Black Diamond SHIVA
Comfort, style and performance.
Notwithstanding changes in fashion, I tend to be fiercely loyal to my ski boots so unless they leak or otherwise fall apart I hang on to them for years. 15 years for my last pair.
I have high arches (for which I have always used custom made footbeds), a wide foot and sensitive shins that forced me to wear gel pads every time I went skiing so my choices in ski boot are extremely limited.
The Black Diamond has proved to be my most comfortable ski boot to date: the boot moulded slowly to my foot and calf shape over time (though I could have opted to have it moulded in-shop more quickly) and I haven't had any pain whatsoever. The boot feels pretty tight for the first half day as the inner boot is new and cold but it warms up quick and by the end of the first day you can feel it adjusting to the contours of your leg becoming increasingly comfortable. The whole issue about my shins is now a thing of the past.
It's easy to get your feet in and out of the boot and I particularly like the wind up mechanism on the inner boot which makes doing up the remaining two clips simple and effort free. The boots provided real warmth in the cold and extreme comfort the whole day. They are fairly lightweight and their deep tread soles make walking on all terrains easy and safe.
One of my pet hates is the fact that womens' ski boots always seem to come in white reserving the interesting colours for the mens' boots only so the intense colour of the Black Diamond came as a welcome change. I ski tour on occasion as well so the ability to convert the boot between touring boot and conventional ski boot was an added bonus.
While I have no negative comments to make about the Black Diamond there are a couple of other points to make: the second clip on the toe of the boot doesn't seem to unwind particularly far so I leave this clip undone altogether as doing it up squashes my arch and gives me cramp ; bizarrely the womens' boot is bought with the touring sole whereas the mens' boot comes with the conventional ski boot sole - an additional fee is payable if you want the soles to convert it into the ski boot.
The service offered by the Snow & Rock staff member was superlative: he was knowledgeable, pleasant and patient. It isn't a cheap boot by any means but for comfort, style and performance they're fantastic - especially if they last me for the next 15 years!
15 January 2013