2017 Brand Profile
Fischer had a long and illustrious history as a ski maker before they decided to jump into the boot pool, despite said pool already being awash with brands. The focus of their debut models was an abducted (toes-out) stance, a clever idea they slightly overcooked, leaving some test pilots feeling like they were traveling in a downhill herringbone.
Undeterred by the difficulties of getting traction in an over-served market, Fischer pressed on, tinkering with their stance and story until a few years ago they went all-in on a fancy new system for custom molding the shell, Vacuum Fit. Vacuum technology had been part of Fischer’s manufacturing expertise for many years, so transferring this concept to ski boots may have been an easier step for Fischer to imagine than for other, tradition-bound brands.
Vacuum Fit was such a hit with specialty shops it enabled Fischer to steal the limelight from industry leader Salomon, even though Salomon was first to market with a shell-molding technology of their own called Custom Fit. The big deal about Vacuum Fit was that it didn’t just expand the shell (although it could); it could shrink it. Even the one-in-a-thousand shops with a history of boiling boots to modify them never had the means of reducing shell volume all around the forefoot like Vacuum Fit.
Like many first-of-their-kind innovations, Vacuum Fit didn’t get everything right immediately. The biggest limitation was it didn’t have much effect on the critical rear foot, but a second-generation Vacuum station corrected this oversight. Today, the Fischer Vacuum is a Full Fit process, and still the only heat molding technology that facilitates reducing shell volume.
Vacuum Full Fit is a standard feature on the RC4 series of narrow race boots, the new medium-lasted RC Pro 130 and 110 and the top model in the Ranger series of hike-mode (HM) boots.
For 2017, Fischer focuses on the critical medium-lasted (100mm) market with the totally fresh RC Pro series. While the shells retain their Vacuum Fit magic, it’s the Active Fit Zones (AFZ) built into the new liners that provide something Fischer’s been missing: instant gratification. Customers tend to judge a bootfit almost instantly, so Fischer concocted an inner boot with 3 separate fit zones that don’t require thermomolding to provide an accurate yet immediately comfortable fit.
The Power Zone in around the ankle is reinforced to transmit energy, the Flex Zone in the midfoot allows for subtle movement and the Comfort Zone in the forefoot provides elasticity, cushy materials and insulation. The AFZ liner is found in all RC Pro models and in the Ranger series.
The RC Pro shells are as new as the AFZ liners, featuring Power Lock, the stout cuff-to-shell connection of Fischer’s race boots, and race-class cuff canting. The RC Pro 130 and 110, as well as the women’s RC Pro W 110 and W 90, offer the full Monty, including Vacuum Full Fit, but the hidden gem in the series could be the RC Pro 120. This value proposition dispenses with shell customization in order to hit the $499 price point, or roughly $100 below the standard market price for a 120 flex, 100mm last boot. The women’s RC Pro W 100 offers a similar superior value.
All RC Pro models can be retrofit with rockered WTR walking soles ($60).