Nordica has released a new “Hands-Free” ski boot that is primarily aimed at skiers – typically elderly – who have trouble bending down. The brand's new HF series will be available globally for the autumn/winter 2020/21 season. The first model of the series, the HF110, became available this month at selected points of sale in 16 countries including Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. Another five models – the HF 85W for women, two rental models and the premium Elite for men and women – will follow in the next season.
Research conducted for the Tecnica Group by H-Farm in France, Austria and Italy suggests that 7 percent of skiers are over 60, retired and wealthy, own second residences in the mountains, and ski for 20 to 30 days a year, usually with their spouses. With this customer profile in mind, Nordica set out to “keep it simple” and produce a low-effort boot, much as cycling brands have produced the low-effort bicycles known as e-bikes.
Two years of R&D resulted in the Nordica HF boot, featuring a 40-degree opening where you can step in and out without using your hands. A rear monolock, pushed down with a foot or a ski pole, replaces the traditional front buckles. GripWalk soles make it easy to walk on snow, and a polyurethane shell keeps the weight below 2 kg.
The HF Elite model will have an exclusive Michelin sole and a Thermic integrated heating system with Bluetooth control. Nordica has also developed an all-mountain ski to pair with the boot, the super-lightweight Drive Elite, with a hexagonal titanium structure.
Nordica, which claims to have been the first brand to introduce a rear-entry ski boot in the 1980s, previewed the new boot while treating some 260 dealers and customers from 17 countries to a cruise in the Adriatic Sea. The event was staged to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Nordica in the company of two legendary ski champions, Kjetil André Aaamodt and Gustav Thoeni.
On Nov. 22, another celebration was held in honor of Giancarlo Zanatta, founder of the Tecnica Group, and his son Luca, president of the company. They jointly got a prize as “Entrepreneur of the Year,” given by Ernst & Young in Italy in the Fashion, Design & Luxury segment.