Two years ago, Nordica revived its legendary Dobermann and Grand Prix franchises; last year the resurrection trend continued with the reanimation of Speedmachine in a new twist on a classic, built on a medium (100mm) last. Speedmachine models would be comfortable and capable 4-buckle overlap shells even without a trifecta of bonus features that Nordica bundles under the umbrella term Tri-Fit Technology.
The sexiest element in the Tri-Fit triad is a locally applied infrared heating system used to achieve quick and lasting shell expansion. An Infrared Heating lamp warms the shell from the inside out, then a suction cup is placed over the heated zone to initiate the shell’s distortion. After a few minutes the separately heated liners (the second element of Tri-Fit) are re-inserted and the skier puts the still warm boots on and wears them for 5 minutes.
The oven-heated inner boots use a cork compound to follow every contour of the heel and ankle area, a material that readily adapts to any foot shape. The third piece of the Tri-Fit tool kit is the ability to disassemble whatever parts of the boot aren’t molded together; buckles, power straps, cuff cants, soles and spine screws are all removable.
Speedmachine spearheaded Nordica’s retrenchment in the critical medium-last (100mm) chunk of the market; for 2018, the venerable Italian brand hopes Sport Machine – the identical features assembled on a high-volume (102mm) shell – will generate a similar spark in the brand’s fortunes. Adhering to a Nordica tradition, the top Sport Machines are positioned to sell for less than a Speed Machine model at the same flex index, but the two series merge into price parity at the 100 flex/$499 MSRP. This aggressive pricing means the Sport Machine 120 is likely to street price at $499, giving skiers with high-volume feet a boot that fits, functions and won’t break the bank.
Anyone who races knows that Nordica doesn’t need to inflate its resume to establish its street cred. Great racers of a bygone generation hoarded secret stashes of the venerable Grand Prix, and if Nordica ever stops making their Dobermann line of undiluted race boots, they’re also likely to be black market booty the instant they’re officially retired. The GPX line fills an interesting market need: a really good boot for the thin-profile foot that, while imitating a classic race paradigm, subtly softens the vise-like grip and brittle flex of a true race boot.
Nordica is at their best when they don’t stray from their roots in traditional, overlap shell design. Purists will applaud how the Dobermann GP 130 delivers the support and power of a true race boot in a flex more suitable for freeskiing on today’s rockered skis. Any skier who likes sensation in all his toes will appreciate that the rounder radius of the new GP’s toe box has room enough for five digits.