My first few laps in any new boot are always a case of trying to get the buckle tightness correct and these Rossi's were no different. I usually leave the foot pretty loose, but I like more support in the cuff but hopefully without a restrictive feeling in the calf. The cuff of these boots works quite well for me and I'm finding so long as I have a reasonable tightness on the top buckle I can have the second down a little looser. The wide powerstrap also helps gives the top of the boot a good snug fit and only in the beginning was I finding any real discomfort due to tightness.
Having a cuff which supports you well but without cutting off blood flow is really important. If you need to tighten your boots excessively to either make them feel secure on the leg or two make them feel stiff enough you may want to consider getting some fitting doing.
Ideally you should have good support from the cuff but be able to fit two fingers side by side behind your calf when you lean forward. Try to find this kind of fit and you will have good circulation all day.
Having the conventional four buckle design with a power strap did make things overall pretty easy to dial in the fit, although I don't see the need for a toe buckle to be honest.
Once I had the fit dialed in I did a few warm-up laps to see how my modifications were working. I could tell instantly that raising the ramp angle and adding the soft foam had worked perfectly for reducing impacts. Along with getting a better impact reduction I was finding I got better heel hold, partly because I sat better in the heel pocket but also because I had a more snug fit over the instep.
Heel hold can be hard but I have found ensuring the heel pocket is wide enough is very important. Too narrow and even with the best impact protection you can hurt the side of the heel on heavy landings.
On backseat landings my left foot was feeling great in the toe box on the left boot but the right was still a little tight and did require some more adjustment.
The toe box has been the hardest part to get right over my time testing. Although it is possible to alter the shell there are limits and I found I was not able to push it quite as far as I needed. They work well nearly all the time but on big backseat landings my toes will be sore.
Part of the issue is the liner though. People often get a boot stretched loads but are then surprised it does not feel much bigger and the reason is the liner. Although liners are soft they wont stretch a great amount or they would offer no support. Its important to consider if you may also need the liner adjusting along with the shell.
I found the toe box of the liner matches the shell quite closely so again was not working for me. I was able to improve it by cutting a few of the seems to give a more relaxed fit but overall if I was buying boots I would perhaps look for a boot with a toe box which better suited my foot.
The flex was something I expected to play with a little to find what I liked best, but I found the standard 120 setting has been great for nearly everything. I'm finding that the flex never really feels overpowering in the park, but I am still able to push the boots hard. I often find boots aimed solely at the park tend to be a little forgiving and often too soft.
Personally I prefer a more conventional, stiffer flex as I find a good fit offers more comfort to me then a softer overall boot. I'm also getting a bit older and I do like the added support a slightly stiffer boot offers. I was able to rest into the cuff and take some weight off the legs without worrying I would overflex the boots, having the ability to rest slightly in boots I find very useful especially on longer runs.
One thing I do like in boots is lateral (side to side) stiffness, a boot should feel stiff side to side, so when you're carving you can really push into the boot. However, in many boots however I find the forward flex feels stiffer then the lateral flex. If anything I would say these are the opposite, they feel incredibly powerful side to side, while still giving a fairly forgiving forward flex, all of which means they work really well both in and out of the park.
Something I often overlook is how easy the boots are to get on and off but the first time I put the boots on I noticed just how little effort it required. There is a section of softer plastic over the instep which allows the boot to open more easily but I have found it has other benefits too.
Being slightly softer I do find I can get a better fit over the instep then a lot of boots. The plastic can give a little to give a comfortable fit but the firmer plastic around the sides still offers all the support you will need.
Another thing I found it offered was a little unexpected. Being slightly softer it gave the end of the forward flex a less harsh feel. On some boots with a very firm shell you may find the end of the flex is very harsh as the cuff hits the cuff, on these boots that hard hit was less intense partly to do with the softer plastic on the instep.
So although unexpected the boots being easy to get on may also may them more desirable for park riders.
One thing I did slightly differently for this test was to not mold the liners. People often say if you don't mold them, they will bed in just the same and last longer. To test this I skied them out of the box and really they have been ok but no great. They have taken some time but they are bedded in but I would not do it again. Molding really does do more then just skiing. If you use toecaps you can really push the heel back into the liner giving potentially more room in the toes and a tighter heel fit.
If you get a boot with a heat mold liner, get it molded it really is worth it.
Overall I have been very happy with the Allspeeds. The cuff offers a very supportive yet forgiving flex which is perfect for the park. The shell shape is tighter then I would normally go for although I have found it has held me so well I can usually ski without the foot buckles, buckled which has been nice.
A big factor in these boots favor is the large amount of possible fit and flex options. Most people should be able to find an option which works for them and with a little modification you will have a boot which will work perfectly not just in the park but all over the mountain.
The biggest issue has been the toes and really this is not a fault of the boot but more simply a case that I don't fit perfectly. But I have never found any occasions where I have been wanting more cushioning or any of the other features offered by "Park Boots".