Forums Boots K2 Taro Tamai Snow Surfer
Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #815867
    Snurfer
    1448 Posts

    16/17 K2 Taro Tamai SnowSurfer Sz 9.5

    I’ve been out in these boots eight days of between four and eight hours at a time.

    WHY:
    As a fan of Taro’s style and perspective, I was stoked to see he and K2 were releasing a boot dedicated to his approach to snurfing. I really liked the look of the boot and at the time of purchase the price was right. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a big shout out to Dan @ Backcountry (Wasatchsurf)for the huge bro discount. Much appreciated Brother.

    SPECS:
    Weight 899g per boot (Burton Imperial – Sz 9.5, 945g)
    Sole Length: 30cm (Burton Imperial – Sz 9.5, 29cm)

    FUNCTION:
    Having used Burton quick-lace systems for nearly a decade and Salomon’s speedlace running shoes for even longer, I’m completely comfortable with these systems and have not encountered a single failure.
    With that in mind I was keen to stay within that style of fastening and open to trying a boa system. So far I like it while remaining cautiously optimistic about the longevity of the system. The only knock is fitting ones pant leg over the knobs.

    FIT:
    During the first several tours, the fit was not good!
    Compared to three pairs of Burton’s Sz 9.5 (Imperials, Driver-X), the SnowSurfers were too BIG!
    Seemed impossible to get tight without a lot of foot pain (collapsing my arches) and anxiety about the boa system’s breaking threshold. And of course with the exception of hard packed exits, I like to have my upper boot loose during the entirety of touring.

    Having reached the point of trying to sell or return the boots, I decided to see if boot fitting techniques or after market inserts might remedy the situation. After all, I really like the design and functionality of the boot and wanted to make it work.

    I’m glad I did. With an eight hour tour in the books, I can report that I never once thought about my foot comfort, or the boots. Even with my Burton’s there were always those little niggles to contend with.

    FIX:
    Using the less than stellar insoles (thin, minimal arch support) I cut matching shapes out of a Thermarest Ridgerest pad and added these under the stock insoles. After a four hour tour my toes were completely numb, despite a better overall fit.

    Next, I cut off the the toe area of the Thermarest material and decided to add this removed section under the arch. This was before the aforementioned eight hour tour and the fit is now perfect.

    COMFORT:
    Having addressed the fit issues, I’d say these are a very comfortable boot, just not out of the box. Due to our meager snow pack I’ve spent a fair amount of time hiking in this boot and despite zero rearward flex, comfort is a good as can be expected. The Vibram tread pattern is adequate for what it is, definitely better than the Burton’s Vibram soles I’ve had experience with.

    SUMMARY:
    The volume of these boots is slightly larger internally/externally compared to same sized Burton boot. Now dialed in to my foot, I love being able to comfortably lock the lower boot and leave the upper boa disengaged for most of a tour, cinching it down as terrain dictates.

    As is the case with nearly all soft boots, the non-existent rearward flex is a somewhat limiting factor when skinning and I wish boot manufacturers would be more mindful of the fact that we have adjustable high-backs on our bindings. In other words, stop building this pointless feature into the boot.

    Conversely, while I personally could utilize the extra stride of a HB, I’d argue that the average rider would be over-striding beyond their fitness and flexibility. Where I do see this limited rearward motion having a more universal impact is while climbing.

    The reason is the effect on the knees. As someone with damaged knees, the inability to properly stride puts awkward forces on both my left knee and hip. I’m not necessarily talking about a huge stride, but enough of a stride to give proper joint alignment. Again this is why I spend the majority of my tours with the upper boot loose. Not great for frozen side-hilling, but I generally avoid that if possible.

    INEVITABLE SB vs. HB wankoff:
    I like softboots. Actually, I dislike boots in general and don’t like having my ankles covered and/or confined in any way, but I digress…

    I don’t travel severe terrain or pursue mountaineering, so apart from skinning efficiency hardboots have no upside for me. I’ve ridden HB’s for a season, the skinning was great, yet I experienced no upside with regard to going downhill. I’ve transitioned next to riders with dyna/phantom setups and countless skiers and I’m generally the first one ready to go (if that is really a thing anybody still worries about).

    FWIW Given the financial latitude I’d love to own a pair of Gignoux boots for fitness touring, but otherwise no. Anyways, hopefully that addresses the inevitable SB vs HB wankoff due to my comment about stride length, etc.

    Happy to try and answer anything I missed.

    Cheers!

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #816071
    Taylor
    792 Posts

    Thanks for posting up on these boots, Snurfer. I was excited to see a carve-oriented soft-flexing soft boot come onto the market. I am a little bummed to hear that it has a larger external volume than Burtons; given concern about boot-out on harder snow surfaces, compactness should be a key attribute of a carve-oriented soft boot. I sure wish that soft boot manufacturers published BSL like AT boots for some quantitative basis of comparison.

    @sun_rocket

    #816090
    Snurfer
    1448 Posts

    Hey Taylor,

    Agreed it seems obvious that BSL is a need to know, yet somehow its not common to publish it.

    One thing that I didn’t specifically point out in my review is that I likely could have sized down a half size in the K2 relative to the Burton’s, instead of adding material to the foot-bed. I think dimensionally they’d be a closer match. (e.g. K2 9.0 = Burton 9.5)

    Also omitted that the K2’s comes stock with intuition liners

    On a side note – Why do manufacturers continue to have zero rearward flex in softboots, when 99.9% of riders use highback bindings. This is fucking baffling…

    Oh well, I suppose we need snow stuff to talk about in lieu of actual snow to ride on 😉

    Cheers!

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #816244
    Taylor
    792 Posts

    Thanks for that additional beta, Snurfer.

    Yeah, I don’t know why soft boots aren’t made with walk friendly rearward flex or a walk mode. It’d be way better for touring, but also just for walking, and everyone who’s wearing snowboard boots walks. It could be done easily and inexpensively too.

    @sun_rocket

    #816284
    Scooby2
    611 Posts

    Anyone ridden the Spark XVe expedition? Seems like Deeluxe, since they mold hard boots also, is positioned in a place where they might consider a stiff soled plate compatible soft boot with a built in high back that could be released. And they seem interested in the market, but maybe not seeing the weight obsession yet.

    I like how the lower tightens separate of the upper, so you can have a more open and soft flexing upper ride without having your lower foot loose.

    #816289
    Snurfer
    1448 Posts

    Not a fan of Deeluxe, just looks super bulky. I had a pair many years ago and they look about the same, though I suspect they are a whole lot lighter theses days. Still looks klunky to me.

    As far as upper/lower independent lace control, I’m digging the K2 Snow Surfer and of course Burtons have incorporated this for many seasons.

    As far as new tech, the 17/18 32 Jones looks like a winner, digging the walk mode/boa, although I’m not sure I could ever go back to trad laces which it appears to use for the main boot???.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT_nXKHjdso&w=560&h=315%5D

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #816292
    Scooby2
    611 Posts

    I also like the way the liner and cuff open out the back of the Jones boot.

    I have no idea what either boot weighs, the older Deeluxe was 1346g for an 11 on the boot weight chart.

    #816307
    permnation
    303 Posts

    As far as new tech, the 17/18 32 Jones looks like a winner, digging the walk mode/boa, although I’m not sure I could ever go back to trad laces which it appears to use for the main boot???.

    I would like to see the walk-mode trickle down to other 32 models. The Jones is just way too much boot for me, but that walk feature is slick.

    #816309
    Snurfer
    1448 Posts

    Agreed, looks like a lot of boot for what I do as well. I don’t do anything with crampons, etc.

    In viewing all of the the other videos I was happy to see a Salomon with a walk mode as well. I’ve never used their boots, but I generally have about ten pairs of their running shoes in rotation at any one time. Love the fit and tech. Interesting to see them going more for the ski boot convention of hinging at the ankle.

    Some cool (other) stuff from Spark, Plum and Karakoram. Cool seeing K2 working with Voile on bindings as well, the Furberg pow board Amplid’s and Jones mid expander look nice.

    Not sure what to make of Salomon’s S-Lab four piece board. I love S-Lab gear but if your going to make the board into skis, make the board into skis…. don’t understand to go through all that engineering trouble only to end up with skis that have a shaped edge and a straight edge. You know, like one of them splitboards…wink

    Cheers!

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.