Expert Review: Full Tilt Drop Kick Pro
This review is my own honest opinion of the ski boots, which I bought with my own money in February 2020.
About this review: This review is my own honest opinion of the ski boots, which I bought with my own money in February 2020.
The Full Tilt Drop Kick Pros provide support and comfort while allowing me to jump, spin, and jib without any qualms, and are geared for intermediate to advanced skiers. These boots are the ones; no shin bang - EVER!
The original three-piece ski boot design delivers a natural linear flex and a smooth rebound upon impact while still charging with horsepower.
About the gear
- Model: 2020 Full Tilt Drop Kick Pro
- Size: 27.5
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 160 lbs
- Experience: 25 years
- When I bought these: February 2020
- Days tested: 80-100
- Skis: Nordica Enforcer 94, High Society FRC
- Bindings: Rossi FKS Pivot 12s, Salomon Warden MNC 13s, Look Pivot 14s
- Where I’ve used it: Colorado - Snowmass, Aspen, Buttermilk, Copper, Eldora, Abasin, Aspen Highlands; Oregon - Timberline; Vermont - Mt Snow; New Hampshire - Loon Mountain, Cannon
- Terrain: Terrain park, moguls, trees, powder, groomers
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was on the hunt for new gear because I had just snapped my current ski boots in half, directly underfoot! I was looking for a more durable boot that would have more stability, a comfortable cuff, and fit my foot better with heat-moldable footbeds. I knew I wanted FT Boots because of how lightweight and forgiving they are for jumping and how well they support athletes in their endeavors!
Plus, FT is a cult classic—highly regarded amongst our progressive skiing culture and freestylers alike! I had already trusted the Full Tilt name, so now I went looking for a boot to up my performance.
Why I chose this gear
I really like FT, because of their well-known performance and reliability in the freestyle ski realm among countless skiers and freestyle enthusiasts, as well as their ability to embrace the culture of skiing with regard to boot innovation. FT tends to offer unique content when it comes to the graphic design of the shell—funky colors full of freestyle flavor without sacrificing performance! I also have never had ankle pain, shin pain, or absurd foot/leg pain in Full Tilt.
I did consider buying the Full Tilt Drop Kicks, but I went with the Drop Kick Pros instead because they have a higher quality liner and allow me to have better performance on the slopes. The J-heel-wrap in Intuition's Pro Liners provides an additional layer of support by keeping my heel snugly placed under my calf.
Not to mention, X-Games medal winner Colby Stevenson rocked this pair during the season of their initial release!
What I love about it
- Accuracy of Claimed Fit: The fit is perfect for me. The 99mm last width at boot size 27.5 fits my average width feet, which are street shoe size 10.5.
- Comfort: The Drop Kick Pros are one of the easiest and most painless options to get on my feet for a true comfortable fit that outperforms traditional designs. The three-piece ski boot technology allows a quicker in-and-out for me relative to other boots. They have a fairly flat sole to begin and the footbed automatically molds using body heat, which feels good for me, but may not feel the best for those who have a higher arch that needs support right off the bat! 99mm last width is perfect for skiers like me with average width feet looking for precision and optimum control over their edges without discomfort on the sides of the ankle area. Adequate toe room, a comfortable rear cuff, and the buckles' ability to cater to micro-adjustments contribute to the all-around comfort and performance of these boots! Infinite pivot tech combined with the ribbed classic tongue liner creates a forgiving flex for abrupt movement.
- Flex: The standard tongues come at about 85/90 flex but have an adjustable flex since you can swap tongues from the original design! The only reason they get 4 stars for ‘acclaimed stiffness’ is that the tongues on their boots are rated by their own simple scale of stiffness. A softer boot flex is more forgiving, and I prefer it when jumping/landing because it allows for more absorption of impact. A stiffer flex creates more responsive boot to ski movement. If you’re familiar with FT’s stiffness scale then you’re good to go, however, if you do not have a grasp of how stiff a #6 tongue is, then you may find their rating system confusing or irrelevant.
- Weight: Super light in weight, the Drop Kick Pros leave my legs with plenty of energy, even when I’m in my ski boots day after day! The shell materials are very light.
- Ease of use: The three-piece design of these boots’ shells, along with the Intuition Power Wrap Liners, makes putting these boots on painless, quick, and super easy. Durable aluminum levers are easy to clamp down and move about even if you're out in the cold, providing a straightforward adjustment mechanism to solve any issues with fitting!
- Park: These boots are #1 in the park and loved by our passionate community of park skiers! There's an extremely well-crafted balance of performance and comfort with plenty of support to keep you upright while also providing forgiveness and absorption of impact. The shock absorber boot board is a soft rubber layer that helps dampen vibrations and absorb impact while allowing precise lateral angle adjustment!
- Adjustability: Unrivaled! I love how I can alter the boot's flex by swapping out their tongues with other Full Tilt tongues at different flex ratings. I also use their alternate lean wedges to increase the forward angle of my boot which modifies my stance to where my body weight rests. The forward angle adjustment helps me to keep my weight stacked over the middle of my foot as opposed to feeling like I have more weight on my heel/toe. This aids in balance throughout the ski day and proper energy transfer when going edge to edge as I carve! Intuition Pro liner with J-bars helps with performance, support, and stability within the minimalistic lightweight design.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Accuracy of Claimed Stiffness: Full Tilts have their own flex rating system, so they have a little leeway in this area. My boots have tongues at a flex rating of 6, which is equivalent to about 85-90 in the universal flex rating system. I’d say this is an accurate depiction of flex.
- Backcountry: These super light boots have a weight advantage over other alpine boots, but the Drop Kick Pros do not have Walk Mode. That being said, I still go out into the sidecountry and backcountry with them. When hiking uphill, it may be handy to outright remove the tongues from the true three-piece boot and use the cables directly over the boots' Intuition Pro Wrap Liners; this way you have a greater range of motion as you hike. However, I would not recommend skiing without the tongues of your Full Tilt boots secured in place. Trust me, this would feel a bit unstable.
- Grip: The boot soles are very slick with the ground. There is not a lot of grip, so I have to stay balanced when walking about in these boots, especially on ice!
Favorite moment with this gear
Oh man, I’ve had a lot of great times in these boots in the terrain park and woods. It’s hard to narrow it down, so I’ll give you yesterday’s highlight! We came down Maroon Bowl on the Backside of Aspen Highlands and we had to get across a creek. My buddies were tight-roping across a log with their boots on, but I was feeling warm from our turns down and decided to take my boots off to cross the creek barefoot and then put ‘em back on. It was a really surreal moment sitting in the sunshine on the edge of that creek, drying off my feet and then getting right back into my Full Tilts. Usually, if I’m by the water, I stay barefoot or have sandals and a raft or fishing pole. This time my planks, boots, and poles were my getaway vehicle!
Value for the money vs. other options
The three-piece ski boot technology is definitely worth the price! I ended up getting the Drop Kick Pros for less than in ski shops since I work as a coach, so they were extra worth it. It’s also nice because they offer unlimited personalization. When you retire a pair of Full Tilt boots, you can use the buckles, tongues/ribs, heel wedges, or boot liners to accommodate a fix on your new model.
I have noticed competitors' boots feeling rigid, heavy, or just awkward with my feet. FTs are my favorite downhill option because of their comfort, lightweight, ease of use, and adaptability. They’re also on the more affordable end relative to other alternatives. The original mold of footbeds was more than sufficient with regard to comfort—I have ridden Full Tilt since their inception and they never let me down! The Drop Kick Pro has become a staple on podiums, touted as the lightest freestyle ski boot on the market.
The FT Drop Kick Pros unlock my inner freestyle champion, giving me softer landings and just all-around style and comfort while providing precise control and a smooth ride!
Channel your inner athlete with the Drop Kick Pro, Tom Wallisch Pro, or Phil Casabon/Henrik Harlaut Pro models (if you have wider feet, 102mm wide toe ) by snagging a pair of Full Tilts today!
Also, be on the lookout for the K2 line to have new product releases featuring this same original shell tech/design with a new logo. New versions of the three-piece design are the future of K2 Boots! Will K2 continue to provide the same design as the Full Tilt original and Raichle l Boots of years past? We'll see!