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Splitboard.com Forums • View topic - Fitwell Backcountry


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:04 am 
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Location: Salzburg / Austria
@Jomas: yes, the fit of boots is a really difficult topic!

Do you live in Italy, as you are lucky to buy those boots at all?
(I'm in Austria and would love to demo the Fitwells, however there is no sales support yet)


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:33 am 
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Those boots look nice been on the sparks. I think the sparks are crap I have about 40 days on them. Never buy something first year on the market


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:10 am 
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BGnight wrote:
My one BIG problem though was my right outer boot doesn't feel the same as my left. I know my right foot is slightly bigger than my left but both days I had these on I felt pressure on my outer mid foot. The pain would not go away even if I loosened the liners (I should have completely loosened the lower shell) and by the end of the day my outer middle foot swelled up huge and I could barely walk when I got home. The swelling has gone down and I'm wearing the right boot as I type with the lower shell completely loose hoping this will make them usable for me. So far it's much better and I don't get heel lift as long as the liner is tight. Does anyone know if I can take these to a cobbler and get one side of the boot pressed out? My LEFT foot is in love with these boots! :lol:


Hey BG. Did you ever solve the problem with your right foot? I have the same problem in that my right is more sensitive to a tight fit then my left. I cant tell you how many times I have had my right ski boots modified. Did you switch liners or did they break in fine? Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:30 pm 
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Yeah, I just lace the right lower boot really loose. I also heated it up with a hair dryer and tried pressing the problem area out with a round piece of metal. Not sure if it did much but since my first 3 days on these I haven't had a problem with foot pain. Strategic lacing seems to have solved my issues.


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:07 am 
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Flo, yes I am in Italy.
This year I rented an apartment in Cervinia so ill be doing a my riding here.
The fit of these boots is frustrating, I bought a pair of K2 T1 boots out of desperation in the search for a comfortae boot.
Well, they split just fine, and they certainly are comfortable, I also love having the inner boa and out standard laces.
So for the moment the 28.5 size Fitwells are still brand new, I can't bring myself to risking a day of pain when I have some perfectly good boots now.
If you head out this way ill gladly let you try them.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:37 pm 
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barrows wrote:
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 :wink: 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.


I now own a pair of Fitwells.... My old frankenbooters with Vibram soles just finally lost it.... After 3 years, they started doing nothing more than squeezing blood out of my feet!


I only have 1 day of riding in them, and no touring experience thus far. I'm highly impressed with how well made they are, and that the sole is fully rigid! My buddy Zach has been doing shitloads of alpine ice routes in his boots, and then combining those climbs with steep and technical splitboard descents, so I'd say they are a great step in the right direction.

After doing some quick resort laps in them after work one day, I found that the riding performance still has a lot to be desired. Its seems that everybody has said "oh, they are so stiff!", but my response is, "are you on CRACK, BGnight!?" Because they are totally NOT stiff whatsoever! Its actually quite interesting.... These boots feel incredibly agile, but don't have the powerful feeling of a traditional soft boot like a DriverX etc... The stiff sole does transfer toe to heel power incredibly fast, but I find that with these boots I'm wanting more stiffness out of the boot upper, as well as better heel hold, and a lower heel. On that note, I DEFINITELY feel the taller heel. So much so that I'm thinking of modding these boots with a partial resole, and reduce the total hight of the heel block by 50%.

As far as Barrows saying that straps are archaic technology, I have to passionately disagree! Here's the deal, a hard boot sitting on top of a metal plate with two silly plastic pucks is just that, SILLY!! You are literally creating two massive dead spots under your feet! Not only is the torsional roll of the board completely hampered (which is where dynamic shredding comes from), you're not getting ANY preload of your feet to the deck. Straps may look archaic, but believe it or not they are NEWER TECHNOLOGY than the hardboot bindings, and make an incredible amount of biomechanical sense. They not only preload your foot to your board, they allow you a For-Aft range of motion that you just cannot get with froot boots!

Okay, enough smack talking. Fitwells are amazing, but with time, will become more and more amazing...

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:05 am 
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russman wrote:
After doing some quick resort laps in them after work one day, I found that the riding performance still has a lot to be desired. Its seems that everybody has said "oh, they are so stiff!", but my response is, "are you on CRACK, BGnight!?" Because they are totally NOT stiff whatsoever! Its actually quite interesting.... These boots feel incredibly agile, but don't have the powerful feeling of a traditional soft boot like a DriverX etc...

Hmm. I have a pair but haven't ridden them yet because the stock liners are so bad I can't stand to put my foot in there. Did you swap out the liners? I don't understand how anyone can ride in those liners, particularly the super hard plastic right on your heel. I just picked up a pair of Intuition liners that I hope to get molded this weekend.

So I haven't ridden in them yet, but in carpet jibbing they sure feel stiffer than *my* Drivers! They feel plenty stiff to me, and it feels like I can tweak the support by how tight I lace the upper section. Again gotta get out on real snow to see how that assesment holds. Will also be curious to see if the higher heel bothers me. Didn't notice it much on the carpet.

Also, what size is your foot? I'm an 11 (295 in the Fitwell), and am having toe/heel overhang issues. I think I'm going to grind more of an angle into the heel, and grind a similar ramp into the toe. Some of the issue in the toe is because of that 90 degree angle on the sole, and because it's rockered, that causes the bottom of the toe to stick out more.

Quote:
Here's the deal, a hard boot sitting on top of a metal plate with two silly plastic pucks is just that, SILLY!! You are literally creating two massive dead spots under your feet!

Hence, keffler's rad new bindings. :) Those alone are almost enough to drive me to hardboots.

Almost. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:34 pm 
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russman wrote:
barrows wrote:
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 :wink: 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.


I now own a pair of Fitwells.... My old frankenbooters with Vibram soles just finally lost it.... After 3 years, they started doing nothing more than squeezing blood out of my feet!


I only have 1 day of riding in them, and no touring experience thus far. I'm highly impressed with how well made they are, and that the sole is fully rigid! My buddy Zach has been doing shitloads of alpine ice routes in his boots, and then combining those climbs with steep and technical splitboard descents, so I'd say they are a great step in the right direction.

After doing some quick resort laps in them after work one day, I found that the riding performance still has a lot to be desired. Its seems that everybody has said "oh, they are so stiff!", but my response is, "are you on CRACK, BGnight!?" Because they are totally NOT stiff whatsoever! Its actually quite interesting.... These boots feel incredibly agile, but don't have the powerful feeling of a traditional soft boot like a DriverX etc... The stiff sole does transfer toe to heel power incredibly fast, but I find that with these boots I'm wanting more stiffness out of the boot upper, as well as better heel hold, and a lower heel. On that note, I DEFINITELY feel the taller heel. So much so that I'm thinking of modding these boots with a partial resole, and reduce the total hight of the heel block by 50%.

As far as Barrows saying that straps are archaic technology, I have to passionately disagree! Here's the deal, a hard boot sitting on top of a metal plate with two silly plastic pucks is just that, SILLY!! You are literally creating two massive dead spots under your feet! Not only is the torsional roll of the board completely hampered (which is where dynamic shredding comes from), you're not getting ANY preload of your feet to the deck. Straps may look archaic, but believe it or not they are NEWER TECHNOLOGY than the hardboot bindings, and make an incredible amount of biomechanical sense. They not only preload your foot to your board, they allow you a For-Aft range of motion that you just cannot get with froot boots!

Okay, enough smack talking. Fitwells are amazing, but with time, will become more and more amazing...



Hahahaha RUSSMAN, I laugh in your general direction. But, I do know that you are a good dude, so no worries. But, I will say that you clearly do not have any experience with the set up which I, HFT, Keffler, karkis, Joey V, Wasatch Don, and so many others are riding. To be clear: I have no plastic pucks, and, the bindings I use do not create a huge flat spot in the board: in fact, in testing, Karakoram setups have proven to create more of the flat spot which you describe, as their baseplate is bigger (wider) and stiffer than that of a Phantom binding. The Phantom binding is designed so as to create a stiff responsive ride in the toe to heel direction, but to allow some flex in the longitudinal direction. If one takes a close look at how the plate is secured to the board, one will see how this works. By comparison, the two pins which engage the Karakoram bindings at the outside edges of the binding, will restrict longitudinal board flex: but, I still would recommend Karakorams as the highest performance binding system for those who prefer to ride soft boots.
BTW, I recently rode my TLT5s at the resort. The only other resort day which I have had this year was on my DriverX boots. I much preferred the ride of the TLT5s, more progressive flex pattern, with a softer intial flex, and then a progressive flex the deeper one flexes the boot. I was riding steeps, bumps, powder, and cut up stuff. Totally fun, supportive at speed, but able to ride surfy as well. For those who may find the Fitwell too soft in flex, a well sorted hardboot system based on TLT5s (or 6s next season) is a viable option and very worthy of consideration.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:47 pm 
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Location: The Belly of Ham baby!!
jimw wrote:
I have a pair but haven't ridden them yet because the stock liners are so bad I can't stand to put my foot in there. Did you swap out the liners? I don't understand how anyone can ride in those liners, particularly the super hard plastic right on your heel. I just picked up a pair of Intuition liners that I hope to get molded this weekend.


Jim, I TOTALLY agree. I can't stand the stock liners either! They literally feel like early 90's boots did... PAINFUL! I have a whole bunch of old Intuition liners I just cycle through my boots, but I'm actually gong to order a set of the stiffest wrap around ski liners for these. I find that the upper in this boot isn't quite as high as I'd like, or meaty enough. I like a flexy ankle, but these felt almost too flexy.... which I never thought I would ever say that about a boot.

jimw wrote:
So I haven't ridden in them yet, but in carpet jibbing they sure feel stiffer than *my* Drivers! They feel plenty stiff to me, and it feels like I can tweak the support by how tight I lace the upper section. Again gotta get out on real snow to see how that assesment holds. Will also be curious to see if the higher heel bothers me. Didn't notice it much on the carpet.


I think that I notice the heel a lot because I tend to be a Forward Lean Nazi. I usually run my bindings with maxed out forward lean all the time... In these, the taller heel feels like it disengages the angle between the tibia and the foot, and when I crank the forward lean the highback hardpoints too high up my calf. I don't think it would take much lowering of the block to really make a huge difference.

jimw wrote:
Also, what size is your foot? I'm an 11 (295 in the Fitwell), and am having toe/heel overhang issues. I think I'm going to grind more of an angle into the heel, and grind a similar ramp into the toe. Some of the issue in the toe is because of that 90 degree angle on the sole, and because it's rockered, that causes the bottom of the toe to stick out more.


I'm lucky man... I'm a US 9.5, and I can squeeze into a 9 shell, with a 275 in Fitwell. I usually buy boots knowing that they are going to be too tight, but when I throw in my own Intuition, everything becomes butter. On these boots, I was SUPER STOKED and surprised to find that the heel and toe drag just isn't an issue whatsoever on my setup. I run small KK SLcarbons adjusted to the large position, and the shits DIALED! These boots actually have a lower overall volume than just about any other boot I have, and compared to the Deeluxe Summits (Yep, I have next year's top secret all leather "Summit" mountaineering boot from Deeluxe too) the Fitwells are drastically lower volume.


jimw wrote:
Hence, keffler's rad new bindings. :) Those alone are almost enough to drive me to hardboots.

Almost. :)



LOOOOL!! Don't do it buddy!! I saw those bindings at SIA, and yep, they're sick looking, but no matter how rad Borrows says he is, those frootbooter guys are just a bunch of crazy-ass GINGERBREAD TURNING RUSSIANS!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:04 pm 
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russman wrote:
jimw wrote:
Hence, keffler's rad new bindings. :) Those alone are almost enough to drive me to hardboots.

Almost. :)

LOOOOL!! Don't do it buddy!! I saw those bindings at SIA, and yep, they're sick looking, but no matter how rad Borrows says he is, those frootbooter guys are just a bunch of crazy-ass GINGERBREAD TURNING RUSSIANS!!!!!!


I still don't get all the resistance to riding hard boots. Finally broke down and picked up a pair of TLT5 on clearance. REALLY impressed with the flex without any mods. Very similar feel to my Spantiks/Malamutes and WAY lighter. Also for comparison my size 29 TLT5 have a smaller footprint than my 44.5 Spantiks, almost a 1/2" in sole length. Granted some of that gain will be offset by being closer to the board once I finally get my hands on a pair of Phantoms. Haven't had a chance to ride them yet, so I guess there's always the possibility that Russman et al. will get to say "I TOLD YOU SO!" later on down the road. However, I highly doubt that will be the case. Do I envision being a solely hard boot rider, probably not. But I really do feel they are going to do more things well than soft boots can. One exception could be long approaches in spring that may not be on snow, but they are so much lighter one could opt to carry the TLT5 and wear trail runners if so inclined.

I am glad that you guys are happy with your Fitwells, as I was with my Spantiks. But I feel the upside to the TLT5 + Phantom combo is too great to ignore and dismiss. To each their own, I have no animosity towards either camp. :drinks:

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:09 pm 
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96avs01 wrote:

I still don't get all the resistance to riding hard boots. Finally broke down and picked up a pair of TLT5 on clearance. REALLY impressed with the flex without any mods.


I don't think there is really any resistance IRL, it's mostly just people goofing off on the intrwebs. (Hell, I'll ride with anybody on any gear -- even tele -- as long as they're realistic about their abilities). But it's also important to be honest about the limitations of any system (I've dabbled a bunch with hard boots; I might not be as much of an expert as some people on here, but I do know what I'm talking about).

No matter how many mods you make, you'll never get the medial/lateral flex 'right'. You get some flex at the base of the boot in the binding. You can trim the cuff to increase the flex at the top of the boot. These are both good things to do. But where you really want the flex is through the ankle, and making mods there will most likely ruin the boot for touring. I'm sure someone will say that the boot is flexy enough out of the box through the ankle for the ride down, while still magically being stiff enough for awesome touring, but they're lying :wink: .

In perfect Selkirk pow, none of this really matters. But if you're trying to charge gnarly terrain in gnarly snow conditions, it does. Of course, you can just slow down and you'll be fine, but for some people, that's not 'what it's about'.

Anyways, I'm all for people riding hard boots if it works for them; keep getting after it. It doesn't work for me though, so I'm interested to hear what people think about these fitwells. I've been riding the spark boot the past 2 seasons, which rides fine, but it's pretty bulky, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:06 am 
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Sorry, but when someone calls me a liar on the interwebs I feel it is appropriate to respond:

"No matter how many mods you make, you'll never get the medial/lateral flex 'right'. You get some flex at the base of the boot in the binding. You can trim the cuff to increase the flex at the top of the boot. These are both good things to do. But where you really want the flex is through the ankle, and making mods there will most likely ruin the boot for touring. I'm sure someone will say that the boot is flexy enough out of the box through the ankle for the ride down, while still magically being stiff enough for awesome touring, but they're lying"

FACT 1. My TLT5s were modified specifically to flex medially and laterally in an equal amount to my Driver X soft boots (I test by having TLT5 on one foot, and Driver X on the other). Then, I went a little further. Now my TLT5s flex a little softer than the Driver Xs, and I actually prefer the ride of the TLT5s in all conditions. I do know riders who do ride the TLT5 without mods for increasing lateral and medial flex, and like it that way, but not me (they still mod the forward lean bar for easier forward flex). I do agree though, that there is not a hard boot option which rides perfectly out of the box. It sounds like you do not understand what I am trying to accomplish with the mods I do. I achieve my medial and lateral flex at the ankle, as you describe-you are right, this is specifically the kind of feel which I am trying to achieve. By cutting the cuff slightly, the stiffness of the entire cuff assembly is reduced, and this allows the cuff to flex down low. As Russman and BG stated it is "impossible" to get ankle articulation, I can honestly say that they are incorrect. With my set up, I can easily ride fall line down a flat, hard surface, with my upper body and hips square and stable, and link turns through ankle articulation and lower leg movements alone-as one would slaloming a skateboard down a narrow sidewalk.

FACT 2. karkis once made a radical mod to a hard boot (leaving only a highback support, and no cuff in front of the ankle at all) which resulted in a boot with more medial and lateral flex than most soft boots-he said it was fun for super tweaking airs, but did not tour well at all because of a complete lack of lateral/medial support. The point is, through careful modification, one can achieve the flex they are looking for if one starts with the right boot.

Oh, and by the way, my understanding is that Russman works for Karakoram now, maybe he could confirm this? If so, I think it is only fair to point out that he may have a vested commercial interest in promoting their system.

I have no commercial interest in promoting hard boot systems. There are only two reasons I continue to engage in discussions on this topic, eventhough these discussions often seem to degenerate into infantile name calling:

1. I want people to understand that it is very possible to get a hard boot system to achieve a ride quality at least equal to that of a good soft boot set up, such that if they are considering the advantages of hard boots for themselves, they will not believe that a hard boot system is compromised from a riding feel standpoint.

2. Resistance to hard boots, especially zealous, misinformed (and uniformed) prejudical rehetoric showing bias against a hard boot system, hampers the possible development of better gear for splitboarders everywhere. Thank goodness that keffler was immune to the strong attitudes which some espouse, and still went ahead and developed a superior binding system/board interface for hard boot riders (Phantom). Because boot development requires a substantial capitol investment, I do not expect a suitable off the shelf boot could be developed without more support from the riding community, and this is ashame. A boot developed from the ground up could easily outperform every system that anyone has ever ridden.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:16 am 
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Barrows, there might be a misunderstanding.
UPGRAYEDD_2505 argued, that making a AT-Boot softer in side flex would reduce it's uphill capabilities. (use edge when doing traverses)
And that is true to a certain extent.

Nevertheless I really hope that next year's TLT6 will fit to my feet. I do see an advantage for touring with AT-boots, provided that the ride feels equally great as with my (stiff) softboots.


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