Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:59 am Posts: 46 Location: Eastern Alps / Austria
well, now that we have a special place for ladies gear, i'm happily starting a thread about one of the most important gear parts ever - boots! are they hard goods? i wasn't sure about which forum to post to
i rode a pair of 32 lashed ft boots for the last seasons and now they're done. i need a new pair of boots desperately and it's not an easy task to complete. i would love to get the deeluxe spark xvs, and they are produced in my size (mondopoint 26), but i don't seem to be able to buy them anywhere... only bigger sizes available wherever i look. i'm interested in them because they feature the vibram sole and are obviously pretty good for crampon usage. my husband bought them last season and is very happy with them. i hope i can get a hold of a pair, but it's a struggle....
maybe the fitwell backcountry boots are an alternative, but i have no clue where to get those. i will have to ask the manufacturer.
what boots do you ride? have you used them for climbing with/without crampons?
If you could find the sparks in your size I would definitely do that. Could you try calling them and seeing if they know which of their dealers ordered small sizes and might still have some left? vibram soles would be great, and it seems like these are stiffer then most other boots out there. I would definitely try them on though, the biggest difference in men and women's boot is where and how stiff the back of the boot is when it hits your calf. Women's calves sit a lot lower, so the boot could ride high over your calf and be uncomfortable. Something to think about if you're used to women's boots.
I've ridden burton boots for a long time because they fit my feet so well. I have supremes right now, which are their stiffest women's boot I think. Their high end men's boot comes with a vibram sole, so maybe someday they will do this with their women's boots. I definitely could go stiffer for skinning, I hate trying to hold an edge when the boot feels like its bending away from the hill. But for fit and stiffness the supreme is the best boot I have found so far. I haven't used crampons very often so I can't say much about this. But there's not a little lip for the crampon to rest on on the heel or toe. It's been sloppy when I have used them, which could have been user error too. I've heard good things about Solomon boots for stiffness. I personally haven't tried them because they seem narrow and I have wide feet.
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:38 am Posts: 38 Location: British Columbia
Perfect timing on this topic, as I am debating about searching for new boots myself.
I've ridden two versions of Burton Supreme until I packed them out. They were pretty decent, a little on the soft side, but I liked the speed zone lacing for top and bottom. I was happy with the quality but suffered from heel lift even with the addition of the j bars. The Q used to be Burton's stiffest boot but was hard to find and I think aren't made anymore.
For the two seasons I've been riding Salomon Optima which are stiff, and best for me, have a narrow heel profile. No more heel lift. My only issue now is the lacing system, worked great last season but now the laces don't lock as well as they used to in the clips. Also, the pull tabs don't sit in boot as well, and typically fall out after a lot of hiking.
Overall I never have an issue when snowboarding, but more annoyances when hiking and skinning all day. The laces need to be re-tied every time I'm ready to descend, which doesn't sound like a big issue, but is a bit annoying as yet another step during transition.
I'm on the lookout for similar boots to Salomon that have a narrow profile, thinking a BOA system might be ideal for loosening and tightening inbetween tour and ride modes. Though I'm not familiar with K2 boots or Ride that often feature the BOA system.
Definitely tough to fit the needs for touring.. since snowboard boots aren't meant for hiking. Watch out for materials on the side of the boot as well. My last two versions of Sparks tended to put holes in the side of my boots from rubbing in tour mode. My soft leather burtons were quite worn. The Salomon leather though only shows slight wear.
Are you really using crampons on your boots that often? I'd rather invest in ski crampons and think i'd use those most in icy conditions. I personally would never go to a mens boot considering the differences between mens/womens foot and calf profiles, especially since I have a more than typical narrow heel.
I've been riding K2 women's Dario boots, which I loved. I've got a narrow foot, and teeny ankles so have always had issues with heel lift/general slop around the foot, but I've found that the K2 boa conda pulls my heels back and keeps them back! Unfortunately after 5 seasons they are about as dead as they can get. The boa is easy, I've never had to re-tighten, but it would be worth carrying spare cables/parts wih you because you're stuffed if you snap a cable miles from home!
I was interested in checking out either the fitwells but I've heard more than a handful of guys saying they had issues with the heel being too wide. So I'm thinking I'll try the K2 contour this coming season since my last K2s served me so well!
Hey tuff-enuff, I just saw the spark XV-TF in size 26, I'm not that familiar with these boots. Im not sure what the difference between the xvs and the xv or XV-TF is. But if you want to check it out, go to the main page of splitboard.com, then 'shop', 'boots,' then they are on the bottom of the page.
(I still think it would be good to try these on first, maybe you could try on a few other men's boots just to see if men's boots are going to work for you.)