A decent deal on t4's with rotfella R8 bindings came around. If I can get him down to 200-225 I'm thinking about going for it..
I've never teled before...
What are some good suggestions on tele boots, I'll be doing a good amount of touring on them
While I'm admittedly overwhelmed by ski choices, when it comes to Teleboots, things are IMO, much simpler.
What I know is fairly narrow, because I found what worked for me and I've stuck to it. I'll give ya what I got.
First — my bias — comfort over performance. I'd take daylong comfort over 10% better "performance" whatever that means. Something I love about teleskiing - in my experience, the boots are much more likely to be comfortable out of the box with out a lot of custom fitting. One thing I have never seen is teleskiers reaching down to undo their buckles as soon as they pull up to the lift. It's because they are comfortable. I could sleep in my Scarpas with them buckled as tight as I ski them.
Last time I looked there were only 4 manufacturers of Teleboots: Scarpa, Garmont, Crispi and Black Diamond. Different brands have reputations for working with different kinds of feet. I'd call my foot on the narrow side of average and Scarpa works incredibly well for me. I'm a 27.5 in Scarpa's and I'd have absolutely no qualms mail ordering a pair of Scarpas in my size.
Garmonts have a reputation for fitting wide feet. The only other brand I've ever worn was a pair of Garmont Synergy's that I rented at Stowe one time. They were wide. In the proper size, no matter how much I tightened them, they felt really loose.
I've heard that Crispi's might pinch your toes. Zelda absolutely loves hers - swears by them, but she's got small toes.
I don't know anything about Black Diamond.
Scarpa's have heat moldable liners. Not sure about the other brands, but they must have them. Find a shop with a reputation for doing a good job on the heat mold. You can do it yourself, but why mess around. Get it done by someone who knows what is up.
If you have heat moldable liners, and you bought the right size boot, they will feel way too tight when you try them on before they are molded. Usually the guy/gal sizing you will stick your foot in the plastic shell without the liners. If they can get two fingers behind your heel that's a "comfort" fit. If it's one finger that's a "performance" fit.
Shops that know what they are doing some kind of CAP on your toes. This creates extra room around your toes and really improves comfort and sacrifices little if any performance. Fit the boots for thin socks. Eventually the liners "pack out" and you can get a little more out of them by going to thicker socks.
What model? I only know about Scarpas. If you are doing a lot of touring but are a pretty aggressive skier I'd recommend the T2X. Not sure about this years Scarpa lineup, but last year the T1 and the TRace were more aggressive (stiffer) than the T2X. Hell in all the ski movies you see guys in the BC on TRace's so take my advice with a grain of salt. Remember I take comfort over performance. Also remember that when you are earning turns - 90% of your time is spent going up hill.
I just did some checking online and it looks like my beloved T2X has been replaced by the T2 Eco. Looks like it's called ECO because it's made from canola oil instead of dead dinosaurs.
My tribute the the T2X:
Hopefully Sick Bird Rider, Adk Keith, mattchuck2 and others will chime in. They are bound to have experience with other brands, and newer models.
Chris ... hoping Breck is treating you right. Stay in touch. We definitely want to see your TRs around here.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
I tele in Crispi XRs. Like Harv, I can't really compare to other brands because I went from ancient (but still rockin') lace-up Merrell Ultras to these four buckle plastic monsters. Took a bit of getting used too, I might add. I have pretty average feet, average toes and the Crispis fit beautifully, no toe pinch. And best of all, they are really LIGHT. My ski buddy Telemark Dave has older T-Races and he was astounded to discover that both my boots weigh about the same as one of his. Another friend just got the BD Push and really likes them, that's about all I know about other brands. I do think it comes down to fit, like any footwear. You might find that you have a Crispi foot, or a BD foot, or a Garmont foot. Buy what fits best and ride it.
FWIW, if I was starting from scratch and had the $, I would go NTN, no question.
Coming from an Alpine background, I tend to gravitate towards the stiffer Tele Boots. I used Scarpa T-Races for a while, and I currently rock Garmont Syner-Gs.
The T4's will be good for touring, but I don't know if I wouldn't want something a little stiffer. I guess the worst case scenario would be if you buy the T4's, then you get out on them your first day and you're flopping all over the place, you can't stand it, and you give up telemarking altogether, and you're $200 poorer.
Admittedly, I don't have a lot of experience with the more touring oriented Tele Boots, but I always preferred to have something a little more alpine-like (higher cuff, more buckles, more rigid). My reasoning is that, if I need to revert to an alpine turn (which you definitely are going to do a lot of in the learning phase), the boots would be there for me. Even now, I do a lot of alpine turns (in tight trees, at the end of the day when I'm tired, etc.), and I definitely don't want to be in the position of not trusting the boots under me to deliver the edge power I need.
It's possible that these fears are misplaced (like I said, I've never really tried the lower cuff touring style boots), but for me, it was better safe then sorry.