Choosing stiff boots
Hey everyone. Never had stiff boots, so need your advice here.
Experience: 5 seasons of riding hills near Moscow (boring short and flat slopes), went to the Alps 3 times for 7-10 days each
Riding preferences: all kinds of slopes, little freeride experience (definitely looking for more freeriding this winter), almost no jumping. Trying to learn some flatland tricks to have fun on flat slopes
Board: Nitro Team Wide '09
Bindings: Burton Triad '09
Current boots: Vans Jamie Lynn
Story: I had Vans Encore as my first boots, used them for a couple of seasons. Missed one season because of knee injury, and when I started snowboarding again I felt that they somehow became too small for me. So I bought Vans Jamie Lynn, and that wasn't a good decision at all. They are supposed to be stiff, but after 30 minutes of riding they loosen up a lot, and I can't control the board the way I want. Maybe it's because they're one size too big for me, maybe it's because of their traditional laces (which really suck comparing to Encore's BOA, no matter what I do I can't get em tight enough), maybe it's their liner (not tight around ankles as well), I don't know, but they just don't work for me.
So I've decided to look for new pair of boots. Fed up with traditional laces - only BOA or speed lace. Spent some time looking for good stiff boots, that's my list for now:
Burton - Imperial, SLX, Ion, DriverX
DC - Travis Rice, Judge
Salomon - F4, Synapse, Malamute
Vans - Cirro
Ride - RFL, Insano, Trident
Nitro - no flex info on their site, seems like Select, Team, Ultra are good options
K2 - ruled them out because of bad reviews
For now I only had an opportunity to try Ion, DriverX and Malamute. Didn't like Burton's speed lace system at all, both Ion and DriverX felt really loose, just couldn't get em tight enough. Malamutes felt amazing, lacing system seems very comfortable, but they are stiff as hell, which concerns me a bit.
So here is the question - aren't these boots an overkill for my riding habits and not-so-stiff bindings and board? Can you fool around and do some jumping/flat tricks with these boots, or they are only for hardcore fast riding?
I have the malamutes and F3.0 currently. Also used the synapse wide for a number of years.
The malamute is a great boot with excellent all-day hold. I've used it in the park and for softboot carving. It is going to take to getting used to but you can adjust the tightness to some degree. Articulation through the ankles is more difficult but I have no problem with my grabs. The 4.0 would be a good choice as well.
You'll notice alot less fatigue when freeriding and better board control at speed.
Just a question, you sure you're picking the right sized boots when trying them on? A proper sized boot won't need to be overtightened. Every foot is different, but I've had two pairs of Driver Xs and one pair of Serows with the speed laces and was able to tighten all of them no problem... :dunno:
Otherwise, the main thing is to try them all on and get the best fitting pair. Remember they should be snug. Toes grazing the front is okay, as long as they're not pushing on the front. Should be snug all around with little to no heel lift.
Jamie Lynn's are def not stiff. Mid-stiff at best, and that's when they're new. There are dozens of quality stiff boots out there. It's just getting the right fit that's the trick.
I'd recommend Deeluxe Boots (Viscious, Deemon, Empire). Even their mid stiff boots are pretty stiff (I'm running the 2013 Rough Daimond which is pretty much their ID model this year). Construction quality is superb. Speedlace system is the best I've ever used. Fit is snug in a half size down (I have relatively narrow feet) so no need to over-tighten to compensate for gaps. Just something I would add to the list.
That said stiff boot folks tend to self identify as such (poutine the stiff boot stiff board, stiff binding fanatic for example, me to some degree as well)because they like the control of the boot or they ride specific styles that benefit from it. Your riding style doesn't to me sound like it demands a stiff boot, but you may still like a stiff boot if you like precise (but perhaps unforgiving) control.
I suggest you go with one of the cheaper options or get old inventory to save $ and if you decide you like a stiff boot then next time around you can go for a high end stiff boot and know you're not wasting cash. Of course you must try on any boot first to get the right fit.
I ride burton Ions with diodes and c60s on a variety of mid flex boards and I like the combination, gives me lots of control and the medium flex board gives a little forgiveness. Sometimes a little tricky for spins etc as you have to be pretty on spec with your edges, a bit demanding but good for carving and so on.
Depends on your feet too. I have high arches and supination. Any movement within the boot is extremely painful. Choosing stiff boot + orthopedic insoles helps to eliminate any type of lift/twist. Much more comfortable.
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