Don’t judge Nike by it’s name

29 Sep, 2008

When it comes to snowboard products…the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes into play a lot and with the new release of Nike, it should be “Don’t judge Nike by it’s name”. Until you get first hand experience with a product by either trying on or using…you don’t give a fair review of it.

I briefly saw Nike boots at SIA and didn’t really feel that my lack of experience with them was enough to write about them. SIA was 8 months ago and many products change from SIA to what hits the sales floor. However this weekend while checking out Emage Network in Denver I noticed that they had Nike snowboard boots in stock and was able to try them on. They also carried Nike outerwear but were still waiting on some gear to arrive.

In terms of appearance…they look like Nike shoes. No big surprise there…it’s Nike. It even says Zoom on the side of the boots and countless other ways to tell it’s a Nike. I don’t really care what my boot looks like on the outside…it’s always covered up by my pants except for 2 minutes of the riding day when I roll the pants up to take off the boots.

Now there’s one company that I expect would put a lot of money into R & D and that’s Nike. Both my friend K and I tried on Nike boots, he tried on the men’s Zoom Force 1 and I tried on the Women’s Zoom Force 1. Nike…please come up with names that don’t match for men’s and women’s.

I first tried on a size 8 which is my Vans boot size across the board and my Atomic boot size across the board. I forget what I was for DC, 32 and Burton…but I’ll try those on again this year to see. The size 8 had my toes curled under just barely so I sized up to 8.5 just to get the comfy feel. Normally I’d say screw it, size 8 and heat pack out the boot so it fits me…but not for trying them on.

I rock boots with the boa system…so having to go back to lacing was a bummer. The inner liner had it’s inner lacing system and velcro strap then the outside had the lacing and velcro strap. I will give Nike one thing…the inner liner was solid. K was in love with the built in ankle support and I was in love with the built in J-bars that held my boot securely in the boot. It wasn’t some cheap ass inner liner that I’ve seen other big name brands use…liners that probably came in my first boots in 1995…still being used in 2008.

The toe box fit my foot just fine, but I had more space in the heel than I would have liked and the built in J-bars did their job but not as well since the heel was wider than I needed.

The flex was stiffer than I imagined for a “freestyle boot” which was fine by me since I prefer a stiffer boot. The forward flex was softer than the lateral flex.

In terms of pressure points I had none…but I wasn’t in the boot longer than 20 minutes trying it on and walking around. I don’t know quality or how long they will last.

But I did walk away surprised that Nike boots weren’t that bad for a first year boot. Some positives and some negatives to the boot. For me…if it offered a boa system, it’d be something to consider for a boot.

Regardless it’s a first year boot…I think they played it safe in making a decent boot but nothing that will really “wow” buyers other than the name and if the boots fits you. We’ll see what they do for SIA in January and what they bring to the table then. My good friend Marc at Vociferous Void made a good point that he’d “like to see Nike try and become leaders and make more ecological boots. It’s in their power to steer the market that way.” So definitely Nike…it’s up to you to get past picking up more team riders and just making the product speak for itself and as a very very very large corporation…you have the ability.

To view more Nike Snowboarding products, check out the new Nike Snowboarding website.

Pictures taken from my camera phone.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Anonymous
    September 29, 2008

    I saw them too but they look average too me, nothing special in the liner…

    My preference: Nothing better than Northwave Decade or Northwave Legend; in terms of ergonomy (R&D), comfy and performance in my opinion

  2. Shayboarder
    September 29, 2008

    I’d agree definitely nothing special for a first year but I expect them to work on that. Comparing the liner to other brands like DC…it’s much better quality, more put into it.

    Didn’t have northwave at the shop and haven’t tried those on in years.

  3. Anonymous
    September 29, 2008

    Yeah they will need ajustment on the market to survive…

    But they are lucky so fare, they have quite good representative on Pro Rider who ride there boots…

    I guess the pro rider may have better molded liner specific to there needs…

  4. Lou G.
    September 29, 2008

    Cool Shay,

    I’m glad you kept an open mind. So many Nike boot reviews have been negative based solely on the fact that the boot says Nike.

    I feel the same way that if someone can completely ‘wow’ riders with their boots it would be Nike. They certainly have the money and the manpower to create an awesome product… I guess we are waiting to see where Nike is going is go after this first run.

    Don’t these boots use recycled materials in the sole?

  5. ben
    September 30, 2008

    boa, are you serious? i am so against boa it sickens me. why not go with a really good speed lace system like salomon,northwave or burton. i think boa is the most mechanical feeling lace system on the market. i can’t wait until all the other lacing systems finally make the boa obsolete!!!!!!!! i’ll take nike’s system over boa anyday. pretty damn good boot for a first year though , huh shay?

  6. ben
    September 30, 2008

    you should try some northwaves on. they are pretty damn phenomonal again.

  7. Anonymous
    September 30, 2008

    They have super efficient factories in Vietnam where children are chained to desks 12 hours a day to glue shoes together. Slave Wage 4lyphe!
    Think outside the box folks.

  8. Damian
    September 30, 2008

    I haven’t seen these these Nike Boots, but I have to agree with Ben, Northwave’s really are amazing, and I can say that after trying on about 14 pairs of boots last season.

  9. Shayboarder
    September 30, 2008

    In my opinion Ben, boa is a really good lacing system. It’s strong, durable and it’s fast. I highly doubt boa will be made obsolete…it’s been around since 01 now, and used outside of snowboard boots and still working. Each year more boot companies put it on and use it. I love it…could care less for the other lacing systems since the boots don’t fit my feet.

    I’ll try on boots..but I’m very happy with Vans boots. That’s really what it comes down to, is fit…if Nike’s fit you, great! If another brand fits you, great! Find the right fit…not the name.

  10. sam
    September 30, 2008

    screw nike. they are plenty of killer boots already on the market. no need for a behemoth of a company to come in and start throwing money around. at least, skateboarders have a connection to nike through the original jordans, considered the ‘best skate shoe ever’. but shredders have no connection at all. oh wait, dk signed on? never mind, cuz hes a rebel, so nike must be too.

  11. Lou G.
    September 30, 2008

    First I will need to see pictures of Nike’s Vietnamese child labor centers. Don’t be so ignorant as to believe everything negative you read or hear… I know that’s what the news has trained us to eat up all of our lives but seriously, let’s “think outside the box”.

    @Sam, if snowboarders were that close minded we would still be riding in Sorels. It’s funny you would mention big companies throwing money around… because DC and Vans are both so poor and small.

    It is what it is. If you tried a Nike boot and rode better than you ever have before, you’d probably be singing a different tune… but you’ll never find out because you can’t get over yourself.

  12. Anonymous
    September 30, 2008

    Lou G:
    Stop being obtuse, put the koolaid down, and take the branding iron out of your hand. You’re not going to see pictures because the Vietnamese gov as well as the U.S. gov doesn’t want you to. When I traveled to Vietnam I was arrested for taking pictures of the factories and my camera along with every other personal item was confiscated.
    Nike is crap and has been crap since it’s inception. But, hey, nice color-ways dude!

  13. Lou G.
    October 01, 2008

    Haha, yah… ok.

  14. Anonymous
    October 01, 2008

    Boa sucks. Mine broke the first day, havent got another pair since.

  15. Anonymous
    October 02, 2008

    everyones boots are made overseas. nike isnt the only bad one.

  16. Anonymous
    October 05, 2008

    trying on the boots in a store for 20 minutes and making guesses about the “quality” of the liner hardly counts as a review.

    oh and nike has at least triple the revenue (in billions remember) of any of other company involved ins snowboarding including Quik, Jarden and vanity fair.

    is nikes participation so crucial and welcome? everyone talks about what they will bring to the table, but did they bring anything other than a simple basic boot?

    nike has the revenue and the marketing smarts to wipe out ALL the independent companies, and they will do it without bringing anything to the table. it is very hard for a company like deluxe, or 32, or celsius or rome to compete with such a company. to expect them to overcome by wits and meager marketing budget is delusional.

  17. Adrian
    October 05, 2008

    Shay, good review.

    Regarding brands… snowboarding has already gone mainstream, guys. Be ready to see products not only from Nike, but Adidas, Reebok, Puma, whatever.

    So, I’m more with @sam, @ben, @damian and anonymous. I’d love to see the sport keep supporting its brands. I would hate a wave of acquisitions wipe off snowboard’s culture and traditions for vanilla sports fashion.

    And it’s not about being narrow minded. I had Nike boarding products for some time. They were durable, warm and not too expensive. Good buys. Still, I never felt they really rocked.

  18. Shayboarder
    October 05, 2008

    I’m still rocking my Vans that’s for sure.

    A review would be an entire season on them and so far only the nike pro’s can do that. The only other review out there is by how it looks, not tried on. And when I title it a review, that’s a review to me that’s why I made it clear I only spent this much time trying it on in the store. It fit me and yes I could ride them this winter to give a full review of them…but I can’t purchase another boot right now so limited chance that will happen.

    I was checking them out again in Aspen and nic broke the inner lacing system because it’s not that strong and durable as others. They have room for improvement and like I said there are negatives to the boot. I’m looking forward to hearing nic’s opinion since he’ll have a chance to ride them this winter.

    For me there are 3 steps to boots…Fit, On-snow time, review. First the boot has to fit me to even get the on-snow time…then I gotta find on-snow time with the boot (harder to demo boots…really hard) and third if I spent enough time on a snowboard with it…to review it where I say “boot review: nike zoom force one”. Until then…just like others, I tried them on and will try to get on-snow time to review them.

  19. Anonymous
    October 22, 2008

    First of all 32 has the best boots hands down and that’s it!
    Best features, Most comfy, best warranty dept and are at the forefront of focusing on sustaining the planet.

    Keep Nike out of snowboaring and keep money in our industry!

    Don’t let the corporate monster come into our biz!

    Boycott all brands that have nothing to do with snow and just want a piece of our pie!

    I know guys who are bummed on ski companies making snowboard gear, but remember companies like k2 and rossi are winter companies that have been making snowboard goods for longer than 90 percent of shred companies so instead focus your efforts and negativity to brands that are just looking to jump on board with the growth we are seeing and take dollars away from winter action sports industry players.

  20. Anonymous
    December 17, 2008

    For all those who start screaming “sweatshop” as soon as the here Nike I’ll say this:
    Yes Nike made mistakes in the past and also now is still focused on making a good profit.

    However, forced by the bad publicity and the fact they wanted to be able to look at themselves in the mirror again, nowadays they do make an effort to create reasonable working conditions for their people.
    Reality is that the organizations that used to protest against Nike, now recognize that working conditions and wages in the factories of Nike and Adidas are among the best in the business. (that not saying much, but still)

    Let me ask you this: Where do you think all these cool snowboard-community loving brands build their products?
    And who is checking them? Are you?
    Just Google their name and see if you hear anyone asking critical questions. Slim change.

    I’m not saying Nike so great, but at least they are constantly being investigated and people are asking them the right questions.

  21. Shayboarder
    December 17, 2008

    Here’s a post I wrote up about what is sitting in my closet. Everyone should go look at where your products are produced before judging people…I bet you’ll be surprised if you haven’t yet.

    Link to article

  22. Shayboarder
    December 29, 2008

    Hey Lou G…finally got an answer for you about materials in Nike boots. Thanks to Bobby Meeks at Nike who put me in touch with Kevin Stevenson at Nike, here’s what they had to say

    “We use select recycled materials in our liners and footbeds. a portion of the liner foam is also recyclable.”

    I inquired about them using various lacing systems in the future and right now they can’t comment but SIA is just around the corner and looking forward to seeing what they progress with on their 2nd year.

  23. ilovetoboard
    October 30, 2011

    I bought a pair of the men’s Zoom Force 1 yesterday and I must say after trying on several other boots (inc. Salomon, 32 and Burton) these fitted so nice and no heel lift…
    I am a massive fan of 32 boots and always had them for as long as I can remember… the only problem that occurred this year is, they no longer make the Vela boot for women and to try and get the female version of Lashed in my size proved almost impossible. After talking to a number of shops in the UK, I was told that they are not looking to order the women’s Lashed as they didn’t sell too well last year and if I wanted to get these I’d have to have them once ordered in whether they fit or not… bit disappointing really as being a female with US size feet 10.5 in 32 it’s impossible to get hands on a last season’s model as they either sold out or were never stocked in the first place.
    I ended up with no other option than to either settle for a basic 32 women’s boot that are very soft (my opinion) or the Nike boots, where men’s US size 9 fitted me just great as they are quite a narrow fit. I’m yet to try them on the snow, but from the initial feel they are unbelievably comfortable.
    Not to get away from the great brand that 32 is, I’ll be rocking the Shiloh jacket and Blazhey pants… I still love 32, but I’m hoping that the new Nike boots will deliver a comfortable and supportive ride this season ;o)
    After all having an all day comfort on the slopes always comes down to a great fitting boot ;o)