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Head Stratos Pro fit


Jules
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Wise carvers,

I realize that with this message I am adding *yet another* boot fitting advice request thread to the extant rash of similar requests in recent days, but here goes anyway...

I am new to alpine snowboarding and skiboarding, a refugee from the world of alpine skiing which has lost much of its interest for me over the years. I am really excited to get going in these two new sports, but in the past, the fitting of ski boots has been a rather considerable problem for me. I have moderately wide, high-volume feet and so selecting boots has consistently been a battle against torture of both the too-large and too-small varieties.

Having done some research in assessing the field of available hard-shell snowboard boots, the Head Stratos Pros with their highly-adjustable buckles and more bulbous shape seemed like they might provide my best chance for fitting success (while also seeming to be quite swanky to boot....*rimshot*). Given that hard-shell snowboard boots are few and far between retail-wise in my neck of the woods (SF Peninsula), I decided to take a calculated risk and based on measurements combined with past fitting experience, purchased a pair of the Stratos Pros from Bomberonline. They arrived promptly, as forecasted, this past Friday.

The larger of my two feet measures 26.51 cm without socks and 27.15 cm with my mid-thickness cushioned ski socks on (which are a step of thickness above my very thin pair). My arches are definitely *not* flat, though they are not high enough to be considered "high" either. Of all the footbeds for many different types of footwear that I have tried over the years, the one that I have found to be nearest to perfect is the "regular" width, European size 41 Birkenstock bed. In the past I've skied with boots ranging from size 26 to 28.

So...my calculated guess in ordering the Stratos Pros was size 26. Trying these (very nice!) boots on here in my living room without the liner, when I place my bare feet in the shell for the "two finger" test, I am able to fit a near-perfect 1.5 stacked fingers behind my heel. However, in trying on (with bare feet) the liners by themselves and in the shell, I find the boots a bit on the short side length-wise. This alone *might* have been an acceptable level of tightness in taking into account the potential for the liners to pack out over time, however, the primary problem I'm having is that the tongue on the liner (both when in and outside the shell) is far too tight over the top of my foot. It almost feels as if the upward break or curve in the (quite stiff on these boots) liner tongue is sitting too far forward on my foot, thus causing it to put too much downward pressure on the top of my foot instead of backward pressure on my ankle.

I plan to request an exchange for a larger sized Stratos Pro pair from Bomber, but first, I need to figure out how *much* larger a pair I should exchange for. In the absence of half sizes, what do you folks think? Should I go for 27's, or at the risk of running too large but based on the with-sock measurement mentioned above, 28's?

---Jules

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Did you get thermoflex liners? They will almost certainly solve the length problem - I have about the same 1.5-finger shell fit, and my toes are happy. The liners are molded with toe caps on your feet, so there will be room.

I suspect that thermo liners would fix the top-of-foot problem too, but I can't say that from experience. I have ski boots with regular liners that have that same fit problem (top of my foot is killing me after just a couple runs), and I'm going to get thermoflex liners for them in the next few weeks because I *think* it will work out well, just based on how well they have worked for me to solve other fit problems. Perhaps someone else can speak from experience though.

IMO you're probably better off using a small shell and thermo liners, than a larger shell and regular liners. It costs more but the fit and performance are much better.

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I have a pair of Stratos in 28.

My foot measures 28.0, I wear a 10.5

or 43 shoe. The boots felt tight at

first, but after a season they have packed

out and some days I think I should

of tried a 27.

Based on your foot size, 28s would be

way too big, I think all you need to do is work

on the liners.

- greg

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Hello Jules,

According to the description in the Bomber store the Stratos Pro already have liners described as "contour Thermofit liner with thermoformable".

Where there any instructions about baking the liners with the boots?

I would have suggested asking Davy Kammer ( DKAMMER@us.head.com ) from Head, however he's out of the office util the 18th so how about asking Fin to see if he knows?

Regards,

UK2TX2CA

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The Stratos Pro liners are indeed theromo-formable as indicated in their Bomber Store description. Unlike the Raichle Thermoflex liners, however, as described in their accompanying product literature (and the boot fitting section of the excellent Carver's Almanac), the Stratos Pro liners should be hose- rather than oven-heated.

This afternoon, I stopped by Mel Cotton's in San Jose where they were able to use their Salomon hose-heater to toast my liners as indicated. I am happy to say that the boots now fit on the (appropriately) snug side of perfectly . Thanks, all of you, for your advice!

---Jules

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UK2TX2CA,

The total cost (no tax for labor-type sales) was $15. Don and Jacob were the two guys helping me and they were able to complete the process quite speedily---in about a half hour in total.

Changing gears a bit here, your mention of "Davy Kammer" as a contact person for questions at Head piqued my interest: what's the story with Head publicity for alpine snowboarding? As far as I can tell, they don't have any information up on either their main or snowboard specialty sites. Have I overlooked something? Given what seems to be the very nice product (as yet untested on snow by me, of course) that they have on their hands, I'm surprised that more hasn't been done to promote it.

---Jules

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Hello Jules,

You are correct, they have no information available...in fact they even refer people to BomberOnline to get information about the Stratos boots!

I'm talking to "them" via Davy about improving this situation.

I'll post what I find out when I get the information.

Regards,

UK2TX2CA

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