The Hoji boot. Wow. This was highly anticipated, and super hyped this fall and early winter and I was stoked to finally receive my pair last week. In just a few short days, I have some initial thoughts on the boot that I wanted to share with any of you contemplating jumping in and purchasing a pair for the remainder of the winter.
Firstly, just putting this boot on, you'll notice it has a comfortable, roomy toe box (unlike the Vulcan) and it's generous last (103mm), provides for a good amount of room for the foot and instep. Great. Moving toward the heel, the boot narrows significantly, cupping the mid-foot to heel area nicely. When flipping the boot into ski mode, the heel is nicely cradled, and locked in well for a ripping downhill ski descent. I love this feature and finally, I don't have to butterfly my liners to get the tight fit I want for a good freeride performance.
As we move up the boot to the tongue and cuff you'll notice this boot resembles a three-piece Dabello or Raichle. When touring, the cuff moves effortlessly and has a considerable amount of range providing a nice natural glide. Much more so than my Vulcan's and feels almost as good as my PDGs. Using the switch on the back of the cuff, you easily enter ski mode as it tightens the top buckle and booster strap in one motion. Super efficient.
But, this isn't what impresses me most about this boot. For me, its what happens when you drop in. A boot of this weight, 1400grams in size 25 (281 bsl) might do better to drive a lighter ski, but over the past week I've noticed because this boot has such a beautiful, continuous and smooth flex, driving a bigger ski (KÃ¤stle BMX105HP) is no problem. I would rate the stiffness of this boot @ around 120 depending on your skiing style, height, and weight. The natural forward lean is enough to keep you over the front of your tips, engaging your edges in firm terrain, bumps and on steep pitches. You'll find for the aggressive skier, it is easy to engage the ski through these boots and energy transfers through your legs, feet and into the boots effortlessly. This reminds me of my old days skiing Dalbello Krypton Pros.
These boots clearly strive in the backcountry, touring realm. But, I'm a one ski quiver type of guy, so for me, these boots fill several needs. One, I can use them on the resort as a daily driver with any Dynafit binding, and two, they're light enough for long days in the backcountry. As I gear up for a month in Europe and have limited room for gear in my travel bags. this is clearly the boot I'm taking for powder days and ski mountaineering missions. It's well equipped to do it all.
Want an effortless climb, and a ripping fun descent? Need a boot that will provide for you in the resort and backcountry? Consider this one. For me, nothing even comes close.