Revelstoke’s Pulse Labs Inc. is serious about getting the right fit – and flex! – in a ski boot!
If you’ve recently been sizing ski boots, chances are you’ve encountered some unreliability when it comes to flex rating, even in boots of the same brand.
Enter Pulse Labs Inc.
With their extensive expertise and new and innovative boot fitting system they’ve come up with the answer to the flex issue with a convenient and effective aftermarket accessory: The Pulse ProFlex. Developed and prototyped with the help of the MIDAS Fab Lab!
The flex in a ski boot refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Boot flex ranges from very soft to a stiffness required for racing, indicated by a numeric “flex index” typically from 50 (soft) to 130 (very stiff). Frustratingly, for skiers of all skill levels, this number is rather arbitrary and a 100 flex rating, for example, can vary from boot to boot, even from the same manufacturer.
The Pulse ProFlex is a ski boot insert created specifically to stiffen almost any two-piece ski boot by 15 to 30 per cent. It’s been made to be easy to install without altering or compromising the fit of the boot.
Current bootmakers prioritize features and convenience – walk modes, tech fittings, thinner walls and lightweight plastics – over stiffness and performance. Innovator and partner in Pulse Boot Lab & Ski Co., Kai Palkeinen, was looking for more. Understanding that serious skiers have been left wanting, he saw the need for a reliable, aftermarket solution that had the power to amp up the flex and, ultimately, the performance of any ski boot.
So the ProFlex was born. With the help of our team at MIDAS!
Beginning over a year ago, the team at MIDAS, specifically Lab Director, Brad Pommen, assisted in scanning the prototype and producing 3D models to help identify the size, shape, and positioning of what would become the ProFlex. Through several iterations and many communications between Pulse Labs’ Matt Moor and Brad, fundamental challenges were identified.
MIDAS provided the opportunities and resources for learning!
The learning process not only helped refine the design and drawings that would be sent on to the engineers, but the experience also helped to answer the important question: which manufacturing process would provide the best product?
For instance, after delving deep into carbon fibre, vacuum moulding and even 3D printing at MIDAS it was established that none of these would provide the necessary rigidity or rebound for an effective insert. To achieve what the company needed, injection molds were found to be the way to go.
Through MIDAS, Kai explained, “We went from knowing nothing to gaining a far better understanding.”
Kai learned how “complicated, difficult, and expensive, not to mention arduous the manufacturing process is”. MIDAS and the Fab Lab team helped alleviate some of this stress and hard work, facilitating rapid prototyping, exploration, experimentation, and tweaking, in a fraction of the time and expense that it would have taken otherwise.
“Without MIDAS we may not have made it to the end result.”
Looking for additional stiffness and performance in your ski boots or those of a skier you love? Be sure to get the Pulse ProFlex – support the Kickstarter Campaign>>
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