2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

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John Dee
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:15 pm

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am

When I said that both of my bars moved, that was near the wood stove. The temperature was quite revealing because one exhibited a lot of play. Now I would say that only of them moves, just a little. It makes sense that only one is in an early stage of failure because both would be remarkably unlucky.
Capercaillie wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2023 1:14 pm

That is a badly molded pair of soles and is 100% a warranty issue. I have had multiple boot-twisted-like-a-noodle ski tip burials on my Guards and Nordlands, total binding rip out from a buried ski tip with wimpier NNN boots, and the bars on all of them are still solid. This is not repairable because the sole material itself is compromised, for whatever reason.

...
I also have heel problems with Guards on one of my feet. It seems there are a lot of us. I have become convinced the Guard is a defective design. The combination of that stupid plastic heel cup, poor heel retention foam, and a comically oversize and soft shaft all combine to make a proper fit or break-in impossible.
It sounds like they don't fit you well. The heel retention foam is briliant, to me, but that was a pretty bad experience I had bruising my heel, and sometimes I think I'm still hitting some stitches back there instead of the padding.

I love these boots, but suspect I've gotten used to what may be a little roomy fit in the middle. People may recall my posts here were about trying to fill up the volume without crowding my toes. I'm going to do some testing and scrutinizing before I order another pair.

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Capercaillie
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2022 1:35 pm
Location: western Canada
Ski style: trying not to fall too much
Favorite Skis: Alpina 1500T
Favorite boots: Alfa Horizon, Crispi Nordland

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Capercaillie » Sun Dec 03, 2023 2:58 pm

John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
When I said that both of my bars moved, that was near the wood stove. The temperature was quite revealing because one exhibited a lot of play. Now I would say that only of them moves, just a little.
If the soles are getting hot enough to soften that much, the glue holding them to the uppers is also getting hot enough to start failing, and the leather is getting dried out. Quick way to ruin boots.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
It makes sense that only one is in an early stage of failure because both would be remarkably unlucky.
Both failing at the same time is what you would expect to see if, for example, they were made from the same batch of bad plastic pellets, or some other process defect.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
It sounds like they don't fit you well.
Yes, and it is entirely due to the heel cup being too stiff, and the abrupt transition to the too-soft, oversize and floppy shaft. I also have the Alfa Horizons and Alfa Skagets, and both are made on very similar, if not the same, lasts as the Guards, and are some of the best-fitting footwear I own. So the Guard was a real disappointment.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
The heel retention foam is briliant, to me, but that was a pretty bad experience I had bruising my heel, and sometimes I think I'm still hitting some stitches back there instead of the padding.
I am willing to bet the bruising is due to the external plastic heel cup. It is too stiff and prevents the boot from ever breaking in to the shape of your heel.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
I love these boots, but suspect I've gotten used to what may be a little roomy fit in the middle. People may recall my posts here were about trying to fill up the volume without crowding my toes. I'm going to do some testing and scrutinizing before I order another pair.
Try the Crispi Nordland instead. Much better boot, slightly narrower (but can be stretched out if you need to).



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John Dee
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:15 pm

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Sat Dec 09, 2023 11:23 pm

Capercaillie wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 2:58 pm
If the soles are getting hot enough to soften that much, the glue holding them to the uppers is also getting hot enough to start failing, and the leather is getting dried out. Quick way to ruin boots.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
It makes sense that only one is in an early stage of failure because both would be remarkably unlucky.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
It sounds like they don't fit you well.
Yes, and it is entirely due to the heel cup being too stiff, and the abrupt transition to the too-soft, oversize and floppy shaft. I also have the Alfa Horizons and Alfa Skagets, and both are made on very similar, if not the same, lasts as the Guards, and are some of the best-fitting footwear I own. So the Guard was a real disappointment.
John Dee wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:53 am
The heel retention foam is briliant, to me, but that was a pretty bad experience I had bruising my heel, and sometimes I think I'm still hitting some stitches back there instead of the padding.
I am willing to bet the bruising is due to the external plastic heel cup. It is too stiff and prevents the boot from ever breaking in to the shape of your heel.
That's a good point about the heat. Its not a habit, its just a chance of taking my boots off in the living room and having the wood stove be piping hot. No doubt, many boots have been parked next to the stove every night instead of being properly sealed.

I think the heel cup is also a part of the design. I also think that my desperate climbing action was outside of normal usage, and that the roomy fit contributed to the bruising by putting all of the pressure on one point in the rear, thus bottoming out the ankle memory foam pads. I disagree with you on almost every point besides fit. The funny thing is, while this was a fairly serious injury, i only noticed it in these boots, when rubbing on those one or two stitches, and otherwise felt nothing. That's why I thought it might have been the boots and not my feet.

Turns out, its probably just one toe bar. I went for an easy one today with someone who was slower. The toe bar significantly loosened up so that both sides are very sloppy, and the squishy sound from water inside is very loud. Its really my luck that I spent 18 months before skiing on them, and then thought that it was binding slop. If theres' one thing that people should take from this its that a lot of stuff was messed up during covid, skilled workers retired, and volume was up immensely.



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