I had used my new Centrix classic ski boots a couple of time roller
skiing. I mostly double poled so it wasn't the greatest test. But I
did appreciate the support these boots had. So I looked forward to
getting them on snow and try striding in them.
I got a chance to try them on snow this weekend at Hatcher Pass. I
quickly found that these boots need some break-in time. This should
not be taken at as criticism of the boots - my old Salomon Skate 9's,
that eventually fit like slippers, had some break-in time with them
too. I talked to other skiers that had been on snow during the week
and had been using Centrix boots. They said the same thing ... a few
blisters at first, but the boots started feeling good after a few uses.
My take on this is that if you want better support in a boot ...
unfortunately you have to suffer a bit through a break-in period. So
make sure you bring your old boots along when you first go skiing with
these. In case you have the hot heels situation - the old boots can
save the day until the Centrixes break-in.
One think I like about the Centrixes is the fact that you can put them
on like a shoe. They are easy to get on and off. I say this after
suffering entries and exits with the Salomon Carbon classic boots.
What a pain-in-the ass design the Carbons are for getting on and off.
You have to do a neoprene cuff Houdini act to contort in and out of
One thing to note with the Centrixes is that the buyer should try and
make sure they are going to fit right, before they walk out of the
store. With traditional ski boots - fit can be tweaked with orthodics
and various insole and heel inserts. Most all of these foot support
products are designed to be used with flat-bed foot surfaces. The
Centrix has a rounded foot bet. So inserts may, or may not, work as
expected in these boots. I tried the inserts that I like to use
(Powerbed insole with a Tempur-pedic insole on top) in the Centrix.
The Centrix footbed is not that rounded ... so it seems like such a
modification will work. But it's not quite the same as the old style
Another issue: the use of neoprene in the boot. Now this is an issue
that is not Fischer specific. I think Rossi started using neoprene,
then Salomon, now Fischer. What's the problem with neoprene? it's a
fabric that does not make sense for winter use.
Neoprene is what they make wet suits out of. They call them "wet
suits" because neoprene makes one wet inside. Do you want to have wet
feet inside minimally insulated boots in the winter? Combine neoprene
with other non-breathable fabrics on a boot - and you have a problem.
The fact that neoprene is not a good winter fabric is nothing new. I
remember getting ready to climb Mt. McKinly and asking a veteran
climber what the deal was with neoprene socks. He, wisely, said that
neoprene socks are dangerous. They keep your feet warm, though wet,
while you are moving - but you have to get them off fast when you stop
or your feet will rapidly cool and freeze.
The advice above was given to me in 1984. Now 20 years later our new
generations of boot designers seem to have to relearn this lesson - at
the expense of skiers' cold feet. Non-breathing boots make sense for
World Cup racers - where they race in mostly moderate Central Europe of
Scandinavian temps. And they likely take their boots off soon after
But for real world North American skiing where temps can stay frigid
for long periods of time in places like New England, Minnesota, Alaska
and Canada - wearing boots that are guaranteed to give you wet feet is
not good. It's especially not good if you have to stand around after
exercising - like if your are a coach or you want to go back out and
cheer on your spouse or teammates. Or if you are a citizen racer
that's going to take 4 hours to complete the Birkie in cold weather.
The Salomon Classic 9s and Skate 9s still have the breathability to
make them good cold weather boots. I wish boot manufacturers would
recognize this and make better boots for skiing in North America.
I should say ... that this review is coming from an athlete that has
not been sponsored by anyone in the last 25 years or so. I'm a
consumer that just wants a good product at a good price. Just like
My bottom line on the Fischer Centrix Classic Boot: It's a keeper
... I just need to give them more love so they start giving more love
to my heels.
BTW - skiing at Hatcher Pass was sunny, 23 F, extra blue/ VR40 on
packed powder. Oh yeah! =:o