Liner Comparo — Palau (Dynafit/Garmont) & Scarpa/Intuition Aftermarket Version


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 5, 2007      
Dynafit and Intuition liners.
The selection.

So many boot liners — so little time. I was chanting that mantra when during this past weekend I noticed that Garmont and Dynafit thermo liners are made by the same purveyor of foam, Palau in France. Excellent — I could test the molding process and performance of three different boot brand’s liners in a simple two-pair comparison of Scarpa/Intuition and Palau.

Dynafit and Intuition liners.
Checking the Scarpa temperature while molding. A bit cool because the liner had only cooked for part of its allotted 15 minutes.

While all three boot makers (Dynafit, Garmont, Scarpa) are recommending their thermo liners be heated with a blower system while in the boot, doing so is tough to rig for the do it yourselfer. So I stuck with using my convection oven, and could have easily molded them in a regular oven using the correct technique (pre-heat oven, protect boot from radiant heat scorching, and turn off oven soon after you put the liner in thus letting the ambient heat of the oven do the work.).

Oven mold temp for both types of liners is 250 degrees for 15 minutes, so that’s what I stuck with. To be sure, I shot the oven interior with my infrared thermometer, and checked the actual surface of the liner as well while it was heating. You can do the same thing with an accurate oven thermometer. Just be careful since over-heating these things will ruin them.

Both the Intuition and Palau liners puffed out nicely in the allotted time. For molding, I first stuck my footbeds in the liner, followed by my foot, then slipped the whole shebang into the Zzero boot. A spray of silicon eased the process. One interesting problem I had was that my footbeds are quite flexible in the toe area, and tended to get curled up by the liner and press against my toes. A stiffer footbed would prevent this. I also had a bit of trouble making sure the bottom of the liner ended up being the bottom after molding. They’re so flexible and puffed up when they come out of the oven that you can end up with all sorts of funny twisted configurations is you’re not careful. Working solo didn’t help with this, as a boot fitter can inspect things before you insert — more, this is of course one of the reasons why molding in the boots with a blower works well.

Next, time to go skiing. I opted for the Intuition liners, as they felt a bit stiffer and I though it would be fun to get the most beef possible out of the Zzero. We ended up at Snowmass Resort (Colorado) in some chopped pow, and the combo was actually too stiff! Conclusion from that is that the aftermarket Intuition liners definitely have presence. They’ll make a terrific addition to a softer boot such as a Garmont Megaride, but might not be necessary in an already stiff boot such as the Green Machine. That is, unless you want the max agro boot combo. In that case, all bets are off. Swap in an Intuition liner, swap on a stiffer tongue, crank down that power strap — and race World Cup downhill in your AT boots. With the aftermarket options available now, it appears any whining about soft AT boots is a thing of the past.

Funny thing is, even though the current North American AT fad appears to be beefy rando boots, I’m still partial to lighter ones that have a slightly softer feel. Thus, the Zzero with its comfy Palau stock liner is my first choice. Indeed, this was validated today when I did an uphill today with the Palau, it is indeed the correct liner for what I want in a boot as stiff as the Zzero, and having a regular tongue allows my shin some forward movement while walking that’s slightly more comfortable than a wrap-around such as Intuiton. But I like the Scarpa/Intuitions as well, and will use them in my softer AT boots — perhaps my Scarpa Matrix or even my F1s.

Dynafit and Intuition liners.
For skiing the liners last weekend we were thinking of doing some earn-your-turns at a closed resort, but instead headed for Aspen Mountain, knowing fresh snow would have blanketed some of their groom. Mistake. Instead of being mechanically whisked up to a white wonderland we were greeted by this gigantic crowd and a closed gondola. Not the best of mornings for the Aspen Skiing Company. Instead of waiting in line we headed for Snowmass Resort, and ended up waiting in line there as well. Oh well… I got the boots skied, but should have just gone uphilling instead of riding lifts.

Dynafit and Intuition liners.
While driving through Aspen I got this one-handed “street” shot through our truck window of the classic Hotel Jerome. It’s a beautiful building that embodies the history of the old mining town. Jerome is now a bit pricey for a bed, but they’re not charging for photos — yet. Amazing what the little Canon A720 can come up with, isn’t it?

More thermo liner molding tips here, and in our Ski Boot Fitting Category.


Comments

23 Responses to “Liner Comparo — Palau (Dynafit/Garmont) & Scarpa/Intuition Aftermarket Version”

  1. Scott Newman December 5th, 2007 10:22 am

    Lou, For what it’s worth. During my days as a bootfitter and doing custom liners, we would always get the orthotic, and liner in the boot first to insure it’s proper positioning rather than trying to get orthotic, liner and foot in and then try to get them positioned properly.

  2. Mark December 5th, 2007 10:56 am

    Tried on the Matrix recently with the Intuition liner–noticeably stiffer than my Palau liners in the Mega Lite. I think the Scarpa boots’ liners without Intuition logo are also Palau liners?

  3. Chris December 5th, 2007 1:50 pm

    I could really use some input and this seemed as good a place as any to post this. I’m a new AT skier putting together a one-quiver setup. It needs to go from the resort with my kids to touring to BC steeps.

    I am being very careful with my gear choices because I have nerve damage in my feet – they’re a little numb at times (tough to feel boot ends well) and they run cold (so info on heaters and fitting are of interest). I’m 6′ and 155-160 lbs. and a solid intermediate skier – but with enough ski time am heading up from there. I was trying to stay light too – as I also lost some muscle mass in my legs and glutes and it’s coming back slowly.

    I’m considering a Scarpa Spirit 3 with TLT Verts on BD 170-174 Voodoos or Stigmas (orange on orange?). There is just so much product out there it’s tough to choose.

    Any comments to help me wade through would be much appreciated!

    Chris

  4. Kevin C December 5th, 2007 4:22 pm

    I got the Alpine intuition liners a couple of weeks ago. They definitely took some of the volume out of my megarides. I have cooked my own garmont liners, but I have to say I was glad to let someone experienced mold my intuition liners. They were pretty floppy out of the oven, and they barely fit into the boots. Did one foot at a time. We taped the footbed on to the bare foot. Then put on toe caps, and finally a thin sock over everything. Cooked liners were carefully wrapped around the foot, then shoved the whole package into the boot. I was suprised at how tall the intuition liners were. They are quite a bit taller then the original liners. I only have a couple of short days on the liners, but they did definitely stiffen the boot out, and filled out the shells a lot better than my original, original megaride liners.

  5. Lee Lau December 5th, 2007 5:11 pm

    Lou,

    Thanks for your review which squares with my experience.

    I’ve been using the Intuition liners now for 20 days and they have not perceptibly packed out in that 20 days of use.

    My Garmont G-fit liners packed out extensively over 40 days of use to the point that I was glueing bits of foam on to my touring boots to take up excessive space.

    It will be interesting after a full season to see how well the Intuition liners are holding up as compared to the Garmont/Dynafit Palau liners.

    As another data point, I am using the Intuition alpine liners. These are the same versions as you molded. Some people are using the stiffer Intuition Power Wraps in their boots. I tried those versions but found them to make the boot too stiff for touring. Like you I found that the Intuition foam is so conformable after molding that you have to take extraordinary care to prevent them from getting deformed in the molding process. Here is a thread from the TGR forums with pictures that shows a DIY method that seems to resolve this issue

    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102575

  6. Eyesack December 6th, 2007 3:40 pm

    This takes two people but when I heat mold my liners I will put my footbed inside my ski sock, yes next to my naked foot and slide that all into the liner you feel goofy but it keeps it all in the right place. Than I put that all in a plastic bag, if you have a bag that looks like a boot great but a supermarket bag works fine. I use the bag instead of silicone.

    If you want the super race fit there are different Intuition Liners that will be even stiffer. Cant think of there names.

  7. Lou December 7th, 2007 7:29 am

    Chris, my only advice would be to work with a good boot fitter when you mold your boot liners, and ask them to help create some extra room in front of your toes when you mold, so you don’t end up banging those numb toes when you don’t even know you’re doing so. For warmth, make sure you use a shell size that’s at the upper limit of proper fit, then let it fill up with the molded liner and perhaps an extra spacer under your foot. As for skis, for the one-rig I’d look for something more beefy and wider.

  8. scottyb January 8th, 2008 4:40 pm

    Been looking on the web for after market heat moldable liners but having a hard time finding my size(28 mondo). Any leads where I could find some liners?

  9. Palau January 16th, 2008 1:22 am

    Thanks for this comments,
    very interesting to improve our models.
    In fact we still produce for Scarpa as F1, T2 and Alpha
    Try our new line .. Palau

  10. Derf January 23rd, 2008 3:02 am

    If you need any answers about foam and choice of provider’s.
    Costs , costs , costs
    Intuition—–> China
    Palau——–> France

  11. Thebaldskiman March 27th, 2008 7:23 am

    Intuition are a Canadian company, and while the liners are assembled in China, the foam is sourced from Ultralon in New Zealand.

    But i concur with the test results too, from both personal and professional experience. Intuition definitely hold their fit longer.

  12. Molly November 29th, 2008 9:22 pm

    Hello,
    Has anyone tried the Intuition liners in older boots like Scarpa Magics? I’d also be interested in ideas people have for allowing more room in the forefoot. Mine cramp. I noticed the new Scarpa womens boots have nice wide toe boxes.

    Thanks!

  13. Lou November 30th, 2008 8:03 am

    Molly, my wife used Intuition liners in Magics for years. When you custom mold a liner you often end up with all the room you need, so try that before doing anything fancy. If after molding you don’t have enough room, have a boot fitter work on the boots. Check shell size first, though. If your shells are too small you’ll fight a downhill battle.

  14. Tom December 3rd, 2008 1:58 pm

    Lou,

    I’m not sure this was a fair comparison. You have liners from two different manufacturers, but also two different styles. My experience has been that overlap liners tend to be stiffer. Liners with tongues make for easier fore/aft flexing.

    Maybe Palau could send you a new pair of ALPINE OVERLAP HARD liners? Those would be a fair comparison to the Intuition overlaps.

  15. Lou December 3rd, 2008 2:32 pm

    Tom, welllll, it’s just a comparison of those two liners so in that sense it’s fair, and perhaps actually makes your point? But yeah, overlap to overlap would be a more apples to apples in terms of being exact.

  16. Clyde October 14th, 2009 9:59 am

    Lou, have you done any experimenting with a DIY boot blower? Don’t think a Titan liner would do well in an oven. And even Radium/Prophet liners may not be such a good idea.

    BTW Paul says the Garmont liners are made in Italy and they only license a patent from Palau.

  17. Lou October 14th, 2009 10:04 am

    Clyde, indeed yes, I made a blower out of some hose and a fairly high-end heat gun, but I couldn’t get the temperature to regulate enough to be safe. I check all liner heating with an infrared thermometer.

    I’ve not had any problems baking liners of all sorts, I’m just more careful with temperature and time. Have found the blower to be less than ideal as it sometimes doesn’t seem to heat the liner hot enough, nor heat the cuff area enough.

    I was going to buy a blower last year, then discovered I could keep baking so I saved some big bucks that way.

  18. Matt January 9th, 2011 8:44 pm

    I have Dynafit zzero 4 C-TF’s, looking for suggestions of which intuition liners to buy to swap out the stock liners. thought please? Thanks!

  19. HW January 7th, 2014 7:27 am

    Lou,

    when you say 15 minutes @ 250°F, do you mean 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 250°F, or to have the actual liners at 250°F for 15 minutes. The latter could easily take 30 minutes or so (I used a thermometer inside the liner).

    I’ve overdone molding of one liner; applied too much pressure and lost too much volume at one or two points. How’s your experience with the liners puffing out; do I stand any chance of repairing my over-enthusiastic DIY molding job.

    I have Titan’s so presumably Palau liner.

    Thanks!

  20. Drew Tabke July 21st, 2014 1:21 pm

    Rebirthing an old thread — anyone know a North American Palau distributor? I love the Palau for its functionality and fit in my TLT6s, mine are beat to death and I need a replacement. I have some Intuition Pro Tours but they’re just too high volume/tall to work with a trimmed downed boot.

    Considering trying the Intuition “Mukluk.” Any opinions?

    thx

  21. XXX_er July 21st, 2014 3:10 pm

    if you ever get to Vancover make an appointment at the Intuition factory outlet, they have all the liners, expertise in fitting and they do boot punches.

  22. Lou Dawson 2 July 21st, 2014 6:06 pm

    Drew, I’ve had success with the Intuition Pro Tour liner used in Dynafit TLT 5 and 6. It’s compressible enough to fit the slightly smaller volume. You could also go with OEM from Dynafit customer service. Lou

  23. John S July 21st, 2014 8:58 pm

    Skiing in the Canadian Rockies means you want warm feet, and most TLT boot owners I know have swapped in Intuition liners. It can be done.





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