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First Look: BOA Ski Boots


It was late June, and I used to be nonetheless snowboarding. Credit score a lifelong obsession with the two-planked exercise, and an enormous winter in California’s Lake Tahoe space. Greater than 720 inches of winter snow had fallen, making my odd summer time ski session potential. However that wasn’t the one curiosity that day. On my toes: a pair of Salomon S/PRO SUPRA BOA® ski boots, a brand new kind of ski boot design. I examined the boots whereas snowboarding at Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort towards the top of the world’s legendary season. I’ll get to my suggestions on the SUPRA BOA boots in a second. However first, somewhat backstory. 

The 12 months of BOA Ski Boots 

Ski boot know-how has remained comparatively unchanged for years. Why repair one thing that’s not damaged, proper? However this winter, put together to see new improvements on the boot wall of your ski store. This has been known as the yr of BOA, and for good motive. 4 boot manufacturers (Salomon, K2, Atomic and Fischer) have teamed up with BOA—maker of the distinctive match system with its telltale dial that you just’ve seen on bike footwear, helmets or snowboard boots—to debut a brand new, better-fitting ski boot.  

The know-how as utilized to ski boots could also be contemporary to shoppers however hardly untested. K2 has used BOA programs in its snowboard boots for years and, extra just lately, in ski boot liners. Salomon has had BOA in different iterations like snowboard boots. However the corporations at the moment are placing the BOA Match system into ski boot shells. 

K2 Mindbender 115 W BOA Ski Boots – Girls’s, $799.95 (additionally accessible in 95 Flex); K2 Mindbender 120 BOA Ski Boots – Males’s, $799.95 (additionally accessible in 130 Flex)

Ski boots with the brand new BOA stress system vary from alpine touring boots to downhill ski boots. They go well with all kinds of foot shapes and skill ranges. They usually’re instantly recognizable as a result of they dispense with the normal backside two buckles in your boot’s decrease shell. Changing them is a spherical knob, the center and management heart of the BOA H+i1 system. Flip that knob and it pulls a 1.7 mm-thick metallic cable by a set of plastic pulleys. Because the cable tensions, it cinches the boot’s two-piece overlapping shell across the backside of the foot, for a match that’s extra even and safe than buckles can ship. 

Many boots may be custom-made or heat-molded to create an ideal customized. The thought behind this BOA know-how is that it provides you a greater match proper out of the field. Whereas customary ski boot buckles are likely to have a number of notches that allow you to regulate how tight or roomy you need your boots to be, the BOA dial helps you to make micro-adjustments. 

Testing the Salomon S/PRO SUPRA BOA Ski Boots 

Salomon S/PRO SUPRA BOA 95 W GW Ski Boots – Girls’s – 2023/2024, $599.95; Salomon S/PRO SUPRA BOA 120 GW Ski Boots – Males’s – 2023/2024, $749.95
  • Execs: Uniform wrapping of the decrease foot; a cushty, safe really feel; micro-adjustability. 
  • Cons: A bit heavier and costlier.  
  • Finest for: Skiers of all sorts who wrestle to get an ideal match of their boots; these with fickle toes who prioritize precision and luxury.  
  • Worth: $599–$799 

Really feel and Efficiency 

Now again to that June ski day. Image sunshine and goggle tans, snowboarding in T-shirts and slushy snow. Full disclosure: I grew up with old-school, four-buckle boots. I used to be skeptical that the BOA system might present the identical help and construction I’d come to depend on from metallic buckles throughout my years of all-mountain snowboarding. I’ve additionally seen BOA knobs break on bicycling footwear, leaving you with a shoe that isn’t cosy anymore. 

Getting my toes into the Salomon S/PRO SUPRA BOA on day one was a cinch, due to a supple shell and slick liner. The boots instantly felt comfy. I clamped down the highest two buckles as standard, then turned the BOA knob to the correct to realize my desired tightness. (One other plus: The knob is straightforward to regulate with gloves on.) 

I used to be unsuitable in regards to the match: The boots felt as stable as any four-buckle boot—and had been extra uniformly safe. Whereas snowboarding, I felt like my foot was swaddled like a child or wrapped by an expert burrito maker. But nothing appeared tight; my foot felt protected, and my heel was locked in place.  

To launch the strain, you merely pull the knob out and the boot immediately loosens to a cushty strolling match. After I did this within the elevate line, it felt like I used to be carrying cozy slippers. On the high of the elevate, I pushed the knob in once more and turned it again to the place I needed it, and I used to be able to ski once more. Coolest function: The boot has numbers on the shell—one by 4—the place the knob turns, so you possibly can regulate to your favourite setting every time.

One other enchancment: Earlier BOA programs solely turned in a single route; in the event you needed them a bit looser, you needed to launch the knob and start the tensioning course of anew. The improved H+i1 system helps you to shuttle, micro-adjusting so as to add somewhat extra tightness or create a tad extra looseness, so that you get a match that’s excellent.  

Sturdiness 

Figuring out that ski boots take a beating, and in robust situations, BOA engineers developed this new system to be additional sturdy—and likewise straightforward to restore if one thing does break. 

In consequence, that is probably the most resilient system BOA has made but. My fears of the knob breaking mid-slope had been unfounded. (I attempted to interrupt the burly dial and had no luck.) The tensioning cable, in the meantime, is thicker and longer than in earlier BOA programs. And because the system is exterior and attaches to the boot shell with screwed-on {hardware} (versus the rivets that ski buckles are often hooked up with), elements may be simply changed. 

a person's hand reaches down to adjust ski boot that has a BOA dial.
Picture courtesy of Salomon. The BOA Match System includes a micro-adjustable dial and robust cable laces.

“Via design and testing, this BOA system has been fine-tuned to resist the acute nature of alpine snowboarding,” says Lauren Samuels, Salomon affiliate class supervisor for alpine snowboarding. “But when it does break, Salomon and BOA have a strong protocol for guarantee and substitute elements.” 

The thickness of the plastic across the foot was reengineered to be smoother and softer to allow that wrapping sensation. Meaning the boot really feels lighter and extra pliable, making turning simpler. “We didn’t simply slap a BOA on a beforehand current shell,” Samuels explains. “We constructed a totally new boot and a completely redesigned shell for the BOA system.”  

Downsides 

The BOA knob does add a little bit of weight. Fashions with BOA additionally value greater than comparable boots with out the system. However the acquire you’ll get for that could be a boot that wraps your foot like no buckle ever might. I additionally discovered the boots to be somewhat heat—the latex-foam lining was cozy however not precisely breathable. Then once more, I used to be snowboarding in June, and it was scorching. On a chilly winter day, they’d in all probability be excellent.  

The S/PRO SUPRA BOA is a downhill ski boot. It doesn’t include uphill touring capabilities. (In the event you’re searching for a touring boot with BOA’s H+i1 system, try the K2 Mindbender BOA. It’s a touring-capable freeride boot with a “tech toe” that inserts into touring bindings and a stroll mode for skinning uphill.

Backside Line 

The Salomon S/PRO Supra BOA boots have a medium 100 mm final. With a customized shell, it might broaden to a roomy 104mm. They’re accessible in 105 and 95 flex in girls’s fashions and 130, 120 and 110 flexes in males’s. The boots will work for a variety of skiers, from intermediates on groomers to consultants who hike to again bowls. Total, I’m a convert. The boots had sufficient excessive efficiency to take a skier all around the mountain whereas additionally being comfy sufficient to put on from first chair to final, with out complaints.  



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