Normally, I (Stella) do not post product reviews for personal items (clothing, packs, etc.) until I’ve used them a few times. However, I am so pleased with the Rossignol X-6 SC Combi Cross-Country Ski Boot that I need to break the news about it! I have always had difficulty finding gear that fit my feet properly, and any time that I need to purchase a new boot, shoe, sandal, etc., I dread it. But this time was a rare exception.
I needed to find a replacement for my old Rossignol classic cross-country ski boots (Rossignol X3 FW Womens NNN), which are at least eight years old. And despite all of the skiing that I have done in those boots over the years, they had never fit comfortably. The extra thick padding around the ankle area is way too thick. I severely dug into my legs, leaving them very sore to even the slightest touch. So why did I wait so long to replace them? Why had I tolerated such extreme discomfort? Because I dread shopping for footwear! Fortunately, the day came where replacing them was a necessity.
A few weeks ago, I took a skate skiing lesson at the Grand Lake Nordic Center, where we frequent in the winter months. I enjoyed the experience, and decided to purchase a combi boot that would allow for both classic and skate skiing. Thus began my search for a new boot. The following week, we were at Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center, where I had rented the Rossignol X-6 SC Combi Cross-Country Ski Boot, and I fell in love with it. I purchased a brand new pair that day.
FIT/COMORT: This boot sits about an inch higher on my leg than a traditional classic ski boot, and does not have any ankle padding. Instead, it’s a thin neoprene-like sleeve that sits around the ankles. You then lace the boot and zip up the outer material over the top of it. Behind the boot is a plastic ‘brace’ that you pull forward around the back of the ankle; the velcro strap closes around the front to the desired tightness. I have found that this boot provides ample ankle support for both forms of skiing, which is particularly important for skate skiing.
With many skate skiing boots, the plastic ‘brace’ at the back of the boot that rotates forward around the ankle is very uncomfortable for me because it digs into my leg. But the brace system on this boot is not bothersome at all. And, the velcro strap along the front of the boot stays in place well, but may occasionally need adjustment. For example, if I fall, the velcro strap may lift over the top of the boot. But fixing them back into the correct position is easy to do.
NOTE: Be sure to keep the round cardboard rolls that come with the boot, and put them back into the boot when not in use. This will prevent the neoprene inner layer of the boot (the part that wraps around your ankle) from folding inward. And, when you put the boot on, be sure to use the loophole to keep that fabric layer straight when you slide your foot in, also to prevent it from folding inward. If the lip (top edge) of that material starts to curve inward, it will cut into your leg and be very uncomfortable.
In addition to placing the rolls back inside of the boot, be sure to lace the boots up and close the velcro strap just like you would if they were on your foot. If that inner material is not kept tight up against the roll, the top edge will fold inward. This happened to me once when I was too lazy to suture the boot up around the roll (I just placed them inside of the boot). The top edge of the inner layer had just barely curved inward enough to the point where it had hurt my leg all day long while skiing. So when I took them off, I pulled on the loop to stretch it out really well, and then stuffed the roll in it and sutured up the boot really right. Learn from my mistake!
SIZING: Remember that when you are exercising, your body temperature increases, resulting in a slight expansion of your feet. And since it’s winter, normally a thicker sock is needed. My shoe size is a 5.5-6, so I decided upon a size 37 boot (this is a unisex boot). The 36 was more snug, but I kept in mind that my feet would expand, and I wanted to be able to accommodate a slightly thicker sock in colder temperatures if needed. Usually, I wear a mid-weight, moisture-wicking sock that is adequate for temperatures down to the single digits.
NOTE: As with all of my other footwear, I usually replace the sole with my personal preference of orthotic insert. Heel blisters are always a concern with new outdoor footwear. I have been on a painful learning curve in this regard over the last few years with other active outdoor footwear products, particularly winter boots used for snowshoeing. A vital component of preventing heel blisters is ensuring that the footwear has a deep heel cup. This is something to note if you put too thick of an insert into your footwear, because it could raise your heel, thus preventing the heel from resting perfectly within that heel cup. I recently skied over seven miles in these boots and did not acquire any friction against my heels whatsoever. And simply walking around in these boots, without the skis, is comfortable as well.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I know that some people prefer to have specific boots dedicated for classic and skate skiing. However, I found that the Rossignol X-6 SC Combi Ski Boot is the best choice for me, all around. Please note that Rossingnol’s website states that these boots have the “speed lace lock system.” However, the pair that I had purchased does not have that lacing system; I think I got the previous year’s model. And even though I really like the speed lace lock system, and enjoy it on my other forms of footwear, that is a minor detail to me. What’s most critical is that these are very comfortable boots!
END NOTE: I pair these boots with the Fischer Spider 62 Crown IFP Cross-Country skis; they are FANTASTIC as well! Please check out that review.
Overall: Excellent Purchase
Price paid: $200
Place Purchased: Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center
Link to Snow Mountain Ranch Website: Snow Mountain Ranch
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