2022 Tecnica Cochise 130 & 120 Ski Boot Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Tecnica Cochise 130 & 120 Ski Boot Review

Back in my days as a boot fitter here in Stowe, Vermont, I got to see the whole introduction and evolution of alpine boots with walk modes, promising adventures into the sidecountry for every day skiers. The premise was pretty simple. Take a regular alpine boot and put a “locking” mechanism on the back where the rivets used to be, allowing the skier to flip a switch and go from ski mode to tour/walk/hike/bar mode. We weren’t really sure what it was or how it was going to ski, but we did get the sense from the manufacturers that it was here to stay. Fast-forward about a decade, and the blend and blur between a straight-up alpine boot and a dedicated touring boot is just about complete. They have done it! Or something, at least. The 2022 Technica Cochise lineup of boots, featuring models ranging from the 130-flexing orange machine down to the women’s 85 (which does not have tech fittings), is a pretty darn comprehensive model line, satisfying most skiers from adventurous experts and pros down to cruisy intermediates looking for some comfort and convenience. We tested both the orange 130 and the 120 over the past few weeks here at Stowe, and have quite a few positive impressions and experiences to share.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Tecnica Cochise 130 & 120 Ski Boots



FLEX INDEX

LAST WIDTH

SOLE TYPE

STRAP

130 vs. 120

99 mm

Vibram GripWalk vs. GripWalk

Power Lock vs. 45mm Standard


From a construction and fit perspective, specifically in the plastic shell, these boots both fall into the mid-volume forefoot last category, each boasting a 99-mm width. The shells are basically identical, both containing a polyurethane shell and a polypropylene cuff. If this sounds like the same materials you’d find in a normal alpine boot, you’re just about right. The Mach1 boots at the same flex feature PU cuffs as well as shells, so there is a difference in plastics in the upper. This stiffer plastic makes stretching and grinding relatively easy for a boot fitter, so any fit issues can usually be quickly assuaged. The PP of the Cochise lightens the load a bit, making it more useful and efficient in climbing mode. On that upper cuff of the Cochise, we get the part that sets the boot apart, a carbon co-injected T-Ride walk mechanism. This “walk mode” is a significant upgrade over the mechanisms of the past, with a metal-on-metal contact point with a full-on lock lever. In the “up” position, the cuff hinges quite freely, pairing well with the Free Move cuff attachment point, allowing for frictionless hiking. The other cool thing about the T-Ride mechanism is that it serves as an energy spine. Many alpine boots use this type of technology in order to increase the lateral stiffness of the boot to maximize the marriage between the increased sidecut of modern skis and the flex of the boot. It’s not totally necessary to drive forward into the front of the boot anymore with wider and more shaped skis. Technica’s Asymmetric Power Transmission shaping of the rear spine puts more emphasis on the inside portion of the boot, increasing the power and torque to the downhill ski. Like most modern hybrid boots, the Cochise has Dynafit tech inserts to go along with GripWalk Soles. The 130 gets the Vibram upgrade in the sole while the 120 is a normal GW. The buckles on both are lighter than their alpine counterparts—more wire-like and open—and containing hiking positions on the upper two. The 120 gets a fairly standard 45mm velcro power strap while the 130 gets the Power Lock strap. I’m not sure which I like better, but the 120’s is certainly easier to use.

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The liner is where a bit more of a difference starts to appear. The 130 gets the High Performance liner with more C.A.S. (Custom Adaptive Shape) material. This moldable foam is a bit thicker than the normal liner foam, so when you put it on your foot prior to molding, it feels a lot tighter than the 120. Not only is there more of this C.A.S. material in the forefoot along the sides, but also in the instep and through the tongue. For a skier like myself who values instep room, I do fit better into the slightly softer liner of the 120. It’s amazing how a denser foam in the liner makes the boot feel more precise and stiffer overall—something that was pretty obvious when skiing. Like most boots in this hybrid zone, the liners get a folding structure by the Achillies, allowing for better flexion in hike mode. The great thing about the C.A.S. material is that it’s grindable, punchable, and fully heat-moldable, so in the hands of an experienced boot fitter, you can really get a custom fit from the Cochise’s liner.

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So that’s kind of the nuts and bolts of the boot, so to speak, but it all means nothing if it doesn’t perform. In that realm, the Cochise boots, specifically the 120 for me, has exceeded my expectations. From a fit perspective, I can ski the 120’s right out of the box. I put my foot bed in there and went skiing. It’s snug, but not too tight—exactly what my sensitive feet need in a boot. The T-Ride locking mechanism feels like it’s not even there. Back in the day, skiing the first iterations of the Cochise, the walk mode was noticeable—specifically in the rearward flexing of the boot. I am well aware that you’re not really supposed to be in the back of the boot, but that original Cochise made it way more apparent when you were there. These new boots feel just like alpine boots—no wiggle or movement, just a direct connection. Is it more rigid or durable than two rivets? No, but for now, and at 225 pounds, I’m very impressed with the precision. In a carved turn on the groomers, the 120-flex lines up very well with my stiffer ankles (I do not need a very stiff boot because I have limited dorsiflexion), allowing me to access the sidecut of the skis I’ve been on (Nordica Enforcer 104 Unlimited and Atomic Bent Chetler 100). They carve and turn like a dream—stiff enough to ski aggressively, but supple enough to give good feedback at slower speeds. Easy in the woods and bumps, these 120’s are very well-suited for my style of skiing. I have not felt the boot fold or collapse on me during normal skiing. I did, however, land a small jump off the side of the trail in some soft snow and definitely felt myself over-flex the boot, but my guess is that it would have happened no matter what boot I was in. In tour mode, while not the lightest boots, the type of touring that I do doesn’t really require counting grams. If you were, these would be on the heavier end of the spectrum. The tech fittings and range of motion are efficient enough for most skiers who aren’t daily tourers for sure. If you’re making multiple runs or using these as dedicated backcountry boots, I do believe there are better options. If I tour 5 times on these per season, that’ll be about average for me. Going from the 120 to the 130, the result was as expected. Less comfort, greater performance. I really felt that liner push down on the top and in the forefoot, even after a home-cook in my kitchen oven (remember, I’m a former professional—please do not try this at your own house). The precision and power of the 130 is pretty darn impressive. Other than being in a straight-up race boot or a solid-soled 130, I can’t think of too many skiers who would need a stiffer boot. The only think that may trip up some experts is that they are light, so not quite as damp or stable as a rigid alpine boot. For most skiers, most of the time, the Cochise 130 will be more than enough boot. While the shell does feel a bit stiffer, it’s really more the liner that adds to that bottom line of precision. Excellent snow feel is the result of the lighter boot, allowing skiers to really connect with the terrain and snow conditions. Some stiffer and burlier alpine boots take that away, but I prefer to feel what’s under my feet.

In terms of application and user implications, the Cochise line of boots is very well-versed. If a one-boot quiver does exist, I think a strong argument could be made for any of these. I don’t think it renders the Mach1 or Mach Sport lines obsolete by any means, but the fit and performance is very similar, with the added bonus of touring versatility. Personally, I plan on putting over 100 days at the resort on these 120’s and I expect them to hold up for the duration. The mechanism seems sound, and for the handful of times that I will tour, the performance of the boot from a downhill perspective is a huge bonus. It’s impressive how far the boot technology has come in the past decade. While we scoffed at the walk mode back then, it’s really just a part of normal ski life now, and the fact that they’ve gotten to the point of no lost performance is a pretty impressive accomplishment.

2022 Tecnica Cochise 130 & 120 Ski Boot Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Bob St.Pierre on 12/22/21

4 thoughts on “2022 Tecnica Cochise 130 & 120 Ski Boot Review

    1. HI Chris!
      Between the Mach1 120 HV and the Mach Sport 120 EHV (103 mm forefoot), the Mach1 certainly has the more precise fit, even at 102 mm wide in the forefoot. The Mach Sport is more generous through the ankle and on top of the foot, so if you have more volume overall, as opposed to simply a wider forefoot, that EHV is likely going to be a better fit out of the box. As for performance, the snugger the boot will fit, the more precision you will have, but it's all about balancing comfort and performance. Hope that helps!
      SE

  1. Great review. I have a pair of 2016 Mach mv 120s. That I am thinking of upgrading. 6”6’ 270 and ski enforcer 93s in 193. I am an advanced intermediate skier. I am interested in the Cochise walk mode not so much for touring but navigating icy parking lots. Any thoughts on whether the 120 pr 130 would be a better option?

    Joe

    1. HI Joseph!
      You have the size for the 130 for sure, but make sure the stiffer/denser liner works for your foot--I noticed a big difference between the liners of the boots. My higher-volume foot needs the 120's liner rather than the 130, and I'm 6/2 225, so not a small person either. Have fun!
      SE

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