”Sometimes the quest for better comfort, more control, and good fit leads down the path of ski boot liners. ZipFit enters the touring boot liner game with a superb, durable, yet heavy and pricey aftermarket liner. Squirrel away the money you might otherwise spend on those triple-espressos.
Throughout the ski world, aftermarket liners seem to be a controversial subject. Some boot manufacturers annually claim that their in-house liners are so good that they don’t need replacing, and others (see Scarpa) use aftermarket Intuition liners standard in their boots. Anecdotally, most backcountry skiers in my orbit seem to be using some flavor of Intuitions in their boots, with some replacing liners more than once a season. This brings us to the crux of all-foam boot liners; packing out. The real liner beatdown occurs when touring uphill; the walking motion leads to significant wear and compression of the liner’s foam. While redoing the heat molding process can rejuvenate the foam and get more life out of a liner, they eventually pack out, get holes or abrasions from rubbing inside a shell, and end up in the trash.
Enter ZipFit – I had heard about ZipFit from friends that are dedicated resort skiers. While our gear preferences are generally completely incompatible, it piqued my interest to hear time and time again about great experiences with ZipFit alpine liners. Combine that with catching wind of a new touring liner, I had to get my hands on a pair.
Before this past winter, I had heard of ZipFit, but frankly had no idea what made them special or different from any other aftermarket liner. I imagine I’m not alone in my lack of knowledge on this subject, as they really haven’t been relevant to the touring market until this past winter.
Perhaps the biggest differentiator of a ZipFit is the materials used – there is no foam in these liners. They use microfiber, leather, and neoprene – then fill the liner with cork composite called OMFit. ZipFit claims their liners will last 300-500 days on snow, and I’ve heard stories of folks getting close to 1000 days from their ZipFit alpine liners. While I’m interested to see how that translates to a touring liner that suffers wear and tear from walking and rubbing, I expect a significantly longer lifespan than an Intuition or similar foam liner.
In addition to the durability aspect, there are a few other claimed benefits to ZipFit’s liners. First, the OMFit cork is held in four bladders from which one can add and remove the cork – this means one can finely adjust the volume in the Achilles, ankle, instep, and shin areas all independently. This adjustability allows people like me – with skinny ankles and heels – to secure my heels as I’ve never experienced in other liners. The forefoot area is constructed from lined neoprene that is thin and stretchy to give your forefoot space to stay warm and accommodate any bunions or sensitive spots.”
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