These boots were made for boardin’

22 Nov, 2011


One of the most important components to a good day on the mountain is what protects and cushions your feet. Determined by fit, a suitable snowboard boots gives you an amazing day on the mountain without knowing it. Of course quality and durability go hand in hand with the decision process. Since I won’t review multiple brands of snowboard boots, I asked my friends and readers to share how their boots have been holding up for quality, durability and overall thoughts on a variety of boots. Here’s six snowboarders sharing their boot stories complete with pictures.

Brian from Colorado

Brand/Model: Salomon F22s

Days: 93

Thoughts: Initially chosen because of the smaller footprint of the F22s (welded liner). I didn’t really like riding wide boards so picking a smaller boot was the natural choice (had a stint with risers as well). Despite having a narrow footbed that isn’t a natural fit for my feet, I’d still buy them again in a heartbeat. Perhaps I’d look into some custom orthotics to help with foot arch while riding but that’s about it.

Condition: Currently still in very functional shape. There’s wear across the front where the laces rub on the tongue but nothing that would worry me. The speed lace system hasn’t slipped yet. The sole of the boot looks very good still, which doesn’t surprise me as most walking is done on a snow surface. A few scuffs and wear spots on the sides of the boot where it rubs against bindings. I’d consider that to be pretty common wear and tear though. The hooks that the speed lace system runs through jut out a bit and will eat soft ankle straps within a season. It’s happened on 2 pairs of bindings already.

Martin from Washington

Brand/Model: 686 New Balance 580

Days: Almost 60 days

Thoughts: I got these boots late in the 09-10 season and have put them through the wringer since. Overall these boots have been EXCELLENT! They started as too skinny for my foot but after a few weeks of riding they got packed out and have been very comfortable since then.

Condition: The lace on my lead foot broke which struck me as weird since that is the foot that stays strapped in which I figured would equate to less wear and tear on the boot.. On both of the boots the tongue got discolored from the part that goes around the back of your shin. Also the part that goes around the back of the foot has started to wear down on both boots as you can see in the picture. There also seems to be some wear and tear from the grommets on the same parts of the boot. Lastly there was some minor wearing down on the toe of my back foot, probably from resting my board on it while on the chair.

Jill from California

Brand/Model: Thirty Two 86 FT

Days: 80 Days

Thoughts: “Like your favorite pair of Chucks for the hill.” Sole Tech hit it right on the money with this tag line. The first time I put on these boots I knew I wouldn’t need to put in any extra effort in breaking them, they have been the softest boot I have ever worn! Everything about this boot has been new to me, new brand, speedlacing, soft flex, lots of room -it was all pure comfort. What I liked most about this boot was the comfort. I used these boots for business and pleasure, I lived in them 8 hours a day and at least 4 days a week. I liked that I was able to walk around with ease and not have that ‘awkward walk’. But with such soft flex I noticed I had to put in more effort with my riding, soft boots aren’t the most responsive. The Fast Track speed lacing system was convenient, but there were times that the upper latch would come undone while riding so just be sure to latch those suckers tight. The liners are amazing, hands down the easiest boot liners I have ever had to take out and put in to let my boots breath. Overall they were good, comfortable boots to have. These boots would be great for a beginner or anyone working at a resort being on their feet all day.

Condition: Surprisingly, these boots have held up very well. The soles are solid with tread still in tac toe to heel. What I was most impressed by was how well the speed lacing laces – they never broke (although the latch did come loose). There is stitching on the right boot that is undone. The liners have foam that is worn down near the heel cuff. Other than that, they were a waterproofed boot.

Fes from Washington

Brand/Model: Vans POW Cirro

Days: Two seasons of 40+ days.

Thoughts: I won these after donating $20 to Protect Your Winters and have been my main riding boots for two seasons. My boots before this were a pair of Burton Ions which I only rode for one season. The Ions have been by far the stiffest boots I’ve ever ridden and my feet were definitely not happy doing resort riding with them. The Ions had a very thin stiff boot shell and an even thinner liner. For splitboarding, they’re fine, but regular resort riding, not so much. When I got the Vans Cirros, of course, there was a period of trying to find the sweet spot. Once I did, the ride was awesome and my legs were thanking me. Overall, the ride in these boots was solid for a freeride snowboarder like myself.

Condition: I got two seasons of 40+ days per season before the liners giving out and starting to pinch the shins quite a bit. The boot itself cosmetically didn’t get dinged at all. The liner though just got a more and more uncomfortable as the second season wore on. The negatives I found were:
1) Vans Cork insoles, just like any other default boot insoles, suck. It’s not a full cork insole, not even close. So I chucked the stock insoles and used Remind Insoles instead. The Reminds made the ride so much more cushy and enjoyable.
2) The huge strap on the back on the boot really interfered with getting the boot strapped in. The Burton C60s bindings I have really high highback.

Pat from California

Brand/Model: Burton Sabbath

Days: Two seasons of 70+ days (240 total).

Thoughts: The boots were awesome the first season and held up super well with out much break down of flex at all (minus the first 6 days or so of breaking them in). The second season they were alright in the beginning but the flex started to really break down as the season progressed. On top of the natural flex of the boot going the interior lace system was getting looser and looser as time went and didnt hold up for more than a few hours without needing to be re-tightened. Not to mention the ends of the laces frayed in the second season (I feel like this problem should have been solved by now, even my nike p.rods that had “carbon fiber” ends to them frayed… bummer). On a high note, the boots look super nice for having seen 2 seasons on them (bright white still). One thing that was nice about the boots is the aegon coating, even today the boots do not stink!

Condition: Kinda addressed all of this in the earlier question. But ya first season was great, after the second I had to move on and havent really found any boots i LOVE since (have rome and Celsius boots both 2011 but neither are epic). The toe box packed out a bit more than expected on the burtons too… I was coming off some salomon F22’s that have a super tight toe box.

Nate from Pennslyvania

Brand/Model: Thirty Two Sonic

Days: 50 Days.

Thoughts: I’ve been riding the 32 TM’s almost religiously for several seasons now… For some reason I wanted to try something just a little stiffer this year…. The Sonic is one solid “notch” stiffer than the TM 2’s. I really liked the added support (of a stiffer boot) and quicker (board) response. The fit is pretty much the same as the TM 2’s (close to perfect for my foot).
I was very skeptical of the fastrack lacing system, I’ve been riding traditional lace boots my since I started snowboarding in 1989 ! But, it quickly broke in and I found that I could quickly adjust lace tension as good (if not better) than traditional laces. Regarding wear, I spent January to March in these boots probably only 50 or so days actually on snow though and out of those most of em weren’t full days.

Condition: That being said, these things are the most bomb proof 32’s I’ve ever owned! Check the pics hardly a mark on em. The only thing that’s changed is that they’ve packed out a 1/4 size or so (to be expected). Even though these are great boots for me I recommend trying on several pairs of boots with a professional snowboard boot fitter. Everyone’s feet are different!

About the author

Shay

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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6 Comments

  1. November 22, 2011

    I have some old Burton Progressive boots that make my feet cold and wet after a long day of riding. Unfortunately, being a student, i cannot afford to buy new boots 🙁 This will be what.. my 4 or 5 season with them now?

    I would love myself a nice new pair of board boots. Having cold/wet feet just isnt cool! Perhaps after I’m done school I’ll upgrade boots, then board/bindings. So much to buy.. so little time/money to do it haha

  2. Mike
    November 22, 2011

    I have a set of Burton IONs which have about 80 days on them. They are still in good service condition. Only real wear, is the velcro straps on the inner are getting a bit worn. Also, I’ve run these boots for 4 seasons and have replaced the laces twice. I don’t know if Burton has updated the laces, but the speed zone laces on mine wear out pretty fast and are not the easiest to replace. All in all I am very happy with these boots though. They took about 10 days to break in and form to my feet and so, were a little uncomfortable at first, but once broken in, the fit has been excellent. I did replace the foot beds with some Remind insoles for that extra bit of support and feel good on the feet. I really like the shorter footprint as I am a size 10.5 and these boots allow me to ride standard width boards without compromise. In terms of stiffness, the boots are perfect for all mountain freestyle. A bit stiffer than a traditional freestyle boot but not as stiff as a dedicated freeride. The stiffness of these boots has also held up well over the seasons.

  3. Dave
    November 22, 2011

    Hey Shay
    Great article, it really highlites how different boots are and how important they are
    Nate’s comment try on as many different boots and get them fitted by a pro boot fitter
    Everyone’s feet are different… Spot on

  4. November 28, 2011

    I’m currently riding the Nike Kaiju – I know a lot of people get upset when the ‘Big names’ get involved in snowboarding, but you know what? If it provides quality product AND makes the established brands step up their game, I’m all for it! Look at who they got to help develop it- Gigi Rüf, Nicolas Müller, Justin Bennee, Danny Kass, Austin Smith, Annie Boulanger, Laura Hadar and Eric Jackson.
    Last season I tried a pair of these on but didn’t get to ride them. They felt really good and seemed very well made, so this year I managed to get a pair via a very kind friend from Nike.
    The foot last was perfect for my foot, giving me a really snug fit yet plenty of toe-wiggling space in a boot that seems low volume, but roomy where it counts…a bit like the Tardis.
    Flex-wise, the boot was a medium flex, a little softer than my all-time fave, the now discontinued Rome Marshall (a moment of silence). The cut out flex panel and the feedback from Park City’s Park Crew who ran the boot the previous winter, suggests to me that the boot’s flex does not change much during its life.
    The spine material is super rigid and strong, there’ll be no creasing there! The lace system is old school with a touch of flair, making the boot quicker to lace than a standard system and without the worry of possible mechanical failure-I liked it a lot.
    Using Air technology they seem to have created a boot with great shock-absorbing qualities yet you can still definitely feel the board…brilliant!
    So far I have had 2 weeks out of them and love them, there is even a reflective foil insole in there which helps retain heat in a low profile boot. The inner is heat mold able allowing you a degree of personalisation and in all honesty, at no time have I had any breaking-in foot pain. As a fulltime Instructor, that is worth it’s weight in gold.
    Personally I can’t see how they could improve the boot. Perhaps an even speedier lacing system? But let’s face it, are we that lazy? You only put them on once a day!
    This boot is as near perfection, for me, that I can imagine.
    -Strengths
    Great fit, build quality, flex pattern, construction and they look pretty cool too!
    -Weaknesses
    None yet, I’ll keep you posted.
    -Similar Boots Used
    Salomon F series, Rome Vice, Folsom and Marshall.

  5. November 28, 2011

    Rome Vice 2011-12 – Ok, so Rome discontinued my all-time fave boot, the Marshall, so I had to choose whether to go softer with the Vice, or stiffer with the Folsom. As I was coming out of competitive retirement to race SBX, I went for the stiffie.
    As usual, the fit of the boot was great and it was indeed noticeably stiffer than the Marshall. The heat moldable inner gave me a great fit, comfortable yet supportive at the same time. The heel has good shock absorbsion (better than the 2011-12 model IMHO) and the sole gives you excellent grip when hiking unlike this years boot which has the Anti-Grav sole….you might as well hike in Vans Slip Ons!
    The inner boot has their In-and-Out system where the lace for the inner comes out of a hole in the outer, really handy for tightening or loosening the inner without undoing the outer boot. However, mine had something sharp on the molded window, so it shredded my inner lace in no time at all…annoying.
    Now, my big gripe with this boot. Like many “stiff” boots, when it broke down, after only 30 or so days of use, it didn’t do so gradually. One day it was stiff, the next day it was softer than the old boots I had done 130 days in. Gutted!
    My view is, especially after getting the 2012 Vice to replace them, is that the previous boots may have been ‘over-engineered’ and were lasting too long. Great for someone who gets to ride as much as I do, but overkill for most riders. Solution? Don’t make them quite so burly.
    So if you do a few weeks a year, these may be just the ticket for you for higher speed freeriding and going off big kickers, but they may not be the best choice for a Seasoneer.
    -Strengths
    Well made, great-looking boot. Heat molding ensures near custom fit. Ingenious lacing system minimises heel lift. good sole and cushioning.
    -Weaknesses
    Lack of consistency of flex pattern over time.
    -Similar Boots Used
    Rome Marshall, Salomon Malamute, Burton Driver, Atomic Waiver.

  6. November 28, 2011

    Sorry….the review above was for the FOLSOM…. THIS is for the Vice!

    I was given a pair of the 2011-12 Vice boots last season to replace a pair of 2010-11 Rome Folsoms that had lost all their stiffness.
    The boot was a great fit, really nice moderate flex and good-looking too! It did everything I asked of it and I even managed to win a US Master Boardercross title on them.the very novel lacing system worked flawlessly, they never loosened of their own accord-very impressive indeed. Ok, that’s the good stuff. On the down side, the Anti-Grav sole was indeed super light…but that was because it is super thin. This equates to good board feel, but not much in the way of traction. The lack of tread reduced me to all fours at times when hiking off-piste. Ok, I thought, that’s not really what it was designed for, so maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh…but I was slipping and sliding on my daily walk from the locker room to the lifts!
    In addition, after just two weeks, there were major signs of wear at the point where the highback wings contact the boot. I sent some pics to the then boot designer at Rome who asked whose binding was eating his boot? It’s a Rome Targa 2012 model was my reply. He decided that he needed to chat to the binding designer more…
    Other than those two issue, the boot was outstanding in all other ways.
    -Strengths
    Great fit, excellent lacing system, very light with a good consistent flex pattern.
    -Weaknesses
    Questionable durability, sole was fast wearing due to thinness and also very little grip. As an aside, I noticed that their 2012 freeride boot the Folsom also has this sole-crazy! With a decent sole, I would have given them 4.0.
    -Similar Boots Used
    Rome Marshall, Folsom and Nike Kaiju.