What say you? Looking to get a new pair of boots, to wear with both my solid and my split. I'm 6'2", 200lbs. I ride mostly WC pow and Silverton steeps on my Storm solid. Tour around Silverton on my Zephyr with Blaze's. Ride mostly deep pow in the trees with some bigger lines.
I can't find anyone that carries the Sparks in Durango, so I will have to order them without trying them on. I can exchange them if they don't fit. Also, I can head up to Bubba's to try on some Malamutes this weekend. However, if the consisenace (yeah I cant spell worth a crap) is that I should go with the Sparks, I'd rather not drive up to Purg.
Also, my current Burton SL-9's are a 11.5. How should I size?
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:26 pm Posts: 407 Location: S.F. Bay Area
Yet another thinking the same thing.. Been riding 'mutes for years, 4th generation of them currently. I expect to get another season out of these, but in the spring I think I'll be looking more closely at the Spark Deeluxe... Would love to hear from anyone who has actually ridden them before I get too excited though... I mean, if they are good enough for Xavier, I suppose they might be good enough for me, but..... Xavier could probably out ride me in a pair of Sorel's on a snurfer...
Hmmm, after reading through the posts in here it seems like peoples opinions of these boots went from being the soft boot saviours to nothing special and just another way for companies to suck our hard earned cash. I thought I'd jump on and give a quick review of them as well as a few opinions.
I apologize for the length of this post. It ended up being a small essay. If you can't be bothered reading everything there is a quick summary of the pros and cons of the Sparks at the bottom.
So far I have had about 7 days on the Sparks here in New Zealand. 2 field days (Mount Olympus skifield and Broken River skifield), 2 days touring and 5 days camping, touring, riding and climbing steeps on one of the glaciers in the Southern Alps. I put the boots though a variety of riding and touring conditions, NZ spring 'powder', corn, ice, crusty consolidated snow, chop and warmed fresh snow. Booting conditions included the above snow conditions along with loose scree slopes and scrub and tussock terrain.
My solid board is an 08/09 159 Rome Slash with Burton Mission bindings and my Split is an M3 DIY with spark blaze bindings, LT pins and Karakoram board clips.
Initial thoughts on purchase – Pretty expensive at about $500 NZ, Solid construction, very tough sole, stiff through sole and ankle with a little bit of movement in ankle. Bit dubious about lace up system at first. I hadn’t heard good things about similar systems on Salmon boots but the Deeluxe system looked strong enough and being able to keep the boots tight in one area of the foot and loose in another seems like a good idea. The thicker sole gives the boot a slightly higher profile. Fluffy cuff on liner – not sure what to think. The boot definitely fits tight across the toes. Not a whole lot of room for toe movement. The boot seems to be a narrow fit as well. The removeable liner harness really helps to lock the foot down into the boot and seems to help stop heel lift if done up tight. Liners can be easily removed for drying. Foot print of boot is quite large. Possibly the reason why no sizes over 12.5?
Riding – First thought was stiff. To the point it hurt to ride fast over chop. Loosening off the laces above the ankle helped to remedy this. Getting the correct tightness over the foot and looseness above the ankle takes a bit of mucking round. On the first day out in them, my feet started to get numb and had to give feet a rest in the afternoon. After third day out in them they felt fine. On my solid board I was amazed at how responsive the board now felt. I felt like I could feel every part of the board. Found something similar on my DIY split, but also found that the flaws in the board became more accentuated – I now know it has way to much flex through the middle of the board. The higher profile sole didn’t have any impact on riding. The sole is stiff through the mid sole but the toe of boot has enough flex to allow you to still feel the board on toe side turns. The stiff upper keeps heel side turns tight and responsive.
Booting – The section control lacing allows the boot to remain tight across the foot but above the ankle it can be loosened off for walking which is nice. Very easy and quick to loosen off or tighten.Walking up steps kicked by a skier in hard consolidated snow with an ice crust on the surface was fine. The stiff sole lets you hold a step on the tip of your toes and the narrower sole lets the toe of the boot fit easier into the ski boot shaped steps. Kicking steps with these boots felt good. I was able to kick steps into snow where I wouldn't have been able to in my old boots. Crampons fit nicely on the sole and French stepping on ice felt secure. Felt a bit ungainly walking down hill over rocks and on some scree. The stiff sole doesn't allow you to smear the sole of the boot over rocks like softer boots do. After one backcountry run, we ended up having to boot out through a bunch of nasty Matagouri Scrub and tussock. The vibram sole and leather (tough pleather?) outer took the scrub pretty well with only a few minor scratches. My old boots would have hated the Matagouri.
Touring - Yes. This where these boots shine for me. I mainly hang out with skiers so being able to sidehill easily is a requirement. Hard booters or people who have toured in stiff boots may scoff a little, but I found I finally had decent lateral support from my boot when touring. Being able to feel the sides of the boot supporting my calf and keeping my ankle from flexing sideways while sidehilling on a mixture of spring slush and icey crust was reassuring. I know technique is the way to improve sidehilling, but these boots make life touring across slope a lot nicer. The only lateral flex appears to come from the entire boot moving in the binding or the board flexing. Also the toe of the boot appears to hit the board while taking a step a lot sooner than my old boots did. If the toe of the boot rockered up sooner or the boot foot print reduced this wouldn't be as noticeable.
Durability - Time will tell but these will last a lot longer than my old boots no problems. There are some creases in the toe of the boots already from using the toe straps on the Blaze bindings and from Crampons. Construction is solid and boots seem tough. We'll see after a season or two of use...
On our glacier trip, we camped out on the ice and I lived in these boots for the 5 days we were there. The liners keep your feet nice and warm even when wet which is key when you get hit with a 48 hour snow storm dumping over 1m of wet snow and graupel and you have to dig the tent out multiple times in one night. Not to mention the foot of your sleeping bag getting wet and you have to rely on your liners to keep your feet warm..... Also watch out for the knots where the laces have been tied off. A mate had one come undone. Seems like Deeluxe may need to learn how to tie a better knot.
Pros: Tough construction, solid sole that is stiff through the middle but allows a bit flex at the toe, Section control lacing system allows for quick loosening of the boot above ankle for walking and touring but can be tightened easily again for riding, improved responsiveness in snowboard while riding, stiff sole makes kicking steps easier, crampons fit easily, narrower sole profile for following ski boot kicked steps, improved lateral support during sidehilling
Cons: Pricey, not a whole lot of room around the toes, when done up super tight they can almost hurt riding over hard chopped snow - finding the correct tightness takes a while and a bit of playing around, not as nice to walk over rocks as softer boots due to stiff sole, a larger foot print than other boots - may cause some over hang, no rocker in the toe of boot causing toe of boot to hit board during touring earlier than in other boots, no sizes larger than 12.5 (stoked my feet are 11)
Over all I am personally super stoked on these. They the only snowboard boots I ride in as I have retired my old pair and they are suitable for everything I ride. Although I still need to test them out in the terrain park..... If you are looking for a good soft snowboard boot that is responsive, tours well but still feels like traditional snowboard boot then jump on these. Hope this helps.
Thanks for putting up with my rant.
(Disclaimer: I have only only owned two other pairs of boots before the Spark Deeluxe boots, Burton Motos and Burton Jeremy Jones pro model, so my experiences with the Sparks will naturally be compared to the boots I owned previously. I definitely don't have some of the experience some of the other posters in here about boots but another perspective is always good. I tried my best to be objective)
_________________ SPLITN2.COM - Aotearoa Back Country Developments Ltd | Christchurch New Zealand | email@example.com | Custom Splitboards | Spark R&D | Fitwell Backcountry - the ultimate Splitboard Boot!
i am extremely impressed with deeluxe boots, not just the spark model. i have put in around 400 resort and bc days on salomons, only two days so far on the sparks. im going with deeluxe. they make some really high end gear. also many of their other boots offer just as stiff as a sole (stiff sole allows easier bootpacking up steeps) as the spark model, just without the vibram mountaineering tread.