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686 Times New Balance 1971 Snowboard Boots - YouTube

I returned these boots after one day of use. I'm the type of person who has never returned anything before.

- Lightweight
- Relatively low profile
- Power strap holds you in well up top
- Comfortable out of the box, no real break-in required
- Simple fast lace system
- Aesthetically pleasing (they look pretty dope)

- Incredibly, ridiculously slippery. Minimal grip.
- Very soft (almost mushy), feels like everything will fall part after 15 solid days of riding
- Only one single lace system for both upper and lower. Would prefer individualized fastening.
- Although fast, the fast lace locking mechanism (sliding piece of plastic) seems like it could break very easily, and in fact my right boot came with the mechanism missing/broken off already.
- The liner feels a bit thin/cheap and always came out with my foot when I pulled out (hate that..)

Overall: Comfortable and light but doesn't seem to be very durable and the real deal breaker is how slippery these were, like literally, there is barely any grip. Not worth more than $100 in my book, would only buy these in the off season at a heavily discounted price, not the $191 I paid.

Longer Description: I have never had an issue with slipping around the mountain. I'm not the clumsy guy who is always losing traction and falling on his ass. Yet, with these boots I might as well have been dressed in clown attire because I literally could not stop slipping and falling. I don't know what that guy is talking about in the above video about the little black spikes improving grip? They didn't do a damn thing. And this is when the boots are brand new! Imagine once the "grip" has worn down a bit.. might as well throw on some ice skates (stupid remark..). I never had these slipping issues with my Burton Moto's, Solomon F20's, or Nike Zoom Force 1's, in fact, I've never slipped with any of these boots. Even if I wanted to overlook the other durability problems of these boots, this grip issue was a real deal breaker for me.

New Balance regards this as their lowest profile boot but these certainly weren't lower-pro than my Salomon F20's from 2 years ago (I know for sure because I had to re-adjust/lengthen my Ride Contrabands) The F20's of 2 years ago are just a hair heavier it seems like, but much more responsive, durable, and effective in my opinion.

Also, the fast lace system works relatively well but one of my boots was shipped with the locking mechanism either missing or it had broken off at some point during packaging or shipping by REI? To tighten the boot you just pull up on the lace and this little piece of plastic automatically pinches the lace and holds you in place. Then you strap the velcro power strap for added hold. When you want to loosen the boot you just unstrap the power strap, pop this little piece of plastic up, the lace is un-pinched, and everything comes undone. Well my right boot was missing this little piece of plastic. So I could pull up and momentarily tighten the boot but it wouldn't stay tight. Luckily I was able to ghetto-rig it by tugging hard, maintaining tension, and sort-of pinching it under the power strap. The power strap is really what allowed me to ride on this right boot. The locking piece of plastic is very flimsy and could easily be crushed off by brushing into something or perhaps your binding pressing against it. Works well when it works, but as with the rest of the boot, doesn't seem like it will stand up to the test of time. The fast lace system of my Moto's, DC's, and Salomon's were definitely more reliable (with the Salomon F20's lace system being my absolute favorite). I wouldn't want to put my faith in these boots on a 2 week snowboard backcountry trip unless I have a pair of back-up boots, just in case something goes wrong with the lacing mechanism.

I really wanted to like these boots because I like New Balance as a company but these were just not going to cut it. Experiencing the softness of these boots really made me realize how much I enjoy stiffer boots, so I chose not to sell my Zoom Force 1's and have really enjoyed breaking them in, with my $191 from these NB's back in my wallet.
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