For the 2015 ski season I made a change, a change to a new binding system. Being a long time SNS user I was quite interested to check out the offerings of some other companies like Solomon, Atomic, and Oneway. I tried lots of different offerings from companies such as Alpina and Fischer, but there were was one specific boot that was head and shoulders above the competition and that was the Rossignol X-IUM Premium Skate boots. In this review I will provide a detailed analysis of the aspects which make the Rossignol X-IUM Premium Skate one the best race skate boots on the market and a good value when compared to its peers. I will evaluate these boots in four areas, performance, build quality, specifications, and finally value.
First, performance: I started my ski racing career as an alpine ski racer and several years ago switched to nordic racing. One of the things which I found quite interesting in my switch was the difference in the boots. The Rossignol X-IUM Premium Skate is the first boot I have tried which in my opinion captures the locked in and supported feel of alpine race boots. Every aspect of these boots seems to be tailored for speed and efficiency. The zero drop accelerator sole paired with the one piece carbon sole provides power transmission like I have never experienced before. I feel as if I can get higher with every pole plant and transfer more energy. In my opinion, this is mostly due to the fact that the carbon sole is full length and runs the entire length of the boot, unlike the cheaper X-IUM World Cup sibling of the Premium Model. This difference can really be felt when wearing one of each boot, the flex point and give is dramatically different. Compared to the Premium, the World Cup can at times almost feel like a pursuit boot. The carbon cuff which also varies from that of the World Cup model. The Premium model’s cuff while seemingly less robust is just as, if not more rigid, than that of its little brother. It’s also worth noting that the attachment point of the Premium is just a simple metal hinge where as the World Cup Model sports a screw system which allows for the removal of the cuff altogether. I am sure this change was made in the pursuit of weight savings, but it is certainly something to consider when making your decision. Overall the performance of this boot is centered around the the needs of a skier who seeks a top of the line ultra stiff and aggressive race boot, if this isn’t you then I would look elsewhere, but if your still reading then you may have found your dream boot.
As far as build quality and durability goes the Rossignol X-IUM Premium Skate has held up quite well. It is worth noting that I only have around a month or two of skiing in these boots and …. several hundred kilometers. In this time span there has only been two things which I would classify as week points in terms of build quality. One of which is significantly more troublesome than the other. I’ll start with the less serious issue first, the big Rossignol logo on the inside of the arch is cracking. To be fair the cracks are only noticeable when the shell of the boot is taut or stretched, when you are in a skiing position they disappear. This is a pretty small issue and is something I personally am not worried about. The second issue though is slightly more concerning. On the inside ankle of one boot there the cuff and carbon sole meet – at the hinge a small yet notable chip has been lost from the carbon cuff. I am sure the damage was most likely obtained when my boots knocked together at some point or another so I cannot point all of the blame to some sort of weak carbon fiber. Yet is is something to note and think about when considering the build quality and durability of any given piece of equipment. Overall the boots have held up well but there isn’t really anything spectacular to say about their durability or build quality other than they feel solid and as with many carbon fiber products things can be brittle!
The specifications and technical information regarding the Rossignol X-IUM Premium are just as you would expect them to be, top of the line everything. These boots come in sizes between 38-46 (including half sizes). Each boot weighs just 490 grams, 980 for a pair (size 42). The sole is the standard Rottefella Accelerator Skate sole. The inner boot is a generously insulated liner with quick lacing system. As stated previously these boots employ an external carbon heel counter and carbon cuff which utilizes Rossignol’s 3d carbon and soft touch technologies. Overall as far as specifications go these boots are some of the lightest and most full featured boots on the market.
And finally – these boots weakest point, price. There is no getting around the cringeworthy 750$ suggested retail price. Although most retailers are selling these boots for slightly less. It is still a high price to pay for nordic ski boots. These boots have, However, achieved for me what no other Nordic ski boot has before, a locked in super aggressive yet forgiving fit. That is a pretty unique combination and it will make many (including myself) swallow the unusually high price is tag in order to have the pleasure of training and racing in this special boot. Long story short if you have the cash to splash and want one of the very best skate boots on the market that I would strongly consider the Rossignol X-IUM Premium Skate boot.