2016-2017 Tecnica Cochise 130 Pro
Size Tested: 25.5
Stated BSL: 295 mm
Stated Range of Motion: 42°
Stated Last: 99 mm
Stated Flex: 130
Stated Weight per Boot — size 26.5: 1950 g
Blister’s Measured Weight per Boot — size 25.5:
- Shells, no liners: 1493 & 1496 g
- Liners, no footbeds: 440 & 441 g
- Shells + Liners: 1933 & 1937 g
MSRP: $699.99 USD
Test Location: Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, Porters Ski Area, NZ; Arapahoe Basin and Vail, CO
Days Tested: 12
In 2011, Tecnica came out with the original Cochise, one of the first first tech-compatible boots created by an alpine boot manufacturer. It quickly generated a lot of buzz, then went on to become a class leader in downhill-oriented touring boots — a boot that could hold its own at the resort, but would also work on shorter tours and in a tech binding.
For 16/17, the Cochise has undergone some pretty dramatic changes — especially in fit — but there are also some noticeable improvements in its downhill performance, too. I’ve been skiing in the Cochise ever since it was released back in 2011, and have used it for skiing hard inbounds, and on 4-5 hour-long tours. So how does the new Cochise measure up?
Each iteration of the Cochise has always provided me with a great fit right out of the box, but there are plenty of other skiers who can’t quite say the same — the Cochise series has been known for its boxier fit in the heel pocket and around the ankles (which is something that we’ve mentioned more than a few times over the years). But with the new Cochise, things have changed.
The heel pocket of the Cochise, which could formerly be described as “High Volume,” is now on the other side of the spectrum — nearly low volume. The midfoot width has tightened up a bit as well, and the toebox gets a bit roomier. I’ve needed significant punching in the heel and a decent amount of punching in the midfoot to get the new Cochise to work with my feet, and to be clear, this is a good thing — you can’t do much with a boot shell that’s too large, but it’s pretty easy to create more space. I can safely say that a lot of people will be really pleased with the changes that have been made to the fit of the Cochise. If you’ve been disappointed in the past with the fit of the Cochise, you may want to give this new boot a shot.
The stock liner is quite sculpted through the ankle area, and it has an atypical psuedo-shell that can be punched and grinded. The liner itself is also quite thick and composed of a material that, when compressed, won’t pack out easily. When we were creating space in the boot for my heel, John Freely at The Custom Foot (Englewood, CO) tried to use a vice to compress the material. It didn’t work; the material would just spring back to its original thickness. So he then proceeded with major liner surgery to remove some foam. That’s pretty impressive. Overall, I’ve found the liner to be quite excellent, and I wouldn’t jump to replace it.
Range of Motion
While the forward range of motion of the Cochise has been excellent in every iteration of the boot, the rearward ROM has always been middle-of-the-pack. Without your foot in the boot, the upper cuff demonstrated great mobility. But once your leg is placed in the boot, the lower shell rises high enough to effectively reduce the rearward range of motion by quite a bit. As mentioned in our Tecnica Zero G Pro Guide review, trying to utilize the entire upper cuff’s range of motion will lever your leg off the lower shell and push your entire foot forward — either stopping when your instep or midfoot becomes trapped (my experience), or your toes are pushed into the front of the boot (reviewer Paul Forward’s experience).
In a resort / touring boot like the Cochise, reduced range-of-motion is pretty common, and whether or not this is a deal breaker depends on personal preference and the type of terrain you tend to tour in — in terrain that requires long stretches of flat or even downhill touring, rearward range of motion can be pretty useful. However, if your approaches are generally all uphill, then the limited rearward range of motion of the Cochise will be less of a problem, or no problem at all. I personally prefer a decent amount of ROM, but other reviewers (like Jonathan Ellsworth and Paul Forward) are fine with less. For me, the rearward ROM of the Cochise isn’t a total deal breaker, but that’s due in part to the fact that I have a different touring boot that I use on longer tours (Atomic Backland).
Tecnica touts the new 16/17 Cochise 130 Pro’s increased range of motion. The liner has been improved significantly by adding a flex zone in the rear, and the movement is a bit smoother. However, the rear of the lower shell has been extended quite a bit higher, so the levering action mentioned above starts a bit sooner than before. Still, the new Cochise is slightly better than the old Cochise and the old liner (without the flex zone).
And if you are really concerned about this, you can easily modify the shell of the new Cochise so that it operates like the old Cochise, if not better. (Tecnica claims a smoother movement.) Just cut the lower shell down so that it’s at the same height, all the way around. This is something that any bootfitter worth his or her salt can do in a matter of minutes. I personally won’t be modifying my pair since I’m more concerned about downhill performance in a boot like this, and I have a pair of more touring-oriented boots.
With the changes to the new Cochise, the downhill performance has improved quite a bit. If you’ve spent time with the old Cochise, you may have noticed that the new Cochise feels a bit softer in room temperatures. This is primarily due to a difference in plastics. The new plastic has different thermal properties.
Thanks to weight loss in other areas (like eliminating the replaceable sole blocks), Tecnica has been able to return to a traditional alpine-boot plastic (polyurethane and polyether instead of Triax). What does this mean? While it may feel softer than previous years on the showroom floor, outside in colder temperatures, its familiar solid flex comes even closer to the performance of a full alpine boot. And this change is very much welcome. The new Cochise is not only smoother in flex, but also has improved rebound. Down in New Zealand I was able to get the boot into some challenging terrain and snow, and I appreciated the Cochise 130 Pro’s suspension and rebound at speed through crud. I’ve also appreciated the improved suspension in cut up powder and crud back in Colorado.
Although the new Cochise 130 Pro has an additional buckle in addition to a power strap, the fourth buckle is placed a bit lower than the powerstrap buckle on the old Cochise. The new Cochise engages a bit slower because I simply can’t get the velcro powerstrap as tight as you could on the old Cochise via the buckle. After playing around with the new powerstrap, I’ve found that I could get quicker engagement of the cuff by shifting the powerstrap up above the outermost plastic overlap so that it engages the liner more firmly. This makes the new Cochise feel like it has a taller cuff and improves its downhill performance.
All in all, I found the downhill performance of this boot to be nearly indistinguishable from a full alpine boot — excellent rebound and absorption, a nice stiff flex, a performance fit, a solid lock in ski mode, and a great liner that resists packing out but still cushions your foot and shin.
NEXT: Binding Compatibility, Buckles and Powerstrap, Etc.