Fill Your Boots – A Comprehensive Guide to Intuition Liners
Most people know Intuition because they make stock liners for major brands like Dalbello, Full Tilt, Scarpa, Atomic and Thirty Two — to name a few. But you need to know that the Intuition you get when you buy a boot off the shelf is not the same one you get when you buy an aftermarket liner right from the source.
The liners that go into boots for retail are made softer so they feel good when you try them on in store. Comfort is the priority here, and for most people that works out great. But for real performance, you need to look at Intuition’s full line up.
Their vast range of aftermarket options — which more than quadruples the amount of options from any other custom liner company — includes just as many models that are performance-oriented as comfort-oriented. And, in the end, they’re all comfortable anyway, because they’re custom.
Here are a few facts to know about Intuition compared to some of your other options:
Pros: Light, warm, they come in a wrap or a tongue, mold not just to your foot but to your shell (gives greater interface and power transmission from your foot to the shell). Good for 200 to 300 days if fit to a shell that’s right for you. Easy to modify and do additional fitting work to. Can be remolded and reworked up to eight or so times with the simple application of heat. They’re quick to dry, and good to camp in or use as hut booties.
Cons: Foam doesn’t breathe and you sweat like a monkey in them. Some models release vapour better than others, mind you, and tongues breath better than wraps. They can also be overwhelming and cramp your feet until you break them in. Expect five to 10 days before they break in, in most cases.
Pros: Stiff, custom fit to the foot without as much cramping while breaking them in, they basically don’t pack out and will last as long as your shells. Lots of pro skiers use them, so you get to be cool like them. They breathe and wick moisture.
Cons: They’re heavy, cold, difficult to fit, only come in tongue models, expensive, difficult to modify (requires acetone injection to soften them), and they take forever to dry because they’re like sponges.
OTHER HEAT MOLDABLE OPTIONS
Comformable makes a version, and various other companies make their own stock heat-moldable liners–like Dynafit–but not any of them compare and are worth talking about. This includes the European knock off brands. What’s the difference? For one: the foam. Intuition has proprietary rights to use the foam they do, which is the highest quality closed-cell memory foam out there. Next: R & D. There’s way more thought put into each Intuition liner, thus they have enough models to service pretty much every foot and boot.
Picking a Liner
Wrap vs. Tongue: Unless you know enough to know better for yourself, get a tongue liner for an overlap boot and a wrap liner for a tongue/three-piece boot (i.e. Dalbello Krypton, Full Tilt, etc.). Next thing to consider is that wraps stand taller and support the leg higher up. They add structure, stiffness, and can drive the top of the boot better. They’re especially good for tall people and folks with skinny calves. There are some stiff tongue liners now, too, but they’ll only be as stiff as your shell and don’t add as much structure. Tongues are best used with ultra stiff shells. Next thing you need to know is that wraps will impede your walk mode in a touring boot. In the regular alpine wrap, this is minimal, but the power wrap and plug wrap will add considerable resistance. All the tongue liners come with laces, but you can pull them off if you don’t like them. If you’re a snowboarder, best to stick with what’s closest to the original liner, and get a higher volume liner. But wraps do generally add a lot of structure, support and stiffness, if you’re looking for that.
Sizing: Intuition’s sizing used to be all over the map. It’s not anymore — it’s pretty much bang on. They don’t do half sizes, so order the size below your half size. If you’re a 26.5, order a 26. If you’re a 27.5, order a 27. You can go one size bigger if you want, you’ll have more room in front of your toes, but the extra foam will have to go somewhere and the forefoot of the liner will squash around and be a little fatter and tighter as a result.
The staple intuition liner — get this guy if you have a normal two-finger fit behind the heel and you want to stiffen your boot. If you’re tight in your shell, these can take some breaking in, and you might want to consider the plug liner.
Intuition’s stiffest liner—it’s got thin walls and a really thin layer of foam under foot so it can still accommodate a foot bed. It’s much lower volume for those of us with one finger or less behind the heel, and an all-around tight fit. Think racer tight.
This guy will add structure while still being reasonably supple. It doesn’t take up as much volume around the calf, because there’s no overlay (the “power” layer), but it’s still HD foam so it drives quite well. It has a bit more foam under the foot to take up some volume there, too, and gives some bounce. If you want a wrap for your touring boots, this is the way to go if you don’t want to bother your walk mode.
This is a hybrid. It’s got a stroble bottom, which means no foam (though there’s an insert if you want it). Next, it’s got thinner foam around the toes. This means it handles thicker footbeds better and you can drive more energy directly into the bottom of the boot, and your edge — and wiggle your toes. Though its just as thick as the other wraps, it has less volume overall because of the sole, so it’s best used in a tight shell. It also has a lower cut cuff that slopes forward and feels a bit more traditional — like a tongue
Basically, this is a power wrap designed specifically for women. It has a cut-away calf that’s more anatomical for women, less dense overlay to accommodate lower legs, and is pink on the inside! It also has a slightly softer layer on the inside, but not enough to compromise power. It’s actually one of the more brilliant liners, and back in the day they donated some of the funds from this model’s sales to breast cancer research.
Honestly, the only reason to get this is if you’re a split boarder modifying hard boots to make them feel like soft boots. They’re old school: really low and quite squishy under foot. They’re better than a stock liner, but compared to Intuition’s other offerings they’re miles behind. Unless, of course, you had a pair ten years ago you loved, and you want the exact same thing.
This is the stiffest and densest tongue liner. It’s the only one with a full-length overlay on the tongue. Think of it like a full shank. It also has a stroble bottom (with optional foam insert to take up volume) so it accommodates a foot bed well and drives energy to the edge through the bottom of the boot. Same as the Power Wrap Pro, this gives it a low volume feel, so it’s good for tight shells — one to one-and-a-half fingers behind the heel.
This is your comfort liner. It’s built the exact same way at the medium volume Luxury liner, but it has a layer of low-density foam on the inside. It doesn’t require molding (though it can be molded if you want it), and is really squishy and warm. It doesn’t drive as well, but it’s great for intermediates, or even touring boots where the priority is comfort and warmth.
The most versatile in the line: they come in low, medium and high volume, so you can accommodate any foot in any shell. It’s also an HD foam, so it’s a good driver. On average, it’s the go-to tongue liner. They work as well in touring boots as they do in 130-flex shells. Don’t let the name fool you — these perform.
This is your touring-specific liner. It has a bellows at the back to allow it to move with your shell in walk mode. This liner will be the best for touring performance. The downside is you lose a bit of tightness in the fit for the cut-aways that allow for this movement, and there’s almost no structure there for driving the boot, so it’s all the shell’s stiffness on the way down. You can get different tongues for them, to help stiffen them a bit, but beware the Velcro interface over your toes if you don’t have a lot of room in the toe box — it bugs some people. Think TLT 6 and long missions for this liner.
This is a low volume liner for your tight-ass shells. It uses an HD foam that locks your foot in and transmits energy super well, but doesn’t have a lot of room for stiff overlays. The tongue fans out over the toes in what looks like a moccasin, and is really low volume there. It’s great for tight toe boxes.
Same thing as above, but with softer foam for a bit more comfort and warmth. A good option for tight touring boots with little space for the toes (though, you should buy your touring boots with space for your toes!). It’s also good if you like the performance of a tight shell but you feel like you’d still like a bit of cushion all around.