The Freeride category remains a bit of a mixed bag, with a variety of different shell designs, plastics types, liner options and hike mode mechanisms to choose from. The defining characteristics of the category, tech fittings and a hike mode, may gain a model entry into the marketplace but they certainly don't guarantee that a boot will deliver on the three most important criteria: fits well, skis down well, goes up well. Our women's test team is a demanding bunch who won't take any trade-offs in fit or skiing performance for the sake of uphill capability, so when they say the Head Kore RS 105 W GW ticks all three boxes without issue we call that a gold medal level seal of approval.
The new Kore for the women's and men's lines is revised this year to employ the lower shell shape of the narrow Formula RS and medium Formula all-mountain boots. This change and the use of a polyurethane lower shell has proven to be a game changer for the model according to our testers. The new Kore 105 W GW fits as well as its narrow all-mountain sister, skis as well as it does, and manages both of those feats while shaving weight with a polypropylene (Superlight) upper cuff construction and incorporating an updated hike mode lever that testers loved. They said the range of motion when released is smooth in quality and adequate in range and in concert with GripWalk soles and tech fittings manages to slot the Kore into the very top of women's freeride boots available today.
Testers mentioned that the cuff height felt slightly lower than average on the leg shaft (they had similar feedback about the Formula boots) which was great for some and less-than-ideal for others, but they said the 105 flex rating was true and the flex feel was even and well distributed against the leg. Stance angles are neutral in all directions according to testers who said that they varied radius and speed through a mix of terrain and snow with good response. In fact, the Kore RS 105 received perfect scores for Dynamic Balance and Edge Power as proof there.
The superleggera (Italian for super light) buckles were indeed minimal but also functional and testers like the fat 53 mm ratchet cam powerstrap. The double pull loop liner is always appreciated and the Form Fit shell molding feature is a slick way to open up the fit slightly or provide a moderate stance angle improvement. The Liquid Fit liner option is there for filling the heel pocket for the ultra-skinny-foot folks out there.
“Narrow fitting, but has a Form Fit shell cook option to relax the fit. ” -- Emily Poore
“Feels nice and snug in all the right places. My foot is secure in the heel and ankle but I've got a nice amount of room in the toe box. Liner feels nice and cushy. Really nice, smooth transitions in and out of turns. Very supportive and strong feeling. It's smooth and steady--nice and easy to flex but simultaneously supportive. ” -- Kori Coggin
“Definitely not a perfect shape match for a tall person or someone with a long lower leg--felt very short on the leg and could collapse the boot under heavy flexion. ” -- Kori Coggin