The 32 walk mode articulates quite high and the whole system was initially designed for ladies boots to adjust for thicker calves. Might give something though, I´ll have to try them in the shop just out of interest. I´m though fully converted to HB and not coming back before some really major development happens.
TLT6 inner boot has a low density non supportive panel at the rear of the boot to allow for articulation. The triangular shaped area in the picture below at about achilles area.. It´s just like a soft fabric really. Similar design might be usable on the MTB too to have a one piece inner boot if I understood the problem here? Then just trust on the outer boot and highback for the ride mode support.
For sidehilling etc. I think the key is the tour binding to boot interface _combined_ with lower boot lateral stiffness. This is where the Rangers for example fail, the boot still rolls in the strap binding, even if the touring interface is Tech. After that comes upper boot stiffness, but you are skinning upper boot open anyways on a HB setup and they sidehill pretty good, though for difficult stuff I semi-buckle up. Last season I splitskied (traversed) over a 32 deg refrozen avypath, where skiers on non-tech bindings (loose interface compared to tech) had very bad difficulties, with some taking scary slides down the path..
Semi-buckling is closing the upper buckle, but preventing ski mode from engaging (in TLT6) by modding or just putting pant leg in between the buckle. Makes the upper boot laterally stiff, keeps walk mode in use, but makes cuff rotation also a lot stiffer, so not good for extended use.
I decided to give the 32 Jones boots another try, returning the 11 1/2 for a better fitting 12. I felt the same way about them… They were very stiff and the walk-mode panel was uncomfortably stiff pushing directly against my achilles tendon through the cut-out in the liner. To me it felt like it would be a world of pain after a long day. You could argue that it wouldn’t be such a problem with the panel in walk mode, but I don’t think anyone should plan to spend a day in the backcountry with their boots hanging open. Kicking steps up step and deep for example would fill your boots with snow. Also, unlike the first pair, the shoelace gator on the second pair was poorly constructed and only partially glued. Seemed like more of a liability than a benefit. On the plus side, I really love the sole and the built-up toe box of these boots.
I ended up ordering the improved 2015/2016 Deeluxe Spark XV and after wearing it around the house I am pretty stoked on them. They are comfortable, with the right amount of flex (for me), light-weight, with a smaller sole than in the past. I kinda really dig them. And $140 cheaper than the Jones!
Yea. I was wondering about the philosophy behind the lace gaiter up front and the gaping holes in the back. But then I thought, “The holes won’t be a problem; all my snow pants have gaiters built-in.” Which kind of begs the question, “then why have the lace gaiters in the first place?” …Whatever.
So I decided to order a pair to check them out. They seem very well built and more solid than any Burton or thirtytwo boot I have ever seen. I would not judge past experiences with those brands to this boot. It’s very stiff especially in the sole and for side to side lateral flex. The walk mode does seem to make a significant difference. The boot itself has more forward lean built into it that other soft boots that I have tried on. That combined with the stiff shell feel to it makes the walk mode more needed in my opinion. It adds quite a bit of range of movement both while in the bindings and just walking around. I don’t care for the lace gaiter. I’m sure that it will perform its function but I found it annoying to try and zip up and for lacing up the boot. It’s a snug fit. I did like how it made the boot feel trimand streamline. The height of the boot is lower on my calf than my burton ions. This combined with the stiff back and forward lean was not comfortable. Lots of calf bite. In fact I felt like I needed to loosen up the walk mode a little to make the boot more comfortable. I’m sure this is just my preference. There are so many things j like about this boot but I don’t think I’ll keep them due to concerns about comfort along the back of my calves. I do think these will sidehill better than other soft boots that I have used and they definately have more of a performance feel to them. Fun to see the industry providing boots with splitboarding in mind. Wish these just had a few differences in them.
Been playing around with these boots some more in the house and that are growing on me. The lace gaiter zipper seems to have settled in and it’s not to bad to deal with. The backs of the boot on the walk mode panel are pretty firm. However I’m thinking that you would only have them fully tightened for the ride down. In which your legs would be bent and follow the forward lean of the boot more anyway. When in walk mode they are pretty comfy. I have no experience with deeluxe Sparks or fitwells but these are prob a pretty good option for consideration.
These weren’t even on my radar until a friend, who’s been riding these, told me about them. I got a hair up my ass and ordered a pair from backcountry.com (you can talk the chat people into a 5% discount). Got a 10.5 (same as my street shoe) and they are almost too small (I usually order a 1/2 small). I don’t mind as I don’t get toe bang testing them out kicking them against my porch steps and I’m right at that cutoff point where toe/heel drag becomes a problem so I like that they have a slightly smaller footprint front to back than my fitwells.
I have yet to tour in them but so far here’s what I like/don’t like:
Pros: – Stiff toe box and stiff sole… I was kicking these against pavement and they are gonna be awesome kicking steps.
– zip gaiter not sure why all the bitching ITT about it. Super easy to zip up and down and it actually makes a smooth surface for the ankle strap to contour against. Only a plus in my book.
– walk mode Easy to engage and you can adjust how much you want it open. I don’t foresee any problems of anything digging into my achilles. It feels super comfy when it’s open. And I’m not worried bout snow getting in. You have a gaiter on your snow pants and most of the time we aren’t touring in deep pow. Non issue as far as I can see. If you’re kicking steps in waist deep snow just close the boot. You don’t need them in walk mode wallowing up a couloir.
– build They’re not your typical $300-400 2 season boots that will pack out. The sole and outer is super rugged and looks like it wont break down. They are stiff and I’ll need to take a few days to the resort just to get some flex in them. These will easily last a lot longer than a typical boot like a K2 T1, malamute, driverx, etc…and while they’re expensive ($475 for mine) they really don’t cost much more than any high end resort boot. They feel great strapped into my K’rams fwiw.
– liner I was bummed no inner BOA but the liner feels really comfy and the lacing system seems to lock well and comes with beefy laces. The liner also comes with some pads you can slide in some pockets to improve heel lift but I haven’t used these yet.
Cons: – Outer laces. Typical lame puffy laces and it’s really hard to tighten the outer boot. Not a big deal. Eyelets look strong and durable.
– weight My biggest and only real gripe. They weight the same as my fitwells (actually just under 1 oz per boot more). But TLT6’s are almost the same weight so suck it hardbooters (oh but you have bindings blah blah blah….so do you so shut up) 1390 gms per boot size 10.5
I decided to keep em as there wasn’t much I didn’t like about them. I’ll use my fitwells on the super gnar but these boots should be good for 99% of splitboarding missions. I don’t really like using my fitwells on most powder missions as they are a pain in the ass to adjust on multiple lap days. Excited to use them on long flat approaches with my the Karakoram heel lock and flex lock (yes these things do provide the lateral stiffness of hardboots touring and will help split skiing as well). The combo off all 3 of these features should make a difference on a lot of bigger missions.
I’ve used these boots twice in deep B.C. powder and on my the second tour one of the Boa lines broke. No big deal for a day tour, but it’s concerning. Called and emailed 32 with ZERO response. Sent them back to Mountain Gear and replaced them with Deelux Spark XVes. Toured one day on the XVes and hated them, got fostbite re-injury on my toe and two fun blisters. My hatred for Deelux knows no bounds. Turn my thigh deep blower day into three runs and out while my bros got four. First world problem no doubt. Returned the XVes and reordered the 32s. Now I’m sitting with them on. The fit is amazing, the construction is good and the walk mode works. I’m going to keep them until the hard boot revolution starts up (I give soft boots two seasons if the Arc’teryx ProCline prototype pans out). Soooo, I see this boot as the perfect north cascades, volcanoes, and steep bc slayer. I’m not sure if the Boa can be field repaired, but it’s worth the risk for the fit and function.
My BOA broke yesterday. Sounds like this WILL happen. I rigged the walk flap closed with a shoelace the rest of the day. Luckily it didn’t affect the riding. Thankfully I’m probably gonna get these warrantied via backcountry.com. Overall, the boots are o.k. I think they are a tad too wide. I’d prefer a sole profile closer to the fitwell. And I’m starting to get toe bang in these. I guess you could say I like them less the longer I use them. I probably will be using my current pair and my fitwells until I see something else come out the next couple years. And it probably won’t be another pair of these.
Update: 32 actually sent me an email within an hour and linked me to BOA’s number directly and they’re sending a replacement set of spools and laces to fix them. I guess they switched to spectra to fix the problem of the cables breaking. Kudos to them!
So I got my spectra BOA replacement laces and was in the process of doing the repairs when I ran into a snag. A part of the BOA cable housing could not be threaded due to a breakage, blockage, or defect in the tubing. This is also the place where my cable snapped so not sure what was going on inside the housing. I could thread the feeder cable from both sides overlapping by more than an inch so there must be a break in the housing and the cable is going somewhere other than the where it’s supposed to. Backcountry.com told me they’d give me store credit for a return as I don’t want a replacement boot since they’d need to be upgraded with spectra anyway. Therefore, I’m done with these boots. Considering getting the tourist boot as they’re $100 cheaper than my store credit. I talked to JimW about the negative flex and we both concluded it makes way more sense than a true walk mode since the binding provides all the forward lean. I rode my Jones downs a steep couloir that day with the walk mode barely closed with a loose piece of string and it made not difference whatsoever riding. So for those of you considering these boots I would wait for next years model that will have the upgraded BOA laces. They are a good boot but the first generation is not worth the hassle.
Btw, the heel welt on both the Jones and Burton Tourist boots is a 100% a selling point gimmick. A semiautomatic crampon will not work on either. I could care less, because I like my strap on grivel G-10’s just fine. Thought people should know though. Both boots are just way too wide for a semi auto.