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Atomic dials-in boot fit with widths, BOA technology

Boot Preview

Thu, Oct  9, 2008 - By Mike Muha

Here's a first look at what's new with Atomic. Most of the material is from Atomic or from the company providing the new BOA technology.

Atomic Racing Boots

Nordic manufacturers have traditionally offered their top of the line race boots in just one width. To make sure the boots provided a good secure fit for the lateral demands of skating, race boots have only been available in different variations of narrow. Athletes with feet slightly wider than average found themselves buying the number 2 boot in a line in order to have a comfortable fit.

Atomic is changing all of that for this coming winter. The top of the line skate and classic boots offered by Atomic will be available with two different widths.

  • The white and red "World Cup" skate and classic boots will be built around the narrower "S-Lab" last with its minimal volume. This will be Atomic’s lowest volume last and it will offer a secure fit for athletes whose feet are narrower than average.
  • The black and red "Race Carbon" skate and classic boots use a slightly wider last for feet of average width.

The Worldcup Skate and Race Carbon Skate are identical boots. Both use the same high end Pilot 2 Carbon Pro sole and both have the same uppers that incorporate carbon stabilizers. The boots are only different in their widths. The same is true of the Worldcup Classic and Race Carbon Classic boots. Both classic boots have the same soles and uppers, they are only separated by the volume of their fits.

Atomic World Cup Skate ski boot
Atomic Race Carbon Skate ski boot
World Cup Skate ski bootRace Carbon Skate ski boot

Sport Active boots

Just below the race line, Atomic is offering a skate and classic boot based on BOA technology. BOA is a Colorado based company that offers the highest level of athletic boot and shoe fitting technology. This system uses a ratchet that controls a series of cables.  These cables connect to the bottom of a soft rubber like plate that fits above the foot.  It is the plate, not the cables, that goes over the foot. Turning the ratchet tightens the cables which pulls the plate over the foot. The end result is a secure fit that is far more comfortable and secure than the fit that comes with lacing. The plate can provide a snug fit without any pressure points that makes for great combination of comfort and performance.

BOA Shoe Reel System
BOA Shoe Reel System
BOA shoe reel system (I could not find a picture of the inside of an Atomic boot, but I'd assume its the same system)

The lace cable ends are fixed to a spool within the miniature Boa Reel. When the knob is rotated, the lace is wound on to the spool as the boot tightens. The gear train in the reel develops significant mechanical advantage so a great deal of tensioning force is created with very little effort.

According to Atomic, tightening or loosening the BOA boots only takes a couple of seconds. Gloves do not need to be removed and poles can be left on.

Atomic BOA Skate ski boot
 Atomic BOA Classic ski boot
BOA Skate ski boot BOA Classic ski boot

Most nordic skiers spend too much time obsessing about ski fit, and not enough time caring about boot fit. There is no question that having skis of the right flex should be an important priority.  However, Atomic believes it is a huge mistake on the part of many skiers to place such little concern on boot fit.  The ski won’t perform if the boot isn’t properly transferring energy. The skiers themselves won’t perform if their feet are sore and uncomfortable.

Wiht the BOA Skate and BOA Classic boots, Atomic has taken a step that is common with footwear manufacturers in running, cycling and other endurance sports. The athletes’ feet are held securely in their shoes with no slop, while maintaining genuine comfort.


How the BOA system works