Recently my thought process regarding how a good classic boot should fit has changed dramatically. I used to think that any good classic boot needed torsional rigidity along with generous forward flex and most importanly some degree of ankle support. This all changed when I got the opputunity to try the Alpina ECL Pro. The ECL Pro embodies pretty much the opposite of what I used to think made a successful classic boot. There is incredbly minimal support, and little to no torsi0nal rigidity. The only thing that I found in the ECL Pro that I used to look for is tremendous forward flex. So clearly the Alpina ECL Pro doesn’t follow the mold when it comes to classic race boots, but in my opinion thats a good thing. In this review I will evaluate the ECL Pro in four areas: performance, build quality, specifications, and finally value.
As far as performace goes the ECL Pro is really a unique boot, it takes an approach unlike any other classic boot on the market. It is incredibly minamilistic yet complex in fit. There isnt anything extra or unneceasry, which is something unique in the ski boot world. The seemingly old fashioned lace up inner boot is actually just perfection. It allows for a fit and feel like no other boot, almost running shoe like. Of course this isn’t for everyone but the minimal fit allows for ski control and feel like no other. The boots forward flex is really quite superb, almost disorienting at first. The snug insulated upper is encredibly comfortable, but I will mention that this is not exactly the warmest boot in the world. The minimalist and sock like fit of this boot does come at the cost of insulation, not a problem for many skiers especially those who are training or racing, but it is still worth noting. The performance of this classic boot is as lightweight and locked in as it gets, end of story.
The build quality of these boots has been excellent in the time which I have been using them. The beauty of the simplistic design is their aren’t any doodads or gimmicky lacing systems to get tangled or broken. The only thing worth mentioning that I have noticed with these boots is that the sock like outer cover gets more and more supple after repeated use. I persoanally see this as a bonus, thay almost form to the contours of your ankle and foot, but I have heard some people say that they became almost floppy in the arch area. Now I have been using these boots extensively for several months now and have had no such issue but I thought I would mention it. Overall though the build quality of the ECL is superb.
The specifications of the ECL Pro are as one would expect them to be. The boot contains almost all of Alpinas high end race boot technology such as: 45 degree lacing, a Rottefella Accelerator Sole, and the popular single piece overboot. While not utilizing any carbon last or heel counter, the ECL Pro skis better for it. In my opinion the ECL’s small specification sheet speaks to the simple nonensense design which makes it a great ski boot.
There really isn’t much to say in terms of value when it comes to the ECL Pro. It comes in at $349.99 which is on par with the top tier classic boot offering from the rest of the market. While these boots are not a bad value they aren’t exactly a bargain either. This is to be expected from a top of the line race boot.
Overall I have been really really impressed by the Alpina ECL Pro. If you are looking for a classic boot that is going to offer the most minimal insulation and creature comforts, all while delivering unparalleled comfort and feel than this is the boot for you. What Alpina has achieved with their offset lacing system is truly impressive.