Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Madshus Nano Carbon Skate Boots 2014-15

The 2014-15 Madshus Nano Carbon Skate Boot.
I got a pair of size 44 Madshus Nano Carbon Skate Boots by FedEx about a week ago.   These are the newly updated boots for the 2014-15 season, which are an update to the Nano skate boot that you'll remember as the bright red and black boot.  

The new Nano boot is quickly and obviously distinguishable with the new color scheme, the new boots are black with red and white accents (as compared to the old boot which was red/black).

Now with Xcelerator NNN sole.
These Nano boots now feature the Xcelerator sole, so they have a different flex characteristics to the old NNN sole and the slightly lowered heel.   While I feel that the increased foreword flex is very noticeable it doesn't seem to come at the expense of torsional rigidity which is still very good.   If you're a skier who routinely uses wedges, skips the NNN heel piece, or uses the SSR binding, then the lowered heel will feel great, and might allow you to skip some of the other measures you've taken to get your stance comfortable.    On the other hand, if you're using "regular" flat Xcelerator NNN bindings, then you might need a few outings to get used to the dropped heel on the new Nano skate boots.    Madshus isn't alone in their use of the Xcelerator sole - these new soles have been in use for 2 seasons on the Rossignol Xium World Cup skate boot, for instance, so using the Xcelerator sole isn't so much groundbreaking, as it is perhaps 'making up ground'.

Comfy ankle padding, regular laces,
and velcro cuff closure are unchanged.
Materials in the lower part of the boot is new material, a synthetic material (leather-like) that's durable and has some modicum of flexibility.    The upper part of the boot (the gaiter) is again the breathable MemBrain material that worked well on the older boots.   Overall, I like the feel of the boots on my foot, though I had no trouble with durability on the older version.   The interior padding up around the ankle and the rear half of the boot seem virtually identical to the boot's predecessor.

The lacing system, and the ankle strap are definitely sticking with the Madshus pedigree: the laces are tied like an ordinary sneaker, and the ankle cuff is secured with a sturdy velcro strap.  These both seem to work really well, and clearly Madshus felt no need to change these.  

The fit.   The new version of the Nano Carbon Skate boot is a little bit roomier in the toe box than the boot it replaces.   While I wouldn't call it a "wide" boot, I will say that it is a friendly fit for people who have a higher volume foot, or who like a little wiggle room for the toes.

Okay, weights and measures...      These new Madshus boots are actually lighter than last year's boots and also lighter than their RedLine Super Nano boots.     The numbers look like this:

  • 2014-15 Madshus Nano Carbon Skate boot size 44   -  558g per boot
  • 2013-14 Madshus Nano Carbon skate boot size 44    -  606g per boot
  • 2014-15 Madshus Super Nano Skate boot size 44    -  569g per boot

Note that these boots are lighter than similarly priced offerings from other brands.   They are light.

There can be some confusion, because the super-top-end RedLine Super Nano boot is black and not red at all.   While the existing Nano boot is in fact red (color).   Now the Nano Carbon Skate boot will look more akin to the uber-stiff more expensive sibling, though still a very high spec boot in its own right.     The price is a big enough differentiator to keep most people clear in their mind, once they've had a good look.   The SuperNano being the $750 carbon molded version, while the Nano is at around $424.

So what's my verdict and take-away?   This new boot has a different ski feel than the predecessor, largely due to the NNN Xcelerator sole, with its increased forward flex and lowered heel.     Yet the boot retains the torsional stiffness and good fit of the previous boot.  If you liked the fit of the previous version of the Nano boot, then you'll likely find these to be a good fit as well.    Madshus has done it without raising the price, and overall quality is quite good.    These are a first rate, top end race boot that should have enough comfort for long training days for most skiers.

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