The New Narrowest
Head Raptor WCR
Last: 93 Flex: 160-100 900
Yup, there’s a new plug in town and we ain’t talkin’ about a plodding horse or old timer’s tobaccy—it’s a new World Cup race boot from Head, the Raptor WCR which replaces the venerable but long-in-the-tooth B-series boots. If you’re not clear where the narrowest lasted, lace-up liner then cram into shell race boot gets its nickname from, it’s because the narrowest internal mold a boot company uses on their true race boots is referred to as the “plug.” Often, more consumer market narrow boots may be based off that plug but with more anatomical curves added to the internal mold to make them initially more comfortable and saleable. The true plug boot is a stripped-down, spartan affair built to be tight as heck and a powerful transmitter of movement to the ski, period. Like the interior of a race car, the plug is generally not about comfort but of performance necessity. The fit of a plug boot, for all but the most elfin of foot is a bootfitter’s responsibility, commonly via grinding the typically super-thick shell wall from the inside.
Well, enter the new Raptor WCR in five stiffness levels—the WCR 2 is the stiffest flex currently at 150/160, down to a 100/110 flex WCR 5. It has an (unusually) sculpted interior by comparison to its predecessor and the revised mold shape opens up newfound length in the toebox while only increasing the external boot sole dimension by 1mm and improving torsional transmission of energy to the ski. Its angles remain unchanged, but offers a revised cuff adjustment design and a new polyurethane plastic blend that has increased fore-aft elasticity for more forgiveness without losing lateral edging power. But most importantly our testers say it fits pretty dang well right out of the box and skis with a sneaky, silky, powerful touch that’s all new. We’re excited to see what design changes may trickle down from the WCR to the consumer Raptor in the near future.