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Softboots, Hardboots, history, whatever...

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https://gearpatrol.com/2019/11/15/snowboard-boots-history/ 

Instead of embracing injection-molded plastic and the ability to dial in flex patterns and pivot points like ski boots, the snowboard industry has never evolved past glorified skate shoes that sacrifice durability, performance and innovation. Here’s why…

If only hardboots in a variety of stiffnesses were still available... 😉

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Have any of you tried the Backlands on an alpine board? I'm less interested in turning them into a soft boot and more interested in seeing how they compare to the Deeluxe/ UPZ's. My experience with AT boots of the past was that they were good, but I could use more cuff height and a bit more lateral flex, personally.

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10 minutes ago, Mr.E said:

Have any of you tried the Backlands on an alpine board? I'm less interested in turning them into a soft boot and more interested in seeing how they compare to the Deeluxe/ UPZ's. My experience with AT boots of the past was that they were good, but I could use more cuff height and a bit more lateral flex, personally.

load of great info in the above thread.

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wow great write up, Zellers was my hero and I've shunned laces every since

one of my favorite parts,

Aside from lacking the all-important cool factor, hard boots have always been extremely expensive to manufacture. The cost of a mold for each size of each boot model can be close to $100,000. Why spend all that money on new tooling and injection-molded plastic when you can make cheaper, oversized sneakers out of leather, stitching and glue and pay pros to say they’re the best? Then they’d fall apart after a season or two of hard riding and customers would have to buy a new pair.

Edited by b0ardski
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Want to add, broke down the stiffening spines in two pairs of Malamutes in less than ten days each time, even with my top third strap, however my SB only wear out from 200 days of use... wonder how many liners replacements I would need for 200 days in HB...

Boardski understands 😀

this puts about 6 different subjects into one consolidated effort, great article though, Thanks!

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but this I could never understand:smashfrea

"While Keffler’s technology is years ahead of anything being mass produced on the market, his resources and support are limited. Ski boot companies could easily swap out a few parts in their existing boot configurations to work great for snowboarding, but why would they go through that hassle to maybe sell a few thousand units? The snowboard industry is still too hampered by the technology-blind cool factor that leaves them far too insecure to be seen wearing anything that looks like a ski boot.

I've been calling straps and laces caveman tech for 25yrs... so last century

Edited by b0ardski

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I guess you mean that you understand precisely what he's saying, but not why "the snowboarding industry" doesn't get it.

It does come across as "insecurity" to me, when people ask me about why I'm using hard boots. Odd.

---
I think the article is excellent, bang on the money. With snowboarding the major narrative has been essentially that  "it's not skiing".
After 30 years the result is that snowboarding is now conservative than skiing.

However I think a few things are now driving change:

  1. The original generation (gulp, me included) are getting old and the baggage they carried is perhaps no longer quite the driver it once was.
     
  2. Pipes are dead, parks are hardly crowded, turning's cool again, for whatever reason.
     
  3. Whilst split boarding is a minority sport, so is the whole park/pipe/trick thing, and for that matter racing in skiing isn't what most skiers actually do. I think a niche like that picked up for marketing purposes generates a very strong narrative. The industry is trying to drive "the market" with some sort of "back country" narrative; the split board thing is a piggy-back on that, but may be a way for technology to creep back into snowboarding.

I'm glad to see that Phantom are getting traction on this. 

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2 hours ago, softbootsurfer said:

, however my SB only wear out from 200 days of use... wonder how many liners replacements I would need for 200 days in HB...

Boardski understands 😀

 

I swap different liners out in different boot shells all the time especially on back to back days, I easily get 200 days out of a pair liners; I have some nordica gran prix ski boot liners I loved to death over a decade, smell like they have at least 500 days on them

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hardboots or the like will never become the norm until someone develops a design that allows you to walk around fairly normally. Your average punter is unlikely to sacrifice that comfort for any gain in performance.

Also its not in the interest of companies like thirtytwo, Vans, northwave, salomon, dc ect that make softboots to move to hards purely because they wont sell as many because at the momment there selling a product that generally needs to be replaced every season and a move to hards would see this disapear as all of a sudden folk would find there boots are lasting multiple years.

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1 minute ago, scottishsurfer said:

hardboots or the like will never become the norm until someone develops a design that allows you to walk around fairly normally. Your average punter is unlikely to sacrifice that comfort for any gain in performance.

Also its not in the interest of companies like thirtytwo, Vans, northwave, salomon, dc ect that make softboots to move to hards purely because they wont sell as many because at the momment there selling a product that generally needs to be replaced every season and a move to hards would see this disapear as all of a sudden folk would find there boots are lasting multiple years.

I don't expect ANY softboot maker to build a hardboot.

"as all of a sudden folk would find there boots are lasting multiple years."

OH THE HORROR

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It's pretty easy to walk around in an AT boot in "walk mode", what with the completely free heel hinge. Perhaps that equation will change once people work that out.

It's perhaps worth remembering that skiing had "read entry" boots for a while, when people felt that they were "more comfortable" than front-buckle boots. There are some similarities, but in the end the "comfortable" boots lost out.

I would not expect the drive to come from the boot manufacturers... indeed, Phantom and others suggest that particular niche is being driven from the ground up :people modding boots, not boots changing what people do.

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I dunno. I'm sure that more R&D is always welcome (spoken as a true R&D engineer). Maybe this AT ski boot thing will develop into something really cool.

 

For me, right now, soft boots feel better. I could never find hardboots that worked well. They were either too soft or too stiff and never felt right. OTOH the soft boots are more comfortable and I ride better with them.

I guess to each their own. I can definitely see where hardboots are much better and yes, replacing boots every two years because they brake down is not great but for my time on the slopes I find myself preferring the softboots more and more.

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9 hours ago, philw said:

It's pretty easy to walk around in an AT boot in "walk mode", what with the completely free heel hinge. Perhaps that equation will change once people work that out.

It's perhaps worth remembering that skiing had "read entry" boots for a while, when people felt that they were "more comfortable" than front-buckle boots. There are some similarities, but in the end the "comfortable" boots lost out.

I would not expect the drive to come from the boot manufacturers... indeed, Phantom and others suggest that particular niche is being driven from the ground up :people modding boots, not boots changing what people do.

I loved my sx91e "slope slippers"

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17 hours ago, philw said:

It's pretty easy to walk around in an AT boot in "walk mode", what with the completely free heel hinge. Perhaps that equation will change once people work that out.

Is there any flex in sole of AT boots around the toes as thats my issue walking around in ski/hardboots i can deal with the limited ankle flex if there flex at toe region otherwise its bambi on ice for me

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No flex in AT boot but Telemark does . Flexable sole probably not good for rigid bindings but could work for soft boot bindings. I would say greater degree of comfort from Tele .

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On 11/16/2019 at 9:23 AM, philw said:

Pipes are dead, parks are hardly crowded, turning's cool again, for whatever reason.

Parks are crowded... with skiers.  Turning/carving is now counterculture and soulful... again.

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interesting article for once, american biased of course ( the snowboard world was moving big on this side of the ocean too at that time)...but the hypothesis on why seems to be skippin the idea that it all came from marketing from the majors ( especially Burton/Sims, but also fashion brands)

The reason is simple: FS sells because it brings year long pics of dudes with fluo gear and later baggy / grunged inspired gear that would sell to the masses of kids getting at best a few days riding or none each season. FS is circus ( air rotations etc..) that looks extreme and summer camps bringing easy pics not far from media also helped promoting FS ( not for the spirit of snowboarding) but for big $$$. It only forgot that turns are what makes the sport so nice..and carved turns adding G forces making it nicer!

I remember the first french media reactions when we launched Swoard: they said: alpine gear... are u a kamikaze?

 

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