Forums Boots Gignoux Hardshell Splitboard Boot
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  • #801080
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts
    #801081
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    This boot is unlike any splitboard boot I have ridden, neither modified AT boot or softboot. They are extremely light weight, 637 grams with a footbed, about a pound per foot lighter than the TLT6s. They are also very small and low profile. Gignoux often calls this a “shoe,” and I would say it is an apt description for the way this boot feels on your feet. It has taken me a number of days to get accustomed to the feel and ride of the boot, but it is beginning to feel natural. I still have some adjustments to try, but I have a reasonable understanding of the boot’s performance. So far, I have two resort test days and about five days in the backcountry. Conditions range from groomers and tracked resort snow to powder, wind board, and wind crust.

    This is a factory-built split board boot, based on a high-end carbon AT boot. It is the first one of its kind. The US price is about $1300 plus shipping. They are expensive for sure, and more than I ever expected to pay for a boot. This is also a boot that I never expected to be available to a splitboarder. A lot of thought has gone into its design and construction.

    Sizing:

    I have worn a 25 mondo in all AT boots I have used for split boarding (although I am currently in a 25.5 TLT6 liner). I wear a size 9 street shoe and have a fairly low volume foot. Gignoux does not come in half sizes. I ordered a 25 mondo Gignoux. They are a really nice fit now, but when they arrived, I thought there was no way they could work. They are a very low volume boot. The length and width were fine, but it just did not seem like there was enough room in the toe box.

    I had the liners heat molded and installed a super thin foot bed to see if they might fit. Wearing them around the house for a number of hours, I still did not think they would work. I cut out the footbed under my toes and the balls of my feet to give me enough room, which seemed to work. After a few days of touring in them, I was able to add a full, but thin, foot bed back into the boot. I am wearing very thin socks. The boots are very comfortable for me now.

    Flex:

    The boot uses an elastomer to control the forward flex. The lever on the back of the boot can be used to adjust the tension on the elastomer, thereby increasing or decreasing the stiffness of the forward flex. A firmer or softer elastomer can also be used. I have also tried a spring in the elastomer location, but the one I have is too soft.

    The upper cuff is minimal and there is no tongue. It does not wrap around the leg like other AT boots. In part, this is what allows for the very soft lateral / medial flex of the boot.

    The liner is thin overall and very thin where it needs to move for skinning or walking. Combined with the range of motion of the boot, you hardly know there is an upper cuff at all while skinning.

    Feel:

    After riding TLT5s and TLT6s since they came out, it is taking a little time to get used to the feel riding a new pair of boots.

    Skinning, the boot feels a little bit different in the stride than the TLT6 but nothing relevant. It is obviously light. When combined with an Amplid Milligram, skinning and kick turns are ridiculous. The upper cuff and the upper liner move so freely, they are hardly noticed. I have not needed to sidehill firm snow yet.

    Booting and walking is similar to the TLTs. Just a slightly different motion, but again, nothing relevant. They are noticeably less bulky. They feel almost like a dress shoe instead of a boot.

    I am still working to dial in the right forward flex for my riding / weight. At 145 pounds I need a bit softer forward flex than the stock elastomer allows. It works fine for most riding, but it is stiffer than I like in deep, lighter powder. Gignoux is sending a softer elastomer, and I have ordered a few sets of springs of different tensions to try out on the boots as well. I am curious if there is a ride feel difference between the springs and the elastomers.

    The heel side stop is rather abrupt due to the design of the dynamic lever (lever on the back of the boot that controls forward flex and locks the boot into ride mode) and the carbon highback. I think the feel will improve as I dial in the upper buckle tightness and forward flex. I am also going to try a thin rubber gasket on the dynamic lever to provide a bit of cushion on heelsides.

    In part due to the partial upper cuff design, the lateral/medial flex is quite sensitive to the upper buckle tightness. The tighter the buckle, the stiffer the lateral flex, although it is never stiff. These boots are far softer than a TLT6 laterally, even when TLTs are modded with slits on either side of the pivot point.

    #801082
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    Binding Fit:

    Because the boot shell is so low profile, I installed a cut-to-fit nylon screw into the toe lever of my Phantoms (thanks Keffler for the 1/2 nylon screws). The screw holds the lever in the correct location to secure the boot in the binding.

    I cannot say anything about the fit in other splitboard hardshell bindings. I did try the Gignouxs in a pair of F2 Race Titanium bindings (I used parts of the F2s as a splitboard binding before Phantom) and they need a screw to hold the toe lever at the correct angle, just like the Phantoms.

    It is not necessary, but I tried modifying a Phantom toe lever so it would sit much closer to the boot. That seems to work, but because I then need to move the toe block closer to the heel block for the boot to fit in the modified toe lever, the toe bail catches on the forefoot of the boot and will not allow a secure fit. I will continue working on this issue.

    Additional Notes:

    The boot is a bit on the cold side compared to boots with thicker liners. I only had cold toes when I start my tour on a couple of chilly mornings, but I pretty much never have cold feet. Once I am touring, the boots are fine for me.

    There are quite a few forward lean options.

    There is no ankle buckle. The Gignoux has an internal lacing system. This can loosen a bit while touring and sometimes need to be retightened before riding down.

    The boot sole seems to be comparable to the TLT6 sole in thickness. I have not had a chance to test its durability, but I assume it is similar to other boots with a lightweight sole.

    The rubber gaiter is rather low. It does fit pretty tight, however, and I have only gotten very small amounts of snow in the boot when breaking trail in deep and steep snow or when digging a snow pit. Otherwise, it is not an issue so far. I have not tried to boot up steep powder yet. Gignoux does sell a gaiter that appears to seal the boot up much better, but I am still undecided if it is needed or not. I might want it if I was going to be booting for a while on a tour.

    Conclusion:

    The Gignoux splitboard boot is a very promising addition to a hardshell splitboarder’s options and I am looking forward to testing them more. The minimalist design and super lightweight put them in their own category of splitboard boot. The loss of both weight and bulk is really impressive and definitely helps touring.

    For most riders, no modifications will be required except to make sure the toe lever sits correctly on the toe ledge.

    For the moment, I am still riding my modified TLT6s on committing lines and my Gignouxs in other conditions. I expect the Gignouxs will do just fine once I have them a bit more dialed.

    #801092
    Profile photo of mgco3mgco3
    31 Posts

    great, thanks a lot for review! I’m looking forward to read more from your experience the next months.
    But it is again no choice for wide feet, i suppose? 🙁

    Amplid LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha, Scott Orbit II
    Jones Hovercraft 160, Spark Burner, Deeluxe Spark XV
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #801107
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    great, thanks a lot for review! I’m looking forward to read more from your experience the next months.
    But it is again no choice for wide feet, i suppose?

    I cannot say for sure. I would probably say the width and fit is similar to a TLT5 perhaps. If you are interested, I would write Gignoux about their thoughts.

    #801108
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    Photos of the Gignouxs with some Phantom demo TLT6s

    #801188
    Profile photo of mgco3mgco3
    31 Posts

    great, thanks a lot for review! I’m looking forward to read more from your experience the next months.
    But it is again no choice for wide feet, i suppose?

    I cannot say for sure. I would probably say the width and fit is similar to a TLT5 perhaps. If you are interested, I would write Gignoux about their thoughts.

    Thanks, but a friend if mine with about the same width and length of his feet like mine is already in contact with Gignoux. If I am able to try the boots, I will keep you updated. But they look even a bit more narrow than the TLT6, your photos are very helpful.

    Amplid LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha, Scott Orbit II
    Jones Hovercraft 160, Spark Burner, Deeluxe Spark XV
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #801577
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    great, thanks a lot for review! I’m looking forward to read more from your experience the next months.
    But it is again no choice for wide feet, i suppose?

    I cannot say for sure. I would probably say the width and fit is similar to a TLT5 perhaps. If you are interested, I would write Gignoux about their thoughts.

    Thanks, but a friend if mine with about the same width and length of his feet like mine is already in contact with Gignoux. If I am able to try the boots, I will keep you updated. But they look even a bit more narrow than the TLT6, your photos are very helpful.

    The outside of the boot is definitely smaller, but because of the thin liner, it is not indicative of the inside volume.

    Did you find anything out about the width? John Keffler bought a pair of Gignouxs and thinks they are wider than the TLT6s because these boots fit his feet but he had to have his TLT6s punched.

    #801720
    Profile photo of mgco3mgco3
    31 Posts

    @buell
    That is some interesting information. I have the possibility to try one for 1-2 weeks in Chamonix in april. I’ll keep you updated!

    Amplid LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha, Scott Orbit II
    Jones Hovercraft 160, Spark Burner, Deeluxe Spark XV
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #801904
    Profile photo of mgco3mgco3
    31 Posts

    Binding Fit:

    Because the boot shell is so low profile, I installed a cut-to-fit nylon screw into the toe lever of my Phantoms (thanks Keffler for the 1/2 nylon screws). The screw holds the lever in the correct location to secure the boot in the binding.

    Could you please check the length of this nylon screw for me? And do you think, a rounded tip like of the standart screw in the toe lever would also be suitable? I ordered a 20cm M12 nylon studding and will try to make my own screws. I also saw this approach for the Arcteryx Procline: https://www.wildsnow.com/21864/arcteryx-procline-boot-splitboard-snowboard/

    Amplid LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha, Scott Orbit II
    Jones Hovercraft 160, Spark Burner, Deeluxe Spark XV
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #801925
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    I am out of town right now but will let you know when I get back to my boots.

    Yes, the rounded tip would work just fine. It just needs to keep the toe lever from dropping too low.

    #801954
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    Nylon screw length (cut at an angle where it meets the boot) for a 25 mondo Gignoux with size small Phantom bindings:

    short side: 1 3/8″ or 3.5 cm
    long side: 1 5/8″ or 4.13 cm

    The adjusting screw on Keffler’s boots (27mondo?) is 1.8″ or 4.6 cm.

    mgco3, I would just take a saw and cut them when you have your hands on the boots.

    #801969
    Profile photo of mgco3mgco3
    31 Posts

    Ok, I see your point. Too many variables 😉 Thank you never the less, I will keep to your advice and cut them when I have the boot.
    Did you get used to the ride feeling of these boots a bit better in the past weeks? I am honestly a bit concerned trying them out in a bit too steep terrain the first times…

    Amplid LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha, Scott Orbit II
    Jones Hovercraft 160, Spark Burner, Deeluxe Spark XV
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #801982
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    I had to put them away briefly because I have been riding steep lines for a couple of weeks. I am close to being able to wear the Gignouxs on those lines, but I need one or two more test days on them.

    I would try them on easier slopes before riding steeper conditions. You will most likely need to fine tune them.

    #802024
    Profile photo of mgco3mgco3
    31 Posts

    Enjoy riding the steep lines, I just saw a picture of you on the Phantom instagram feed 😉
    I will start lowly with these boots, thanks again for your tips, this was really helpful for me so far. I will keep you updated!

    Amplid LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha, Scott Orbit II
    Jones Hovercraft 160, Spark Burner, Deeluxe Spark XV
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #802047
    Profile photo of ZudeZude
    362 Posts

    Just curious what you think about retrofiting the lever of the Gignoux boot to other hard boots. I was thinking the Fischer and Alien boots are designed to maybe accept this type of lever. The Gignoux website sells the lever but not the metal nipple it attaches to on the heel? Also I was woundering what roll the paracord plays in in keeping the lever in place?

    Thanks

    #802089
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    Just curious what you think about retrofiting the lever of the Gignoux boot to other hard boots. I was thinking the Fischer and Alien boots are designed to maybe accept this type of lever. The Gignoux website sells the lever but not the metal nipple it attaches to on the heel? Also I was woundering what roll the paracord plays in in keeping the lever in place?

    Thanks

    Keffler has probably given more thought to retrofits than I have. It is great to see an adjustable forward flex design available to splitboarders. A lot of riders on real hardboots (for racing and carving groomers) use a spring system to control the forward (and heel side) flex of their boots.

    I think the ease of a retrofit will be boot specific, but might involve some effort to get it right. The paracord definitely holds the lever up and exerts some force to keep it locked in ride mode. You could probably modify the way the top of the lever attaches to use friction to keep the lever in place, but I am not sure it would keep it locked in ride mode with riding forces exerted on it without the paracord.

    Gignoux might sell the lower tab even if it is not on his website.

    #802099
    Profile photo of buellbuell
    500 Posts

    I just had my final test day of the Gignoux boots for the season. I will still be making tweaks to the boots, but they are riding really well right now. Next, I will be trying them on steeper lines during Oregon’s volcano corn season.

    As I have been playing with these boots, I have come to understand that each rider can, without cutting or modifying the boots, adjust the forward lean, forward range of motion, and forward flex stiffness independently of each other (as long as the boot’s design limits meet your needs). Once you decide on your forward range of motion and your forward lean, you then choose the elastomer or spring that will give you the forward flex stiffness you want.

    Current thoughts:

    The boots are riding really well and I am really stoked. I have been working on getting the flex pattern and profile to all work together and I am very close. At this point, I feel well supported by the boots, their motion is fluid, and I have an improved range of motion compared to modified TLT6s.

    From my testing of various springs and elastomers for forward flex, at the moment, my favorite option is one of the springs I bought (specs at the bottom of this post). I tested springs against the stock (red) elastomer and Gignoux also sent me a softer (green) elastomer to try. The spring seems to offer more forward range of motion before bottoming out and it seems to be a more consistent forward flex. I feel like the elastomers bottom out too early and to abruptly. Their forward flex and forward range of motion are also sensitive to temperature (they get stiffer as the temperature drops). It is possible that both elastomers are still too stiff for my 145 pounds (65kg) at normal riding temps and that other riders will find them to be perfect. Yesterday’s test was at about 32 degrees F. The spring is a few grams heavier than the elastomer.

    I am using a soft rubber washer on the walk/ride lever to dampen the heelsides a bit. I took it off yesterday and I did notice heelsides and heelside transitions were a bit more harsh. I will keep using it and probably refine it a bit more.

    The heel hold down design creates a softer feel to the heel hold down than a buckle across the arch of the foot. I am undecided at the moment which I prefer. If you need to adjust it before riding (sometimes it loosens a bit), it is a step or two more effort than tightening an exterior buckle.

    As I have mentioned before, the lateral flex is very sensitive to the upper buckle tightness. I am running the upper buckle pretty tight and the lateral flex feels great. Running the upper buckle tight on these boots works because the upper cuff has more freedom to move with your lower leg rather than being really stiff laterally. If you want a really surfy boot, just leave the buckle a bit looser.

    I will also reiterate that these boots are really light. It is really nice. The lack of excess bulk is really nice too.

    Customer service has been outstanding.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    My current spring specs:

    Free Length 1″
    I.D. 9/32″
    Load at 1/10 IN. Deflection (Lbs.) 23.6
    O.D. 1/2″
    Wire Dimension .070 X .093″
    Material Type Chrome Silicone Steel

    #802368
    Profile photo of Kahti RyanKahti Ryan
    48 Posts

    Thanks for taking the plunge on these and the detailed reviews buell, they look really good and amazing to finally have a split specific hard boot. That spring/elastomer sounds like the future of boots (inbounds as well as split – I’ve spent most of this season dreaming of a resort boot that doesn’t pack out after 50 days, not likely as then companies would sell less boots, but we can dream!)
    Hopefully soon we will see a more mass produced and therefore affordable option with similar features…

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