Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Are you thinking about hardboots?
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  • #614938
    kjkrow
    353 Posts

    @96avs01 wrote:

    I don’t think the boot has to have both toe and heel welts (I know that some prefer full step-in crampons), but it should definitely have heel welts to accommodate hybrid strap/heel bail style. As long as the fit is solid and tight this would be sufficient. I know many that ice climb with hybrid crampons, and at least in my experience they tend to encounter ‘fit’ issues/failures no more frequently than full step-in models.

    The full shank is a definite plus. While it can make long approaches feel even longer, it is definitely a blessing once things get technical.

    Too bad that Koflach is no longer in production, they would likely have been a good source for the lower portion of the boot you describe.

    I agree with you in principal, but along the same lines of softboots having a disproportionately large footprint is a much larger toe box then compared to mountaineering boots. That’s why I think having front/rear welts would be better. For mountaineering boots, sure the hybrid works great, but for if we’re talking the ideal split-mountaineering boot, why not have welts on both ends for a little added security (in my mind at least)?

    #614939
    96avs01
    875 Posts

    @kjkrow wrote:

    I agree with you in principal, but along the same lines of softboots having a disproportionately large footprint is a much larger toe box then compared to mountaineering boots. That’s why I think having front/rear welts would be better. For mountaineering boots, sure the hybrid works great, but for if we’re talking the ideal split-mountaineering boot, why not have welts on both ends for a little added security (in my mind at least)?

    I guess my biggest concern would be finding a pair of crampons that have a sufficiently wide toe bail. So provided a new boot could meet current manufacturer toe bail width dimensions it shouldn’t be an issue to have welts on both ends.

    165 Venture Divide/Spark Frankenburners/La Sportiva Spantiks
    163W Jones Solution/Phantom Alphas/Dynafit TLT5s
    162 Furberg

    Chris

    #614940
    kjkrow
    353 Posts

    Good point, hadn’t thought about having a toe welt wider than the standard one. I guess that would need to be addressed as well. Your stance makes much more sense now.

    #614941
    Taft
    287 Posts

    @mountainvoodoo wrote:

    I ride hard boots in the BC. I have been riding the TLT’s or Scarpas with the Mtn plate binding for the last three seasons. I really like the comfort of the plastic boot and liner, I like the edge control on traverses in skin mode, and I like the ability to kick steps when I have to and camping is a lot better without the freezing soft boots. But, I truly miss the surfy feel of the soft boots. Soulful edgy turns in soft boots are one of the greatest feelings in snowboarding and I feel like I have lost that with the hard boots.

    IMO future of splitboarding will most likely be split into two sectors, those that jib and freestyle the BC, and those that tour and commit to big mountain lines (not to say there aren’t many who slay both styles). That being said, I don’t see the future of the touring/big mountain crowd in a ski boot or a mountaineering boot. I think others are totally right by stating that we need to design the boot from the ground up. Perhaps a three buckle AT boot with not only a forward flex but medial flex as well, or as others are developing, a stiffer soft boot that kicks and grips. Whatever the creation it will be much better for the sport than the ski or climbing specific boots out there right now. Three years ago, i would have said there wasn’t a market for something like this. But with the explosion in the B.C. as of late, and the excellent work of BCR and this site. I think the market is ready for a backcountry specific boot.

    Will, what do you say?

    this…

    and

    I don’t feel a difference in decent conditions.I am able to surf and jib just fine. I feel the most difference on hardpack… and chunder… I’d rather be in a soft boot set-up

    this

    #614942
    schralptowner
    176 Posts

    This thread took off very fast, I likey. :thumbsup:

    I just wanna say that snowboarding is snowboarding is snowboarding, no matter what kind of equipment you are on. I have these resort riding friends that swear that splits are useless and cant perform at the level they need it to, then the soft booters claim the hardbooters cant ride and do certain tricks. I have been hearing this for years and still do not understand what the big deal is. For me, I started riding stiff boots and learned that the stiffer you go the more horsepower you can get. My close friend worked and owned a ski boot fitting shop and schooled me in the ways of boot fitting. This is something most snowboarders are not aware of out there. Just by placing a custom footbed in your boot can make your riding be less sloppy along with a few other tricks that will help step it up for you.

    Anywho, I have been riding hardboots in some variation or another for 5 seasons and have never had issues hucking airs, whether it be 360s to backside 180s or butters/tail presses. I do not huck more than 25 ft anymore cuz I am getting old, but I do consistently huck 15 to 20 footers and usually stick half of them. My stance in the back is zero (0) and my front is forward 6 degrees. My stance is almost square, you don’t have to change your stance once your on hard boots, all of this is hear say. I do love the cants for my AT boots though, I think it makes a big difference for sure. With Will’s new hard boot binding coming out, which rides like a dream, more folks will see that they can get the same exact ride out of hard boots as soft boots while getting a few extra perks out of the deal; lightweight, easier for mountaineering, dynafit touring. My :twocents:

    OK, I feel like such a techy geeky person for doing this but I found a little viddy that shows me taking an air and grabbing. Its not the best representation but it works. Keep in mind that I was shooting video this day and had a heavy tripod and video camera in my pack adding another 20 lbs or more to my weight. Also keep in mind that I am not some sponsored rider/huckologist that throws big air, I just do what I do and have fun. But I hope you all enjoy the little viddy and show folks that you can ride however you want in hard boots.

    Wanted to hit the double pillow in the video but i did not want to run the gauntlet and risk of back splatting off the second pillow and wrecking my camera. This has happened before!

    [youtube:u237fp18]tvuz2JvXh0c[/youtube:u237fp18]

    #614943
    Unruly Baker
    333 Posts

    Alright alright….this thread is starting to come around, was a bit worried there at first. In the words of Mr. Tony Montana “No you’re talking to me baby, this I like”…. :thumpsup:

    Will is a smart dude, and I know for sure he is getting input from many people about what they want to see and what they don’t like in a hardboot set-up before he puts out a new product. Steven Koch is one of them.

    Lots of good info and points of view so far. I tend to agree with what UTAH is saying overall, maybe it’s because we’re both in Wasangelas and ride similar conditions and places, I don’t know.

    Having played with many different set-ups I definitely think having the binders on your pack rather than your feet DOES make a difference, epsecially on long tours with lots of skinning. This is true for strap and plate binders. The reference earlier of 1 lb off the feet is equal to 5 in the pack is real. I also think the dynafiddle set-up speeds transitions. I keep my binders strapped to the outside of my pack, when I get to the top, use my poles to step out of the binders, collapse my poles, peel my skins and put them in my jacket, put the halves together and slide on the plates, step on and flip up the toe bale, flip the boots into skimode and drop it like it’s hot.

    I like UTAH’s point of how it’s about what you want to do on your split and where you want to go that drives your set-up. And I think he nailed it on who and what type of tours benifit the most from hardboots.

    Getting the surfy feel back into the hardboots is key, and I personally don’t think the boot is where to focus like I once did. I think people that are riding stiff softboots now like Drivers, Malamutes, etc..and are doing bigger approaches with more mountaineering style ascents will be very happy on hardboots. People that do expeditions like Schralptowner will most definitely want hardboots. People that like softer boots and tend to split to shorter/closer jib lines to huck and spin probably will never need hardboots.

    So I guess there may never be a “silver bullet”, a single solution for everyone. Luckily there are choices. Ignitions and softboots are great fo those that like the softboot gig. All I am curious about is for those of you looking to choose hardboots, what do you want to see? What are the important things to focus on in your opinion?

    Keep the info and opinions coming….. :headbang:

    UB

    #614944
    split.therapy
    455 Posts

    This is my 6th season of being 100% hardboot in the backcountry. I ride soft boot angles (15F/5R) with no cants. I ditched the power strap and keep my top buckle a little loose. I feel that I get much better surf turn with my AT boots in walk mode than I ever could with soft boots and high backs.
    I do a lot of jumping but I’m not much for tricks. The occasional Method maybe. In the last few seasons I have become anti backcountry booter as it seems people feel it is ok to build them above skintracks or in the middle of incredible terrain.
    I love the faster response on variable conditions from AT boots. On hard pack and steep scary lines I just lock the cuff for the ultimate high back.
    The traveling efficiency of AT boots can’t be matched. They require less effort to reach the same goal. Esp. here in the Tetons and surrounding mountains where sidehilling for thousands of vertical feet is the norm. I just use Mtn.Plates. No Dynafit. I like being able to leave my bindings on my board during transitions and switch them to the appropriate position for mode. I never set them down.
    My original AT boots (Scarpa Lasers) were no warmer than my soft boots. My new AT boots (Scarpa Spirit3’s) are much warmer. The Intuition liners are the key. Last season I had skin issues at -22F. I hunkered down in a tree well with my dogs while my skins thawed in my jacket and my feet were fine the whole time. I’ve never had my feet stay warm below -12F. in soft boots under any circumstances. I also put custom footbeds in them and comfort is far superior to any boot I have ever had.

    #614945
    bcd
    232 Posts

    A hard boot that can mimic the characteristics of a soft boot with the flick of a switch?
    I’m skeptical.
    But that sure would be cool.

    I’ve never ridden hard boots, so I can’t really offer any insight on what to change.

    But lateral flex and a little forward flex (and everything in between) would be key for riding. The ability to roll my ankle from side to side, forward, etc… is essential for me. And along with that flex, the boot would need to “stop” at a certain point to function as a highback.

    I think it has been mentioned that it might be possible to build that flex into the binding. I don’t know if that would necessarily work. Being able to roll your ankles is an integral part of that surfy feeling. So even with lateral flex in the binding, your ankle would still be locked in the hard boot.

    So this magical boot needs to flex in all directions except backwards, and it needs to flex like that just above the ankle. Some sort of multi-directional hinge that can be locked for touring. And how about a tension control, so you can adjust the amount of surfiness?

    #614946
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Yes:

    Some history on me: started snowboarding in ’82-’83, first board had bindings, but no highbacks, and my first boots were Koflach mountaineering boots-I could not believe how people rode with Sorels back then! As soon as plate bindings were available I started riding in hard boots, and I was constantly modding them for more medial flex for free riding and mountaineering: here is the real problem, ski boots are designed for skiing, and skiing absolutely requires that the boot be as stiff as possible to the medial (inside of leg) side. Snowboarding has the exact opposite requirment, you need a fair amount of medial flex to snowboard well in variable terrain and snow conditions.
    When soft boots and bindings finally got fairly stiff (with the advent of boots like Salomon’s Malamute) I switched over to a soft setup: but in the backcountry, and especially mountaineering and camping, I missed the reliability, comfort, climbing performance, and warmth of a well setup hard boot. Now I am wishing that some boot company would take the initiative and design a snowboard specific hard boot for plate bindings from the ground up. The time is right from a marketing perspective; the market is finally mature, and there are enough backcountry riders with the money to purchase a $500-$600 boot-consider how many options in boots AT skiers now have! Surely backcountry snowboarding can support the development of a single, well conceived, snowboard specific, hard boot for freeriders-manufacturers are you listening (Dynafit, Scarpa, Deeluxe, etc.).
    There is no reason a hard boot has to ride badly, they only do because they are all designed for skiing: even “snowboard boots” like Raichle’s old “snowboarder” and 121 models are just slightly modified AT boots from AT boot molds. Here is my wish list:

    1. Lightweight: Dynafit sets the standard here in AT boots
    2. Intuition style liner, stock
    3. Adjustable forward lean with easy access tour mode: note, unlike current AT boots, the forward lean adjustment should not lock the cuff from forward flexing, it should only set the lean angle. Forward flex should be controlled by tongue stiffness, and cuff buckle tension.
    4. Relatively soft medial flex designed into the shell: the medial flex of Salomon Malamute, or a Burton Driver X would be a good reference for this: clever boot designers could easily achieve this if they were trying to. For splitboard touring, the ability to firm up the medial flex would be an advantage as well.
    5. The usual things, proper rubber sole, reliable welts for bindings and crampons, boot designed for good climbing performance, etc.
    6. I would prefer a three buckle design, two over the foot-designed to mimic the performance of the two straps on a soft binding, and one cuff buckle, plus powerstrap.
    7. Optional: switchable boot tongues to control forward flex.

    I really think if a snowboarding specific boot was designed with these properties, the skeptical soft boot riders here would rejoice. While I sympathize to some extent to the people suggesting a better boot for soft style bindings-I suspect that this approach would result in a set up that is unnessessarily heavy, as the boot designs suggested would certainly have to be alot heavier than traditional soft boots. The hard boot/plate binding approach also allows for a simpler, more reliable system for backcountry use, as well as quicker transitions.
    For now, I plan on getting a pair of Dynafit Zzero 3’s (the softer PF version) and modding the lean adjuster to allow forward flex when the lean is selected, and then likely shaving the shell cuff on the medial side to allow for better medial flex.
    But, ultimately, a ground up hard boot design could blow away anything else available-I hope some boot company considers taking the risk in developing a true free riding hard boot.
    Note to manufacturers-I would be happy to consult on the design of such a boot, and I am sure that many others on this forum would as well. Personally, I would be happy to do so in exchange for product, and the satisfaction of of pushing gear design forward for snowboarding.

    #614947
    fustercluck
    668 Posts

    So reading this thread has got me wondering: How big are you guys that ride hardboots, regardless of the tour you are going on. or even in bounds. And the same for those guys riding really stiff softboots. Reason I ask, I am a tall, lanky dude. The boots I ride are a step or two down from the stiffest in the Northwave line. I actually purchased a stiffer pair a few seasons back and didn’t like them at all. Same goes for boards and bindings, I don’t like them too stiff. I’m thinking that for my height and weight (6’2, 175) I just can’t flex boots or boards that much. Just wondering what some other people’s take is on this.

    #614948
    kjkrow
    353 Posts

    I don’t have a ton of experience with different set-ups, but I’m probably lankier at 6’5″ and 200 lbs. When I went from my old sloppy boots to the Driver’s after a day to dial out the kinks, I felt so much better in stiff boots. But my board (173 old SD) is also on the softer side.

    #614949
    split.therapy
    455 Posts

    @mtnman wrote:

    So reading this thread has got me wondering: How big are you guys that ride hardboots,

    I’m 6’2″ 235 lbs.

    #614950
    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    Mtnman, I’m 5’7″/160 lbs…but I have a lot of “carve” in my background. At my age, my objectives are usually short/steep, or longer more gradual mountain approaches. Not a lot of jib left in me, still, I’ll ollie off of stuff when I can.
    Barrows, a boot that would flex more like the Raichle SB 123 series boots, 3 buckle, lite like the Dynafits, and had a tuneable foreward flex spring system aka the Bomber BTS, and had a short sole length to boot is about what you are asking for. Now to get Deeluxe to revamp the boot shell tooling to go for it. Good luck, they are still using 10+ year old designs still. :thumbsdown:

    #614951
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    For reference I am 6’1″, and around 175 lbs. Riding Burton Driver Xs, and modded Spark Ignition Is (Rossi Jones highbacks, straps, with titanium bolts) or Burton C-14 baseplates/straps with Team Skybacks for the solid board.
    Jon-I know, molds are expensive-but it seems, if splitboarders can support six brands for boards, producing many models and sizes, and this does not even account for all the backcountry riders, that the market could support one, well designed, purpose built freeride hard boot.
    I ride in many popular backcountry areas of Colorado, and I see a lot of snowboarders out there, and a few AT skiers as well-considering the level of choices marketed and produced for AT skiers I feel the snowboard/splitboard market is currently healthy/mature enough to support the cost of developing a boot as discussed.
    It is time for snowboarders to demand to be treated as serious enthusiasts, rather than punk kids; and the serious enthusiasts here could really take advantage of a real boot, as opposed to the
    “toy” boots generally marketed to us.

    #614952
    affix snow
    521 Posts

    I ride hardboots. Hardboots work for me. If they dont for you, thats fine….it’s some peoples arguments against them that are just laughable….

    I think the whole “You cant ride switch in hardboots” argument is a little silly….lets be honest, how often do most of us REALLY ride switch in the BC? How many of you are throwing ANYTHING that requires you to land switch? How many of you are good enough to think “im gonna drop this coolie switch?” Short of Jeremy Jones and an small handful of others here (BCR, ZClanton, That Spark rider who does the 540, Schralp), is this really a valid point? How many people actively set up their boards to ride both ways and USE IT?

    I get the whole “Let me see a hardbooter really tweak out a grab” argument…yes its tougher, but can be done….But, how many of you are ACTUALLY hucking big enough stuff to “tweak” a grab? Really now….and dropping that 5 footer where you smack your edge and end up doing half a shifty does not count as “tweaking”.

    I can see how people don’t like the feel. Fair enough. Not for everyone. I know why soft boots are so desirable. I still ride them inbounds.

    Please, just be honest and loose the silly arguments like you actually do any of those things you claim hold you back. IF you really do these things, thats awesome and you should point me in th direction of those photos because I dig that shit!

    PS> I do not claim to be able to do any of those things in hardboots…I never ride switch and Im rarely in the air long enough to do a grab)

    #614953
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    I’ve ridden with somewhere around 50-75 people I’ve met through this forum, plenty of folks doing grabs. Pretty much everyone but me. I don’t give a shit about boots cause I’m pretty happy with mine.

    @affix snow wrote:

    I ride hardboots. Hardboots work for me. If they dont for you, thats fine….it’s some peoples arguments against them that are just laughable….

    I think the whole “You cant ride switch in hardboots” argument is a little silly….lets be honest, how often do most of us REALLY ride switch in the BC? How many of you are throwing ANYTHING that requires you to land switch? How many of you are good enough to think “im gonna drop this coolie switch?” Short of Jeremy Jones and an small handful of others here (BCR, ZClanton, That Spark rider who does the 540, Schralp), is this really a valid point? How many people actively set up their boards to ride both ways and USE IT?

    I get the whole “Let me see a hardbooter really tweak out a grab” argument…yes its tougher, but can be done….But, how many of you are ACTUALLY hucking big enough stuff to “tweak” a grab? Really now….and dropping that 5 footer where you smack your edge and end up doing half a shifty does not count as “tweaking”.

    I can see how people don’t like the feel. Fair enough. Not for everyone. I know why soft boots are so desirable. I still ride them inbounds.

    Please, just be honest and loose the silly arguments like you actually do any of those things you claim hold you back. IF you really do these things, thats awesome and you should point me in th direction of those photos because I dig that shit!

    PS> I do not claim to be able to do any of those things in hardboots…I never ride switch and Im rarely in the air long enough to do a grab)

    #614954
    gregm
    79 Posts

    @barrows wrote:

    While I sympathize to some extent to the people suggesting a better boot for soft style bindings-I suspect that this approach would result in a set up that is unnessessarily heavy, as the boot designs suggested would certainly have to be alot heavier than traditional soft boots. The hard boot/plate binding approach also allows for a simpler, more reliable system for backcountry use, as well as quicker transitions.

    This is my observation too. My Driver Xs and two buckle Dynafit boots weigh the same. It’s the Voile plate bindings that are even lighter than my Sparks. If I don’t mind a little extra weight (and I frequently don’t for the sake of the ride down) then the Sparks/Drivers is as good as it gets. I don’t think there’s much room for improvement weight wise. Yeah you could make a soft boot that kicks steps better, but would it still ride like a soft boot? I’ve stuck some tall ski boot liners in PMB shells and used it with strap bindings. As climbing boots the PMBs are great and it was very lightweight, but the narrower, taller, and stiffer last of my Lowa Civetta PMBs never felt right in the strap binding – I seemed to teeter and tilt instead of flexing (although I think those Civettas have a narrower last and more rocker than the Koflachs people use).

    As far as tweaking hardboots to ride better – I’ve had some success leaving the top buckle undone and instead using an elastic strap. I’ve learned there’s a difference between flex and slop.

    #614955
    vtbackcountry
    440 Posts

    to each his own…

    seems more a decision of function over form, depending on conditions and where you’re riding, obviously.

    i couldn’t care less, but ride softies just for the record.

    #614956
    dude_reino
    467 Posts

    I’m on the fence. First question: by ‘hardboots’ do you mean 1.) PMBs, 2.) AT-ski boots, or the 3). hardboots that boardercross racers wear?

    #614957
    pauldrake
    24 Posts

    Definitely thinking bout it. Actually spent yesterday riding the lifts and toying with gear. I had never ridden HBs (except skiing for 12 yrs). I picked up an asymmetrical carving/race board and an old pair of Nordica AT boot (HEAVY) just to get a rough idea of how HBs might feel. First, I dialed down the angles (previously set) from +60/+45 to ~ +45/+30. I rode in walk mode, with the top (of three) buckle and the power-strap loose-ish. Maybe it was the old skier inside, or the ideal conditions for playing with the set-up, or both, but I had a blast digging trenches. I tried some skied out powder (just beginning to mogul-up) and a few steeper sections, and felt like I could get pretty confident on HBs. Not sure how fun deep powder would feel.
    At this stage of gear availability/my riding, I could see using HBs for spring/early summer tours to places like St. Helens and Mt. Adams, and on Hood when I am just going to climb as high as I want on a given day and ride down a glacier on hardpack to corn to slush.
    For doing shorter laps, in the trees and/or on powder days, I think I would stick with my soft boots.

    As far as HB design, I think a boot with a sliding “switch”, which engages one of two notched bars inside the boot cuff, one on the inside (medial?), the other being the highback. I don’t see many, if any, situations where both would need to be engaged simultaneously. Imagine a ski boot with only one “ankle hinge” on the outside (asymmetric boot cuff). The inside “hinge” would be the base/rotating point of the notched bar which would slide freely vertically inside the boot cuff, unless engaged by the switch, then providing lateral stiffness, re: skinning a traverse.
    The other bar would slide vertically in the back of the boot cuff unless engaged by the “switch”. The idea being, when you engage the highback, you release the medial, and vise versa. Okay, I just read that, I want to state for the record, I am not drunk.

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