Salomon S-Lab Vitane Skate Pro ReviewMay 9, 2016
- Precise fit
- Snug, women-specific fit
- High-quality construction
- Agile on hills, turns & accelerations
- Difficult to get on and off
- Rigid on the anklebones
- Relatively uncomfortable
As part of Salomon’s elite S-Lab line designed for race day, the Vitane Skate Pro is focused first and foremost on impeccable fit and performance. Its elaborate closure system takes some time to figure out, and get in and out of, but the result is an incredibly dialed fit that translates to terrific power transmission. Overall comfort and ease of use come secondary.
This stiff, carbon-framed boot runs on the small side—certainly the snuggest fit of all the boots tested in this review. As other women’s boots boast, the Vitane Skate Pro offers a women-specific fit with a narrower heel cup and narrower instep. However, this fit is more pronounced in the Vitane than women-specific models from other brands, as it fits exceptionally snugly all over—impressively, without creating any pressure points. The complex lacing/tightening systems allow for a highly customizable fit.
This boot feels like a firm extension of the human foot. With its precise fit, power transfer to the ski is maximized. It holds up well on everything from slushy patches to icy ones, with plenty of lateral support for when you’re on your edges. The double axes of the SNS-Pilot binding-compatible system (versus the single axis of NNN-compatible boots) offers a bit more control and stability on everything from hills to aggressive speed pushes.
The good news is that having five different, independent lacing/tightening systems means it’s possible for a variety of feet to find their Goldilocks fit in this boot—the inner bootie quicklace, the ratcheting instep buckle, the Velcro-adjustable ankle strap, the diagonal zipper and the small Velcro-adjustable strap at the rear of the heel. Operating them all with ease takes some practice, and the first time you get your foot inside this boot, you’ll probably break a sweat doing so. Ease of foot entry is further hampered by the full inner neoprene bootie, which offers helpful pull loops for maneuvering in and out of, but otherwise has no zipper or other method to ease entry.
Once the ankles have been seatbelted in to this boot, they’re not going anywhere. The plastic ankle cuff is elaborate and highly rigid. It’s not fully hinged as with the other boots in this test, though some flex and give is built in to the cuff. Lateral slop? Forget about it. This boot is like a cast.
Perhaps because these are geared toward elite racers more than casual skate skiers, this is where the boot takes a bit of a hit. In its focus on stability, precision and performance, it must make some sacrifices in the comfort department, feeling more like an unyielding alpine ski boot than a typical Nordic one. The rear plastic cuff is positioned almost directly over the anklebones, lending ample lateral stability, but simultaneously making the ankles vulnerable to chafing or irritation. The toebox is snug—again, a boon for minimizing lateral slop, but a bane when it comes to comfortably accommodating the natural foot swell that can happen over an hour or two of time on your feet.