Salomon Quest Max 130 Ski Boot Review
Just before all of next year’s Salomon gear starts leaking its way onto the web when the trade shows kick off this month, we take a look at their freeride touring boots you can buy’n ride right here and now this season. Here’s the gory details after a couple months using and abusing Salomon’s 2014 Quest Max 130 ski boots.
Coming in at 98mm width with a low instep, tight ankle and great heel cup, the fit of the Quest Max 130 is for real skiers and compromises nothing just because it has a walk mode. When most touring boots have loose ankles and massive insteps, it is a relief to get a boot fit for performance. To top it all off, Salomon has realized that everyone doesn’t have pointy feet so they made a squarer toe box! Mind blowing! For my foot and stance, the Quest max has a very natural feeling and relaxed stance that still offers plenty of support.
The boot comes with a decent liner that has minimal heat molding capabilities. More impressively, the heat moldable shell is pretty easy to use and makes a considerable difference. The custom shell is great for making room in those hard to punch places. However, I found molding the shell while standing in the boot can unintentionally create extra space in the ankles because of the forces produced when the boot is flexed. Careful when molding.
BUCKLES AND STRAPS
The Quest Max comes with a nice robust power strap that gives nice even pressure. I moved the power strap up 3 cm so that it could sit up on the liner and tighten to the shin. The instep buckle can adjust angles (as Salomon has done for years). This actually offers more support for the ankle, albeit very minimal. This boot has a three buckle design, though I much prefer four buckle boots. It just seems like very little weight is saved at the cost of not being able to have independent adjustment up the boot and more control of the flex. The upper buckles are removable with an allen key but unfortunately the lower buckles are not. See below.
Speaking of flex, this boot does not feel as stiff as other 130 flex alpine boots I’ve ridden. Sometimes it may feel stiff but when you truly drive it you will find it is soft and can buckle. That being said, I really enjoy the softer flex with the springy rebound. It is also a massive relief to have a touring boot that is not upright. The forward lean is aggressive and similar to your alpine boot.
These boots have the option of having din soles or rockered, rubber tech-compatible soles. With all the adjustable bindings out there, I am leaving the tech soles on full time. The boot skis better with the tech soles anyway because the din soles don’t have screws on the back half of the heel, which cause the heel piece to flex more than an 1/8” off the shell of the boot. The tech sole’s mounting surface is a different shape that the din soles which causes it to not sit flat. No issues seem to appear from this though. Salomon has also added a great rubber traction sole between the toe and heel that is handy for sledding and scrambles.
The walk mode is simple and that is about the best thing I can say about it. To start, the V cut in the lower shell which is meant to allow your calf to travel backwards when the upper cuff pivots out of the way. This cut does not open up large enough to be of much use because the V cut is too small for your leg to fit through. The lack of travel is mirrored on the front of the boot. It feels like minimal if any forward travel.
The walk mode lock mechanism is quick to open and close. Despite their attempt at solidifying the system with a metal bar, the walk mode still has tons of play fore and aft. If you get bucked back seat you will feel this play, which can be up to an 1/8” at the mechanism itself.
The Salomon Quest Max 130 ski boot has some issues I’ve identified above, but in the grand scheme of things they are small. If you are looking for a slack country boot with a phenomenal fit, this boot does it. Fit is the most important thing for a ski boot and Salomon has that on lock. All the chubby footed Hobbits out there will really benefit from the Custom Shell heart molding that will easily adjust the boot to their foot.