01 Nov, 2007
Back in 2002 I only shopped at Olympic Sports (RIP) mostly cause I had an instructor discount there and they had this amazing salesperson, Gorio who knew everything (he still knows everything but at Evo in Seattle). After trying on many different boots, I found that Vans specifically the Omni’s were the best fit for me. They had the boa system and Gorio sold me on them.
Now 5 years later, the boa system is in most major boot companies and still holding strong. I haven’t changed my boots, I still wear vans omni boots…just newer models and I’ve now switched it up to the dual (focus) boa system with my snowboard boots.
My original pair of 02-03 Vans Omni took a while to get used to. They were the stiffest boots I’d ever owned and it took some breaking in time to get used to them. Gorio had to do work on the punching out the toebox the first day just so my feet weren’t killing me. I kept those boots around for the next 3 seasons. In those 3 seasons, I spent over 300 days total in those boots. Far past the life expectancy of snowboard boots. Luckily investing in stiffer boots does make them last longer and buy the time their career ended they were a softer, flexier and about 1 size too big after all the packing out.
When Vans came out with the dual (focus) boa system in 2006-2007…I quickly decided to grab those boots as well. In fact I received one of the China Samples not for resale. The boots I own were even stiffer than the first Vans Omni’s I had. After trying them on in the store to trying on my boots…even my samples are stiffer than what the public received. Nevertheless, I fell in love once again with the dual boa.
I have now spent 100 days in these boots which are still going strong, in fact they are more comfortable this year because of the breaking in and getting used to them. Next year I’ll invest in another pair because I have found the perfect boots for my feet.
I’ve had over 400 days using the boa system so I feel pretty educated and experienced with them to give a good enough review of my experience with boa so far.
I am super stoked to live in the same town as Boa Technologies, check out their site and the mass information they have on the boa technology http://www.boatechnologies.com/
Comparing Single to Dual Boa
-I prefer the dual boa because I can control the different tightness in each zone, the upper and lower.
-With dual boa I don’t need to flex my boot when I tighten the boa cable because I tighten both zones individually.
-I’ve heard that dual boa can create more pressure points…with me, no. My foot can fit fine in single and dual boa vans with no pressure points. But an ex-boyfriend who loved single boa vans, tried on dual boa and had pressure points. So just because single boa works for you…doesn’t mean dual boa will even in the same model.
-In terms of quality, I trust the boa cable over regular laces any day. It’s a cable vs lace…kind of easy to spot which one is stronger of the two. Not to say that cables can’t be broken but it’s pretty rare.
The Boa Rumor Mill
Over the years I’ve heard the multiple rumors about why boa doesn’t work. The horror stories of the cables, the cable breaking, it doesn’t last, you can’t get the tightness, only beginners use it, it won’t last, bla bla bla…the list goes on.
My favorite is the “it won’t last” because that one is very easy to point out that each year more boot companies have boa system or more models with boa system and if the product wasn’t working…then those boot companies wouldn’t pay to use the boa system. Simple enough.
Cables break…but it’s tough. A lot tougher than breaking laces. With every Vans boot, you receive a tool and extra cable just in case. I have had to use the tool once when my first pair of Vans Omni’s were dead and needed the tightening. I have yet to use that first extra cable. However if your cable does break…re-wiring your boot takes 5 minutes and is really easy to do.
After 400 days on Vans Omni boots with boa…the boot and cables last. I never have to re-tighten my boots during the day. I can say that truthfully because anyone who has ever gone riding with me knows I never touch my boots during a day of riding.
Getting Tightness in single and dual varies
The dual boa you control the tightness how you like it, less tight in the lower portion and tighter in the top…all your choice.
In single boa, you have to do more work to get tightness. Gorio taught me from my first boa boots that to make sure you get the boot tightened equally through…you need to flex your knee down to the floor and back up as you tighten the boa cable. This actually works quite well, so try it if you have single boa to see how you can equally distribute the tightness. Just remember…it’s easy to over tighten boa boots and cut off circulation…don’t do that.
Here is a mock-up picture I did using a single boa encore boot and paint, to show you to flex your knee forward over your toes while tightening your boa cable.
Boa is not just for beginners and it never has been. Yes it is easier to put on your boots and you get ready quicker when you have a boa boot but that doesn’t make you a beginner just someone who likes the system because it works. It is nice having my boots on and ready to go, while waiting for friends to tie-up their boots in the cold. I don’t miss that at all. If you are really hard pressed to believe that beginners only ride boa…boa technology lists all the pros that sport the boa system in their boots. Check it out here
For me, I am very satisfied with the boa system in my Vans boots. Not only do I have a good fitting boot but I have a tightening system that I love.