Full Tilt Boots
Inspired by over two decades of consumer demand, Full Tilt was founded in 2006 with a mission to bring back to life the ski industries ORIGINAL 3-PIECE ski boot design. With honor, FT continues to produce & improve upon this legendary design sought-after by the best athletes in the world, who choose FT for the same reason as the every day skier . . . COMFORT IS PERFORMANCE.
During the late 60s and early 70s, NASA was in the early stages of developing the modern space suit. These suits, which would be used during the agency’s first lunar missions to the Moon, had a large problem. The heating, cooling and electrical lines that ran throughout the suits, which powered the suit and kept the astronaut alive, would kink, crease and crimp when the astronauts would walk and flex their arms.
Gross with Dixie Rinehart and the NASA design team came up with the solution to include articulating hinges with ribs that allowed a natural flex in the astronaut’s ankles, knees and elbows; preserving the shape and functionality around the joint.
Today, this technological feature is seen in everything from water pipes to flexible drinking straws.
Gross and Rinehart would eventually leave NASA and find their way to employment with a small research and development firm, Comfort Products, headed up by former racer Eric Giese. Giese applied their knowledge of space age technology to skiing while living in Aspen. The goal was simple: to enable the boot to flex without a bulge or distortion in the lower shell, which was one of the largest problems of the day with boot design - boots during the time period had no ankle hinge. No hinge meant any distortion caused a significant loss of control.
He developed many unique boot designs during this period that featured a floating ribbed tongue instead of an overlap. These designs would become the precursor to the original Rachel Flexon tongue. Tongue in hand, Giese approached the US distributor of Raichle and presented his concept with a rough prototype. Seeing the potential, Giese was flown to Switzerland to meet the president of Raichle Switzerland, Heinz Herzog.
From the Olympics to the World Cup circuit to Freestyle competitions, no other boot could match its performance in part to the athletes that wore it and to its patented flex technology.
In the late 80s, only a few years into running the business, Werhan died in an unfortunate auto accident with his secretary in the car. Werhan’s wife immediately inherited the company and took over its operations. Sadly, the company was never the same after that Werhan’s death and by 1996 the business was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was then that Raichle was purchased by Swiss banker Dr. Grosnick who was in the business of buying companies in distress. He purchased the Kneissl Ski Company shortly thereafter.
Despite its success and due to its unchanged design, the original Flexon boot was archived. Knowing the 3-Piece concept worked, the new owners offered volume and lower priced versions of the original design but none ever delivered on the predecessor’s performance, not understanding that no matter how many iterations of the original design were created, skiers would always came back asking for the original.
In 1999, insisting that the Kneissl brand offer a boot, Dr. Grosnick made the decision to rename all of the Raichle boots to Kneissl branded boots. The rebranding wasn’t received well by consumers and only a year and half later, Kneissl was sold to the parent company of Roces.
From this point, the molds were bought and sold and passed around without much of being done with them, all the while maintaining a strong core following of skiers addicted to its performance. These pro athletes had built their careers on this boot as well as thousands of skiers like you whom also couldn’t give them up. With a lack of production, everyone was suddenly forced to search for parts and boots on Ebay and scrounge ski swaps to keep them on their feet.
We’re skiers. We’re boot fitters and we know better than anyone that something had to be done. We took it upon ourselves to go back and search out the original molds and bring it back to life! Not in some new and distorted form, but in the original construction and design that had been proven over the past 25 years to be the most popular 3-Piece design in the world.
We purchased the original molds, tested every feature, kept what worked and then added some of today’s most advanced technology to make them work even better, never stopping until we were skiing them again. We hope you enjoy these boots as much as we enjoy bringing them back to life. The revolution in 3-piece boot design started here, and will now continue from here.
Click on a boot to begin.
Head Office and Downtown Calgary
1442 17 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T: (403) 245-4311
11 Bowridge Drive N.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T: (403) 247-3320
5809 Macleod Trail South
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T: (403) 253-7788