2015-2016 Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum boot for Blister Gear Review

Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum

2015-2016 Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum

Stated Flex Rating: 130

Stated Last Width: 98mm – 103mm

Size Tested: 26.5 / 306mm Boot Sole Length

Blister’s Measured Weight:

• shells & boot boards, no liners: 1561 & 1549 grams

• stock liners, no footbeds: 445 & 452 grams

MSRP: $950

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Tested: 50+

After reviewers Charlie Bradley and Will Brown both raved about the fit and performance of the Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum ski boot, it was clear that if I was going to continue to review ~98mm-wide, 130-flex boots, I needed to be able to make comparisons to it.

In Charlie’s review of the boot, he wrote: “The Fischer Vacuum shell is, in a word, amazing,” and he concludes the review by stating, “I am more convinced than ever that this technology is a game changer.”

Charlie wrote that review in 2011, and four years later, I can say that the shell is still amazing. And if you don’t like the term “game changing,” well, I can say that I have never experienced a fit like this before.

He continues, “the ease in which these boots roll is incredible.”

Yep. The Fischer RC4 130 is the most precise, sensitive boot that I have ever worn.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum, Bonanza, Taos Ski Valley.

In Will Brown’s extremely informative review of the Fischer Ranger Pro 13 & the RC4 130, he wrote, “The uniform, snug fit of the boot gives it a very responsive feel and great sensitivity, allowing me to engage a skis edge exactly as I want, when I want. I’d say it is the most precise, confidence-inspiring boot I’ve ever skied in.”

We try to be accurate and careful with our claims around here, which makes Will and Charlie’s claims even bigger.

And after more than 50 days in this boot, I’m going to bang the Vacuum Fit drum, too.

Of course, there are some other very good boots on the market, and we always recommend finding the best boot fitter you can, doing whatever it takes to get into his or her good graces, and working with them to find the boot that provides the best combination of fit & performance for you.

But for anyone looking for a boot with the characteristics that Will, Charlie, and I have outlined, the RC4 130 has to be on your radar.

Sizing / My Feet

My left foot is 27.0cm long, my right foot is 27.5cm long, and here’s how Charlie Bradley (senior boot fitter at The Boot Doctors) assessed my feet: C-width, narrow heel. High arch / High instep (on a scale of 1-10, Charlie called it an 8 or 9). Fairly stable, solid platform. Prominent melili. A bit of pronation. A good amount of ankle range of motion (aka, “dorsiflexion”).

According to the charts, I ought to be in a size 27.5 boot, but I have always dropped down to at least a size 26.5 to get more of a “performance” fit rather than a “comfort” fit.

I’ve always worn a size 26.5 in ~98mm-wide boots (Lange RX 130, Nordica Patron Pro, Atomic Redster Pro, etc.), and the Fischer RC4 130 is no different. If I am reviewing a boot with a wider last (Salomon X-Pro, Atomic Hawx 2.0 120), I’ll drop down to a 25.5.

I found no reason to drop farther down than 26.5 in the Fischer RC4 130. It is a lower volume boot, and the only 98mm-lasted boot I’ve worn that is significantly lower volume through the forefoot is the 15/16 Tecnica Mach 1 130 LV. (I’ve tried on the 15/16 Lange RX 130 LV, and while it has a very nice fit, it is higher volume than the Fischer RC4 130 and the Tecnica.)

Then again, the beauty of the Vacuum Fit Process is that you just need to begin with a decent initial fit, and the best-available custom molding process will then do what it has done for Charlie Bradley, Will Brown, and now me: create the most dialed-fitting ski boot any of us have ever worn. (Be sure to read Charlie’s and Will’s reviews for more on the specifics of what makes Fischer’s vacuum fit process unique.)

Flex

The RC4 130 is not an intense 130 flex. Charlie called the flex “forgiving and progressive.” Yep. This is an easy-going 130, and I have never found it to be lacking; it’s just nice.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum, Taos Ski Valley.

Charlie said that he found the flex of the first-generation boot he reviewed to be on par with the flex of a Lange 110. I’ve never skied a 110 boot, so I can’t confirm or deny. But I can’t say that I’ve found the flex of my 15/16 Fischers to be overly soft. I’d fall closer to Will Brown’s position, that the boot feels like a solid 120 or a forgiving 130.

If you’re looking for a stiffer 130, you might check out the Atomic Redster Pro 130, or the 15/16 Tecnica Mach 1 130.

NEXT: Performance, Warmth, Further Comparisons

21 Comments

  1. AK April 7, 2015 Reply

    Is the general consensus to size up or down in this boot? A lot of the reviews leave me wondering. My left foot is a 25 with a very high arch and my right foot is a 26 with a very high arch. I’ve never been able to make a 25 work, other than in the Cochise Pro which has a 300 bsl in size 25 and that was with some punches. My gut, personally, is that a 26 would work for me so long as the vacuum process sures up the heel hold and maybe reduces the last a bit?

    Any recommendations for a bootfitter in the Northeast who works with the Vacuum boots?

    • Author

      To start with your second question, AK, we’d recommend heading to the Boot Lab at Windham Mountain and seeing Marc Stewart. Marc will be able to give you a proper recommendation re: whether to go 25 or 26.

      But in general, if you’ve never / rarely been able to make a 25 work, the vacuum fit process on a size 26 ought to accomplish what you’re looking for. Still … go see Marc.

  2. Howard Smith April 7, 2015 Reply

    A buddy of mine was skiing on a pair of the Fischer vacuum fit boots last year. He loved the fit and the way they skied but his feet were constantly cold. Now this is a guy who never got cold feet. Very maddening for someone (me) who’s feet get cold very easily. He went back to the shop numerous times to try and fix the problem but nothing helped. He was told by the boot fitter he wasn’t the only one have this issue.As I said the fit was great, no circulation problems.

    • mad dog November 13, 2016 Reply

      I have a pair of Fisher Vacuum RC 130 (2014). My feet also got cold. I discovered that the shell isn’t all that air tight after you buckle. I used to get a little bit of snow in my boots from the gap. Duct taping the boots over the toes and along the seam under the first two buckles over the fore foot helped a lot. A better gasket sure would help in the next design.

  3. Blister Member
    Mark April 8, 2015 Reply

    Lots of interesting comments on the Fischer boots in Will’s review that never really got addressed.

  4. Blister Member
    Pat April 8, 2015 Reply

    Awesome review! Maybe I will wait for this boot to come out and compare with the Mach 1 LV, I look forward to that review. Our feet sound similar, minus mine being a bit longer. Not sure what the Melili is, a google search yielded nothing. Thank god they murdered out the boot, those bright yellow models were atrocious.

    Pat

  5. Blister Member
    TahoeAl April 9, 2015 Reply

    You guys seem to gloss over a number of issues that have been plaguing this technology since the start. First, the plastic tends to crack a lot. I have seem a number of cracked Vacuum boots, mostly in the areas that get high amount of repeated stress, like the instep. Both of mine have cracked. Second, the liner has never been up to the quality of the shell, most happy users I know have replaced the liner with an aftermarket option. I ended up skiing a different liner as well. A lot of the coldness issues can be traced to the liner design as well- the shell expands, the liner does not, so it either creates gaps or compresses the toes too much. Yes, the fit you get is amazing, but it gets overshadowed by some of the persistent problems in the other areas, and over the long run they matter quite a bit. Third issue is that the plastic is way softer than the regular plastic, so the amount of wear in a season is pretty alarming, especially in an almost $1000 boot. I’ve spent two happy years in Fisher Vacs, but now I’m am back to well-fitted regular boots. I’m surprised your review is so one sided. The technology is great, but Fischer has a long way to go with it.

    • Author

      We now have 3 separate reviews of various iterations of this boot & liner that we’ve posted over the past four years. I don’t think you can say that we’ve been one-sided; Charlie, Will, and I have as accurately as possible detailed our experiences with the vacuum process and these boots.

      I have over 50 days in mine – stock liner and shell – and I’ve reported above what I’ve found. No cracking, no excessive wear.

      I showed your comment to Will Brown, and he wrote: “I’ve put about 80 days in my Ranger Pro 13s, and while Al is correct that the plastic is softer than most other boots, I haven’t had any issues as a result – no cracking. And I didn’t have any cracking on the RC4 130s, after putting about 80 days in those. Also, the replaceable sole blocks are a different, harder material from the rest of the shell, they seem quite durable, and I haven’t needed to replace them.”

      I can’t speak to why your experience has been different, but we can and always will tell you exactly what we’ve found to be the case.

      • Blister Member
        TahoeAl April 11, 2015 Reply

        It probably depends a lot on whether your foot is narrow or not and how much the boot has to expand during the molding. I know of at least three people that complained of cracking, and there is more evidence of that posted online. One happy user who I know seems to have a narrow foot, so the shell was not expanded much. By the way expansion also bring up another ugly Vacuum 130 problem- the rubber toe dam is quite primitive, and when the shell expands, the boot starts to leak pretty badly ( duct tape helps a lot, but you shouldnt have to duct tape a $1,000 boot out of the box). The bottom line is that this technology does not work for everyone, and your review makes it sound like its the solution to the most fit problems. It’s not and its important to make it clear before people start bringing boots back to the shops. I’m happy to give you the details of my experience offline.

        • Blister Member
          Mark April 15, 2015 Reply

          I agree with Al. These aren’t a panacea. My experience with Fischer vacuum boots was awful. From issues with heel retention to problems with durability and cracking. The season I spent with mine were a nightmare.

  6. Mike g September 4, 2015 Reply

    Do all of the Vacuums get the increased toe box?
    I have the original 130s and a short and low toe area was my only issue.

  7. Rick January 8, 2016 Reply

    I enjoyed the review, thanks!!

    When will you submit your review of the Technica Mach 1 130?

  8. Jeff March 24, 2016 Reply

    Hi guys, on my first day using RC4 110 vacuums, custom fit with superfeet insoles, the balls of both feet, and several toes, became numb, and 5 days later they are still affected. Can anyone comment as to what might be going on and possible remedies? I don’t know what last or forward flex settings the fitter used during the molding process.

  9. Marco-Paul Breijer September 15, 2016 Reply

    In general when the balls of the feet and toes become numb and they are still affected after some time, there could be too much pressure over the instep. Do you have relative high arches?

    Something like Boot Compression Syndrome (BCS) can occur. Do something about it with your bootfitter cause if the pain after some is still there that means some nerves are pinched.

    Greetings from Amsterdam

    Marco-Paul Breijer
    DutchBootFitter Amsterdam
    http://www.bootfitter.nl

  10. Bob February 2, 2017 Reply

    I have a pair of the first generation Vacuums and sure enough, both boots developed cracks at the instep. Every shop that offers the boot that I’ve spoken to admits the same problem. Big problem given the price!

  11. Seb February 28, 2017 Reply

    I’m at my second pair of Vacuum RC4 130 and both pairs have had cracks at the instep. The 1st pair had been Vacuum’ed twice but the new pair has not been Vacuum’ed at all so the Vacuum process doesn’t seem to be the culprit here.

    FYI I have a very narrow feet (I easily fit in a Lange WC160 Z boot at 92mm last without any grinding!) so the stretching explanation above doesn’t apply to me…I’ll have to get the Lange WC160 Z boots out of the basement to finish the season…

    Was quite happy with the fit and performance of this Fischer boot but quite disappointed by the durability…

    I’ll be looking into the new Dalbello DRS WC Soft or SuperSoft (130 or 110 Flex) for next year.

  12. Gerry March 8, 2017 Reply

    I just pulled the trigger on a new set of RC4 130 Vac Boots. First impressions: Just like the review said. They fit tight right out of the box. I could have skied them that way… but why would I. I bought a mondo 27.5, one size down from my previous boot, a Rossi All Track Pro. They were too soft, as I am a returning skier from a 20 year absence, the learning curve moved up quite fast. Some things you don’t forget, your body just has to come back up to speed. Ha Ha Yah! First thing; DON’T buy this boot without the input from a good boot fitter. These are as close to ski moccasins as I will ever get. When they are soft from the oven you could easily mess them up. Chris at Technosport walked me through the fit up step by step before we did the fit. He was on top of things all the way never rushed or guessing at the outcome. They examined my foot issues, I have a bad twist in my left foot. pronation and a knee issue on the right leg. I required lifts and we adjusted my ankle center line. All these things improved the fit so I get what I am paying for. This is not an inexpensive purchase for me and as such I expected a lot for my money. I have not skied them yet but I tried several boots before Fischer and could not find what I wanted. Can hardly wait for the cool down period to end. Watea 120’s Volkl 724 Pro and 2 years back from Cross Country skis. Time to break in the boots…

  13. Gerry March 15, 2017 Reply

    …. after the 24 hour cool down the boots felt softer then expected when I tried them on. I let them sit in my basement for another 24 hours and then they rode in the truck to the ski hill. After cooling they felt much stiffer so they do adjust to temperature. -3C is a warm ski day for me. the ride up the lifts revealed a weight difference I will love. My 120 skis are some what heavy but now have a new life and spring to them My foot is flat to the ski with no movement in the heal wow! Love this ride. Skied all day never felt the pinch of tight boots. I did notice the cuff cant is steeper when walking the metal stair case at lunch. Unbuckling the boot top cures that, and the cold boot did not happen. I’ll have to wait for -20C on another day. I know these are the boots for me, 190lbs 5’10”, because it doesn’t bother me if other people prefer another boot, that will be there quest not mine. I am reminded of an old car shoe Hot Rod Garage. DO YOU NEED A BOOT LIKE THIS?- No, there are lots of boots that fit fine right out of the box and won’t pack out for a couple years. DO YOU WANT A BOOT LIKE THIS?- OH YAH, oh yah! you want a boot like this. Happy hunting!

  14. Blister Member
    Simon March 20, 2017 Reply

    I’d agree with Gerry that you still need a good boot fitter – really one that has had plenty of experience fitting these. It also helps if you know what setup you like (forward lean angle, stance width, pressure setttings, etc) as these all make a big difference to how the boot performs. I’d also point out that Fischer has been quietly improving the Vacuum boots over the years. I just got my second pair (2017-18 RC4 Curv vs 2014-15 RC4 Pro, both 130 flex) and you can really see a big difference in the liners (warmer in the toe box but still relatively thin and responsive in the cuff) and (hopefully) in the durability of the shell, which feels thicker.

  15. Roger August 15, 2017 Reply

    I’m no pro … Why does the reviewer seem to be a fan of low volume boots (e..g., Lange RX 130 LV and Tecnica Mach 1 130 LV) when he says he has a high arch and high instep? Seems low volume is the opposite of what should fit his feet, right?

    • Author

      Hi, Roger – good question, and I suspect it’s one that some other people might have, too. So I’ll write something soon about this and publish it as a Topic of the Week post.

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