Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Are you thinking about hardboots?
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  • #571321
    Unruly Baker
    333 Posts

    So this weekend I played around on both my Driver X/Ignition II set-up and on my hardboot/Dynafit/mtn plate set-up on the same board (NS Titan) and I got to thinking. :scratch:

    I run Voile cants when I’m on my hardboots, and the ride down with the hardboots upper buckles loose and locked in ski mode is pretty darn close to my Drivers if I lace them tight (which I often don’t because they are too stiff that way). Touring with the Driver/I II set up is nice, but the touring advantage with the Dynafit set-up is noticable, especially after a few thousand feet of vert in a day. The hardboot also has advantages on multiday trips as the shells don’t get soaked. Kicking steps is better in the hardboots too and the fact that you can get step in crampons. So for split-mountaineering stuff I see large advantages to the hardboot set-up.

    So I know Will has some cool hardboot Spark stuff in the works and I’m just wondering who is on the fence and thinking of moving to hardboots in the next year or so? I have a hunch that with the new stuff there will be few situations where hardboots will lose out to softboots. Main areas I see are for jibby style riders that like air time, but then again I see Schralptowner jib around on his hardboots so who knows what will happen. Basically if Will can put controlled lateral flex back into hardboots for the descent and keep them laterally rigid and light for skinning we could have the holy grail…..

    So speak up, who’s on the fence?

    UB

    #614900
    vapor
    350 Posts

    Well no longer on the fence now that ive picked up a pair of dynafit bindings and boots. have used hardbootsfor years on my solid board so i know exactly what i want them to feel like.
    Front boot not bad but the rear boot needs alittle more lateral flex in the cuff but im working on that.(the retailers just cringe when i mod stuff lol)
    have to say though they skin like a dream.

    #614901
    ale_capone
    864 Posts

    me +1..

    my a.t. boots aren’t dynafiddle compatable. is the stuff will is working on dynafutz specific? I don’t mind kicking a little extra weight uphill.

    I also like to ski sometimes, but am more then happy to just use my split.. I’d like to maybe fix the heel… although I don’t mind dropping a knee now and then either.

    :twocents:

    #614902
    fustercluck
    668 Posts

    It seems the majority of hard booters on this planet are splitboarders on this site. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw anyone riding hard boots, anywhere. I’m not knocking it, because I couldn’t care less what anyone is riding, but for me soft boots were a huge selling point when I switched from skiing. I like that I can put them on at the house, drive to wherever I’m riding, and when I get done I can even rock ’em while tipping a beer during happy hour, without any discomfort. For me personally, if I wear hard boots I might as well ski and have the extra mobility.
    (Sorry for jacking your thread. I’ve been doing some of this :guinness: and a bit of this :doobie:, with the usual bout of this :banghead: thrown in for good measure.)

    #614903
    SPLITRIPPIN
    709 Posts

    If I start thinking about hardboots :scratch: … take me outside, and kick my arse :thumpsup:

    It just makes me think of euro style riding, and I’m sure it all depends on your application.

    In no way knocking hardboots.. I just figure if you want to ride hardboots..you should ride a mono board 😉 :bananas:

    After all I bet T. Burt rips a hard boot from time to time, and don’t think many if any softbooters can hold a candle to that fella. :bow:

    #614899
    Unruly Baker
    333 Posts

    mtnman and SPLITTRIPPIN, your points are totally valid and welcomed. With hardboot gear where it is right now and spending quite a few days on both, I agree with you both on some points. But I use my hardboot liners in both my hard and softboots, and both are generally equally comfy. Plus, it is easier to loosen up my hardboots when needed than it is to loosen up softboots, just pop a few buckles. Although I keep my softboots pretty loose and let my binders apply the straight jacket when needed.

    I guess I should have also asked, what are the things that are keeping you from looking at hardboots? If those were no longer issues, would you convert if substantial weight savings were possible?

    The Spark hardboot stuff I have seen in work does require the Dynafit set-up for the ascents. It is impossible to beat the Dynafit set-up for climbing efficiency, I mean, all you are lifting is your boot, no way any plate type binder can compete with that step for step…Maybe Will has an idea on how to not do it this way, but I don’t. There is also talk of a lightweight easy to use heel-lock being toyed with for the Dynafit set-up too….

    Just sayin’ it seems the hardboot transition opens up a whole world of new trinkets…and as a gear whore, I’m intrigued. My opinion for the vast majority of split riders out there hardboot set-ups will eventually satisfy most requirements. But for the JJ style chargers and huckers I think softboots will reign supreme.

    it’s nice to have options though….I know I like going to my quiver and putting together the pieces I feel will be the most fun for that days tour.

    UB

    #614904
    SPLITRIPPIN
    709 Posts

    Con: you can’t tweak your grabs :thumpsup: , or do BC butters, and riding switch would be goofy as hell I think… keep in mind.. I grew up in parks, so that side stays with me in the BC

    Unless somebody can post a pick of a hard booter tweaking a indy nose bone :thumpsup:

    But, as I said to each his own, personal expression is in the eye of the beholder. :doobie:

    #614905
    jcocci
    699 Posts

    @SPLITRIPPIN wrote:

    Unless somebody can post a pick of a hard booter tweaking a indy nose bone :thumpsup:

    How about Damien Sanders.

    mtnman: albeit a different type of riding I have to disagree with saying that most of the hard boot riders are on this site. What about the carvers out there?

    #614906
    Unruly Baker
    333 Posts

    @SPLITRIPPIN wrote:

    Con: you can’t tweak your grabs :thumpsup: , or do BC butters, and riding switch would be goofy as hell I think… keep in mind.. I grew up in parks, so that side stays with me in the BC

    Unless somebody can post a pick of a hard booter tweaking a indy nose bone :thumpsup:

    But, as I said to each his own, personal expression is in the eye of the beholder. :doobie:

    Yeah, I thought I was pretty clear that I don’t see hardboots taking over for the jibber/booter/park crowd. But up until this point that hasn’t really been the type of person you see on a split. The market is expanding though….but I predict a lot of jibber/booter/park riders that get splits may not stick with it as splitting is “hard”, not in the technical “woah that twirly-flippy is hard” but in the “I’ve walked for 3 hours and want to puke” hard. I hope they stick with it, as with more people we’ll get more innovation and $$ in splitting, and I dig watching them bring that style out into the BC, but I’m just guessing….

    I also think you may be confusing in-bounds hardboot carving set-up with split hardboot set-up. I run +15 front and -3 rear on my hardboots, switch is no more difficult than on my softboots, not that I ride switch a ton on my split though. Tweaking grabs and airs, you got a point there though.

    Good info. Just want to hear peoples thoughts on this and hopefully not turn it into a “hardbooters are ghey” thread. I see a lot of hardboots in the Wasatch and I know a lot of those people are not on this site.

    UB

    P.S. Scralptowner pow-butters the shit out of his hardboot set-up in the BC.

    #614907
    kjkrow
    353 Posts

    I’m on the fence, and will be going over it at some point I’m fairly certain. I love by Drivers w/Ignition II’s, and while I’ve done a fair share of split-mountaineering in them, they have their limits. So, I think the next setup I buy will be a shorter split (~165-168) with Dynafit boots & Wills bindings. The downside is, that might be a few years down the road, as I’m moving to a land with no appreciable mountains or snow 🙁

    I guess the upshot is if I wait a couple of years, I’ll get in on the bandwagon after it’s been around the block so to speak.

    #614908
    UTAH
    830 Posts

    Appreciate the thread UB. This is the first year I am second guessing my mtn plates for committing lines with consequences. The downside most likely I will need my hardboots to get to the line. I have put them to the test and they have passed so far but I would like to see a hardboot binder that you can be 100% confident in. I still rock both set-ups as well, but spend about 95% of my time in my HB, the feel is the same jibbing pow, less responsive on hardpack but manageable and oh so much more comfortable. I am not totally sold on the Dynafit thing. It seems pointless to carry binders in your pack when you could have them on your feet and it’s not like the mtn plates weigh that much anyways. I can’t afford much these days either. I like everything about my mtn plates but it would be cool to see something new/solid.

    #614909
    SPLITRIPPIN
    709 Posts

    Notice in that pic those dudes feet are stiffer than hell, granted they were old boots, but those were the roots.

    @Unruly Baker wrote:

    @SPLITRIPPIN wrote:

    P.S. Scralptowner pow-butters the shit out of his hardboot set-up in the BC.

    I want pics of that, eh?

    When I say butter.. I don’t mean tail-press, I’m referring to butter to FS/BS 360/180 to switch… If Shralptowner does that… I’d definately like to see a photo.. that would be funny as hell…

    I’ve never been a jibber… granted I may “jib” a pillow, stump, tree, rock.. what have you, but I only rode park for the jumps. I don’t ride park anymore, and haven’t for years. I’d rather drop a 60+footer, or build 3×3 meter BC jumps, and point it for maximum hang time…

    I started with snowshoes way back, but bought a Burton split the second year they made them. I was keen on becoming a guide about 6 years ago, so I knew a split was the only way to go, plus you couldn’t do the courses w/ snowshoes.

    PS I like that the “park rats” hang out in the park… I’d prefer less of them getting out to the BC. Most of my freinds give me shit for a having a split…I hate riding park, for the sole reason of all the crap that comes with a park.

    #614910
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    I sometimes hang with some amazing skier/climbers on dynafit AT rigs and can certainly appreciate the lightweight and utility of that setup.

    I have many years of soft boot experience and am mostly pleased with this setup. Someday when Storn’s not looking, I’m going to swipe his modded boots for those spring techie climbs, but mostly normal soft boots seem good enough.

    Last season I experimented with dynafits and came away impressed with some features, but still reaching for soft boots. On cold snowy multiday tours, the AT boots were great, comfy, warm, and dry. In really firm wind slab/crust I could comfortably kick in steps and then stand on small ledges where I might have needed crampons with soft boots. It was cake removing liners and then slipping them back into the plastic shell (something that can sometimes be a serious pain with soft boots). On the down was where I never really felt comfortable. I made some fun pow turns in hard boots, but riding just wasn’t the same as soft boots.

    It seems like fussing with cants, or maybe Will’s proto binding design could improve downhill riding with hard boots to the point where more folks used them. Personally, I think there remains plenty of room for improvement in both soft and hard boot design and binding interface.

    #614911
    fustercluck
    668 Posts

    @jcocci wrote:

    @SPLITRIPPIN wrote:

    Unless somebody can post a pick of a hard booter tweaking a indy nose bone :thumpsup:

    How about Damien Sanders.

    mtnman: albeit a different type of riding I have to disagree with saying that most of the hard boot riders are on this site. What about the carvers out there?

    Yeah, Damien instantly came to mind as a hardbooter tweaking airs. As for carvers, I really haven’t seen any for several years, though I do ride at a ski area that is more of a lift served backcountry type of setup, notorious for shitty groomers. I don’t doubt that a dynafit setup would be more efficient for access, but I’m all about the down. In softboots I can ride the burliest of lines, huck and spin off cliffs, and have warm feet when my skier and tele buddies are bitching about the cold (in Tahoe no less). But I’m not a weight weenie, my Venture is kinda heavy, but burly, my Northwaves aren’t the lightest, either, but super comfy. I would like to see the difference in weight of a Dynafit set-up vs. a pair of Sparks with 32s (I think it;s the lightest softboot).
    And Splitrippin, so far as I know TB has never ridden hardboots. In fact, I can’t think of a single pro big-mountain rider that has since Damien Sanders, though I did see a few hard booters showing up to some big-mountain comps I did several years ago (and some of those dudes even rocked a pair of poles :scratch: , but still killed it).

    #614912
    Stagger Lee
    242 Posts

    If I weren’t in the process of trying to buy a house I would have already dropped some bread on a pair of three-buckle dynafiddle compatible boots and toepieces. I likely won’t have a pair until next season. I am somewhat concerned about having to fool around with cants as it I recall them being hard to come by these days (I could be wrong) but perhaps Will has addressed this issue :thumpsup:

    I run into many many many splitters here in the Wasatch who have pretty much put the softboots away for good. A few of them are partners of mine. I, on the other hand, will still be reaching for my Drivers and strap-binders for most pow days (assuming I don’t enjoy surfing in HB’s).

    #614913
    Tucks
    19 Posts

    Definitely thinking about Dynafit boots.

    I just want to know the exact gains I would be getting from a Malamute setup with Sparks to Dynafits. And the feeling I would be giving up. Probably should demo a set.

    As for weight…
    There was a study done by the US Army which said that 1 pound on the foot is equivalent to 5 pounds on the back, while hiking. I know this ratio wouldn’t be the same for Splitboarding but I wonder what a similar one would be.

    #614914
    SanFrantastico
    1514 Posts

    As dishwasher dave mentions, I’d rather see the innovation go toward improving the softboot. I think softboots have the most ideal flex & shape for stylee snowboard riding and that it’s really easy to improve the softboot for mountaineering:

    I added Vibram mountaineering soles, midsoles, and an inflexible carbon fiber shank to these softboots and they totally rock. You can hammer in huge footholds with them and they edge really well.

    Maybe if a hard boot were designed from the ground up to have the right flex for snowboard riding I would be more stoked on the idea. I would like to try hardboots sometime though, if I ever get the chance, just to see.

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

    #614915
    SanFrantastico
    1514 Posts

    Oh yeah -Tom Burt wears both softboots and hardboots depending on the situation.

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

    #614916
    gregm
    79 Posts

    i started splitting in hardboots but then switched over to soft when i got my sparks. the biggest difference is i totally love the ride down in soft boots. skinning slogs are more comfortable too because i feel like me feet are wrapped in pillows. my driver x’s and my old tlt 3’s both weigh the same, but the mtn plate binding is lighter than the sparks so the hardboot setup is still lighter. the hardboots definitely edge better sidehilling and kick steps much better. while the sparks/driver x’s work great with the khyber on powder days i think the dynafit hardboots work well with the mtn gun for spring tours, for one thing it’s a real blast to carve with hardboots and steeper angles. i’m still experimenting with getting my tlt’s to act more like a highback setup while still keeping overall flex.

    #614917
    sketchyT
    280 Posts

    How do you think mountianeering boots would work with the sparks? Something like these:

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