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How To Heat Mold Tecnica Cochise & Bodacious Boots

Given how impressed I was with the Tecnica Cochise AT boot (see my Cochise review), I have been very excited to check out Tecnica’s Bodacious shape, with its 98mm last and 130 flex (vs. the Cochise’s 100mm last and 120 flex).

When I first tried on the Bodacious lower last with my perfectly broken in Intuition Power Wraps, I felt that the fit was pretty nice out of the box, but it wasn’t perfect. I was going to need punches and / or grinding on both of my feet at the following places for perfect fit: the 5th met-head, 1st cuneiform, the cuboid, and 5th proximal phalanges.

I also did not feel that the shell was close enough (i.e., I would need additional padding / Bontex) at the front fold of my ankle and on top of the 4th and 5th metatarsals.

I had heard of folks doing experiments with the new Tecnica Triax plastic in various ovens (Salomon, Thermoflex and Fisher Vacuum) and getting pretty nice amounts of shell movement both in and out (a la the Fisher Vacuum boot), but I was haunted by visions of melted plastic and a wasted $700 boot, since the boot ovens are slightly more difficult to control and achieve uniform heat.

I wanted more control over the temperature and fitting procedure, and I wanted to be able to do it in my own home, with readily available tools, by myself.

So I decided to try using the old method of “steaming” a boot shell, since boiling water will NEVER be more than 212F / 100C.

It should be noted that some older boots had issues with their soles twisting during this process, and were often steamed in the ALSOP boot trees to keep them straight.

I decided to forego this, since the internal of the shell has so much shaping to it, and plastic has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. However, your mileage may vary, so PLEASE be aware that if you choose to follow this method, there is the potential to twist the shell.

I used a similar method as described on the Zipfit website.

Heat molding

Not a Tecnica boot pictured, but you get the idea.

Prior to putting the boot into the boiling pot of water, I pulled the boot board (or zepa) from the lower, which is critical, since it could deform otherwise. I then padded up the bone protrusions on my foot that I wished to “punch” with foam, put an Intuition toe-cap on to ensure that I did not shrink the toe-box, slid a sock over this mess, then put my foot into the liner. Next, I wrapped the liner / lower leg with a garbage bag, since I planned to submerge the boot in ice water to lock-in the shape….

Once the boot was suitably warm (it smelled a tiny bit like a chlorinated pool once fully steamed), I made sure to have gloves on (those buckles are 212 degrees Fahrenheit, after all) put the zepa back in, slid my foot/liner/garbage bag into the shell, and then buckled the boot literally as hard as the buckles would go.

Then, I quickly went outside to a bucket of ice water, and submerged the boot completely. I stood there for about 10 minutes, until the plastic and metal was cold to the touch.

I then repeated the process on the other foot.

Next, I let the liners dry—a little water seeped in and got the liners a little wet. After a couple hours, I slid the boots on to test my handiwork.

The results were pretty spectacular.

The boot literally fits like a glove, and I don’t think that I need to do any additional fitting to the shell. It feels like I did about four hours of shell-work on the boot, but in a matter of 30 minutes, without power tools, and at home, in my kitchen.

I was able to get a more snug fit on the front fold of my ankle, and now do not need to use fitting foam there.

A heads up, though: the amount of force I put on the upper buckle to achieve this fit did deform the upper cuff slightly under the buckle, but not in any way that would affect the skiing performance of the shell. Still, please be aware.

I was able to get the same movement inward in the shell, pulling the shell closer at the 4th and 5th metatarsals.  I no longer feel the need to add padding at either of the locations.

This experiment also produced great results pushing the boot out a little bit.  I no longer feel any need in puching the shell out at any of the above refenced locations. I cannot say if this method would achieve 5mm of shell movement if you are downsized in the boot, but i can say it provived 1-2mm in movement very well for me.

They now feel nicely supported with no hot spots or cramping.

24 hours later, the shell had fully maintained its new shape.

I am obviously very excited about the results, and am doubly excited I was able to get such good results in my kitchen. If someone wanted to dial in their Cochise or Bodacious, or any other Tecnica shell using the shared Triax plastic material, I would suggest starting with this procedure prior to getting aggressive with the punch.

You’re going to need a sheet of boot fitting foam (or cardboard or something) to pad up any bone protrusions that need to push the shell outwards, plus some toe-caps to protect your toe space, but other than that, this procedure should be plug-and-play.

20 Comments

  1. Ifitfeelsgoodwearshades November 19, 2011 Reply

    As with any heat molding be warry when you buckle them super tight. It is possible to pull the buckle through the plastic if you get real agro with it. Just pay close attention when clamping them down.

  2. Meina222 November 23, 2011 Reply

    Hi,

    Are there any shops you know of that would perform this procedure? Despite the fact that it sounds like an “easy” do-it-at-home setup, I would have concerns putting a $650 boot though it with no experience in fitting (a Cochise in my case that feels a bit narrow in the front on my fairly wide foot). I also do not have an Intuition liner yet, so I’m interested in someone providing the combined service of choosing the right liner (model, thickness) and fitting the boot + modifying the shell in a process similar to what you described.

    Thanks.

  3. Author
    marshal Olson November 28, 2011 Reply

    @meina222 – i am sure many shops would be interested in helping fit your boot, that said, no shop, nor tecnica is going to warrranty any damage caused by doing this process, so if you are concerned, i would suggest not doing it, and going with the standard punch route.

  4. Neil T. December 5, 2011 Reply

    I am definitely planning on doing this, but I have a question. If you were going to heat mould a boot but were also planning on getting a new Intuition Liner…What order would you mould them in? Boot first (which would warm the liner a bit) and then do a full heat mould on the liner?

  5. Author
    marshal Olson December 5, 2011 Reply

    i would definitely suggest doing the liner first, ski the boot for a handful of days to get he liner fully broken in, and then sort out where you need some room, and where you need to shrink,and then work on the shell.

    cheers!

  6. Neil T. December 5, 2011 Reply

    Makes sense. Thanks!

  7. David January 7, 2012 Reply

    Any chance of you doing this again but with a video? Thanks for all your info already supplied!

  8. Tijmen May 30, 2012 Reply

    Wow, this was really helpful! I think I’m going to try this!
    One question though, did you submerge the whole boot in boiling water, or just the cuff/upper part? Because by the pictures it looks like you just did that.

  9. Author
    marshal Olson May 30, 2012 Reply

    you do not need to submerge the entire boot. boiling water vapor will warm the toe box @ 212F. good luck!

  10. tyler November 26, 2012 Reply

    Would there be any concerns (with a big enough pot) about putting the boot in the water right side up? Lower shell submerged and upper cuff sticking out. Curious because I’m considering downsizing into a 26.5 Cochise Pro 130 for this year and know I would need some work done.

    • Author
      marshal November 26, 2012 Reply

      hey tyler,

      the whole point of using boiling water is to control the temperature. boiling water simply is 212F, and so is it boiling water’s vapor, which fills the toe box. with the sole on the bottom of the pot, the sole in contact with the metal, you are likely going to risk getting the plastic hotter than 212F, since the pot itself will be warmed to more than 212F from the fire.

      sounds like introducing risk with no reward to me.

      -m

  11. dan November 27, 2012 Reply

    I just got the 120s in 26.5 and the liner in my bigger foot is a bit short I put my old 27.5 liners in and the toe box is a little tight I might give this a whirl but I’m thinking a couple pots of boiling water dumped in a cooler would keep the boot from the rim of the pot and the flame. My shop did it for my impact10’s helped a lot maybe they’ll do the same for these

  12. Tutuko January 7, 2013 Reply

    How did your mileage vary with these after a few more days in them, any long term issues?

    • Author
      marshal January 7, 2013 Reply

      hey man, I am happy with the process all in all. It does help to fine-tune the shell to your foot. I do not think that the process completely replaces a 3mm punch or anything, but certainly really helps that last 1% of fit.

  13. Vail January 15, 2013 Reply

    Hey I have a pair of Tecnica Bodacious. I have the best heel and forefoot hold, but i feel there is 1mm of excess space on the instep. How do I tighten the instep up a tiny bit, without over buckling through the plastic?

    • Author
      marshal January 17, 2013 Reply

      greetings!

      you can do one of a few things, depending on your needs with the fit.

      if you boil the shell as indicated above, clamping the buckles heavily will certainly pull the shell closer to your foot.

      you could also try a thn piece on bontex to raise your entire foot in the shell, which would effect where your ankle and toe box rest as well.

      you could experiment with a thin amount of padding on the top of your liner to take up the space as well.

      hope that helps?

      all the best!

  14. Herman November 5, 2013 Reply

    Does this also work with other boots? I have an older BD Factor..

    • Derrick November 17, 2013 Reply

      @Herman, I wouldn’t do it if you’re not sure, he mentions that people had already used the triax plastic from the technica in boot ovens, Unless you can find someone who has already done a heated shell mold with your boot (or another BD boot with the same type of plastic). I would not risk it unless you don’t really want the boots. That said it could work . . .

  15. Dennis March 2, 2017 Reply

    I realize this is basically a dead thread, but ………… I just have to reply to this BS of fitting your liner prior to fitting your shell/boot. Liners, whether stock or Intuition, mold to both the outer surface: the boot inner shell and the inner surface: your foot. You don’t want to heat mold your liner to your boot and then change the anatomy of the boot later. DUD. You will have hot spots or weak spots. Sure, you can reheat and mold the liner again, but why?

    • Ted March 9, 2017 Reply

      The liner will reform to the new shell after a few days of skiing.

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