...But its not just
first impressions having not shredded them yet:
the boots are really really protective of the ankle. it locks in there good and there is alot of padding to protect from banging or rocks and shit. will be great for mixed scrambling.
the sole is unlike anything that i have ever seen on a snowboarding boot.
the speed lacing works really well in my living room
. the lacing on the liner stays pretty low, and the added flex at your calf (there is alot of forward to back [skinning] flex in this boot) makes it seem very hiking friendly.
the outer speed lacing: (two zones) is a little hard to tell exactly what's going on in there, and it does seem like if something broke you could be kinda fucked, but it does look pretty simple and durable so i can only trust that Xavier and friends put it thru al least one tough season
others have complained about the plush in the liners. personally i don't mind it - it seems like it would be nice for hiking and would dry out quick enough at night if it got wet.
as for fit, i was wearing a 9.5 in Burton Rulers. got a 9 in this boot and after a few days of trying to break them in around the house i took em back and swapped em for a 9.5. there is not a ton of room in the toebox of these boots, and i couldn't wiggle my toes. obviously they are going to pack out like all boots, so my swap, while more comfortable now may prove to be a mistake.
overall i think they are
a game-changer for backcountry snowboarding, but they are the first generation and i'm sure we'll see some things change for next year.