For quite some time I've been wishing for boots that were suitable for rollerskiing in warm weather. If you're like me and rollerski a lot during the hot summer months, you know how saturated in sweat your feet can get...."trench foot" becomes a definite possibility. Alpina has answered this need with their new RRS rollerski-specific boots. Amazingly, the introduction of this innovative boot has gone largely unnoticed by the nordic skiing community.
At first glance, the RRS is similar in construction to Alpina's TCS skate boot. The outer-sole appears to be identical with the same Ti-carbon cuff and heal retention device. However, the RRS replaces the suffocating zippered upper of the TCS with a breathable mesh. In essance, the RRS is a ventilated version of the TCS. Incidentally, Alpina also offers a classical rollerski boot called the RRC, but I think it's only being sold in Europe.
Alpina is only selling the the RRS through "select" dealers (in the US, only Gear West and WebSkis look to be selling them....and they're pricey). Also, if you go to Alpina's website, the only mention of the RRS is in a news release. Thus, it seems like Alpina is testing the waters to see if there is a viable market for rollerski-specific boots.
My question is whether anyone is interested in these? It seems like most nordic skiers tend to focus on other sports after the snow melts (cycling, running, kayaking, etc.). I get the feeling that for these folks, rollerskiing is primarily an autumn activity. As we all know, cooler autumn temperatures make ventilated rollerski boots less necessary. As such, I figure the only groups truly interested in rollerski-specific boots are "Olympic Development" types and weirdos (like me) who rollerski year-round as a primary form of exercise.
What are your thoughts?
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Ski boot selection is by fit first and familiarity second. Assuming the last and design philosophy hasn't changed, Alpina has managed to make a boot that fits those who are already loyal to the brand. Unless rollerskiing takes off as a sport all on its own I don't see this boot becoming a huge seller.
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