of my liner with my foot in it is 78mm. Combined with the wall of the boot (7mm) and you get an 85mm width.” Could you perhaps provide a kiloword (ie, picture) or an additional description?

    My questions/comments:

    4a) How did you ensure that you measured your foot and liner at the same height you measured each boot? If these number aren’t all at the same height, then does it make sense to compare them?
    4b) Is heel hold really primarily determined by width? Seems like an anatomical heel pocket would be the deciding factor…

    5. I’m curious why you didn’t add a booster strap. The booster strap adds stiffness (because you can crank it tight), but it also adds elasticity. Did you not feel the need for elasticity because of the boot’s already progressive flex? Or is the stock power strap elastic?

    • 1. not sure if the old inferno 130 had a metal shank? i thought only the plug? really no experience with it.
      2. the boot is not soft. its a legit 130. not sure where you got it was softer? just smoother (to me at least)
      3. if you like the scorpion 130, look at the 150 tecnica (or just about any other brand of boot). the best heel-hold, for me, was from the garmont shaman / G1 boot. i believe the scorpion is similar. more like a 95 boot, with a wider met-head width.
      4. i measured across the fold of the ankle – so on the shells, apples to apples. i estimated in the liner, but given the measurements, and the lack of compression on my foot from the shell on the liner without way over buckling, i think its about right.
      4a. pretty confident as its all relative to the fold of my ankle, and matches on-snow. the point of these numbers is not some scientific thing but to explain in some way a sensation i do for sure feel while skiing.
      4b. heel hold (the calcareous shelf) is totally different than ankle hold (tibia, fibula, talus). my argument is that you need all of these things locked down – and the rest of the foot (mets, toes, etc) should have basically no restriction in motion to be super dynamic and athletic while skiing.

      • re #2: Sorry Marshal, that way my misreading. When you wrote, “The R9.8 is called a 130-flex boot, but it’s an absolutely rad all-mountain freeride boot both because it’s less punishing on the shins compared to many other 130 flex boots out there.” I somehow got into my head that it’s softer. I see now you’re just saying it’s more progressive. My apologies for the misreading.

        Thanks again for the excellent review and response! I’ll definitely try these on next chance I get!

  7. Hi Marshall,

    Nice review. I’d point out that different boots have very different bootboard profiles (low, medium, high heels) as well as how the front is configured. For example, the Salomon XMAX-130 is the perfect boot for me, but that is because it is dialed for my foot type, which needs a very high heel. Unfortunately, it appears that many boot experts are still not aware of this or don’t pay attention to it, and this foundation is what leads a boot to feel good and work properly. So while this boot appears to be the right boot for your foot type, it certainly won’t be for everyone, nor would any other boot.
    I hope this makes sense.

  8. “Tecnica, pretty please, make a “Cochise” style AT boot based on the R9.8 last. You would have a true winner.”

    Yes! But…considering this may be a pipedream (or at least a little while off), is there something currently on the market that comes close to this boot with walk mode? And here’s why I ask…

    I’ve been skiing my Tecnica Diablo Magma’s for the past 7 years – I adore these boots – and am now in the market for something new with walk mode. I immediately went to the Cochise 130, but found it too spacious over the instep and without great ankle retention. I have a low volume foot, fairly narrow ankle, but 105mm forefoot (though 100mm last boots tend to fit best).

    What boots do you think I should turn to next? Thanks in advance!

  9. Any substantiation to the claim that next year’s Cochise will be the Mach 1 with a walk mode? Any info on the boot other than photos?

  10. Just wanted to chime in again here after I had the chance to try the R9.8 on in the shop (unfortunately, I didn’t get to ski it). Tried it on next to the Head Raptor 130 and my own Dalbello Scorpion 130 SF (punched for length and 5th met head, as well as modded to be more upright). All 3 were tried with my molded HD Race liners that came stock with the Scorpion.

    Heel hold of the R9.8 is better than the Lange RS/RX, none close to the Scorpion. However, they fit much narrower in the calf region, and I didn’t need my tongue eliminator shims. The flex was quite a bit softer than the Scorpion, but much more progressive. I like it. I’ve never had “shin bang” in the Scorpion, but I’ve had *random*, undiagnosed pain in my peroneus longus (and perhaps tibialis anterior) that nobody can seem to figure out, so I’m searching for new boots. The forward lean seems better than the stock Scorpions for my style and anatomy—I like an upright boot, though.

    The Head Raptor 130 actually seems like a very similar boot, IMO. It felt shorter in length, but had good (if not better) heel hold and a similarly-progressive flex (at room temp and flat ground). But again, that’s just from trying both on in the shop for a few minutes. YMMV.

    Thanks again for the helpful review!!

    • yo man, the only boots i have skied with similar heel hold to the scorpion is garmont shaman/g1, and some/most 93/95 plug boots. the scorpion IMO really flexes and fits like a 95mm 150 flex plug boot with a little more anatomic shape in the mid foot and met heads. the garments also have a ton of forward lean like the scorpion.

      i really like my head RD95’s, but just got tired of how cold my feet got (very snug around forefoot = less blood flow = cold feet). they ski rad though. i have never been in the RS98’s, but i would have to imagine they are very legit.

      -m

  11. Marshall – What’s the BSL progression on this year’s Tecnica line? My memory is that the last model was large to size, so-to-speak, 290 (24), 300 (25), 310 (26), etc if my memory serves me. Still the same?

  12. Marshall – can you recommend a good fitter in the SLC area, ideally someone who stocks some of the boots and liners you’ve been reviewing on Blister of late. I’ve got similar feet measurements and performance expectations but need really need to try some stuff on.

  13. Hey Marshal,

    Thanks for an utterly amazing review of what seems like a rad boot. By your description, i’d be quite inclied to think the R9.8 should suit me just dandy.

    Just two quick questions:

    A) Moguls. Icy ones. How does it absorb shock – The progressive flex helps, or do you tend to hit the brick wall?

    B) Powder. Seeing as you’ve been on various boots, how are these fluff? Overtly burly and not-too-smooth, or working just fine?

    You said “rad freeride boot” – I’m guessing that really means a great boot all over, all conditions, or are there any areas/conditions where you’d rather be in a different boot?

    • hey christian,

      to be totally honest, i can think of a single run in the past 60 days that i have used this boot where i would not want it, or really to even change it… well maybe boot packing up glory on teton pass when it was -37F air temp, i would have gone for a 110 flex version. but the ski down was totally fine (and actually super high quality snow).

      i really wish tecnica would just make this same last with a walk mode and tech fittings. swap between a tour liner and zipfit race liner depending on the day, and call it good.

      jonathan axed my desire to follow up this post by listing this boot as being one of the most transformative events in my skiing career … right along with buying powder plus (110mm skis) back in 2000.

      i really can’t say that this boot is for everyone, or even anyone, but i can say that it suits my needs very very well. i also can’t say that it is an ideal fit for me, as i have a number of punches and grinds and such. but i think all high performance boots require SOME work, and if it does’t, its probably too high volume for you.

      • Thanks for a great clarification – consider me sold, seems like gods gift to mid-to-low-volume narrow feet. I take it they fit snugly around narrowish calves as well. One last Q: bsl? Can’t find on the web but guessing 315 in 27?

    • Hey man,

      Those new Cochise are well… A new Cochise mold. For sure not an inferno.

      I can’t say how they ski or anything, sorry!

  14. Marshall have you messed around the flex adjustment? saw that on tecnica website, is this supposed to get the boot somewhere between the 130 and 110 flex?

    • hey marcel,

      while pulling the rivets makes the boot softer, really what its doing is reducing your leverage on the lower… so less rebound, life, snap and control.

      if you want to make a boot sorter, it is best to do pie cuts on the ankle or trim the lower’s tongue-fold down. super easy to make, say, a 130 boot ski like a 100 by adjusting the flex pattern this way. and you don’t suck the performance out of the boot like pulling the rivets.

      cheers!

  15. Marcel and Marshall,

    If you are after a 110 flex, why not just get the R9.8 110? It looks like the same boot except without the cam lock top strap and a softer flex. It is also usually cheaper if you can find it in your size.

    As an aside, I picked up a pair of R9.5 110s in a 26.5 cheap online. The heel hold is amazing, comparable to my old Garmont Shaman. I’m going to have to punch the 1st met head, but otherwise the out of box fit is pretty good for my feet (270 long, 100mm wide, low instep, low volume ankle, skinny calf). Like Marshall said at the end of the R9.8 review, if you have a narrow forefoot/instep/ankle, the R9.5 might yield an even better fit than the R9.8.

    • I was actually worried about this boot having the same problems I’ve heard about Lange 130 loosing the flex bolts! But yeah, not sure which flex I’d get since I’m yet to try this boot on my next trip to SLC!

    • Dan Gammon,
      Have you had chance to ski on those 9.5 110’s much? How are they doing ? I tried the 9.8’s in the shop and i was able to use all of the buckle across the lower without it being too tight so I am thinking about the 9.5’s in a 27.5. I weigh 155 so I think the 110 flex would be ok. I know you posted this info awhile ago but if you could update me on your thoughts about that boot I would appreciate it.
      Thanks,
      Scott

      • I’ve used the 9.5 110 boots. As a 6’2″, 190 lb guy, I crushed these boots, and they need a very low volume liner to get into the heel pocket. I think as a 155 lb guy you would be alright in them.

  16. Hello Marshall,

    Quick question for you…..
    Can you compare the forward angles/height and flex of the 2014 Doby Pro vs the 9.8 130?
    I will likely put a Zip WC in a 25.5 of one of the two boots (~.75cm shell fit) and prefer the lower angle vs upright stance. The greater the forward lean will likely dictate my pick as I would assume flex/height of the two are relatively similar.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    PS-Great job on this, the Zips, and Intuition reviews!

    Thanks
    Craig

  17. Hey, just want to second literally everything Marshal wrote – Got these, had them lightly touched up in the toes, and while i can’t explain it as well as Marshal can – Wow, what a great, great boot. If i’m bootpacking longish or doing short tours. I’ll live with keeping them on, instead of my titans. They really are THAT good. Heel hold, flex, well, i tip my hat to technica!

  18. Great write up..
    I’m guessing the 6’2″ @ 200 has something to do with this ? Would my 5’9″ @ 170 get the same results ?
    With the limited conditions we’ve had out here on the West Coast, especially So Cal, I’ve managed to wait another year for new boots..
    The walk mode on the Cochise models hits my tendon just above the heel.. So, they are out.. The Salomons seem to have too many little flaps of plastic over the insteap to deal with? (FireArrow?)
    Not that I need a walk mode, but I like replaceable heel/toe pads.. Damn parking lots! Have they gotten bigger, or is it just me getting older ?
    Will be looking hard at the new K2’s this year..
    The hunt continues..

  19. As much as you want a Cochise with the shell fit of this boot, I want a TLT6 with a Cochise shell fit. Hope they don’t change the Cochise, fits me beatifully – but I have pretty much a rectangle for a foot. Crazy how different feet can be.

  20. Hey Marshall, thanks for another great review. Wondering if you’re familiar with the Lange Freeride 130, circa 08. I believe it was the precursor to the RX130. Here’s my deal: sounds like I have pretty similar foot size and shape to you (277 long, 106 wide across small toe bunions, narrow heel & ankle, and I think my instep would be considered a little high). Been skiing that boot for few seasons now. Have had large bunion punches (working nicely) and have padded the heel/ankle of the liner. The lower 2 buckles on each boot have been either removed (broken off??) as I never used them (forefoot is super snug: last claimed 98mm). The boot is comfortable but I think I’d enjoy even better heel and ankle hold. My questions (finally): can I get better hold with a Zipfit liner? If so, which do you think would work best (shell is 27.5 and definitely performance fit)? I’ve read your review on Zips and if I understand correctly, I can selectively continue adding compound in ankle/heel areas, which will mould to my foot and shell, producing rock solid hold without increasing volume elsewhere, where this is no room for it. Is that right? I live in a small ski town in BC. Closest dealer is some 600km’s away. Can I (reasonably) easily fit them myself? Lastly, the reason I asked if you’re familiar with the boot, is I’m wondering how it compares (fit only) to the R9.8 (and RX130). My calipers are in the garage which is buried under snow so I’m unable to compare the shell width at the ankle with your measurements. Really long way of asking if you think I can get the hold I’m looking for in my boot with Zips, or if I should buck up and check out the 9.8. If you’re still reading, thanks for your patience and I really look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • hey bk-

      apologies on missing this one, I was in the midst of tradeshow traveling craziness.

      anyhow, a zipfit liner is probably the most aggressive heal hold liner out there, and it has a super thin toe sock, so great for wider feet in low volume boots. If you are not near a dealer, I would only get them if you are a do-it-yourselfer. they do need a little tweaking to get dialed in.

      I started with a GARA which is the thinnest, and have added tons of cork. I would start with a WORLD CUP next time, and not have to mess around with adding as much cork in the tongue.

      I pull the foot bed, laces, etc, microwave for 30sec, and then insert laces/footbed and foot into liner. then slide liner into a warm shell, buckle everything, and walk around for 30 mins to get the initial fit. I then expect it will take a solid 10 days to fully pack in the liner while on snow, and the buckles will be hard to close the first few. this is a good thing — they break in, not pack out. i ride up to the hill with the liners/shells jammed under the feet heaters so they are as warm as possible when putting them on. finally, if you get a hot-spot in the ankle or tongue, you can always move the cork around with your fingers in the pockets.

      if you end up shooting more cork in, you can always microwave the tube of cork and the liner each for 30sec and re-do the process above. I ended up buying 1 tube of cork and then some cheap hammered falling apart 100’s of days old zip fits (or old “flow” plug boot liners) to harvest the cork out of. it was a lot cheaper and easier than keep sourcing the for tubes constantly.

      i can;t speak for how they will treat you, but i can say they have been incredible for me, and really made me a lot more stoked to ski.

      hope that helps.

  21. Hey, Marshal. Thanx for a review.

    But I still have some questions:
    1.Did you land some big drops in them while freeriding? how did they perform?
    2. Which liner did you use?
    3. Did you go to park in them? How do you think they would perform in this case?

    • hi Sasha,

      please see comments below:

      i am not much of a sender any more, nothing more than 25 feet or so… not sure what you are looking? but they are certainly more forgiving than a true plug boot.

      zipfit liner

      i have not skied park in them.

      thank,

      marshal

  22. A super interesting review, thank you. I am starting my own deep dive research into boot fitting with the goal of going to a boot fitter, armed with as much knowledge as I can – otherwise, how can I trust I’m not being steered in a direction I don’t want to go.
    To that end, my basic foot dimensions are similar to yours – although I’m a hair shorter and 2-3mm narrower. Generally, this leads to frustrating conversations with boot fitters because as soon I mention that my feet are 100-102mm wide they dismiss my interest in 98mm last boots. Never mind that I currently ski in a Fischer RC4 130.
    Your point about the heel pocket volume, the consequence of too much volume, and your helpful comparison numbers, provide valuable arguments – not to mention your excellent point that it’s easier to punch out a boot than to make it smaller.

  23. Thanks for a good review! have you or anyone else skied in these as well as the Nordica Doberman GPX 130 or the Fischer Vacuum RC4? Love the sound of the progressive flex, heel retention and warmth in comparison to the vacuum at least. Talking to a boot fitter she mentioned that the flex of the Vacuum series boots was much more linear and less supportive when charging through variable snow. Thanks!

  24. Just wanted to add what I think might be some helpful comments for boot buyers in the 15/16 season. For this season, it appears that Tecnica has done away with the R9.8 and is trying to put anyone who is not actually racing in their boots, into the Mach1all-mountain boot.

    About me/my feet: I’m 5’8″, 190lbs, athletic/fairly aggressive skier. Both feet measure out to be almost exactly 270mm (right foot might be 271) and just under 100mm wide. Overall, I’m an easy-to-fit low volume foot. I work at a ski area, spending a lot of time in my boots, both on the race hill and skiing off-piste.

    I originally read this review last season when I started looking at new boots to replace my Cochise Pro 130s, and I was looking at either a non-FIS/World Cup race boot like the R9.8 or Lange RS 130, or the similar all-mtn/freeride options like the Mach1 and RX 130. Now, after trying both the Mach1 130 LV and the RX 130 LV in a 26.5, it seems as far as shop fit goes, the heel/ankle issues Marshal alluded to with his Langes, I experience the exact opposite. Without having the R9.8s to try, it’s tough to compare, but for new boot buyers this year, I wouldn’t expect the Mach1s to be the perfect substitute for the R9.8. Both boots felt great once I got the right footbeds in there, but it ultimately came down to the Langes feeling more locked down and secured in the ankle and heel, while the Tecnicas had a small gap behind my heel and some movement.

    For on-snow performance, it’s too soon to tell since I only have one day on them so far, but the Lange out of the box might be the best fitting boot my low volume foot has ever been in. The flex on the Langes is quite different compared to the Cochises I was on last year, seeming to start softer before really engaging. I don’t know what/if anything has change other than colors on the 15/16 RX 130s compared to previous years, but I has to be a strong contender for anyone with a low volume foot that doesn’t want to mess with a ski/walk mode on their dedicated in-bounds boots.

  25. For all of us looking for new all-mountain boots and interested in R9.8 130: Is new Mach1 130 LV worth extra ~$300. I’ve heard about CAS liner and some other tweaks, but it’s hard to justify the price difference. What would be your point of view? Thank you much.

    • Hi Stan,

      I have not skied in the Mach1, but the liner is a smart design in my opinion. That said, the lasting of the shell is pretty inferno boots IMO.

      I am sorry this is not of more use!

    • Are the r9.8s you’re seeing marked down because they’ve been discontinued? At full retail, they’re both around the $700 range, which is the going rate for 130 flex performance fit boots these days. The Mach 1 is a very legit boot and people seem to be loving the CAS liner, although it’s too new to see how it holds up with time. Ultimately, you probably have to try it on alongside a few others like the Lange RX, Nordica GPX, Salomons etc… And go with whatever feels best.

    • Thank you guys. I guess, I need to try them on and compare. Unfortunately, there are not many ski shops where I live and I have to wait until I go to Colorado for my first ski trip of the season.

      @Tom, R9.8 130 is reduced to ~$350 at most of the major online retailers.

      Great job Blister!

    • Great to read someone w the same train of thought. About a month ago I started hunting for R9.8’s for sale and found some steeply discounted but not many left in my size 27.5 unfortunately – I think I saw one pair from a retailer I’d never heard of.

      Echoing a similar question, does anyone know if the R9.8 and new Mach 1 share the same lower mold? Any other key differences other than liner? And for that matter, does Cochise share same lower mold as Mach 1?

      I msged Tecnica but never received a response.

      • I’ll jump in here, Aaron. The official word from Tecnica is that the lower of the 15/16 Mach 1 is a slightly modified R9.8. I have not skied the R9.8, but I’ve got 40-50 days in the Mach 1 … and it is very impressive. Reading Marshal’s comments re: the R9.8 sound very familiar. And yes, the Mach 1 liner is terrific.

        In short, the 15/16 Mach 1 is a R9.8 made more freeride-oriented: the lower was made boot-work-friendly, it has rubber soles, etc. If you don’t care about those things, then I wouldn’t dissuade you from going after the R9.8.

        And re: the Cochise, the Cochise is not the same lower as the 15/16 Mach 1.

  26. Marshal, are you still skiing these or have you moved on to something later and greater? Although you threw your zipfits in, what’s your take on the build quality of the stock liner and the types of foam used? Also, besides the RX LV what else have you skied on in the past?

    Jonathan, you had a pretty rave review on the Redsters but seemed to recommend it more so for all-mtn frontside than backside. Is that the same case with the R9.8 or is it a bit friendlier in variable/mank/bumps. Can you comment on stance differences and which you personally prefer?

    • Greetings MD,

      I have not skied in the stock R9.8 liner, but can pass along a little anecdotal feedback from people I trust. A few friends are in the stock liner, and all view it favorably. At the least, say that it is as good as any liner in an equivalent price point boot.

      I am still skiing this boot, and have yet to even bother try on another alpine boot since I got in these…

      Cheers,

  27. I’m looking for a new boot to charge in the pistes and take for lift based off-piste. I came over this review of the R9.8 as I was browsing last year. I tried finding it in stores, but it seems it’s been replaced by the Tecnica Mach-1 R 130 LV (almost all stores or ski-review sites only have the Tecnica Mach-1 130 LV – without the “R”). Any chance you’ll try out the R130LV?

    Or anyone with comments or experience with the R130LV compared to the R9.8? Or the R130LV compared to the standard, “non-R” Mach-1 130LV? Would love to hear about it.

  28. Ah, found out the Tecnica Mach-1 R 130 LV seems to be specific for the European market(?) So the R version seems to sit between the race boots of the 9.5 series and the “normal” Mach-1 LV. As a small bonus, the R version also boasts a cool matte black plastic with Tecnica race graphics.

    So the Mach-1 R130LV might be Tecnica’s closest thing to the R9.8 right now?

    http://www.tecnica.it/products/mach1-r-130-lv-2/

    I’m 6’1″ and 185lbs, but I’ve got slim ankles, low instep and trying on the R130LV in the store, I was super-happy with the snug, tight fit without any obvious pressure points (I’m sure I’ll find them when skiing!). I had originally set my sights on the Lange RS, as it had a good fit for my foot, but the R130LV had a heel grip way above the RS for my foot. Flex feels progressive and comparable to other 130 boots in store. Looking forward to trying them on snow!

  29. Uncomfortably tight fit for the first few days, now, it fits like a glove – apart from pressure on 5 metatarsal on right foot. I’ll need to see a boot doc.

    Performance: Wow! Coming back to alpine boots from telemark skiing a few years ago, I thought my Scarpa Maestrale RS were ok. They’re not. They’re crap next to the Tecnica R130LV. I’ve been skiing them on my 2011 Mantra and Marker F12. The Mantra has always been good in chop, but the R130LV let me force the Mantra to do whatever I want them to do, no matter the snow/crud/bumps in front of them. The boots also make standing over the skis easier, on the RS I found myself more often in the backseat. On the R130LV, I’m over the skis and in control. I’ve had around 20 days on the R130LV, inbounds and off-piste.

    The boots are confidence inspiring, and makes me go faster both in and outside the piste while being in full control and having more fun than ever. A week in Zermatt yielded some great boot to knee deep powder with fantastic medium steep runs (35-40°) as well as mellow open faces (25-30°) of cruising, and the confidence to go faster made the Mantras work well in these conditions. We also had some wet, heavy off-piste snow in the lowlands and some tight tree runs. Two conditions I used to find really hard with a lesser boot, but fun and surprisingly controllable now. And even though I find myself skiing harder and more aggressively, my legs and feet still feel a lot better and less tired than when skiing the Maestrale RS’s.

    Just had a day on the Maestrale RS boots the other day – night and day experience! I’m not getting back on them unless skinning a significant distance! I know these are a very different class of boots, but I was still surprised of the massive performance and fit difference.

    After wearing them in, the Tecnica R130LV are still very snug and tight, but now more than comfortable enough to easily wear all day. The heel is still sucked into the heel pocket. For my slim ankles and low instep, and a want for more control and to go faster and more aggressive, it seems I’ve found the perfect boot!

    I still don’t know if there’s any/big difference between the normal Tecnica Mach-1 130 LV and this R model, but at least the matte black looks a lot cooler.

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