Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Hard Boot Doubters… Watch this vid
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  • #662854
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @vapor wrote:

    Knew this thread was going to devolve into a pissing match. Calling peoples equipment “gay assed” or “toys” is bit of a knob move.
    I may wear hard boots out of personal preference but i found it quite funny when someone suggested to Kyle during his presentation at the Canuck splitfest that hardboots are better.What he’s done and ridden in a soft setup most of us wont even come close that level.

    I have tried to remain civil in this discussion, only discussing facts, and opinions based on actual experiences, rather than unsubstantiated zealotry. BTW my use of the word “toy boots” was in reference to the Fitwells vs. typical made in Asia softboots, and was meant to praise the fact that soft boot riders now have what appears to be a well made (in Italy) high quality boot option.

    I figured we would eventually hear from Brooks, as he is very outspoken on this topic, despite the fact that he apparently has no experience with actually riding a well sorted HB set up.

    To put to rest some of his (entirely unsubstantiated) claims:

    Hard boots like the TLT5 climb mixed ground much better than typical soft boots, the rolled edges, and soft midsole of most soft boots make any rock work quite sketchy, and the additional bulk makes precise footwork, not. The Fitwells appear to be a big advance in these areas, too bad they result in a system weight which is pounds heavier than a good HB system.

    AT boots feature a walk mode, which allows a very high level of ankle articulation, and makes skinning, walking, and climbing much easier. Mountaineering boots feature a low, very flexible, cuff, which allows the same type of flexibility for climbing and scrambling. Soft boots, even the Fitwells, have a high, relatively stiff cuff, which makes walking and climbing more awkward than with mountaineering boots or AT boots. Perhaps some do not understand the huge differences between an Alpine ski boot, and an AT boot, they are nothing alike. The lighter weight AT boots, like the TLT5, and Scarpa’s Rush and F1 are designed for mountaineering: that means that walking, scrambling, and climbing performance are all part of the design brief. In walk mode these boots are not awkward on the foot at all when walking, scrambling, and climbing. Suggesting that these boots will not climb or walk well is absurd. That said, I would not do an eight mile dry approach in them, or in any soft boot for that matter, that is where I would prefer to carry my boots (soft or hard, having plenty of experience with both) and have a very lightweight trail shoe on my feet.

    #662855
    Jason4
    443 Posts

    Last season was my first on a split and I got out 8 days before the ski area even opened, I think I had 30-40 days including the summer season before I took a break for a couple of months and went rock climbing. One of my first days out on the split was a trip up to Heliotrope Ridge on Mt Baker. At that time of the year it was about a 2 mile walk before we started skinning and the day ended with a lot of walking back down what we had skinned up (low snow on pointy rocks) plus the couple of miles of dry trail…

    I hate walking in softboots.

    That was the day that I was jealous of the skiers in the group and their ability to walk downhill comfortably. Knowing the approach now I would take a lighter pair of boots and carry my splitboarding boots with me until the snow was deep enough that skinning is more efficient than walking.

    I think a big part of this is the tolerance of the rider for having boots that bend backwards when riding. Some people are happy letting the highback limit the rearward travel. For me, once my heel stay is bent the boots go in the trash, they are done.

    #662856
    shasta
    143 Posts

    Off topic but who cares as this debate is boooooooooooooooooring.

    Zorbing is the way to resolve this stupidity, softbooters go first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2Lc8eMXPjs&feature=player_detailpage

    Have a nice day. Yes I am sick.

    #662857
    christoph benells
    717 Posts

    just for the record i was highly against hard boots…until i tried them out

    sure it took about 1/2 of a run to get used to them but they can shred. ive ridden resort days, dropped twenty foot into powder splashes, and even done some front boards in my hacked up bd primes. Ive ridden them switch from camp muir all the way to paradise. i ride the same angles/stances as my resort soft boot freestyle set up.

    #662858
    jvosburgh
    22 Posts

    @christoph benells wrote:

    just for the record i was highly against hard boots…until i tried them out

    sure it took about 1/2 of a run to get used to them but they can shred. ive ridden resort days, dropped twenty foot into powder splashes, and even done some front boards in my hacked up bd primes. Ive ridden them switch from camp muir all the way to paradise. i ride the same angles/stances as my resort soft boot freestyle set up.

    This is how I felt 4 years ago after softbooting for 21 years. Havnt been in plastic biindings since. Just works for me and where I ride and what i do. Soft boot are great too, for some people and some places. My opinion.

    #662859
    Jason4
    443 Posts

    @christoph benells wrote:

    in my hacked up bd primes

    About that picture of the hack job…

    :guinness:

    #662860
    jimw
    1420 Posts

    I think a big part of the reason folks get so worked up in this debate is that folks from both sides come off sounding like closed-minded assholes to the other side. :deadhorse: For example, I think barrows is probably a cool dude in Real Life, but from my perspective a lot of his posts come off sounding like “well soft boots might work OK for you, but you’re probably not doing anything serious, and you’ve probably never tried a REAL hardboot setup, and if you tried hardboots before and didn’t like them, it’s clearly because you didn’t do the right mods.” I don’t think that’s necessarily the intent, but that’s the way it comes off sounding a lot. Then there the other guys like BG and russman (I’ve ridden with both of them and they’re both cool dudes in Real Life) who come off sounding like “anyone riding hard boots can’t possibly have any style and that’s not REAL snowboarding”. Sometimes I get a bit of a kick out of just reading the posts and watching everyone get worked up… but then sometimes it gets old. 🙂

    Anyway. For me personally, I’ll probably try hardboots someday. But right now I can’t justify laying out the cash equivalent of at least a nice new splitboard setup just to get all the necessary boot/binding pieces, then put in more money and time to do the “correct tweaks”, and all of that only to find out if it actually works for me. But I can definitely see some positives to that setup. Watching the original video in the first post, the main thing I noticed was how long Joey’s strides were when skinning. I just can’t do that with my soft boot setup. In my case it’s mainly the highbacks on my bindings, which don’t have the negative forward lean setup that newer Spark/Karakoram bindings have… but even in that case you’re limited if you boot has a stiff heel stay.

    I picked up a pair of Fitwells over the summer and am stoked to try them out this season. I don’t think they’re the answer for everything, but seem like they should be a nice soft boot/mountaineering option. If I can just do something to deal with the damn overhang issue that is! How do you hardbooters with big feet deal with that? Seems like that wouldn’t be an issue for the old-school hardboot setup where you’re like 1″ off the board and running 45 degree angles, but with folks running park-like stances with hardboots and Keffler’s bindings putting you practically right on the board, seems like this must be an issue for some folks. Hard boots seem like they would have more toe/heel overhang than a softboot of the same size, especially if the sole is not as rockered, and if you have a Dynafit setup on the toe where it may stick out a bit further (or a welt for a fully automatic crampon). Do folks ever do any grinding of the sole to give the toe/heel a more rounded profile to reduce the overhang issue on a snowboard?

    Anyway, I try to keep an open mind about all this stuff. Deciding how something will work based on specs or previous accepted beliefs can make you miss out on some cool stuff. If I went on specs alone, I never would have picked up the Burton Spliff that I just got. So far, that thing rocks on everything. I’m looking forward to taking that thing down some big steep eastside lines this spring. Looking at the specs, that doesn’t make sense… but it works.

    Having said all that… I laughed my ass of at this:

    SOME OF US DON’T WANT TO HIKE FOR 8 FUCKING HOURS TO RUIN OUR RIDE DOWN WITH SOME GAY ASS SKI BOOTS ON OUR FEET.

    🙂

    :grouphug:

    #662861
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    I think bcd’s koflach oxygen with toe bail/highback and ankle strap makes a lot of sense. A lighter fitwell softboot but maybe with a soft plastic (really a hardboot/softboot hybrid) that has good ankle articulation in all directions that uses a separate high back and ankle strap but has a toe bail and dynafit touring bracket. He was/is onto something.

    #662862
    Rico in AZ
    559 Posts

    Huh. Kinda saw this coming from pg. 1.

    All I have to add is, that was a rad viddy. Vosburgh, you got smoove style. 😀

    Carry on.

    #662863
    shredgnar
    643 Posts

    JimW once again hits the nail on the head. I would really like to hear some opinions from big footed hardboot guys. The hardest thing about this is definitely buying a $700 boot and doin a bunch of mods to it, that and the price of the bindings system and dynafit toe piece.

    I am of the opinion that I have been snowboarding for long enough that I could eventually overcome any difference in feel between hard and soft boots. In fact, adapting to different boards/bindings/conditions has always been a hobby of mine. I take it as a personal challenge. Therefore, I really do not anticipate hard boots affecting my riding style that much. I can definitely see the advantages of hardboots and find that my main holdback is the cost of switching over. I simply cannot justify that kind of expense in my budget right now, but if anyone wants to buy a sweet singlespeed bike, or some of my other gear at a terribly high price, I might change my mind. 😉

    #662864
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    jimw:

    ‘come off sounding like “well soft boots might work OK for you, but you’re probably not doing anything serious, and you’ve probably never tried a REAL hardboot setup, and if you tried hardboots before and didn’t like them, it’s clearly because you didn’t do the right mods.”

    As to the first part of this statement, right now I want to apologize if this is the impression you, or anyone else, has gotten from my posts. I never meant to criticize anyone’s riding experiences, far from it. Specifically, I know that you and Brooks both have plenty of experience riding in serious terrain. I do not recall ever making a statement here which would have been characterized this way, but clearly, if anyone gets this idea, then I must have stated something to cause the feeling-for that, I am sorry.
    As to the second part of this, well, experience does matter here. I admit, it is not easy to take off the shelf AT boots and get a great riding experience. Because of this, usually, only those really committed to making hard boot systems work have the experience of riding a really good set up. But I still feel that most (if not all) of the negative opinions RE the riding performance and feel of hard boots systems comes from riders who have not ridden a well sorted set up. This lack of experience is in direct opposition to hard boot riders, who all have plenty of experience riding soft boot set ups. For myself: I would not ride a hard boot system if felt there was any compromise in riding performance.
    Everyone should certainly ride what they want, this is snowboarding after all, and there are many different ways to enjoy the sport. The only thing which really makes me upset about this discussion, is that unsupported, zealous, viewpoints tend to curtail development and innovation. I have been riding since the first boards were introduced, and I think it is shame that we still do not have a dedicated, ground up, plastic shelled boot for freeriders. The boot which could be possible given the tech available could eclipse the performance of all currently available soft or hard boot setups, but this development does not happen, partially because manufacturers (and I have discussed this with them) see that such a boot would face unsubstantiated discrimination/un-acceptance in the marketplace, no matter how good the performance is.

    #662865
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    To address sole length:

    The TLT5 sole is about the same length as the older versions of the Burton Driver X. I have a size 10 Driver X, and a size 28 TLT5, these have the same sole length. The newer Driver X models have a slightly reduced sole length, supposedly, but when I tried them on I had to go up a size in them, making the difference nil.
    Other AT boots are slightly longer than comparable soft boots, by slightly, I am talking about maybe 5 mm, and yes, it is possible to grind the boot a little to make this a non-issue (a table mounted belt sander works great for this).
    The boots that usually seem to be more of a problem in terms of sole length are many of the mountaineering boots. I have tried using them (with a highback binding and a taller liner) in the past, and always had problems with unacceptable overhang.

    #662866
    HikeforTurns
    1113 Posts

    As far as BSL, I dont have a problem but I also have a size 28 (307mm BSL). Right now its mounted at 0 degrees backfoot on a 25 waist snowboard. No issues yet, but I havent ridden steep ice or corn to truly test for overhang. I have a 26.3 waist NS that I can fall back on if it becomes an issue. Sasquatch feet riders are kinda screwed either way without a really wide board or duck stance. They only go up to 30.5 anyway (327mm BSL). TLT 5s have the shortest BSL of the Dynafit fleet. The fitwells would provide more of an overhang challenge than the TLT 5’s.

    I wouldnt pay $700 for TLTs, But I never pay full price for anything if I can avoid it. Found my TLTs over the summer for $250 slightly used on craigslist.

    #662867
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Some details on overhang/clearance. I tend to be very sensitive to having too much boot/binding overhang, as I sometimes find myself on steep icy slopes, where too much overhang can really be an issue.
    I test for overhang by mounting the boot on the board, and laying a piece of 2 x 4 or equivalent across the edge and against the farthest protruding point of the boot/binding system. I try to get to at least a 60 degree angle between the block and the board (simulating a 60 degree slope) without any contact between boot/binding and slope (block).
    Note, that plate bindings have the advantage of no heel loop sticking out, which is often the contact point on soft systems on the heelside. On the other hand, some plate bindings (voile plate) have a quite bulky toe lever which contacts the snow fairly early. One of the reasons the Phantom bindings use the CC toe lever bail assembly is that the lever is pretty low profile. But, I suspect that we will see futher developments which result in even lower profile toe levers in the future.

    #662868
    Powder_Rider
    498 Posts

    I like to weigh and say that I have patiently waited and purchased Scarpa F1 AT Boots, Burton Race Plates bindings, Dynafits toe pieces / Spark adapters for under or near the price of what a quality softboot set up. Compare:

    $688 for DEELUXE Spark BOOTS AND SPARK BURNER BINDINGS
    [*]http://www.backcountry.com/deeluxe-spark-snowboard-boot-mens
    [*]http://www.backcountry.com/deeluxe-spark-snowboard-boot-mens

    I was able purchased two quality hard boot setups
    [*] $340 each for Scarpa F1 boots through Sierra Trading Post end-of-season sales,
    [*]http://www.sierratradingpost.com/scarpa-f1-at-ski-boots-dynafit-compatible-for-men-and-women~p~2787k/

    [*] About $90 dollars each (average cost); Purchase 3 pair of used Burton Race Plate Bindings (can only be purchased used, longer made) on ebay. Also purchased so Snow-Pro Race bindings on ebay for similar cost.
    [*] Dynafit toe pieces and adapters
    [*]$230 one new Dynafits toes and adapters from Spark R & D.
    [*][*]http://store.sparkrandd.com/dynafit.html
    [*]$175 used pair of Dynafits toes and adapters
    Total Cost $680 dollars.

    Also, I have purchased Bomber Sidewinder splitboard bindings for $300 and I am very interested in purchasing Phantom bindings. However with a little bargain hunting one can find an a Hard boot setup for similar cost of softboots.

    Overall, I will save money over the life of this hard boot setup compare to a the lifespan of the softboot setup.

    Also, I ride stock F1s with the $30 Eliminator Custom Tongue. What I have found these added tongues this has soften forward lean for me. These boots allow me to have a snug lower fit boot fit (no heel lift ) ( w/ molded liners) and a slightly more relaxed upper cuff.

    What I have found is that over the years I no longer have to crank down my AT boots to get an excellent ride. If needed, I can quickly tighten down my boots for split-skiing.

    #662869
    philip.ak
    679 Posts

    @powder_rider wrote:

    I like to weigh and say that I have patiently waited and purchased…

    Interesting. That exact setup you describe drove me back to soft boots. To each their own, I guess. 😉

    A few guys mention “$$ savings over the life of product X”. Seriously? In a First-World fringe sport, we are resorting to highly dubious economic rationalizations?

    Carry on… :mrgreen:

    #662870
    Powder_Rider
    498 Posts

    Which boot will wear out more quickly, an AT boot or a softboot?

    To be fair, I have ridden in Hard Boots since the early 90’s. Over the years, I tried soft boots (such as the Driver X). For me, F1s ride as well as or better than the Drivers.

    #662871
    b0ardski
    251 Posts

    well put Barrows
    Everyone should certainly ride what they want, this is snowboarding after all, and there are many different ways to enjoy the sport. The only thing which really makes me upset about this discussion, is that unsupported, zealous, viewpoints tend to curtail development and innovation. I have been riding since the first boards were introduced, and I think it is shame that we still do not have a dedicated, ground up, plastic shelled boot for freeriders. The boot which could be possible given the tech available could eclipse the performance of all currently available soft or hard boot setups, but this development does not happen, partially because manufacturers (and I have discussed this with them) see that such a boot would face unsubstantiated discrimination/un-acceptance in the marketplace, no matter how good the performance is.

    I’m a zealot :soapbox: And don’t care If I come of unreasonable.
    Like B said There are no hardbooters that haven’t tried softies, and most HBrs still use soft setups for powder.
    Fine w/me
    Since ’90 I’ve advocated that a plate binding with a buckled SOFT plastic shell can emulate the flex of ANY soft boot setup and eliminate the hassle, bulk and durability issues of straps and laces( in 89-90all soft gear was still crap) Something like Damians Kolflachs could have ruled the market if developed further but the “snowboarders” using ski-lifts at a ski area were so totally loath to be considered a “skier”. Racism by any other name.
    My issue is not being considered a skier, it;s that laces and straps are more of a hassle to use and are not as durable.

    In over 20yrs riding plastic boots I’ve never once wished I had laces &straps in stead; every time I;ve ever used softies I’ve wished I had the support & response of hardboots

    #662872
    fustercluck
    668 Posts

    As the best rider on this board, I hereby declare soft boots to be superior!
    Damn, I should probably be out riding or something… :scratch:

    #662873
    schwalbster
    321 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    I think a big part of the reason folks get so worked up in this debate is that folks from both sides come off sounding like closed-minded assholes to the other side. :deadhorse: For example, I think barrows is probably a cool dude in Real Life, but from my perspective a lot of his posts come off sounding like “well soft boots might work OK for you, but you’re probably not doing anything serious, and you’ve probably never tried a REAL hardboot setup, and if you tried hardboots before and didn’t like them, it’s clearly because you didn’t do the right mods.” I don’t think that’s necessarily the intent, but that’s the way it comes off sounding a lot. Then there the other guys like BG and russman (I’ve ridden with both of them and they’re both cool dudes in Real Life) who come off sounding like “anyone riding hard boots can’t possibly have any style and that’s not REAL snowboarding”. Sometimes I get a bit of a kick out of just reading the posts and watching everyone get worked up… but then sometimes it gets old. 🙂

    Very, very much agree with JimW! I haven’t been on this board as much, (since life is busy), but whenever I went through pages of posts over the last year or so, there were 2 things you could rely on:

    Barrows pushing his Hardboot thing and Brooks pissing someone of with his provoking comments. (Oftentimes Barrows of course 😉 )

    Barrows, my name is Henning, I’m from Germany, riding and splitting for a long time, most of my touring friends in Europe were skiers and I really don’t care what people use to enjoy the mountains. I moved to the states 5 1/2 years ago. Been out on the Eastside a bit with the guys and I’m friends with Jim. Just saying this, because I hate this anonymous messageboard bullshit and witnessing how people treat each other, just because they are not face to face.

    So @jimw wrote:

    well soft boots might work OK for you, but you’re probably not doing anything serious, and you’ve probably never tried a REAL hardboot setup, and if you tried hardboots before and didn’t like them, it’s clearly because you didn’t do the right mods.

    hit it on the head for me as well, it’s exactly how I perceive your agenda. And you already apologized for this and I accept that, because I also think that you are probably a good dude.

    But perhaps you’re wondering why you are perceived this way and this is what I have to say about that from my point of view:

    Your basic message is simple: HB set-up done right is far superior to any soft boot set-up for serious splitboard mountaineering.

    This is a bit a slap in the face and somewhat disrespectful to anyone here who’s been doing serious stuff for a long, long time in softboots. You have to realize why you get aggressive push back here, right!?

    You also like to pepper a lot of your posts with what I consider quite a bit of bragging. Perfect example above: @barrows wrote:

    I try to get to at least a 60 degree angle between the block and the board (simulating a 60 degree slope) without any contact between boot/binding and slope (block).

    Yes I get it, 60 degree slope, didn’t need to mention that!

    You know what I think when I read stuff like that? ‘Here barrows goes again, making it a point telling us what gnarly stuff he climbs and rides.’ (and that you should be doing that in Hardboots) This is how I perceive a lot of your posts! And based on reactions you get I believe I’m not the only one. In every thread that you’re involved in. You overdo it! You do not need to constantly let the world know. We get it.
    Not that I don’t understand your gear fanaticism. Heck if I would constantly find myself on life or death terrain, I better make damn sure my equipment does the job.

    Am I curtailing innovation just because I want to keep riding the type of boots that I’ve always been riding and like? If you think that is the case, then I apologize to you that I am screwing up progress towards your dream market.

    I think the problem is that you are trying to force a paradigm shift via relentless messageboard arguing, which indeed gets old.

    Ride with your friends, influence them by positive example, let it spread naturally. Be humble. Change takes time. You’re probably better off trying to convince some superstar to lead the change and mod some boots for/with them, than to keep arguing with people who have a very different opinion. That’s a waste of energy. If it really is superior and the future for splitboard mountaineering then it will be someday.

    My 2 cents :thatrocks:

    After much research, experimentation and consideration, I have decided adulthood is not for me. Thank you for the opportunity.

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