Forums Boots Fitwell Backcountry
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  • #652306
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    I received my pair a week ago. Haven’t tried them yet but I’m really stoked on how they’re built. The lower is what all splitboard mountaineers who don’t want to fruitboot have been wanting. A completely stiff sole heel to toe and a very stiff, solid toebox for kicking steps. The people saying they don’t want a completely stiff sole because they think It’ll affect performance don’t really want a snowboard mountaineering boot and frankly don’t know what they’re talking about. These are the real deal. Spark could learn a thing or two. The outer looks like it will last for years. Very well constructed. I ordered a size 43.5/290. Compared to my 44/10 Malamutes and my 43.5/10 K2 T1’s they are only slightly longer (about a 1/3″ than the malamutes and maybe a 1/2″ longer than T1’s) However the heel is very low profile and the toe curves up quite a bit to compensate. The boot is pretty low volume too. It has plenty of room in a small Karakoram SL heelcup (I have to go to a medium heelcup due to the shape of the boot favoring lots of toe drag and no heel drag. With a medium heelcup I will have 0 overhang issues with this size boot)

    The stock liners make the boot feel quite stiff so I put in a lightly used pair of Malamute liners and they feel much nicer. Especially in the heel where the stock liner seems to give people problems with heel rub and no padding. I’m sure anyone who buys this boot will end up putting their own liners in them. That’s the only negative besides their weight. (They might want to work on an articulating ankle too but carpet jibbing they didn’t seem to be too stiff as far as forward ankle flex…we’ll see when I test them) The metal eyelets are bomber but they do have webbing eyelets down low that concerns me. They look beefy but eventually they may break after a few years. They aren’t light, but that’s not why you would buy these. Some hardbooters will rave about how their set up is still a lb. lighter per foot than these but the fact is you’ll be riding a softboot set up with all the feel and performance that comes with that and climbing with a BETTER all around mountaineering boot than a TLT5 or w/e. Those are ski boots that can be used for mountaineering and these are mountaineering boots designed for snowboarding. They do have a slight disadvantage with the toe curved up which will make kick steps maybe a tad less efficient than a ski boot but the solid toe box is better than any snowboard boot on the market for this.

    I’m hoping to test these out later this month and I’ll give a report and throw some pics up. I’m hoping for the best! It’s nice to finally see someone getting it right when it comes to a splitboard mountaineering boot. I’m sure other companies will follow suit in the next few years. Stoked!!!

    Oh, as far as the heel being a tad higher I really doubt you can notice this riding and could easily be negated using a toe ramp. A non issue imo.

    #652307
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    BG, thanks for the detailed report. I was concerned that the weight would be high, too bad… Sportiva makes some pretty light double boots for mountaineering so it can be done. I appreciate hearing your input but please try to keep the misinformation to a minimum:

    (The TLT-5) “Those are ski boots that can be used for mountaineering and these are mountaineering boots designed for snowboarding.”

    No, the TLT-5 was designed for ski mountaineering, hence they climb and hike very, very well. In fact, given your expression of how the Fitwell could use a hinge at the ankle for more flex, it may be that the TLT-5 climbs and hikes better than the Fitwell. Clearly you have never had a TLT-5 on your foot. For those who have not had a TLT-5 on their feet, they are completely different from any other hard boot I have ever worn in the walk mode. The second I put them on in the shop, I was inspired to try them out on the climbing wall because of how light, precise, and articulated they felt on my feet. I know ice climbers who choose to climb in the TLT-5 over their normal cold conditions ice boots becasue of this.

    I am glad that there is another boot option out there for soft boot spitters, and it sounds like a quality boot that will last for at least a few years, nice.

    #652308
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    Fair enough.

    I’ve never tried them on and they probably are better on ice for sure. I would guess the fitwells would be better on rock and more comfy schwacking. The fitwells just seem closer to a real mountaineering boot like the La Sportiva Spantik and most hardboots just look like ski boots. I take back my statement that they are better going up. I’m sure both have strengths and weaknesses in that department. I do think in the next few years that hardbooting will die once “soft” snowboard specific mountaineering boot technology keeps improving. But even now with these boots I don’t see a choice 😉 Fruitbooters are now going to have to a hard time justifying buying expensive boots that require a bunch of modifications when they can have the best of both worlds (up and down performance) For now you guys still have us beat in the weight department.

    #652309
    shasta
    143 Posts

    BG shame on you. You should be stoned for this act of blasphemy in daring question the GOD of dynasplitting and the Chosen Boot! 😛

    #652310
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @bgnight wrote:

    Fair enough.

    I’ve never tried them on and they probably are better on ice for sure. I would guess the fitwells would be better on rock and more comfy schwacking. The fitwells just seem closer to a real mountaineering boot like the La Sportiva Spantik and most hardboots just look like ski boots. I take back my statement that they are better going up. I’m sure both have strengths and weaknesses in that department. I do think in the next few years that hardbooting will die once “soft” snowboard specific mountaineering boot technology keeps improving. But even now with these boots I don’t see a choice 😉 Fruitbooters are now going to have to a hard time justifying buying expensive boots that require a bunch of modifications when they can have the best of both worlds (up and down performance) For now you guys still have us beat in the weight department.

    hahahaha. We’ll just have to disagree there. Strap bindings are archaic technology, and ridiculousy clumsy and innefficient in design. Plus, straps break, and the closer the support system (highback+straps) is brought to the foot/ankle, the more precise the control is.
    Those who have managed to massage a hard boot system into good working order are not looking back, and are riding a system that performs better on both the down and the up. Ask guys who know what I am talking about, like Alister from Chimera, Joey Vosburg, Mark Hartley (karkis here), etc. Heck, Vosburg and karkis like their hardboots so much they are riding them in bounds on their solid boards.

    But I do agree, it takes some ingenuity and a willingness to tinker some to get the best out of a hard boot system, and this is a problem for some riders, and they are not cheap, although, neither is a Fitwell/Karakoram SL set up-I think we can both agree one gets what one pays for in that regard.

    Ride what you like, but do not crticisize systems of which you have no real experience.

    #652311
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @shasta wrote:

    BG shame on you. You should be stoned for this act of blasphemy in daring question the GOD of dynasplitting and the Chosen Boot! 😛

    Hahahaha, that’s a good laugh here. Like I said, I think it is great that soft boot riders now a real quality option (made in Italy, right!) in the Fitwell, and hope it will serve their needs well. I am quite happy with my setup, and looking forward to trying Keffler’s new bindings next season as well.
    My only problem with some of BG’s attitude is that he is critisizing something which he has no experience with, and this speads misinformation to people who might like to try a different set up.

    Lets all agree that (except for those in the PNW and Canada) last season was sub par, and lets all look forward to next season with a hope of bountiful powder snow for all!

    #652312
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    I can’t wait til they start hardbooting big wave surfing and wakeboarding too! 😆 (lol sorry Barrows I had to 😀 )

    You’re in a soft boot thread so we’re allowed to tease you fruitbooters. I know your cult has recently brainwashed a friend of mine into the dark side (b.s). I’m hoping these boots will exorcise the demons he’s been possessed by! Starkey, come back to the light!

    #652313
    christoph benells
    717 Posts

    i have been riding hardboots all spring and i am now unconvinced they are the way to go. they make me a worse snowboarder. no doubt about it.

    i have been dreaming about highbacks now for days. like bcrider once said “i want my boot to move seperatly from my highback.” that is the difference right there.

    sorry barrows i tried to hardboot and they climb, walk and skin great- but they are not as good for going down. they work, but they are not the same.

    these fitwells seem to be going in the right direction. still want a fully auto crampon capability though for real tough climbing.

    #652298
    idtmcp542
    65 Posts

    still want a fully auto crampon capability though for real tough climbing.

    This

    #652299
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @christoph benells wrote:

    i have been riding hardboots all spring and i am now unconvinced they are the way to go. they make me a worse snowboarder. no doubt about it.

    i have been dreaming about highbacks now for days. like bcrider once said “i want my boot to move seperatly from my highback.” that is the difference right there.

    sorry barrows i tried to hardboot and they climb, walk and skin great- but they are not as good for going down. they work, but they are not the same.

    these fitwells seem to be going in the right direction. still want a fully auto crampon capability though for real tough climbing.

    Hey do not apologize to me 😉 Without information on what boot, and bindings you used, and what mods you made to them, you are not sharing much information. The differences between various hard boots are night and day. Unfortunately, some people just try any old boot, with any old binding, and do not take the necessary time to dial in the system, and make the dritical mods, to make the system work well. The right boot, the right mods, and the right binding set up is critical to get the best riding performance. This is just the truth of dealing with boots which were not designed to snowboard, and I understand that some people may not be willing to take the time and do the work involved in dialing in a hard boot set up to get perfect riding performance.

    #652302
    christoph benells
    717 Posts

    ive been riding bd primes with a cut down cuff on both sides, and with the “triax frame” removed and replaced with accessory cord. I ride them in walk mode with the top buckle flipped open. they are soft enough, and flex like soft boots toe edge to heel.

    riding that on a venture with voile plates and burton race binders. no cants. thats the one mod im missing. good response with those bindings.

    #652303
    christoph benells
    717 Posts

    still i want to go back to soft boots.

    #652304
    UPGRAYEDD_2505
    127 Posts

    If those Fitwells came in some hot 80s neon they would have a sick Vision Gator vibe.

    Glad to see another option. Too bad the liner isn’t so great(?).

    #652305
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Christoph: I know some folks do ride with the BD boots, but I cannot imagine how. Looking at them I just cannot see a good way to get a supportive ride combined with a snowboarding friendly flex.
    I never use boots in “walk” mode, as this gives no highback support. My goal for my boots is for them to flex similarly to my Driver Xs in my Burton C-14 bindings with Team Skybacks. I mod the boots until the flex is the same, (actually better in some ways, no creasing and a more progressive flex rather than a fold and then stop flex common in soft boots). I ride with forward lean for solid heelside support, but mod the lean adjuster to allow for nice, deep forward flex with progressive resistance. Riding in “walk” mode is like riding with no highback in soft bindings (fine I guess, for those who prefer that), and riding with the top buckle really loose or undone, results in a totally sloppy feel. If one has to leave the top buckle undone, the boot itself is too stiff. Best to use a boot with a soft enough cuff to close the top buckle (just snugged up, not cranked down for me) so the ankle has some support, other wise the ankle just flops around in the shell until it hits the edge of the shell, and then encounters a sudden stiff barrier to movement.
    I am not surprised this set up did not please you, I would have hated it…

    #652300
    HikeforTurns
    1113 Posts

    Barrows speaks the truth. After trying on the TLTs there is no comparison to a standard AT ski boot. I rode in Scarpa Denali TTs for several years, then switched back to Softies. Now im going to try the TLT5s/dynafit combo on one splitty, deelux spark and karakoram on the other.

    As far as the fitwell, I wish I would have held off on the deeluxe and gotten them, but Im kinda stuck with them for now. I will say I am not a fan of traditional laces though, thats the major downside I see with these boots.

    Keep us posted BG

    #652301
    802smuggler
    369 Posts

    BG, How does the lateral support look? I’m wondering if they are going to be more supportive skinning a traverse. Can’t the fruiters let us bask in this for one minute before you poop on it! :shit: You’ll never catch me in hard boots!!!!
    Oh yea, let it snow already!

    #652314
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    I did some more carpet testing today and found that even laced up tight there’s adequate forward ankle flex. I thought they’d be stiffer in this regard but the tongue really seems to allow you to bend forward. I hate a stiff forward ankle flex breaking a boot in because when you jump to a toe side turn on steep terrain it feels like you’re gonna go over the bars backwards due to not being able to bend forward. The first few days on my last two pairs of T1’s were like this. Too damn stiff but once broken in ride like a dream. I’m guessing/hoping these will be pretty good out of the box in that regard and will break in nicely.
    Smuggler, not sure about lateral support but I’m guessing it won’t be significantly better…but probably somewhat better for sure. Never thought of it. I’ll keep it in mind when I field test them. Just need to get my new M heelcups from the K bros.

    jimw also got a pair of these but he’s tripping on the toe/heel drag issues as he got the next size up from me. He hasn’t tested them either but I’m sure he’ll chime in with his opinions on them too. It pays to have smaller feet in this game! Luckily I’m right at the cutoff of too big.

    The liner is adequate imo for those with no choice. It looks and weighs about the same as my malamute liners but it has way more eyelets so one could lace them in a manner that felt better to them. I just happen to have some newish Malamutes lying around I couldn’t sell and I like their liners way better than the stock ones. I bet some new intuition liners would feel real nice in these. They feel super comfy laced up walking around. Just hoping I don’t get blisters on the heel as other testers have gotten. I get blisters hiking Shasta in any soft boot though if it’s a warm day and my feet sweat.

    Ok back to fondling the shiny vibram lugs while imagining myself kicking steps up steep couloirs :doobie:

    #652315
    christoph benells
    717 Posts

    @christoph benells wrote:

    like bcrider once said “i want my boot to move seperatly from my highback.” that is the difference right there.

    oh snap im quoting myself quoting someone else!

    i have no complaints with my hard boot ride except for this lack of movement. i’ll have the fitwells and tlts also next year. a man of many boots.

    #652316
    russman
    689 Posts

    @christoph benells wrote:

    @christoph benells wrote:

    like bcrider once said “i want my boot to move seperatly from my highback.” that is the difference right there.

    oh snap im quoting myself quoting someone else!

    i have no complaints with my hard boot ride except for this lack of movement. i’ll have the fitwells and tlts also next year. a man of many boots.

    That is such an important variable to bring up Christoph. I used to do biomechanics research on lower extremity power transfers in high velocity movements, as well as footwear contributions to ground reaction force distribution. In terms of actual snowboard performance, I believe that you and BCrider are right on. Getting ankle mobility that is independent of the highback is critical! Although we really can’t argue that hard boots are way better for icy sidehilling, I can make a very strong argument that progressive [snowboarding] truly is a form of athletic performance. Slogging is a form of endurance athleticism, but we’re talking high level shredding here…

    If you want to define what the most important objective biomechanical component to human athleticism is, its the coordinated and precise transfer of power through triple extension of the hip, knee and ankle. Furthermore, dynamic snowboarding has another critical component: For-Aft movement. Even if a hard boot has been sliced and diced to flex like a gymnast, the fact that there isn’t independent motion between the tibia and the highback is CLEARLY visible in the way a hardbooter rides. I have yet to see a hard boot shredder truly turn their snowboard like its a surfboard. For me, snowboard athleticism means finely controlled dynamic movement, and this transfers to all riding situations. Its not just pow turns either… On steep exposure in a mountaineering situation, I need my body to be able to move precisely. In hard boots, I just haven’t been able to get the same level of control. Its a Ginger-Bread-Man turn.

    Anyway, its not like we’re debating our savior Jesus Christ…. This is WAY more important than that! LOOOOL

    :rock: :rock: :rock:

    #652317
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    Boom!^^
    Lol shields up!
    fruitbooter retaliation in 3,2,1… 😆

    Anyway, just hand checked lateral upper stiffness of my fitwells vs my T1’s and Malamutes. Fitwells are way LESS stiff than both boots laterally above the ankle. The bottom is way more stiff so not sure if there’s going to be any difference in skinning. Personally, I think it’s a very good thing for riding performance. More steeze!

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