Philpug

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The dust is settling in the sole wars, and it looks like GripWalk is becoming the standard for the comfort version of a DIN (ISO 5355) sole. The WTR originators, Amer Group, will still offer some WTR variations over the next season, but I believe that it will abandon that ship once the stock depletes and migrate over to a sole that is compatible with a GripWalk binding, evolving all bindings to MNC (multinorm certified) and allowing all soles including ISO 9523 to work. Other than race-specific bindings, there are fewer and fewer bindings that are not at least GripWalk-compatible, and most are some of the older ones on the market.

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 2.24.15 AM.png

Updated 10/21
As a skier who used a GripWalk boot during the past season, I can say they are indeed better for getting around the base of a ski area. The new articulated sole is easier for walking, and the grippier soles make a difference in traction. That said, I still believe that this design, concept evolution, or whatever you want to call it was a solution in search of a problem and that walking could have been improved (although not as significantly) with a good Vibram-type sole that would work with skiers' current, and perfectly fine, bindings.

Since your new binding choices are clearing, the discussion now happens with your bootfitter. Knowing that your current bindings might not be forward-compatible, what are you willing to give up in your current gear and what are you willing to give up in comfort and walking performance? We were in a shop this past fall observing a boot fit. The customer bought a pair of boots that had a WTR sole that could not be swapped to a DIN design and was resolved that his current groomer skis would not be compatible with his new boots. His $800 boot purchased became a $3,000 purchase as it turned into boots as well as frontside skis and new bindings for his powder skis. He was willing and able to make this financial commitment, but most skiers who need new boots won't be.

Fortunately, most of the GripWalk (or WTR) boots offered today have DIN soles available. A better shop will have these options for you and will be able to educate you on the benefits and the costs. If the sole is not backward-compatible, they should make you aware, preferably early in the fit process.

The Numbers Game: Bindings, Part 1
The Numbers Game: Bindings, Part 2

Edit:
Venn Diagram was updated 10/22/18 when Atomic/Salomon announced that their STH2 WTR 13 and 16 would acccept GripWalk.
 
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Tony S

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I hate capitalism at times like this.
 

Tony S

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I don't give a rat's adz if the binding is wtr or gripwalk. I really don't care. I'll take Tyrolia's race bindings; thank you very much.
Looks like I'm in the minority though.
The problem is that you always start with boots. Boots that fit. And if they have a sole that doesn't work with your bindings, you're SOL. New bindings. And if you have a few pairs of skis ...
 

wutangclan

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I'm torn ... I just bought a pair of skis with MNC bindings (Stockli Laser AX, which I think of as SL cheaters), and my latest boots (K2 Spyne, bought last winter) just happen to be Gripwalk-ready even though it wasn't a criteria when I bought then. The boots currently have alpine soles on them, which I'm considering switching for GW soles.

Problem is, I have a quiver of older skis all with DIN alpine bindings that, to varying degrees, I'd like to hang on to:
  • 2015 Ogasaka GS cheater (r=19m, 68mm underfoot), for drills and skills
  • 2015 Fischer SL cheater (r=14m, 72mm underfoot), for rocks?
  • 2017 K2 Pinnacle 95 -- the 1st gen model, which I'm not so fond of
Combined resale value of all these skis is at most $500. I also have an old pair of Lange plug boots that still work.

What should I do? Sell off all the old skis? Buy MNC bindings and remount on the old skis? Use my old boots with the old skis? My ideal quiver consists of at most 3 pairs (SL and GS cheaters, and something fat).
 
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Brian Finch

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I’ve been an early adopter & will say this:

  • GripWalk skis easier on Right Coast /PNW Sierra Cement
  • It’s safer to walk
  • The decreased energy cost due to the rocker sole + vibration absorption will make skiers legs last longer on the hill & reduce fatigue mediated malaise
  • I hope we see fewer injuries
 
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Philpug

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I’ve been an early adopter & will say this:

  • GripWalk skis easier on Right Coast /PNW Sierra Cement
  • It’s safer to walk
  • The decreased energy cost due to the rocker sole + vibration absorption will make skiers legs last longer on the hill & reduce fatigue mediated malaise
  • I hope we see fewer injuries
As another early adaptor, I still question, do these pluses out weigh the costs and changes that are required? I cannot say they are, I think a better vibram type sole would have addressed 75+% of the concerns without making a good amount of gear obsolete that in currently on the feet of the average skier who would benefit from this design.
 

Brian Finch

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C377231C-FD2B-42D4-A020-1AA5CC7D3374.jpeg
AB64424A-FE7D-4B08-9E1E-75C697E42F83.jpeg
As another early adaptor, I still question, do these pluses out weigh the costs and changes that are required? I cannot say they are, I think a better vibram type sole would have addressed 75+% of the concerns without making a good amount of gear obsolete that in currently on the feet of the average skier who would benefit from this design.
CAST has your aftermarket Vibram soles that split the difference: more grip & still DIN. They don’t ski or walk as good as GripWalk, but they are a $100 solution ($50 for part; $50 for labor).

I can’t imagine a better DIN Rubberized sole.
 
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DanoT

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My plan is to continue buying DIN sole boots and then gradually switch over as current skis wear out, to skis with MNC bindings. I just don't see Gripwalk as any kind of game changer must have item. Not like the must have PugSki goggle cover or anything.:D
 
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I am hearing now that Salomon/Atomic STH2 WTR bindings are indeed Gripwalk compatible. I am not sure why it has taken the Amer brands so long to acknowledge something that we suspected since this started. This makes the Look Pivot 18, the only consumer binding that is not Gripwalk compatible.

I will be adjusting the chart in my original post.
 

Brian Finch

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I am hearing now that Salomon/Atomic STH2 WTR bindings are indeed Gripwalk compatible. I am not sure why it has taken the Amer brands so long to acknowledge something that we suspected since this started. This makes the Look Pivot 18, the only consumer binding that is not Gripwalk compatible.

I will be adjusting the chart in my original post.

WTF- I gave away multiple skis set up with STH2 due to incompatiblity with GripWalk.

:facepalm:
 

Brian Finch

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@Philpug

Perhaps it’s being in my line of work (Rehabilitation) that provides a biased sample, yet the Wardens with the sliding AFD seem a wiser route than “asserting” the STH2 is compatible. Recall that center toe height screw was never intended for AT/GripWalk soles.

YMMV
 
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