Forums Boots La Sportiva Spantik – First Impressions, Feedback Welcome
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  • #574036
    6 Posts

    Although I live in Maine, and primarily ride in the White Mountains in NH, I’m planning a splitboard ascent of Mont Blanc in March. I’m expecting a burly ascent, and really want my feet to be warm, and my crampons to fit well. After doing a bunch of research, I had narrowed myself to the Burton Drive X and the La Sportiva Spantik. It really bugs me that no snowboarding companies actually give there boots temperature ratings, and instead leave us with marketing bullshit.

    Anyway, I got lucky and found a pair of Spantik’s in my size for $300 less than retail, and picked them up. I’ve only ridden them once, and hiked in them twice so far, but here are my initial impressions.

    General Observations:

      They are much more comfortable to hike in then snowboarding boots. I was able to easily front point in them without crampons even.

      The soles are awesome. Huge Vibram soles, very grippy. They also fit crampons much better than my snowboard boots ever did.

      They are seriously lightweight. I think they must weigh less than any snowboard boots I’ve ever owned

      They are the warmest boots I’ve ever worn. They also come with an additional aluminum reflective insole that adds even more warmth!

      They go on and off very easily. The liner also removes from the outerboot very easily. This is a real plus for camping situations. The liner also has a little tread on it.

    Snowboarding Observations (after only 1 descent):

      They are much stiffer in the ankle and forward lean then I initially thought they were going to be. Much stiffer and more rigid then my old 2003 Burton Custom boots.

      The soles are very rigid, which makes feathering turns, particularly on the heelside, more difficult.

      When you drive a turn, the soles are so rigid, you explode into it at the initiation.

    Keep in mind I’ve only ridden in these once so far, and it wasn’t particularly steep back-country terrain, and it was only my 2nd day out this year (and the snow was semi-icey / wet / shit). My feet definitely cramped up a little near the end, but I expect that from any boot I’m riding for the first few time. I also had my stance set to very duck footed park mode, which was a mistake. My new back-country stance is going to be 20, -5, as opposed to my tricky stance of 16,-13.

    I’ll be doing a traverse of the Biggelow Mountain range in the boots this weekend, which will just be mountaineering, but I plan on trying to clock a lot more mileage riding in the boots before I rely on them at Chamonix.

    I’m really interested in the thoughts and input of other people who are riding in Spantiks. I’ve heard the laces are prone to break, is this really true? Has anyone ridden them in really gnarly / steep terrain?


    4 Posts

    I sized my Spantik boots a half size large and put Intuition liners in them. I’m happy with the results. They ride a lot like my Driver X and of course are much easier to walk in. I haven’t broken any laces yet but i carry an extra pair. Happy shredding.

    6 Posts

    I sized mine a half size large also (I wear a 43, and sized up to 43.5, dunno my real US size, the euro sizes seem more consistent than the US sizing).

    What made you decided to switch out the liners?

    875 Posts

    Only got a few days on mine last year before getting shut down for back surgery. I went ahead and swapped out the Sportiva laces for Sierra Laces right away, as I have nothing but good experiences with Sierra Laces in the past. The Sierra Laces aren’t as thin as the Sportiva so they require a bit more effort to tighten, but should be less likely to cut through the lace loops. I am still using the stock liners and sized them as I would any other mountaineering boot (full 1/2 size above my street shoe to allow for thick wool/VBL sock combo and a small amount of swelling at altitude). Here’s my initial impressions:

    1. First day out was Mt Marcy in January, temps were below 0F all day with sustained winds above 20 mph above treeline, boots were toasty warm.

    2. Haven’t ridden the boots in firm conditions yet, but they are definitely more responsive than my previous boots (ICE 9000s).

    3. Really like the weight, think they shaved a 0.5lb per boot off the Vasques.

    One thing I haven’t done yet, but may in the near future is to Seam Seal (using Freesole) the entire boot as I have seen this recommended in a few different places to increase the durability. Though this is likely of minimal necessity as I don’t have any mixed climbing in my future until the surgeon clears me to tie-in again.

    Really happy thus far, and don’t anticipate those feelings to change.

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


    689 Posts

    This thread has me exceptionally stoked!

    Good to see a snowboard specific review of a high-end mountaineering boot.

    How do you guys feel about the hight of the uppers? Do they give enough support and padding for highbacks and toeside turns? Also, what do you think of the heel lift? Most mountaineering boots have a slightly raised heel, and I wonder how much this influences the ride performance (I tend to like my boots flat or even dropped in the heels..)?

    I’m going to post up a wee review and shots of my modified Vibram-Ride boots.

    875 Posts

    ^^^Since we finally got russman to comment on something other than Jones or Karakoram 😉 I will give this thread what all good threads have…pics

    Here is comparison to a Malamute (Spantiks = US11, Malamutes = US11-11.5) to show the height difference. While the Spantik is slightly shorter it doesn’t pose an issue.

    Forward flex profile is nearly identical to the point where the sole exhibits heel lift. This arises in that the Malamute is a slightly softer flex, but when combined with the added height the two boots flex very similarly.

    As for the heel height here is my observation (Spantik has stock liner + insole, Malamute has stock liner + orange Superfeet insole). Malamute has a completely neutral foot angle while Spantik has a slightly positive foot angle as the heel is raised slightly. I personally like a bit of positive angle as it favors a lower stance with knees bent for a comfortable riding position. YMMV

    As for the foot height from the top of the board the two boots are very similar, with perhaps the Spantik being a wee bit higher.

    Weight: Spantik = 6.2 lbs/pair, Malamute = 5.6 lbs/pair

    I will revisit this thread once I’ve had a chance to ride the Spantiks in a greater variety of snow types.

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


    6 Posts

    A follow up, I just did the Gulf of Slides at Mount Washington on Monday in the Spantiks, and I’ve got some more feedback.

    The boots are very comfortable and supportive to skin up in. For the ride down, with my stance adjusted, and about a 2 feet of powder, they were very comfortable to ride in. They were also kickass for the steeper sections of the hike, and fit a crampon better than a soft snowboard boot ever did for me.

    12 Posts

    I have only been out the once with mine and got on ok though I got a bit of pain in the soles of my feet which I’d expect for the first time in new boots, they were surprisingly good on the decents even with the angles I have setup because of clearance issues. One thing Im gonna try is putting my snowboard boot liners in them and see how they feel. I think they will help on long traversing as the will give slightly better support. I’ve tried them in the house and they feel pretty close to the feel of my board boots.

    Professor cookie
    29 Posts

    @anybody- what is the sole length, including welts/size of your spantiks?

    875 Posts

    ^^^if you are not in a hurry I can let you know this weekend when I get back home

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


    Professor cookie
    29 Posts

    No hurry at all, dude.

    875 Posts

    Sorry for the delay…size 44.5 are ~12.5 inches in length. Cheers

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


    89 Posts

    mmmmmmm, haven’t put them on snow yet (what does snow look like again? haven’t seen any around here in forever.) but snowboard boot liners inside spantiks make a great feeling boot in bindings on carpet.

    89 Posts

    Did 20 miles in the Spantiks yesterday on trail, split, and cramps and am happy to report that they are great. I opted for the stock liners over putting my snowboard liners in which I think would improve the ride of the boots to almost a snowboard boot. My other boots are 32 Ultralights.

    The Spantiks hike really really well. You definitely feel the boot around your foot but articulation is enough that you can get an almost natural walk. I can’t wait to get these thing on some high altitude rock, the rubber is sticky and the rand looks perfect for sticking into a crack. They look mega tough.

    They skinned really well but not as well as the Ultralights. I think the missing inch of height is noticeable while skinning, especially while traversing. Another issue I noticed was the toe of the boots stuck out farther then my snowboard boots (my Spantiks are sz46) and kind of maxed out the heel lift.

    I felt just as barely in control while split skiing as I do with the Ultralights.

    The ride is great. To be honest with you it is hard for me to recollect clearly through the stoke. If it means anything the last thing I was thinking about on the way down was the boots and I even totally forgot I wasn’t wearing my ultralights until I switched to split mode. We hit mostly crappy socal crust with one or two good pow sections.

    All in all I am looking for a new pair of Ultralights to compliment the Spantiks. The Spantiks are great but I think that they are just too heavy if they are not necessary. For most non-technical trips I will stick with the Ultralights with the Camp XLC crampons. There are a few things I want to do high up on rock and on some vertical ice which I think will be what these boots will be perfect for, they feel like they will kill ice and rock.

    48 Posts

    So other than the $ is there a down side to riding in the Spantiks? I am looking for a snowboard mountaineering boot. I have 2 trips planned this spring to peaks that will require crampons, so my question is should i wait for next seasons fitwell or sparks and just use some strap-on crampons for these 2 trips with my old boots, or purchase some Spantiks? One other consideration im thinking about, is that i have gone ice climbing a few times in the last 2 years and always borrowed boots, and have been thinking about my own boots, and if i got the Spantiks, they would serve that purpose as well. Basically, if the ride doesn’t suffer too bad, i don’t see a reason not to go with the Spantiks… I would love any thoughts. Thanks

    875 Posts

    If you want to use the boots for more than splitting you are going to be hard pressed to find something better than the Spantik. I notice little impediment to my riding performance, and these things climb crazy good. Price is definitely steep, but if you are patient and look around for sales/deals you can usually get them for around $550.

    One note on sizing though. I sized mine as I would a snowboard boot. As such, they aren’t quite as warm (less toe box room) as they would be if I sized them for a purely mountaineering application. So while I won’t be able to take my own pair to AK any time soon as many elite mountaineers typically do, I am quite happy with them for anything in the lower 48, with or without a board. Not really a big deal as I have other boots if I ever decide to play the AK range another visit. Cheers

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


    89 Posts

    i feel like the real dilema is that you don’t need the spantiks to go up until it gets a little sketchy but i don’t know how much i’d like them going down something like that. i still prefer the ultralights for skinning and riding but can totally tell the spantiks kill it going up steep scary stuff.

    1 Posts

    Let me start by thanking everyone who has contributed to this thread so far. It has been the thread I have been looking for. All the discussion of which soft boot is better and how to mod the hard boots just did not strike a cord with me. I was looking for evidence that there exists out there a mountaineering boot that is ideal for snowboarding. Main reason is because the main reason I like to go into the backcountry is to get in the high alpine areas, where a boot that can perform like an alpine boot is critical for safety reasons. To find one that does not compromise the snowboard riding is ideal. Well, for anyone interested in this, I believe these guys, and now I, have found it.

    I have taken this boot out twice. Since I bought this on sale for $600 at the end of the season from (as of today, it is still on sale), my choices for snow conditions were limited here in the Seattle area. My first trip was to the Hyack backcountry area. More specifically, I toured the line underneath the west facing wooden power lines. Conditions were essentially slush, with some hiking through the woods. My findings were identical to all that has been mentioned thus far. Clearly, these are superior hiking/mountaineering boots, that much is obvious. More important to me was how they toured and how they rode. On both accounts, they were awesome. There is absolutely no compromise in the riding. The only modification I needed was to adjust the forward lean forward, given the volume of the boot around the lower leg is less than a standard snowboard boot (I used to ride the Salomon Malamute). The boots were super responsive on turns. For touring, there are no complaints either. The added stiffness of the boot actually made it easier to get on the edges when traversing. I imaging that they will also perform quite nicely when I am able to fix the heel with the new Karakoram heel lifts and start skating down logging roads. Hiking up steeps with these allowed me to kick steps that probably would have turned my toes black and blue with the Malamutes. Extremely effective for climbing the steeps.

    The second tour I did with these was today, the McLellan Butte, North Couloir. did about 3000 ft vertical in again slushy spring snow. Experience was identical, if not even better because I had to hike across multiple boulder fields, which probably would have shredded the Malamutes. Having these boots when I got up high where the angle was close to 50 degrees gave me a lot more piece of mind. Being able to kick deep solid steps was absolutely key. As far as the ride down, all I can say is that these boots felt so good that I am considering wearing them for resort riding.

    If you have a wide foot, make sure you try these before purchasing, or make sure you can exchange them if necessary. These are European made boots, which tend to be more narrow than US made boots. I wear 9.5s in the Salomon Malamutes. I started by trying the 43s, but the toe box was just too small. After moving up to 43.5s, this was better, although there was still tightness around my forefoot. This sensation was completely relieved after I took out the insole. I am happy to report that the 6.5 hour hike on McLellan Butte caused absolutely no pain or blisters. In fact, they are one of the most comfortable boots I have ever worn, period! The only other negative is the cost. Even at $600 (they were originally $800), I will probably not wear them for routine resort snowboarding, although I think they would be just fine. However, they are extremely well built boots. If used just for backcountry riding, I suspect they will last a while. Given the comfort and peace of mind they have given me, they are worth every penny!!

    In summary, I believe these are a great alternative to soft snowboard boots for backcountry/alpine snowboarding. It is a shame that this is not better known. I have suffered through many tours with the wrong boots, and have probably compromised my safety a few times as well due to soft boots. If you have the same concerns, these are definitely worth trying.

    65 Posts

    Decided to bite the bullet and try these bad boys out. I wear a size 13 US snowboard boot, and after some review reading I was definitely concerned that the boots wouldn’t fit me (La Sportiva only makes up to size 47, which is slightly smaller than a US size 13), but they fit beautifully. Have no doubt, these boots scream quality. Flex is significantly stiffer than my 32s Lashed, but that was to be expected. I also had concerns that these would be too warm, as most of the time I will be wearing these boots will be for spring riding in fair weather, however my foot does not seem any warmer in the Spantiks vs. 32s. My calf is covered all the way up to the top of my bindings (Karakoram split30), and I did not feel any pressure leaning heelside in my living room, however I will have to see in real riding/touring conditions. They bind into my Karakorams just as tightly as my 32s. However, I have replaced my toe straps with Ride’s gel straps and they seem to mold more easily to weird toe boxes. These boots are pretty pointy so I can’t say how regular straps would fit. Significantly heavier than 32s as well, but I’m sure they will more than make up for it in durability.

    Now onto the bad: The boots are quite a bit longer than my 32s, and therefore stick out of my bindings a lot more. My bindings stance currently is pretty mellow, (12, -6) but I may have to change that to try to eliminate toe drag. In tour mode, it limits how far my bindings can come off my board, however I’m not really sure if this will have any affect on touring as it seems I can still almost reach a 90 degree angle. Touring with the heel risers up seems like it could be tricky, though. One thing I thought might help all these would be to find a pair of the infamously unavailable toe risers for my Karakorams.

    If you had a more reasonable size foot, all of the cons I listed would not apply. However, I have yet to see how they ride, and cost is definitely a huge con, but if they last as I hope they will, the investment should be worth it.

    drpw, I remember seeing that you have a size 46, do you have any of the problems I mentioned above? Any ways to deal with them?

    601 Posts

    @idtmcp542 wrote:

    I’m sure they will more than make up for it in durability.

    I first want to say I am really glad you you are stoked on your seriously righteous footwear. I too am exploring options and have found this thread valuable.
    Like anyone who is pondering pulling the trigger on spantiks, I’ve had my share of “oh-shit-I-wish-I-had-more-serious-boots-on-now” moments billy goating my way up to a line.

    To keep this in perspective for me, I totted up the prices of the three-pair hiking boots, two-pair winter hiking boots, and three-pair snowboard boots I’ve purchased in the last ten years (all different boots which specialize in a job spantiks can pull off –and– all of which were bought at end-of-season sales). I ended up with about the price of new spantiks + tax + shipping.

    If you are counting on durability to justify this purchase (even at off-season prices), you are looking at at least a six-year investment. Compare those clams to two pairs of Deeluxe’s or three Driver X’s.

    Let’s be clear about this. Spantiks are top of the line mountaineering boots which can shred. They’re bad ass. Period.
    Nobody buys a Corvette because in the long run they’ll save money. It’s just gnarly to lay scratch off the line then go sideways into a hairpin turn.
    This a boot practically designed for hucking lines down the Khumu ice falls. :rock: If you got’em rock’em. Enjoy your solid kicksteps, automatic crampon compatibility, removable inner boot et al.
    Words like “wait,” “worth,” and “investment” belong in a thread about a retirement portfolio. :twocents:

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