A Very Deep Dive on Ski Boots, Part 6: Ski Boot Suspension (Ep.148)

Atomic's Matt Manser is back on Blister's GEAR:30 podcast to discuss bike crashes, the suspension of ski boots, "playful" ski boots, and much more
Drew Kelly in the Atomic Redster 150, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Matt Manser is back to talk about bike crashes and ski boot suspension.


  • Bike crash stories (2:17)
  • Ski-boot suspension (11:43)
  • Damp vs. Plush (14:25)
  • How to achieve good suspension (21:18)
  • Ski bindings (28:08)
  • “Playful” ski boots (30:51)
  • Cuff Test: compression & rebound (36:01)
  • What We’re Celebrating (48:52)


14 comments on “A Very Deep Dive on Ski Boots, Part 6: Ski Boot Suspension (Ep.148)”

  1. I listened, and it served as suitable background while I disassembled a pair of free ski boots for parts, but it was a substandard effort, almost completely absent of new, useful or interesting content. Next time, either stick to drinking whiskey, or at least prepare some questions.

    • Roger that on the whisky. We’ve got a hit-list lined up for the next round, but feel free to suggest some topics!

  2. Perhaps if you have access to free boots and pull them apart for shits and giggles, this may not be for you Stewie

  3. Would love to have heard more about how different boot designs affect suspension. Having spent a lot of time in plug boots before switching to tele, I went to a cabrio shell for my return to alpine and love the way they ski.

  4. This podcast was a more high level discussion versus previous deep dive discussions. It seems like the purpose was to confirm that the term suspension can indeed be applied to ski boots. I thought it was a good first effort. I also got the impression that a more deep dive discussion would follow in the future. If so, here is my list of topics to deep dive that contribute to ski boot suspension:

    1. Soles of boots: rubber vs plastic and gripwalk/WTR vs ISO 5355 and thickness/stiffness of shell bottom
    2. AFD’s, do they add shock absorption
    3. Boot boards, some are hard plastic (racing) , some are rubber (all mtn). Vibration coming through from skiing across hard corduroy
    4. Liners, density of foam, thickness of foam
    5. Tongue design, what your shin flexs into constantly. How padded and stiff they are
    6. Flex characteristics of three main ski boot plastics: PU, PA, PP (Somewhat covered in current podcast)
    7. Temperature effects on flex and suspension vs flex ratings (somewhat covered in current podcast)

    PS: Limiting the subject to alpine bindings, I always felt they all skied the same. Getting in and out can be very different. Since you have skied “same ski, different binding” can you go into the differences a little more, granted they are of a more subtle nature.

  5. I enjoyed it. One really interesting thing for me that was while atomic seems to push the lighter agenda in just about everything (and do a really good job making good light gear that a lot of my friends love), Matt (who can ski a quiver of boots) still prefers a beefy heavy boot. Which lines up with my own experience as well. But it seems like their flagship products for the average consumer from boots to skis are pretty light on average and they invest a lot of effort into the tech and marketing behind these products.

    Also, agreed I can’t tell the difference between my shifts, attacks, pivots, and sths (except stepping in) – but again all on different skis. That being said, they 100% feel different when releasing which I’m really not trying to test ever so hard to draw many conclusions there.

    • Like any boot, it’s all about finding what works for you. I guess it’s hard to get away from my ski racing background (despite my inability to race well). These boots have a certain fit, feel, geometry, etc. that I just tend to jive with. If you check out our freeski athlete roster (Sage, Benchetler, Durtschi, Daron, Lucy Sackbauer, etc.) there’s a good mix of Redster and Hawx users, so you’ll find both used at a professional level of skiing.

  6. I can listen to Matt talk about this stuff all day. He is so knowledgeable but everything is so specific to Atomic. Id like to hear from a three piece boot manufacturer on how they achieve the feel and what different strategies they might employ.

    • Sorry. I’d like to try to blame the broken ribs, torn ligaments, sleep deprivation, and cocktail of advil & tylenol I was on.

  7. I have a question relating to a previous episode regarding forward lean angle: As I understand it different boot manufacturers define forward lean differently – how do you at Atomic define it?
    I just picked up a pair of Redster CS (a somewhat odd thing to do in june) and was slightly surprised to find the forward lean less than I expected. I tried measuring with a inclinometer but I can’t really understand what reference points to use.

    Can’t wait for episodes 7->10!

  8. Hi Hans, we measure forward lean with a straight line up the back of the boot (0°= a perpendicular, vertical line). A stock, out of the box Redster CS has about 16° when done this way. I say “about” because there is no straight line on the ski boot to measure from and there’s no center-to-center measurement you can take like on a headtube of a bike frame. While it’s not possible to be bike frame exact, we at least measure all of our boots the same way. The 16° setting is achieved via a black, 3mm shim that lives at the bottom of the cuff. If you need more, there is an 18°/5mm shim that comes with the boot. The angles that are produced are ones that are most often used by our athletes.

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