“Comfort is performance.” These three words stand at the core of what Full Tilt Boots is all about. What’s remarkable is how the three-piece design came to life more than three decades ago, quickly amassed a cult following and today, continues to be the absolute be-all and end-all for countless skiers.
￼￼Turn the clock back to the early 1970s when a guy named Eric Giese was working for NASA. Astronauts were experiencing gear-related troubles—heating lines that ran through their suits would kink around the knees and ankles during space walks. Giese’s solution: incorporate articulating hinges with ribs, much like a bendy straw, allowing for greater flex and ultimately preserving the shape of the suit around the joints.
In the winter of 1978-79, Giese was a skier living in Aspen, CO, and thought to apply this design to the tongue of a ski boot. And so the floating, ribbed boot tongue was born–a big leap away from the overlap style of boot that pervaded the market. The obvious benefit: the boot would flex naturally with the ankle and with minimal bulging in the lower shell.
The boot design was met with skepticism, but Giese convinced Swiss boot-maker Raichle that producing a three- piece boot was a no-brainer. And so it began. It didn’t take long before the masses adopted the new boot, from ski racers to hot doggers.
Phil Casabon, Henrik Harlaut. Photo by Fabrice Wittner
Though Raichle would eventually sell the rights to the technology, and the boot fell somewhat victim to the ebb and flow of the market, one thing remained the same: a segment of skiers needed that three-piece design, to the point that folks would search high and low—from yard sales to ski swaps—for spare parts to keep their old boots working. Two decades later, in 2006, with consumer demand unfading, Full Tilt was founded with a mission of restoring the original mold. Despite the upgrades in technology, the boot’s fundamental design has remained strong. For those who dig it, there’s simply no substitute.
“The boots are scalable in performance,” says global brand director, Josh Malczyk, referring to the interchangeable tongues of different flexes. “It’s easy for moms, dads and kids. You can slip your foot in there with such ease. They’re amazingly light, and they’re warm as f—, but the boots also scale all the way up to Seth Morrison and Tom Wallisch. The performance is amazing.”
Morrison and Wallisch are just two of a stacked team of brand ambassadors. The list includes names like Mike Hornbeck, Henrik Harlaut and Phil Casabon. Full Tilt is a go-to for skiers from all walks of the freestyle world too, from freeskiing to moguls to aerials. A whopping 83 athletes competed at the Sochi Winter Games using Full Tilt boots, with seven of them landing on the podium.
Among the three primary shell offerings, there’s something for almost everyone. The original three-piece shell has a 99 mm last, the Influence shell (Booter, High Five and Mary Jane models) has a 102 mm last, and the Soul shell (Seth, Tom Wallisch and Soul Sister models) is identical to the original but with a rubber sole and widened toe box. Tongues of different stiffness can be easily switched to accommodate different styles of riding as well, so you can shred park one day and rip steep lines the next.
Bottom line: the three-piece design is going strong and Full Tilt is leading the charge.
“Demands of aggressive freestyle skiers are the same – make it simple, light and stylish. Since style can be sleek or loud….” Click for full review.
“With a woman-specific last and cuff, the Full Tilt Soul Sister ski boots offer a rare blend of powerful control and comfort, simply not found in other women’s…” Click for full review.
“The most influential duo in freestyle skiing, Phil Casabon and Henrik Harlaut, are back with their second edition Full Tilt B&E Pro Model ski boots….” Click for full review.