Inside BOA Technologies
21 Jan, 2009
Since 2002 I have owned snowboard boots with BOA Technologies, I been happy with how they work and stood by the product.
Luckily for me, BOA Technologies was founded in Steamboat Springs Colorado where I currently live, there is still an office here that they do testing out of. They have their headquarters in Denver, Colorado right in the heart of downtown within seconds of snowboard shops, outdoor shops and plenty of outdoor activities nearby.
Last Friday I stopped by BOA Technologies to check out their operations and get a glimpse into my favorite lacing system.
While I use BOA entirely in snowboard boots, it now expands across into many other forms of shoes and boots. Snowboard boots are still their bread & butter.
I sat down with Garett and Mark who works in R&D to discuss BOA and answer any questions I had. It was incredible to hear about the entire process of design to testing to revisions to testing to revisions and the process that goes into BOA before it even reaches the sales floors. Their tests and labs are there to see how much strength and durability they can endure before they break and the math involved is way beyond my math level that’s for sure.
BOA is designed to be consumer-replaceable. It’s not a bad idea to have a spare cable with you if you have BOA boots, but the chance of you having to replace it isn’t much. Out of a million reels out there in the market, only .5 percent come back. The lace can also be tied off, so if it does break out in the backcountry, you can tie the lace as a last resort. All parts are available through the website and just by contacting BOA.
If there is an issue with a BOA boot, you can go through the boot/shoe manufacturer to get it fixed but even if the brand won’t honor it from warranty or some reason, you can go through BOA which will honor it. They don’t want to let anyone hang with their products.
We discussed how each company uses BOA to their own designs and factories. BOA will help out on the sidelines if they need to, to make a product better but in the companies hands it is theirs and completed in their factories.
BOA has their factory in China, but the cables are made with 80% in New Jersey, US and 20% in Japan.
I asked about the pro athletes that wear BOA because it’s mentioned on the BOA website. BOA doesn’t pay the athletes to wear boots with BOA, the athletes choose to wear the boots with BOA. The next Tour De France, there are 50 athletes wearing biking shoes with BOA and none of them received an single cent for doing it.
Just walking around the office, there is lots going on and plenty of shoes and boots with BOA that are in the process of being designed or finished.
The employees constantly test the frankenstein versions before the testers get to them. Garett was about to get a test pair of running shoes to try out this weekend.
As I said before the founder of BOA came out of Steamboat Springs, the story was he was constantly lacing up his kids snowboard boots and thought there had to be a better way to tighten the boots. BOA was created soon after.
Gary Hammerslag is the founder and CEO, I was able to meet him in the office and talk about my BOA boots experience. It was rad that it all came out of Steamboat and a need for something better.
Ilya kindly demonstrated on camera how to change the BOA lace
Watch the Video
of how to replace your lace
In the BOA headquarters the have their own lab to do tests on the the cables for durability. A lot of process goes into BOA and a lot of math to get it just right. It’s knowing how often in a boots lifetime that the BOA will be tightened and untightened.
One of the tests was just putting the pieces in water to see if it’ll hold up.
Checking out one of the pieces that was soaked.
A close up look at the BOA cable in the pull test
The pull test in action. Each test is tracked and the cable will be left going up and down on the pull test until it breaks. I was told that often they would start it on Friday and come in Monday to it still going.
The tour was great, many thanks to Garett Graubins for making it happen!