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 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)
- Our past reviews of previous iterations of Zipfit liners:
- The Nordica Sapporo, Nordica’s last leather boot: