Black Diamond Quadrant/Swift
Comfy on the ups yet powerful during descents, the redesigned Quadrant (and women’s Swift) conquers challenging terrain.
Brand: Black Diamond Gear Reviews
Downhill performance “For everything shy of resort hardpack, this is all the boot you’ll ever need,” promises one tester after shralping steep chutes on Colorado’s Soda Mountain, where it ably steered heavy, 125 mm powder skis. The 120 flex (a higher flex rating indicates a stiffer boot built for more aggressive or heavier skiers) proved adequate for all but Mach speeds on resort groomers and is progressive (meaning it gets stiffer the more it’s compressed), which spared testers’ shins in bumpy terrain.
Walk mode Forty degrees of fore/aft flex let testers hike comfortably. But it’s heavy for a touring boot, and the walk lever is too easily flipped: The tug of testers’ pants was all it took to accidentally flick it up from ski to walk mode. It happened rarely, but surprised testers with unwanted flex mid-turn.
Fit & comfort The V-shaped last (which tapers from a generous 103 mm at the forefoot to a narrow, secure heel) accommodates wide feet and keeps blood circulating to the toes. That, plus the liner (which uses a layer of reflective aluminum inside the bottom of the boot to boost heat) makes this one warmer than most: Testers’ toes stayed happy on six-hour tours in 0°F temperatures.
$670 ($600 for Swift); 7 lbs. 10 oz. (27.5); blackdiamondequipment.com