The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

Sven Coomer, Founder of Zipfit Ski Boot Liners (Ep.35)

Blister Podcast, Blister Review

What is the least understood but arguably most important piece of ski equipment?

Ski boot liners.

While ski boots — that is, ski boot shells — get a ton of attention, liners get almost none, and many, many skiers who are having issues with their boots, are actually having issues that could be solved with the right liner.

This past week I was in Aspen Colorado at the World Cup Finals of ski racing, and that presented the perfect opportunity to visit the home and the workshop of Sven Coomer, the founder of Zipfit ski boot liners — or “Inner Boots,” as Sven prefers to call them.

When it comes to skiing, Sven has seen it all, and he has personally played a significant role in a lot of it.

Sven Coomer, Zipfit Boot Liners on the Blister Podcast

Sven Coomer in his workshop in Aspen, Colorado. (photo by Jonathan Ellsworth)

Sven began designing ski boots for Nordica in 1969, and he worked on one of the last leather ski boots (the Nordica Sapporo — which I saw in his workshop, and it is gorgeous – we’ll include photos in the show notes to this episode). After the Sapporo, Sven then designed Nordica’s first plastic boot, the “Olympic.”

Sven was born in Sydney, Australia, and he competed for Australia in the Modern Pentathlon at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Truth is, there’s so much to Sven’s history that I’m just going to refer you to his bio at zipfit.com, where it will then become clearer to you how significant of a role he has played in the history of ski boots and ski boot liners.

Today, there are many skiers who wouldn’t think of skiing in anything other than one of Sven’s Zipfits, so we’re going to try to get a clearer sense of why that is the case, what makes Zipfits different, why boot liners don’t receive the attention they deserve, and why Sven believes that liners are the single most important piece of ski equipment.

TOPICS & TIMES:

  • Why “Liners” should be called “Inner Boots,” and what a good inner boot should do (0:00)
  • Why Sven thinks that liners are the most important piece of equipment (5:00)
  • What is someone failing to understand if they are failing to consider the inner boot? (13:00)
  • Why liners and boots are more complex than skis
  • Why Zipfit liners don’t pack out (22:50)
  • What is it about the construction of a Zipfit liner that’s different? (24:45)
  • What are the top issues / problems that a Zipfit liner might solve? (29:00)
  • Alpine-Touring boots & liners — and the touring inner boot that Sven is working on (39:20)
  • Final thoughts on the difference that the right liner can make (49:30)

SHOW NOTES

  • The Nordica Sapporo, Nordica’s last leather boot:
Sven Coomer, Zipfit Boot Liners on the Blister Podcast

Nordica Sapporo

11 Comments

  1. JR Musser March 24, 2017 Reply

    I’ve skied the zipfit for years. My bootfitter, a collaborator of Sven’s, always looks at me like I’m crazy when I say my feet get cold. I don’t get cold in my AT set up with an intuition liner and it isn’t a circulation issue.

    any thoughts?

    • ashley Coulthard March 24, 2017 Reply

      I moved to zipfits this season. Toes were always warm with intuition, never with stock. They are not warm at all with zipfits. I have hot tronics and they are a pain in the butt. Next season I’ll try the Lenz heated socks

  2. Bob McBob March 24, 2017 Reply

    Why isn’t OMFit cork available online? For that matter, the liners should be available direct too.

    • ashley Coulthard March 27, 2017 Reply

      It would be nice to have easy access the the cork. I can say without a doubt this liner has let me ski with the most heel hold I’ve ever had. In saying that, I’ve used 2 tubes already in my World Cup liners and have two more I will inject soon. I have a friend with the Grand Prix who’s put 4 tubes in his pair.

      Perhaps we both poorly fit out shells? Or perhaps our shells have large pockets of free space.

      While the material doesn’t “pack out” it certainly does move. So while I don’t believe my pair has packed out in the least bit, the cork material has moved to fill the voids, leaving more room than I want. Quick fix to add more cork and have it right once again.

  3. Ben Lammons March 25, 2017 Reply

    My zipfits are warm and have improved the comfort and performance of my lange rs 130’s considerably. Highly recommended, especially for hard to fit feet.

  4. Blister Member
    Big K March 27, 2017 Reply

    1500 days in one pair of these?, did I hear that correctly? I’ve got to listen to this again. Your on the mountain in them Jonathan, how about a little quick post-podcast feedback?

    • Author

      Yes, you heard that correctly.

      We’re going to be doing a bigger Zipfit article soon (where we’ll lay out the experiences of several of our reviewers), but for now I’ll say … 5 days in, and I am very, very happy so far. More to come…

  5. Blister Member
    David March 28, 2017 Reply

    Great podcast! Jonathan – do you think that these could add enough stiffness to bring a pair of Salomon Quest Max 130s up to the stiffness of a more typical 130? I’m a bigger guy (6’5, 205 lb), and I’m beating the hell out of my ankles (outer, front portion/talus) every time I over-flex these boots.

    • Author

      Hmmm, I haven’t skied the Quest Max 130s, so I don’t know how far off from a “more typical 130” it currently is.

      But in Marshal Olson’s Zipfit review, he said that he felt the Zipfits made his boots about 10% stiffer … and that seems roughly correct to me. I’d say there is a touch of additional stiffness … but the biggest thing to me so far is the very snug, precision fit, and the zero — zero — heel movement…

      • Blister Member
        David March 31, 2017 Reply

        Thanks for answering the question I should’ve asked: “Do you agree with Marshal’s opinion on added stiffness?” I see Zipfits in my future.

  6. Blister Member
    Big K March 29, 2017 Reply

    Zero heel movement – that’s enough for me. Sorry Lange, no new boots this time, sorry intuition, no new liners.

    Jonathan, are you finding that it may be possible that while running stiffer with the liner you could indeed run a softer shell for increased range of motion? Sven talks about this, That would be a dream without boot transition turning to mush.

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