For you lace lovers out there, this boot’s got ’em. You still get to build up those weird little pinky calluses. But surprise! There’s some Boa action happening, too! Running exclusively over the ankle, right where you need it, Van’s Hybrid Boa system does an incredible job of locking down the heel. It really cranks down tight, to the point where I had to be sure not to over tighten.
As far as flex goes, Vans is giving us another futuristic feature, the Adjustable Flex system. No more “too soft” or “too stiff,” Vans gives you full control of the feel with the ability to add two removable tongue stiffeners. I like it soft these days, and right out the box these had a good flex for me with out adding any stiffness. I did toss the stiff tongues in for a few runs and felt a significant increase in toe side response. You can even choose to use just one stiffener on the medial or lateral side of the boot to further customize the feel. Or you can save them for breathing new life into these after you’ve got 200 days in them. Awesome system! I foresee many more boot makers jumping on this tech in the coming seasons.
This boot comes stock with what I will call the nicest insole I’ve ever seen in a snowboard boot. It looks like a high dollar aftermarket custom insole, because it is.
With EVA cushioning on the forefoot and heel, and heat moldable arch support, these could easily save you some dollars by not having to throw down on new customs. The outsole is low profile, lightweight, grippy when hiking, and offers great board feel.
The only gripe I have with these is that the internal ankle harness is attached to the liner itself, not the shell of the boot. For me, this design has meant sloppy heel hold in the past. However, on this boot, the Hybrid Boa does do a super job of locking the heel down, so I assume that is why Vans chose this design.
All in all, this boot is bomber. I can see one getting many full seasons in these. Fantastic fit, feel and response, customizable flex, and super heel hold, all great things in the world of shred boots, but with a healthy dose of old school flavor.