(Last Updated On: January 12, 2012)
Last winter, my beloved Scarpa Diva boots began to fall apart on me. I knew it was time to keep my eye out for a new pair of AT boots. The selection of women’s AT boots has grown significantly since I last purchased my Divas in 2008. Back then, I basically had two choices for “stiff” women’s AT boots: the Garmont Xena and the Scarpa Diva. Now, the choices are exponentially more plentiful.
I kept my eye out for sales and finally buckled down at the end-of-season sale at our local mountaineering shop, the Alpineer. I tried on a number of boots and also demoed a few pairs before determining that the Black Diamond Shiva was the right one for me.
However, after using the boot for a few weeks without working out a few kinks, I developed a foot issue that stuck around for the rest of the spring. I had to return to my Divas to give the foot issue a break. I finally dug the Shivas back out of the closet last month.
My feet are small and I typically use a shell size of 2 or 22.5 in an alpine ski boot. I prefer slightly larger boots for touring so I usually settle on a size 23 as most AT boots don’t come in a smaller size. The Scarpas and Garmonts I’ve used in the past have been slightly on the big side for me. However, I’d say BD’s sizing runs a tad small. A size 23 was much smaller than any size 23 I’d ever tried on before. I might have been better off with a size 23.5, but the Alpineer had none in stock at that time. However, I’ve been told that BD’s sizing has changed this year. Whether that’s true or not, I have not yet verified myself. As always, it’s best to try on the boots to determine which size is best for you.
I liked the concept of the liner. It’s thermo-moldable, though not on the same level as an Intuition liner. I liked the lacing system and how it could be tightened by turning the knob at the top of the liner. The lacing could quickly be released by pulling the knob out.
However, in practice, the liner wasn’t all I thought it would be. The heal of the liner continually pulled out when touring. Though the liner was fairly comfortable while touring, I felt a lot of pain in the shin area while skiing. The tongue of the liner is soft compared to the shell of the boot and I kept feeling the cuff of the boot right through the liner.
It didn’t take me long to ditch the stock liner with a custom Intuition wrap liner. Immediately, I felt the boot skied a lot stiffer. With the stock liner, I didn’t feel that the Shiva performed at it’s rated flex of 100. With the Intuition liner, I think a Flex of 100 is about right. Although I can sometimes feel the cuff of the boot through the liner, I don’t feel it to the painful extent that I did with the stock liner. I also don’t have the issues of the heal pulling out of the shell while touring.
In addition, the Shiva comes with replaceable sole blocks. So, when the rubber on your sole wears out, there’s an easy fix. As with most AT boots these days, the Shiva is compatible with Dynafit bindings.
I tend to tour with buckles fairly loose. I tour as recommended, with the 2nd buckle up from the toe loosely locked. I usually have all other buckles hanging loose. The touring mode in the Shiva does not go quite as upright as some AT boots, including the Divas I’ve used in the past. But, I don’t notice what while touring at all. The Shivas tour well.
I am happy with my Black Diamond Shivas, especially after adding the Intuition liners. The Intuition liners make the Shiva properly perform closer to its rated stiffness of Flex 100. While a touch heavier than my previous Divas, I immediately feel a difference in skiing performance. And the Shivas tour efficiently and comfortably.
This year’s Shivas come in fun new colors. Be sure to check the Shiva out if you are looking for a stiff women’s AT boot!
Check out the Shivas from some of our different affiliates below!