The HF 110 heralds Nordica’s featured Return of the Rear Entry in an attempt to capture the damn-can’t-get-my-boots-on market, and we bootfitters agree there’s a need—hard to get on boots are a barrier to entry (get it?) in a sport where our demographic is, well, maturing! HF stands for Hands-Free and our testers put exactly that to the test. Flipping up its rear-latching buckle (a new take on the old-school rear entry style with a spin-dial cable adjustment) opened up the boot’s mega maw with one flip and even with the ratchet-strappy lower buckle still closed each tester was able to stuff his foot in no problem, no hands ma! We were even able to close the rear buckle using our other foot, and strategically located holes on both buckles allow for a ski pole-tip-levered-release to avoid ever having to bend over. There’s an 85-flex women’s version and a heated option for both the men and women.
The HF is based off the 102 mm Sportmachine last and fits similarly in lower and the upper. It's definitely wide, our testers confirm, but it's not a rental bucket--it has some anatomical shaping going on for the bony parts of the foot and has a fantastically high and smoothly contoured ceiling over the instep. As with all proper rear entries of yore, the rear "mono block" buckle has a threaded spin-dial cable adjustment for bringing that higher instep roof down onto the foot and as such is capable of retaining a variety of different foot types--this really is the best fit element of the rear entry design, our old school bootfitters think. There's a ratchet-strap buckle on the lower boot that is a little fiddly, especially for those challenged with bending over, but once it's set it can virtually be left buckled and one can just stuff the foot on in there, then buckle up the rear.
While it's primary performance is geared toward the getting on and getting off--and it does a heck of a job with that--the HF 110 does ski adequately, our testers report. No, it's not an all-mountain ripper-charger, but it does get somebody on the mountain--and for this boot that's what counts.
The 3D Corkfit Primaloft liner adds a nice combination of cushion and comfort coupled with firm-enough ankle and heel retention--it has two pull loops to help with entry, but really, you won't need them. It's a roomy instep fit, right? Well, there's a integrated flip-over boot board shim that will take up some of that slop if needed. The HF has an interesting split lower boot design (kinda like a narrow-slot cabrio affair) with an internal waterproof gusset and an exterior shield to ensure that the easy on and wrapping lower doesn't leak. The coolest feature, we think, are the pole tip holes in the buckle throws, designed so that the truly stiff of knee, hip or back can get these things off while standing tall and proud--no begging for help in the parking lot ever again!
“Ridiculously easy to get on and off--without hands, really! The ski pole tip buckle release is a slick feature for the bend-over-challenged. Wide and high instep fit but with adequate ankle and heel retention and a couple easy buckle adjustments.” -- Mark Elling