2017 Brand Profile

Tecnica is much more than just a boot company, although to the boot buying public appearances remain unchanged. Tecnica’s alpine boot line remains a classic amalgam of narrow to wide lasts, with the obligatory option of boots with a hike mode (HM). What most skiers don’t know is that the folks behind Tecnica also own Nordica, a brand with its own storied history as a market leader, and Blizzard, a ski brand so hot it can’t keep its award-winning skis in stock much past Thanksgiving.

All of which is of little consequence to you unless you’re a stockholder in the Tecnica Group. As a boot buyer, all you need to remember is that Tecnica’s line is comprised of classic overlap, anatomically accurate 4-buckle shells in three different lasts and a full line of significantly revamped hike-mode boots.

Tecnica was the first brand to treat its HM offering as worthy of a full line extension by pushing their Cochise series to ever lower price points. For 2017, the Cochise series has undergone such a thorough redesign that about all that remains from the first generation is the name.

The Cochise 130, flagship of the new series, upgrades to a 4-buckle shell, incorporates the readily modified, anatomic contours of the Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) in both the liner and shell, boosts rear support in the spine and adds tech inserts to a DIN sole that can be swapped for a rockered touring sole if so desired. Most significantly, the shell material isn’t polypropylene, Grilamid or some other less sturdy stuff, but high grade polyether (PE) in a bi-injection that makes the sole and spine 2.5 times stiffer despite shell walls that are 30% thinner. This results in a boot weighing less than 2000g with the steering properties of a World Cup race clone.

One of the battleground issues in any serious HM boot is range of motion (ROM), or how far the unlatched cuff will allow the lower leg to travel in stride. Tecnica contends that the issue isn’t simply how far rearward the rear spoiler can rotate, but achieving a balance between fore and aft movement. Working with their stable of athletes, Tecnica arrived at two inescapable conclusions: 1) world-class athletes demand an equally elite level of support in their touring boots and don’t care to settle for less, and 2) on steep inclines, forward ROM is every bit as important as rearward ROM.

Since the new Cochise didn’t have to share its shell or cuff molds with other models, special accommodations could be made to address the number one criterion of all gear that will be worn far, far from home: it must not fail. The one element in a touring boot that can’t degrade or disappear is the hinge rivet, so Tecnica eliminated it. Instead of a squashed rivet that can impinge cuff travel, Tecnica molded a post into the lower shell for the cuff to fit around. This creates a more solid connection with no teeth or fittings to wear out. Don’t worry that the cuff can’t be canted, as it won’t matter in most Tech bindings and in the alpine arena of DIN soles and standard bindings, Cantology™ shims will suffice in most cases.

As we’re on the subject of soles, I should italicize a Cochise anomaly: the men’s 130 and 120 and women’s 105 W come with a DIN sole and Dynafit-certified Tech inserts. This is a very cool set-up for the resort skier with only an occasional sidecountry scratch to itch. A rockered touring sole (ISO9523) kit is available for those intending to do more long-haul hiking.

At the end of the day, the new Cochise is more an all-mountain boot with a hike mode à la mode than a touring boot with in-bounds chops. Perhaps the best way to approach the Cochise clan is as a fit alternative, particularly as pertains to the rest of the Tecnica line. The Mach 1 LV is on the tight side of the fit scale; the Mach 1 MV is a bit relaxed for a 100mm last. The Cochise slips in between the two, providing a 99mm last that is snug where it needs to be and easily opened up by a competent bootfitter using C.A.S. features to relieve pressure points.

Returning to the Tecnica fold are its benchmark in-bounds performance models, Mach 1 LV for low-volume feet and Mach 1 MV for the average-sized. Both boot families use the same features and components and are offered at parallel price points. Also returning are the more voluminous Ten.2 models for both men and women.

If there’s one feature that defines the new Tecnica – little is left of the line of 3 years ago – it’s C.A.S., for it’s the glue that provides the primordial connection between ski, shell, liner and skier that determines the success of any ski experience.