Forums Boots Splitboard Specific AT Boot – What Would Be its Features?
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  • #787976
    797 Posts

    Since a rumor has surfaced on the boot forum of a splitboard-specific AT boot under development, it may be worth airing thoughts about what that boot might look like.

    I’ll start:

    – Adjustable ride-mode forward lean, from zero to 20 deg

    Forward lean preferences differ widely with riding style and body mechanics, snow conditions and front foot, back foot. A splitboard AT boot should be adjustable across a wide range of angles.

    – Pebax or other light soft plastic

    Among materials currently used for AT boots, a splitboard AT boot should use a plastic that is relatively soft and lightweight. Softer is generally better when it comes to splitboard AT boot plastics.

    – Adjustable medial and forward flex in the upper

    Preference for forward and medial flex also differs by riding style, body mechanics, snow conditions and front foot, back foot. An AT boot should be adjustable in the softness or stiffness of its forward and medial flex to accommodate those differences.

    – Short BSL

    Given problems of boot-out, an AT splitboard boot should have a maximally short BSL for a given size. The Scarpa Alien would be a good benchmark, going shorter would be even better.

    – Lightweight

    Given that, for splitboarding, softer AT boots are better AT boots, a design should strive to minimize weight by minimizing use of plastic in ways that best yields even medial and forward flex. Again, the Alien sets a strong benchmark in terms of weight.


    443 Posts

    Grilamid would be better, take material away to get it softer instead of switching to pebax. Pebax has a reputation for being hard to punch.

    A modern shell molding strategy would be the best way to tackle the varying demands of such a niche market. Something like what the Atomic Backland is capable of.

    Medial flex is more important than lateral flex but I think you intended to cover both.

    Special attention to the ankle area of the shoe is needed to make sure that it flexes right and doesn’t bite into the ankle. It’s more than just a matter of cutting it lower, it should stay high and have some flex.

    Keep the forward lean lock low, near the bottom of the cuff so we don’t have to pull our pant gaiters up to transition. Don’t couple the lean lock with the cuff buckle!

    Don’t lose step in crampon compatibility, also needed for current plate bindings. The ability to optionally roll the ankle for french technique would be nice but that might take away from sidehilling ability when touring.

    It should have a 2 or 3 piece sole that’s thin and light but easily replaceable with a new sole and some barge cement. It doesn’t make sense to toss out a $600 boot because you wore through some rubber.

    624 Posts

    Good idea Taylor. I could design these–only been thinking about it for 20 years. Ok start with a Scarpa Alien:

    Make the last 15mm wider, yes 15. There should be a nice thick layer of liner around the feet for comfort and warmth. Foot pain is for skiers who have to keep two long sticks going the same way through rotating pressure with their feet, the control surfaces for snowboarding are above your foot and your highback not along the sides of your feet like for skis. Wider footprint, ski boots are narrow for old 66mm skis, ancient history, pointless for splitboards and walking on somewhat supportable snow. The last for the old K2 Aggressor or Sidewinders was nice and wide.

    Move the cuff pivot down near the sole like on a dalbello Sherpa or even lower. (Also the K2 Aggressor) This opens the boot for medial flex. The plastic around the ankle above the low pivot for the highback should be buttery like the top of a Koflach degree.

    The highback should be plastic, not carbon, and should adjust to 3 positions with a scarpa alien type bar (that clicks in below your pant cuff): open for striding, medium for powder riding in the trees, and forward a bit for icy off angle exit trails and traverses. The mount for the top of the arm would have a strong mount to the cuff and be adjustable up and down a fair distance.

    No ramp angle, ample sole rocker

    Black or charcoal plastic color, sorry italy

    There just has to be an instep strap. This is the critical interface for riding and to be able to adjust it with a couple clicks is essential. Drop the boa or put the knob on the front top of the boot in front of the ankle strap where it is accessible. I think most of us riding good snow lace our boots once and pretty loose and then tighten or loosen the instep strap before and after descent. Laces on upper if not the whole boot and use a system like the Yonex Tripper Boot has to get tighter in over the instep, it is an excellent design that increases the mechanical advantage to tighten up the boot material if you need to.

    Strap the upper cuff with a wide slightly stretchy band and provide replacements for an even adjustable forward lean. Remove hard plastic or use very soft plastic in the front cuff.

    2 to 2.5lbs, that’s all you get to work with.

    Tech fittings, but license your own Pierre Gignoux style toe pieces that release if you are in an avy in climbing mode, sell them in sets of 3 for hut trips and easy replacement.

    Personally I would want the sole to have recessed step in mounts for Yonex accublade bindings, but many fear them. They are/were the next generation of the klicker and work flawlessly in wet packed refrozen snow. They don’t pack snow into a recess the way klicker and qwickers can, instead the Yonex mounts cut into any packed snow to attach.

    Then, make a second model for soft boot die hards. Basically take the above boot have the shell cover the toe and the sides about 3/4 of inch high. have the plastic come up to the heel to support the highback. The rest of the boot is a soft boot attached to the hard lower. See Freemotion ski boots and kneissl soft rail ski boots for hard to soft material transition inspiration. Like a K2 Ace with a pebax sole, toe, heel and highback that would be under 3lbs.

    You could even ditch the highback and use kite line from the top of the highback to the instep of the boot to provide rearward support to get lighter.

    Don’t sweat lateral touring edge-ability, if you have a rigid sole that is rigidly attached to the ski, you get good control. It’s mostly the roll of a soft boot, with a soft sole in a strap binding that makes life hard sometimes.

    have drawings, live in SLC.

    797 Posts

    Great stuff, Scooby. I’ll post up some pictures of the boot part examples you reference…


    59 Posts

    1) Roomier toebox, as mentioned, the last does not have to be as tight as with skis.
    2) Adjustable stiffnes would be good as people prefer different feel. Maybe an evolution of the TLT6 idea of different tongues. Burton bindings also used to have (ca. 2005) detachable insert on highbacks to alter the response,
    3) I agree on the necessity of stiff boot binding interface (tech toe), which is key for good sidehilling.

    I’ve never ridden TLT-5´s, but I´d really like to see an evolution of the articulating toebox, as I feel the stiff sole of TLT6 contributes a lot to the slightly aggressive behaviour´of a HB setup.. Maybe not? Some people who´ve ridden both can comment on this.

    I would keep the possibility of a tech binding rear part, just have it removable like dynafit. I´d put them on if the board had inserts.

    460 Posts

    I’m pretty happy with the TLT6 so that’s a very strong starting point.

    Moving the ankle strap more over the ankle. I think it’s too low on the green TLT6 but is reportedly a smidge higher on the blue/yellow version.

    Earlier toeside resistance. After a couple seasons solely in HBs, I’ve ridden Burton Tourists about 10 time this season and I’ve noticed that they are noticeably stiffer in the very beginning when leaning forward for toe side turns. Being soft boots this will reduce as they break in, but I have found that I like this performance feature and my TLTs feel a touch too soft in this early toe side turn initiation zone. I notice this more on firm conditions. I still completely prefer my TLTs but it’s been interesting re-visiting soft boots. I definitely do not find them nearly as comfortably for long days.

    A little more medial flex.

    Of course adjustability is appealing but if it comes at the expense of weight/durability….I think I would prefer something simpler that works decently for most people over something heavier/fragile that can be configured for everyone’s unique preferences.

    Before the TLTs, I used Scarpa’s F3s and I think I kinda prefer their simple lever to switch between tour/ski mode over the integrated TLT strap system. Although the time saving aspect of the TLT design is sorta clever I’m not sure in the real world it actually saves me much time. Not a big deal though.

    Liner laces that actually stay put. I’ve yet to find a system that reliably keeps my liner snug and w/o one the tongue likes to migrate around sideways while touring.

    59 Posts


    I totally agree on the toeside feel difference to stiff softboots. In my opinion, used (50+ days) malamutes with some quite basic Ride bindings I have, offer a noticeably stiffer toeside feel early when leaning. And at the same time they are much softer on the heelside. I prefer the overal feel of TLT6 and especially toeside, as it’s “snappier” and jumping (just for fun) from toeside to heelside turns in pow is a lot more easier to initiate. The stiffness is also a point which many softboot riders seem to neglect as the comparison is only relevant when boots are attached to bindings.

    I kinda prefer the TLT6 mechanism for safety and durability. I would actually prefer a possibility to extralock the ride mode, as a failure of the lock can lead to quite bad consequences on many places. I´ve had it pop out once due to most likely my own neglectance, probably had a pant cuff inbetween the lock, which pulled the lever out on toeside turn and on next heelside there was no support, which in the case of an open HB really means no support and down I went. Luckily on slope. I´m just commenting this, becouse a skier friend had the tour mode freeze on at _both_ boots at Lyngen (maritime climate, quite wet) on Scarpas. The first frozen in transition, the second while skiing, after a loud noise. Locks failing while riding seems quite scary. He said it had never happened in the Alps.. They started working again after warming them at the hut.

    251 Posts

    I know a med/lat flex lockout at the hinge pivot would add a wee bit o’ weight, but way worth it imo. Locked down for sketchy entrances, traverses(ride or ski mode) or hard snow, flip a lever and the cuff loosens up to surf the pow field below,

    a slight bellows(like scarpa f1) to give the foot a more natural flex touring/walking and even split teleskiing,

    + a gazillion on a wider last, Got hooves instead of hobbit feet, oh the horror of extra insulation,

    soft and firm easy swap tongues included, I like to have a bit stiffer front boot in most cases

    DO NOT WANT forward lean and upper cuff tightness interdependent, I might want a tight cuff in walk mode

    shortest sole length possible with ample bail ledge toe and heel for use in all bail type bindings and security for front pointing crampons.

    oh ya, under 500 bucks please

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