2016 Full Tilt B&E Pro Model
So it turns out Full Tilt were trolling us all when it came to the Tom Wallisch and the B&E pro model boots. They had no plans to discontinue two of their most popular boots, but rather than showing them off back in January at SIA, they waited until now. Whether you like their way of building hype, the new boots are not simply updated graphics, this season sees a big change to the way they fit.
Last Season, the Wallisch used the Soul shell (99mm) and the B&E used the Original (99mm). This year the Wallisch again uses the Soul shell, but the B&E switches to the all new 102mm Evolution shell. This is a pretty big move, no longer do you need narrow feet to fit into them, and as we all know with boots, fit is key.
The Big change for 2016 is the shell. Gone is the 99mm Original, replaced by the all new 102mm Evolution.
Other than the shell, the 2016 B&E and the Wallisch are nearly identical. Both come with a six tongue, an active foot board and the top-level pro liner, which means rather than picking the graphic you prefer, this season you can actually pick the best fit for you. I'm sure some of you would prefer to choose, but for people with wider feet like myself, actually having the option to wear one of the pro model boots is awesome.
The Evolution shell uses the very latest technology, including the new hybrid buckle cable system. You can find all the details on the new shell in my review of the Descendant 8, which uses the same shell as the B&E. The new shell does mean the loss of the cable covers, as the new buckle style cables do not really work with the covers, but they never did much anyway. Compared to the Descendant boots, the B&E uses an over-sized cinch (booster style) strap. One area I felt Full Tilt boots lacked a little was the support at the top of the cuff, but the new larger power strap should really help here and make the Evolution shell even better.
But why the change in shell? Well, it's partly down to one wide-footed Swede named Henrik.
Phil Casabon (left) and Henrik Harlaut (right) worked together to create the all new B&E pro model boot
Many would believe that all pro skiers have the perfect fitting boots, but I can assure you, this is very often not the case. Henrik Harlaut is a perfect example. Before moving to Full Tilt, Henrik was wearing the SPK from Salomon, and at 104mm, the SPK is a high volume boot with a very different fit to the Full Tilt Classic.
To get round this, many riders up-size, but that is not an ideal situation. What would be better is a dedicated wider boot, which is exactly what the new B&E boot offers; a high performance freestyle boot for riders with a wider foot.
But Henrik says it better than me:
"I love the boot like crazy. Never have I had a new boot and skied the first day without pain, but with this one I skied the whole first day from 8-4 and it felt perfect!
I had Salomon SPK boot before and I really liked it, but I wanted to switch to Full Tilt because they were so light, but a little less comfortable, but now our new boot has the same feeling as the SPK boot did but with the light Full Tilt feel to it, which is the ultimate combination I think"
The B&E and the Wallisch are available on Full Tilt's website now and they should be arriving into shops any day now.
So there you have it, the ultimate wide boot, and having spent quite some time in the Descendant 8 last season, I would have to agree. He is spot on when he says the new boots have that SPK feel. I actually tested both boots side by side and they do fit very similarly, but it's hard to beat that three piece flex in the park. If you are still riding beat up old SPK's, this could be your new favorite boot.
So what do you think of the new Pro Models and the way Full Tilt hid them away until now? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks to Henrik and Josh Malczyk for all the info, and finally a shout of to Kbob94, who actually found and posted the new boots in the forums, but was good enough to delete it, so as not to ruin the reveal.
Not a fan of pro model's? You can check out the rest of the Full Tilt line up in our gear showcase here.
Find out more: http://fulltiltboots.com/s/ltd-boots-ns