Vans made the decision to try out a liner-less snowboard boot and man, did they nail it. I’m not going to pretend this boot is for everyone, but this boot does hit a lot of important attributes that just aren’t being hit in the boot market right now, making it the perfect boot for those it’s perfect for (see what i did there). Who’s that person, besides me? I’ll tell you.
i belong to the school of thought that if i wanted to wear stiff boots i’d become a skier. Maybe the fact that when i started snowboarding, there were NO snowboarding boots, has an influence on this. Compared to learning to ride wearing Sorels and duck boots EVERY boot is stiffer. My bindings do more than enough to give me the stiffness i need getting toe and heel-side for fast hardpack conditions or deep powder. But if you want to tweak out that grab (as you should) there is no substitute for boot flexibility.
My toes don’t come to a point. They remain the same width as my foot, so i don’t like wearing boots that tapper and thin as they get to your toes. These babies have a beautiful wide radius to their toe-box. My feet rarely get cold, in fact i usually just wear everyday socks instead of snowboard specific warm socks. These 1-piece boots are more than warm enough for me. Lastly, they threw a gum sole on it! You had me at gum.
Sure they’re softer than my other boots, but i still felt fully locked in by my bindings without any pressure points or pinching. i didn’t experience more of a heal slip than in any other properly fitting boot with a liner. i had good response and control from my board and when hitting little pre-season kickers, that extra flex was great for loading my ollie and bending to grab.
Off the board - it was like walking in slippers! So comfortable! They make walking up stairs passed other snowboarders look like snowboarders usually make skiers look. Later Frankenstein, i’m getting lunch!
PS - i think these would be perfect for lifties: you can wear the same boot to load up the chairs and then sneak in runs without a swap.