The KORE 1 got a shell revision last season in the form of thickened shell walls in critical zones to stiffen the flex and provide more stability on edge. Testers could feel the difference and liked it, citing a stronger feel on edge than the previous year’s version. This year the KORE 1 returns with additional updates of an updated liner cuff and a 50mm power strap with an integrated plastic Power Plate to more evenly spread shin pressure during flexion, which testers agree performs as billed. The hike-articulated 3D Perfect Fit liner’s Liquid Fit injection feature remains a tester favorite for anatomically snugging the heel and ankle pocket, and testers who have undergone the Form Fit shell-cook customization process said both fit and flex feel improved dramatically. Testers appreciated the fact that the light weight of the Grilflex and Graphene shell and cuff didn't reduce the kind of "real boot" fit or performance they've come to expect from Head. They also liked that the simplicity and tradition of the Head four-buckle overlap has been modernized here with space age plastics, tech binding compatibility and an intuitive, functional hike mode.
Testers found the fit evenly snug and well adapted to bony points and wide spots, but they said it ran on the narrow end of the medium-width fit spectrum. That was not a criticism, but an observation—testers had zero complaints of hot spots or other fit issues, and say the updated Power Plate and wider power strap has served to solidify the KORE's stiffness (legit 130 they said) as well as better distribute pressure along the shin. Testers who underwent the Liquid Fit liner injection process reported an improved rearfoot (heel and ankle) fit that they were able to control during the process, which they liked for its simplicity and immediately perceptible result.
The KORE 1 has always displayed accurate steering and a quick move to the edge (a perfect score there in last year's on snow test) and easily found a stable sweet spot through a variety of snow conditions. Some testers thought the boot felt a little edgy at first but discovered that Form Fit shell molding created a more balanced and neutral feeling position. All testers who got Liquid Fit injected noted an uptick in steering, quickness and edging performance. The new liner cuff material and power strap assembly worked miracles for the KORE's flex feel--strong and even, testers report. The hike modality is super easy to actuate and with the top two buckles open the rearward rotation was acceptable, though testers still say the forward range of motion is a bit limited.
The Smart Frame shell construction maintains thicker, ribbed and rigid Grilflex plastic in areas where stability and power are critical and keeps the thinner, better wrapping Grilflex where it suits foot-shape matching and easing entry and exit. Graphene is a powder additive to the plastic that increases stability and provide a damp feel like polyurethane without adding substantial weight. GripWalk soles come mounted on the KORE. The buckle lock keeper-bales are handy for keeping things adjusted properly while unbuckled for touring but can also be buckled over the top of, which is a convenience for on-area ski days.
“The Liquid Fit process made it tighter in the Achilles area and improved the ankle pockets. I cooked the shell for 5 minutes and the new fit is amazing—the shin and lower leg fit has totally improved. Can’t wait to ski this now! ” -- Kevin Gabriel
“Beautiful, connected feel for the snow coming from the well-enveloped fit. Strong and powerful connection to the edge. Very good forward lean and ramp angle for varied terrain. This boot felt lively and snappy--excellent balance and skiability for a hike mode boot.” -- Jim Schaffner
“Nimble. Light. Solid. I think this boot is as good if not better than most in its category.” -- Dallas Goldsmith
“The new Power Plate and wider power strap have solved the previous generation's flex feel and shin fit issues. This version is ready to rip.” -- Mark Elling
“The range of motion in forward rotation in touring mode remains on the limited side of the spectrum, but not completely out of line with the rest of the group.” -- Mark Elling