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Nordica Speedmachine 105 - Women's Review

This boot is a great fit for anyone who wants to ski the entire mountain with finesse instead of speed.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $500 List | $445.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very responsive, energetic, comfortable
Cons:  Wimpy power strap, overrated flex
Manufacturer:   Nordica
By Meagan Jones ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 2, 2019
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 6
  • Performance - 40% 9
  • Comfort - 30% 9
  • Features - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Warmth - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Nordica Speedmachine 105 looks quite unassuming. It's pretty without being flashy, but what she lacks in flash she makes up for in precision and performance. This is why the Speedmachine 105 wins our Best Buy Award. We skied this good-looking boot everywhere, from the top of the mountain to the bottom, in and out of trees, and through bumps and crud. You want groomers? The Speedmachine will eat those up too. Low angle bumps and off-piste challenges stand little chance with this boot. This model comes with an intermediate rating. We had to keep reminding ourselves not to ski beyond the boot's capabilities. It was hard because we were having so much fun.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

In our humble opinion, the Nordica Speedmachine 105 is one of those models that makes you a better skier. It's forgiving when it needs to be and tough when it really matters. We skied this boot exhaustively over miles of terrain and concluded that it loves to be finessed. If you want to look good while skiing the entire mountain, this might be the boot for you.

Performance Comparison


The Speedmachine 105 will take you anywhere you want to go. And this finesse superstar will make it feel easy and look good.
The Speedmachine 105 will take you anywhere you want to go. And this finesse superstar will make it feel easy and look good.

Performance


The bottom line? This boot does everything it's supposed to. The Speedmachine 105 is advertised as an intermediate boot, and we nod our heads in agreement with the manufacturer's evaluation. Oddly, it skis identically to the Lange RX 110, which, based on numbers alone, we expected to be stiffer than the Speedmachine 105. The flex is perfect for medium speed cruisers and less aggressive off-piste skiing. It is smooth and progressive, and the energy translates well to the ski.


As mentioned earlier, our 150lb tester had to tone down how aggressively they pushed this model. It's meant to be finessed and responds better to a lighter less aggressive approach. This boot wants precision over brute force. This holds true when you take it off-piste and through the bumps, making for a welcome change from the boots you have to bully to perform. We conclude that this model would also suit the petite yet aggressive snow goddess who has mastered both finesse and technique on the slopes.

The Speedmachine 105 is a smooth operator and makes skiing bumps and off-piste runs feel as easy as skiing groomers.
The Speedmachine 105 is a smooth operator and makes skiing bumps and off-piste runs feel as easy as skiing groomers.

Comfort and Fit


Like many other companies, Nordica produces performance boots that are light, comfortable and easy to get into, even when they're cold. The Speedmachine 105 is easy to put on thanks to Nordica's use of Tri-force plastic. It's meant to be lightweight yet stiff where you need leverage and soft where you step into it.


Whatever they're doing in research and development is working in the field. The soft plush liners use Primaloft insulation and moldable cork in important areas of the boot like the heel pocket. Our testers with narrow feet found them to feel more like slippers. We concluded that, if you typically wear a low volume (LV) boot (around 98mm), this will feel a little big. The extra space can always be remedied by adding a beefier aftermarket footbed. Or consider the Lange RX 110 LV, which we found to fit slightly more snug through the forefoot while producing an almost identical feel and performance on the mountain.

Thanks to Nordica's use of Tri Force plastic  the boot is stiff where it needs to be and supple in the right places  like on the shin where you need to separate the plastic to pull it on. (*Note: Nordica updated its color scheme since this photo was taken. The pink accent on the buckle is now less obvious.)
Thanks to Nordica's use of Tri Force plastic, the boot is stiff where it needs to be and supple in the right places, like on the shin where you need to separate the plastic to pull it on. (*Note: Nordica updated its color scheme since this photo was taken. The pink accent on the buckle is now less obvious.)

Features


There are so many thoughtful features added to modern ski boots. Unfortunately, many of them are hidden inside the shell where we can't see them. So we'll unveil the mythical secrets to the exceptional comfort offered in the Speedmachine 105.


Many companies are moving to natural materials like lambswool (Technica Mach1), and Merino wool (Rossignol Pure Pro Heat), but Nordica uses Primaloft. This is a synthetic down-like material manufactured from recycled goods. It's warm, lightweight, breathable and water resistant. The Speedmachine 105 liner is is a combination of Primaloft insulation and 3D cork and is external heat customizable. (Go to your local ski shop and have them bake it in the oven for you). The cork is strategically placed in often hard to fit places around the ankle and Achilles tendon. It softens and molds to your foot using your body heat and pressure from any boney spots.

Many features of this boot are not immediately obvious because they blend in so well with the design. Heat friendly plastic in the shell makes customization a boot fitters dream.
Many features of this boot are not immediately obvious because they blend in so well with the design. Heat friendly plastic in the shell makes customization a boot fitters dream.

Like many of our other models, Nordica uses a sturdy plastic shell that is meant to be heated by a boot fitter and heat-customized to relieve pressure from sensitive areas and bunions. The cuff includes a calf adjustment and a canting adjustment if you need.

Even with all these solid design features, we do have a little criticism. You know the expression the grass is always greener right? We looked at the power strap on Nordica's 98 last and were shocked at how robust it was compared to the Speedmachine 105. Hey Nordica, intermediate skiers want exceptional shin to tongue contact too!

P.S. If you don't like the black and pink color story it also comes in a race-inspired black and red.

We are underwhelmed by the two-piece power strap and flimsy plastic attachment points  especially since the power strap is an integral part of maintaining shin contact and enabling power transfer.
We are underwhelmed by the two-piece power strap and flimsy plastic attachment points, especially since the power strap is an integral part of maintaining shin contact and enabling power transfer.

Durability


The Speedmachine 105 is no slouch, the thick, durable plastic, and replaceable toe and heel pieces mean you'll likely replace the boot because you want to. You probably won't wear it out anytime soon.


That said, the power strap is a two-piece afar and is plastic where it bolts onto the boot. More pieces mean more chance of failure and in our opinion, a two-piece strap is entirely unnecessary. Not to mention the plastic parts feel and look cheap.

We got lucky (or did we?) and had more than a week of single digit temps to really test the Speedmachine's warmth.
We got lucky (or did we?) and had more than a week of single digit temps to really test the Speedmachine's warmth.

Warmth


Strangely this boot seemed a little warmer than average. Perhaps it's the Primaloft insulation, the extra room in the toe box or maybe even the waterproof weather shield on the top seam of the boot. Either way, our feet stayed comfortable in below freezing temperatures.


Best Application


After exhaustive testing, and by testing we mean tearing around the mountain, we agreed that the Speedmachine 105 is for the woman who finesses her turn. The woman who breathes between turns, and would rather caress the snow than hammer through it. If you're inclined to look to the mountain and ask it, "what line should I ski?", this may be the model for you. This boot prefers short to medium turns and does not like to be bullied. It wants to ski with you not against you.

We found the Speedmachine more than capable and fun to ski on or off-piste. Retailing at a reasonable price  we also think it's a killer deal.
We found the Speedmachine more than capable and fun to ski on or off-piste. Retailing at a reasonable price, we also think it's a killer deal.

Value


Chock full of premium features and performance the Speedmachine 105 wins our Best Buy award. At $500 it's among the least expensive boots tested and a top performer. To our surprise, we felt it performed like a twin sister to the Lange RX 110, which is $600, with one notable difference. The Speedmachine 105 has a slightly higher cuff than Lange. If you're a smaller frame, you may prefer the lower cuff of the RX 110

We loved cruising the groomers with the SpeedMachine 105.
We loved cruising the groomers with the SpeedMachine 105.

Conclusion


If you savor your turns, ski with precision, and prefer finesse over speed while you shoosh effortlessly down the slopes with style and grace, find your zen in the mountains with these boots. Even in spite of its agro namesake and energy, this is what the Speedmachine 105 is all about. It prefers a moderate pace. A little precision goes a long way, and this model will do anything you ask it to. It's not for the hard charger. It's for the woman who would rather make someone lean in by whispering than be heard shouting.

Other Versions


The SpeedMachine comes in many flex ratings for beginner to expert. We tested the 105's but they come in 75, 85, 95, and 115 flexes as well.


Meagan Jones