You may have seen the aqua blue boot in the Beijing winter olympics on the Israeli skiers--a Kastle! This is their introductory year as a player in the boot market and we were stoked to have a chance to test their K130P, a medium width all-mountain minimalist modeled after classic, four-buckle overlap go-everywhere, do-everything boots that never go out of style. Testers were generally impressed with this start-up, though starting the try-on and testing process required some negotiations with the lace-up liner bouncer guarding the boot entry door--some preferred lacing up the liner first and entering the shell plug boot style while others pulled the laces and went in normal style. The plastic edges on the model we tested were noticeably sharp but we expect that final production will round-off those bitey bits.
Once in, testers liked the snug medium fit that was particularly well-latched-onto the ankles and heel and snug over the midfoot and through the instep. Testers said there was a bit more of a relaxed fit found in the cuff, which they said trended a bit forward-leaning compared to the current norm and was a genteel 130 (meaning it felt a little softer than). Testers said that the lace-up liner felt a little unfinished, or at least needed a good heat mold job to get it to stretch out to better match the interior dimension of the shell.
Testers with a penchant for quick twitch lateral moves and an old-school forward lean angle fell in love with the K130P, calling it catlike and agile with some serious teeth to sink into edging on hard snow as well.
The features set is quite traditional, with niceties limited to dual pull loops on the liner, removable buckles, a cam-buckle power strap and a Velcro rear spoiler. Testers liked the slick, flip-out lever arms on the lower shell buckles. Those testers who didn't love the color did admit that it skied better than it looked--so there's that!
“Good heel and ankle contact. Interesting buckle closures with little lever arms. ” -- Erik Korman
“Forefoot is nice and roomy. Instep is low and tight. Has a nice blend of power and quickness from edge to edge. ” -- Pat Sullivan
“I was initially skeptical--too soft, too tight, no toe room--but once I skied it I was very impressed. Awesome stance, very natural overall posture with great feedback and feel from the bottom of the boot. Very dynamic, felt I could do almost anything. ” -- Mike Evans
“I liked it a lot. I felt confident and skied well with this boot on and it wasn't the best conditions. ” -- Stacy Crumpler
“It started off a little shaky for me, then it just continued to get better the more I skied it. The harder I pushed it the more it liked it. Road runner quick--skis way better than it looks. Good job Kastle! ” -- Dallas Goldsmith