2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

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kicknglide
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by kicknglide » Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:58 am

I just received the pair of EU46 Alfa Guard Advance GTX boots that I ordered online from Varuste. As many people have said, Alfa's conversion between US and EU sizes is WILDLY incorrect. Read the fit guide, measure your feet and go by that. I am a US size 11 1/2, and measured my feet at a little over 29cm. Adding Alfa's recommended 1.5cm for backcountry use got me perfectly to an EU46 (which says US 13 on the box :lol: ). So far I've only used them to ski a couple laps in deep snow in my yard, and a quick run down the road, but they seem to fit well and are very stiff and light. I'll follow up with more detail after I put a few miles on them.

This is my first NNN BC Boot, I've been using the Solomon XADV (SNS-BC) system on a 210cm waxable Madshus Voss for a number of years and was extremely happy with it (the boots were extremely warm, fairly light, and had impressive ankle support and downhill control). Unfortunately, Solomon stopped producing the binding, so after slightly bending a toe bar in a spectacular crash I was forced to buy new boots AND new bindings. I wanted an Alpina Alaska, but after reading a little too much of this forum and realizing that all the local ski shops were completely sold out of boots in my size (thanks Covid), I figured if I had to order boots sight unseen, I might as well take a risk and order some from Finland. Hopefully it proves to be a good decision. I like them so far.

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bgregoire
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Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:44 am

kicknglide wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:58 am
I just received the pair of EU46 Alfa Guard Advance GTX boots that I ordered online from Varuste. As many people have said, Alfa's conversion between US and EU sizes is WILDLY incorrect. Read the fit guide, measure your feet and go by that. I am a US size 11 1/2, and measured my feet at a little over 29cm. Adding Alfa's recommended 1.5cm for backcountry use got me perfectly to an EU46 (which says US 13 on the box :lol: ). So far I've only used them to ski a couple laps in deep snow in my yard, and a quick run down the road, but they seem to fit well and are very stiff and light. I'll follow up with more detail after I put a few miles on them.

This is my first NNN BC Boot, I've been using the Solomon XADV (SNS-BC) system on a 210cm waxable Madshus Voss for a number of years and was extremely happy with it (the boots were extremely warm, fairly light, and had impressive ankle support and downhill control). Unfortunately, Solomon stopped producing the binding, so after slightly bending a toe bar in a spectacular crash I was forced to buy new boots AND new bindings. I wanted an Alpina Alaska, but after reading a little too much of this forum and realizing that all the local ski shops were completely sold out of boots in my size (thanks Covid), I figured if I had to order boots sight unseen, I might as well take a risk and order some from Finland. Hopefully it proves to be a good decision. I like them so far.
Congratulations on the sizing! That is a risky affair.

Pats yourself on the back. Its OK to read too much on this site, the problem would be if you purchased too much due to reading this site. That is an entirely different level. :lol:
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM



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kicknglide
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by kicknglide » Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:50 pm

I took the Alfa Guards out for a real spin for the first time last night on my 210cm waxable Madshus Voss (Conditions: +10F, light dusting of fresh cold snow on top of a few-day old base, waxed with Swix Blue Special with a shorter layer of Rex Universal Tar on top). I did about 4 miles of gently rolling multiuse trails, mostly wide somewhat-groomed snowmachine trail with some narrower steeper single-track and a short section of trail-breaking in about a foot of loose snow. Grip with the kick wax was phenomenal, I was able to stride up even the very steepest sections, but it was just a little too grabby in the looser snow which reduced speed and double-poling efficiency.

The Guards fit well, and are definitely a high-volume last. I consider myself to have somewhat wide feet, and there is a substantial amount of space in the toe-box. This bodes well for performance in subzero weather with thicker socks, but makes me think I might want to go with a slightly higher-volume insole like some of the other posters here. My initial impression is that these boots are extremely stiff, causing mild discomfort and slight heel lift when striding. This seemed to improve after skiing a little bit and retightening the laces, so I'm optimistic that once they break in they will have a comfortable flex and the heel lift will go away completely. As it is, the four-mile ski felt great, but if I had done over ten miles I likely would have developed hot spots on my left heel. I'm going to try to take them out for a couple miles every day this week until I have them well broken in, then report back. Overall, construction quality is excellent, and the boots are light, stiff, and warm as advertised (although nowhere near as warm as my old XADV boots. Those were too hot in most conditions and were usable without overboots or toe warmers down past -30F).



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John Dee
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:48 pm

It seems like some of the people who are happy with their Alfa Guards have inadvertently ordered a size large. I'm pretty sure that @Johnny and @lilcliffy did. Sizing up with these boots, in case you haven't been paying attention, is done by ordering your actual EU size. So its understandable how a lot of people would do this. This way, you can add a couple socks or a thick insole to fill up the large volume, and not run out of space in the front.

I followed Alfas chart and ordered a numberical size lower. I also need to fill some volume, but I don't have enough length to do that. Reducing the volume from underneath with insoles obviously reduces the toe box. Adding to this, the toe box seems unusually pointy or more symmetrical than usual. The pictures in this thread show this very well.

I can fill it up so it fits like a walking shoe, but not like a ski boot. I run out of space for either the side of my big toe or my little toes depending on the insole/sock combination. I can tighten up the laces, but I can't change the slop around the ball of the foot. This is what I've been trying to fill without sucess. The heel is fine because of the padding. For those who ordered the correct size-length, I am at a loss for how they are able to deal with the volume.

I'm not sure that I would want a size larger, though. The sole is already maybe 3/16" longer than my size 43 Fischers. So a size 43 Guard means that the toe bar would be maybe 3/8" more forward than my size 43 Fischers. That seems like a lot. I had a terrible time trying to start last year with some size 44 Alpina BC1550 that were impossible to kick and glide. So I'm retiscent about sizing up.

Getting them to fit involves both filling up some space and really pulling on the laces. I've never laced a leather boot up tight like this. It means that you are putting additional stress onto the eyelets. Is this not an issue?

I have a lot of great things to say about Alfas design and construction. Fit is everything, though.



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Stephen
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Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Fri Nov 12, 2021 3:49 am

John Dee wrote:
Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:48 pm
I followed Alfas chart and ordered a numberical size lower.
@John Dee I read through your post, but it was not clear to me what your point was.
Seems like they are too short for you.
Seems like that may be because you followed the measuring instructions, but then ordered one size lower than what ALFA recommended? Based on what you say above (you measure 29+cm) you should have ordered a 47.

https://www.alfaoutdoor.com/service-center/size-guides

I followed ALFA’s sizing guide and fell in between a 46 and 47, so I went with the 47, which has worked out great for me (I measured just under 29cm).
Even with going up a half size (measurement being between 46 and 47 so buying 47), I have no sense that the boots are too big for me. I wear one heavy wool sock.
I have a low volume, high arch, medium wide foot, with a round forefoot.
My round forefoot makes it difficult to find footwear that fits and is comfortable.
My ALFA Guards are fantastic — not perfect, but the best I have ever had.

With my low volume foot, I added a second footbed (I left the factor footbed in the boot and added a second wool footbed).
I lace the boots looser in the lower section (for toe comfort), and tight across the high arch, to pull my foot back into the heel pocket.

Bottom line is that either the sizing is off, or the boots are not a good match for your particular foot shape.
9E44B275-F928-4889-B023-39C57FD92107.jpeg
Last edited by Stephen on Fri Nov 12, 2021 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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John Dee
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:11 am

@Stephen You are confusing me with Kicknglide in the last few posts. My feet are a hair over and under 26cm. I am a size 43, I measured my feet and ordered a size 42.

When I found out how unusual shaped the Guard was, I started to wonder how so many people had success with it. I came up with two theories: 1) People like lilcliffy and Johnny ordered their actual EU size, not Alfas, and ended up with a size larger. This allowed them to add things without running out of toe-room. 2) I didn't mention this in the last post: People with large feet, perhaps 46+, maybe have higher volume feet in general.

Otherwise it seems like the amount of people who fit this out of the box should be small.

I was also asking a question about sizing up with XC boots. Putting the toe bar more forward seems like it would have a negative effect on efficiency. There's obviously some range of acceptability here. So while I'm probably not going to order the next size up, I'm wondering if that is the answer.

I can shuffle along quite comfortably. But when I try to ski more agressively like a traditional xc skiier, I don't have the balance or force. Like I said, they fit like a walking shoe up front after all extra socks/ insoles.

In comparison, my Fischers are roomy in the toe box, but then snug up nicely in the area where the ball of the foot is, giving good control and power.



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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon; Madshus Annum; Asnes Comabt Nato
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Crispi Svartisen BC; Scarpa T4
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Nov 13, 2021 6:30 pm

I don't know what else to say other than I have yet to find (i.e over the last 10 years) a NNNBC boot that does not have a consistent footbed-length in its EU sizing. (There are definitely different EU size boots that share that same outsole, but they have a diffeent length).

A 42EU is actually a little short (for a Nordic touring fit) for my slightly longer left foot-

BUT- all of my size 42EU BC boots have the same length footbed (Alfa Guard/Alpina Alaska/Crispi Svastisen/Lofoten).

They are all different in terms of shape-geometry-volume.

My size 42EU Alfa Guards are large volume but they do not have a strange, pointed last.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.



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fisheater
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by fisheater » Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:02 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 6:30 pm
I don't know what else to say other than I have yet to find (i.e over the last 10 years) a NNNBC boot that does not have a consistent footbed-length in its EU sizing. (There are definitely different EU size boots that share that same outsole, but they have a diffeent length).

A 42EU is actually a little short (for a Nordic touring fit) for my slightly longer left foot-

BUT- all of my size 42EU BC boots have the same length footbed (Alfa Guard/Alpina Alaska/Crispi Svastisen/Lofoten).

They are all different in terms of shape-geometry-volume.

My size 42EU Alfa Guards are large volume but they do not have a strange, pointed last.
Hey Gareth, not that I’m in the market, but if I’m a 45 in my Alaska (both), I’m a 45 in an Alfa, correct?



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lilcliffy
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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon; Madshus Annum; Asnes Comabt Nato
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Crispi Svartisen BC; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:09 pm

fisheater wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:02 pm
lilcliffy wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 6:30 pm
I don't know what else to say other than I have yet to find (i.e over the last 10 years) a NNNBC boot that does not have a consistent footbed-length in its EU sizing. (There are definitely different EU size boots that share that same outsole, but they have a diffeent length).

A 42EU is actually a little short (for a Nordic touring fit) for my slightly longer left foot-

BUT- all of my size 42EU BC boots have the same length footbed (Alfa Guard/Alpina Alaska/Crispi Svastisen/Lofoten).

They are all different in terms of shape-geometry-volume.

My size 42EU Alfa Guards are large volume but they do not have a strange, pointed last.
Hey Gareth, not that I’m in the market, but if I’m a 45 in my Alaska (both), I’m a 45 in an Alfa, correct?
YES- that is my limited experience- at least in terms of footbed length.
My friend has a large volume foot (size 46 in length)-
he might need to size up in a Crispi/Alpina because of boot volume (not length)-
he is fine in his size 46 Alfa (i.e. same footbed length but larger volume).
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.



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John Dee
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by John Dee » Sun Nov 14, 2021 10:59 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:09 pm
fisheater wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:02 pm
Hey Gareth, not that I’m in the market, but if I’m a 45 in my Alaska (both), I’m a 45 in an Alfa, correct?
YES- that is my limited experience- at least in terms of footbed length.
My friend has a large volume foot (size 46 in length)-
he might need to size up in a Crispi/Alpina because of boot volume (not length)-
he is fine in his size 46 Alfa (i.e. same footbed length but larger volume).
Guards run a size large (A 42 Guard is an EU43). I was questioning if people are going big to have toe room for more socks and insoles.



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