Following Lee’s query, I thought I’d share some more detailed opinions on my new Garmont Radium boots after 5 days of skiing in them.
When skiing they are noticeably stiffer and more responsive than other AT boots I’ve used – Megarides, Denalis, Lasers, and Concordias. When buckled down they really are close to downhill boots in performance, certainly everything I could ever want for backcountry powder skiing. The single locking position feels quite upright, which works for me, but perhaps not for others. It seems that it would be difficult to provide aftermarket components to modify the angle. The power-strap is too long for my skinny legs, and appears to be of the same low quality sewing and materials as those on my Megarides, so I’ll replace them when I can.
In walk mode they’re perfectly acceptable, relatively lightweight, with a good long stride, but are perhaps less easy to loosen off than the Megarides – as even when unbuckled they hug my foot tightly. The locking upper buckles already seem like a very convenient feature, and have worked flawlessly. Unfortunately I was noticing a minor pressure point on my instep (never an issue in tongue style boots) and I was experiencing some toe bang when walking on flat terrain. The boots are easy to get into, though inexplicably difficult to get out of.
I stuck with Garmont because I find they fit my low volume feet better than the alternatives. I had deliberately purchased size 28.0, even though I’m technically a 28.5, because I wanted to take up extra volume, but even when cranked down (and I was maxing out the top buckle) I was still getting unacceptable heel slop (even with Medium-weight Smartwool ski socks). Detailed inspection confirmed just how low volume the new G-Fit liners are – at 5cm forward and to the side of the heel, my molded liners are only a few mm thick. Sure they’re fancy looking, with all sorts of extra sewing and materials(why they think sewing on stiffening patches accomplishes anything is beyond comprehension), but just like the older style G-Fit liners that came with the Megarides, they are not even close to providing the support and fit of Intuition liners, which expand to fill empty space. So I simply took the Intuition liners that I’d been using in my Megarides, and the problem was solved. With Intuition liners, they fit like a glove (in Ultralight Smartwool ski socks), I’ve now no pressure point on my instep when skinning, and the much higher volume tongue holds my foot back in the heel pocket alleviating any toe bang.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the boots, though it’ll be interesting to see how they handle extended trips, but for the money they’re charging it’d be nice if they came with liners and a power-strap I didn’t have to upgrade (like Scarpa is doing with the Skookum).