I'm sure I'll taking a beating for even considering this....
For a long time I've been intrigued with the idea of ditching the highbacks. For touring it's less weight and more comfort. The obvious question is whether or not it's rideable. Last week I had the free time to throw something together and give it a spin. I didn't put a whole lot of effort into the assembly since I wasn't sure if it was worth pursuing at all. Just took an older spark baseplate, Burton Custom straps, and a random aluminum heel cup. I took this for a spin on the hardpack at the resort and found that it actually rode really well. Obviously a little less power on the heel side, but still very carveable and a really nice surfy feeling. I can only imagine that it would be ever better in something soft.
Makes perfect sense. Most boots' lack of any rearward flex (some even have plastic shanks in them) render high backs functionally duplicative anyway. Running a 35 deg front foot I benefit a bit from the front high back's side leverage that the boot doesn't otherwise afford. But I bet it'd be a fast and easy adjustment to just ditch them. Last time I tried no high backs I loved the resulting ankle mobility. Heel turns adjusted fine, just requires a surfier, less rigid style. But that was in like 1991. For splitting I'd rather have boots with rearward walking flex and high backs than boots with no rearward flex and no high backs. That is, I'd rather rely on high backs for rearward riding support and gain the benefit of rearward walk mobility in the boot.
_________________ Craig Kelly is my co-pilot 195 Glissade Big Gun 187 Donek Custom Split 181 Venture Storm Solid and Split 173 Rossi Race DIY Swallowtail Split
Thanks guys. Snurfer, that thread was informative if not very conclusive. Guess I need to just try it more and report back.
Taylor, I completely agree. Which is why I was never that interested in step-ins. I never wanted the boot to be responsible for the rigidity. I guess I'm just wondering if ridgidity is somewhat overrated altogether.
The terrain I ride tends to be very tight eastern trees with variable conditions and thin base. So having a reliable heelside turn means a lot. So this whole idea might be kooky, but I can't help myself...
I been rocking the no backs since the mid 90's. Super comfy. I'm actually still sporting '95 K2 freestyles. The most comfortable binding ever. You will destroy your boots though. I've always opted for a soft boot, so the stiffness of the boot gives out in about two years or so. Usually the boot will split. But by then maybe it's time for new boots anyway as they usually become no longer water repellent. I ride a 15% ducked front and back. Yea on super crusty stuff a back would be nice, that and heel side spins are harder. But for like 90% of the time it's fine.