Raichle Fiber Jets

1968 Raichle Red Boot ad in SKIING Magazine
1968 Raichle Red Boot ad in SKIING Magazine

The Raichle Fiber Jet (aka Red Hot) was the first boot to break the color barrier.  Introduced in 1968 the bright red Raichle Fiber Jet was a conversation starter in lift lines or the base lodge. 

It wasn’t just color that made the Raichle different.  Like Rosemount it took a different approach to ski boot design.  First there was a laced inner boot that was kind of a cross between a boxer’s sneaker and a ballet shoe.  Theoretically you could use the inner boot to walk around in, but they tended to draw more attention than the red boot, particularly the shiny silver models.  The outer boot was a clam shell design that hinged down the middle of the sole.  You closed the outer boot around the inner and secured it with the buckles.  The outer boot was solid fiberglass approximately a quarter inch thick in the forefoot!  This solid fiberglass shell provided complete lateral rigidity without any tightness.  Forward flex was controlled by a leather cuff around the top of the boot.

I bought my first pair of Red Hots in the Spring of 1969 on sale at Wood’s Sporting Goods in downtown Burlington.  I loved them.  My skiing improved and my feet stayed warm.  The only negative was bruised shins since even the leather collar was very stiff.  There was another negative which for some probably was a positive.  They drew a lot of attention to the wearer!  Whether walking through the lodge, standing in lift line, or skiing down a trail, people noticed the boots and you!  It was impossible to be a shy introvert while wearing bright red boots! 

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16 Responses to Raichle Fiber Jets

  1. John says:

    I had a pair, and they were truely great. I left them with my parents as I evolved into other boots and skis, and one day they had a garage fire and that was that. I wish I still had them.

  2. Greg Morrill says:

    I actually had two pairs: the original red hot and then when higher-backed boots became popular, I upgraded to the high back, red-white-and-blue model. I have no idea whatever happened to them.

    I examined a pair at the Vermont Ski Museum and in trying to unbuckle the leather collar to show someone the inner boot, the collar began to disintegrate! I just buckled them back up to avoid additional damage. That sort of answered my question as to why you see more of the all-plastic Rosemounts than the red-hots although I’m sure the Raichle outsold the Rosemount!

    Thanks for contributing!

  3. Cam says:

    I bought a pair of those – actually they were blue, a slightly later version. I was in love with the boots when I bought them and they were super cool, but awful boots. Total PITA design in the collar,which I never got to break in and constantly had sore shins.

  4. Brett Melvin says:

    I’m looking to buy a pair of these boots, is there anyone here who can help with this?

    • Jim Gardiner says:

      I have a pair for sale;
      I got them for Christmas in 1968. I was able to can my wood ski’s and leather boots. I got a pair of Heart Javelin metal slalom ski’s and I was hot stuff. I only used them a few times then I left home. My dad skied in the Army throughout WW II and I skied since I was four. When I had to buy my own lift ticket I stopped and the boots were only used a few trips.

  5. Maury Markowitz says:

    “first boot to break the color barrier”

    Now Greg, I *know* you know this isn’t right… Lange Royalite boots were blue and white!

    I can here the “arrrgggg, of course!” from here!

  6. Rick Rowell says:

    HOT! HOT! boot. I was a Lange fan because I enjoyed great rigidity and boot bang. The French technique made popular by a certain Alpine Gold Medal winner made leaning back the necessary method of bombing the hill.The Raichle and Lange were both too short in back and the Rossignol boots were the only ones to buy. Also, Scott completely copied the Raichle with a lighter version with higher back. Raichle raised the backs as did Lange and boot bang was replaced by really sore calfs.

    A childhood friend of mine, Kent Heitsinger, invented French Stiqs (pronounced steeks) for the Lange and Raichle Jets. These were shaped lucite spoon looking devices that fit between the shell and liner to give you the French effect without having to buy new boots. They were sold everywhere for about 2 years.

  7. Larry says:

    I had a pair of these! I remember the guy at the ski shop in Toronto fitting them on me. Once you put on the inner bootie, you stepped in the hinged outer boot and snapped it closed, then in the back of the boot there was a hole that he then injected a chemical foam that turned quite hot when it filled the bladder in the outer boot. You couldn’t move for about half an hour until it set. I mated these up with a pair of Volkl Zebra’s and Marker Rotomat bindings along with Volkl poles as well. It was about 1973, I miss those days :(

  8. Larry says:

    Actually, I was wrong about the bindings! They were “Look Nevada’s” anyone remember those?

  9. Jack says:

    Amazing!. My dad had a pair of these circa 1969. They gave good edge control, but produced a heck of a lot of boot bang. He paired these with a pair of Attenhofer A15 Jet skis in 215 cm length and insisted on using an under the boot, wrap around the boot leather retention strap. Old school. Jet turns were the thing courtesy of that certain French Alpinist. I remember skiing in the Laurentians and having local ski pros shout “Avalement” (literally: swallow) to their buddies as they skiied past.
    I skiied with a pair of “Jet sticks” to raise the back of my ski boots.

  10. Kevin says:

    Yeah, Jetsticks were de rigeur with red hots. I busted quite a few jet sticks with the leaning back turn but the raichles were unbreakable. (I had to really lean back with 215 White Stars!)

    • mike says:

      Knessill ( I think) 215 White Stars , what a great stiff ski ……. used them alot , became my rock skis later on , went to Hexals I think , thats around 73-74 with Hansen boots and Alsop bindings ( just a shitty set up for me ) and then on to rossi st650 comps , markers and reichle’s , had a pair of Lange Banchees along the way with a pair of busted K2′s , think they broken when I bought them at a ski swap ,,,,, good ski for pounding the bumps , but they had this chatter to them , think the core was busted inside them ,,, Fun Fun ski

  11. ToxicSkier says:

    I skied on a pair of Red Hots! I would love to buy a pair. Any thoughts?

  12. Jennifer says:

    I have a pair – $2K + postage… JR

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