What's up doods....
I have been riding Dalbello Kr2 Pro's for the better part of this year (Size 27.5 / 317 BSL) and absolutely love them. So far they have provided the best heel and ankle hold out of any boot I have owned and are one of the most responsive freeride boots I have ever ridden which is great for when I am skiing trees or technical terrain on my bigger sticks.
Problem is when we don't have great snow here on the east coast, which is turning out to be the majority of this season this year I have found myself riding more and more park. Upon learning new tricks and a few backseat landings I have acquired quite a bit of boot bang on the back of my calf and on the front of my shin. I understand its not necessarily the boots fault as with any repetitive landings backseat you are going to get some bang but I picked up some Full Tilt Dropkicks (Size 28.5 / 318 BSL) that I planned to try on days in the park to take advantage of the lighter shell and more flexible #6 tongue.
I got the 28.5 size because that is what I rode previous years (Full Tilt Classics) and had a good performance shell fit and overall good experience with them before I sold them to a friend. I also liked the idea that with only 1mm BSL difference between the Dalbello and Full Tilt shells I would be able to interchange my Krypton Pros out with the Drop Kicks anytime without having to adjust the forward pressure on my FKS or Pivot bindings on any of my skis.
Upon receiving my new Dropkicks I have a few concerns on the fit and ultimately the more I think about it I have an overall concern as to whether the boot really will provide any better performance in the park than my Krypton's with the softer of the two tongues installed?
When I got my classics two years ago I had to punch the shell at my left big toe a bit and also get the intuition liners packed out significantly with toe caps to make room for my bony toes. Trying on this years drop kicks in the same size as my older classics required zero shell punching and basically no need for toe caps and baking of the intuition liner whatsoever. The shell fit also seems to be a hair bigger than what I remember on the classics.
My question is did the fit of Full Tilts normalize in the last few years as I know I heard through the grapevine that earlier models used to run a bit small? I can just fit 2 fingers behind my heel and would say I have approximately an inch of space with my toes just touching the front of the boots when standing in the shell. I have provided a picture of the shell fit and placed a 1" x 1" iPhone charging block squeezed in behind my heel for reference of how much space is there. Do you guys think I should size down to the 27.5? I know the boot will pack out over time and I am afraid that I will have poor heel hold as I already feel like the dropkicks can't compare the to heel fit of my Krypton's? I also find that I have to tighten the buckles down closer to the end of their range to really feel as secure as I am in my Krypton's and am wondering if I have too much volume in the liner and not enough leg to fill it up (skinny ankles and calves).
I'm sorry for the long explanation but I guess I am at a loss for what to do. I contemplated sending the Full Tilts back and instead getting a booster strap and some of those U-shaped pads that you can put on the back of the intuition liners at the lower calf to try and help with the calf-bang of the krypton's. I also contemplated swapping out the Dropkicks for a smaller size and getting some boot work done to make them have a performance fit but would prefer not to because it would make my Krypton's un-rideable without adjusting the bindings because of too much change in BSL. And lastly I have just contemplated playing around with footbed's and padding to get the dropkicks to have a better performance fit and the heel hold I prefer which at the end of the day would allow me to ride both pairs like I originally planned.
Will the dropkicks offer me any advantage in the park (weight, softer flex, forgiveness on poor landings) that it would be worth keeping them or going to the smaller size and abandoning the Dalbello's or am I really just trading apples for oranges? I am by no means an expert rider but I definitely need to figure something out that will work so I can continue to progress in the park while learning new tricks. If I didn't have a few bad landings I never would have felt like I had an issue with the Krypton's but after the last week my calves and ankles have been going through hell. I know the Dalbello's cuff is much more torsionally (laterally) stiff than the Full Tilts so that is why I contemplated that may be an issue when landing backseat as I never had shin-bang before with my Classics even when I fell. I spent the last two weeks recovering off of the skis and it has been eating at me a ton mentally.
Just trying to get your guys thoughts before I make any more impulsive decisions when it comes to boot buying. + K for help and thanks to all!
Oh and for the record.... I have visited boot-fitters many many many times. I know how to shell fit, fit proper footbeds, heat mold and modify liners as good as any of the shops around me. Living in PA has left me with very little options as my local shops look at newschoolers and our preferred boot choices with a blind eye. So save your "go to a boot-fitter comments" because at this point they have only caused me more issues than they have solved.