Boots are the most important piece of equipment you’ll ever own. Nothing matters more than having happy feet when you’re on the hill, because if your feet aren’t happy then you’re not happy. If you don’t believe this is the key piece of equipment, then you need to crawl out from under the rock you’re living under. To see the level of advancement we’re at you have to look at where we’ve been.
With the resurgence of vulcanized soles I guess we could say it was part of what Sorel was doing back in the day. Look at the grip those treads provide for optimal golf resort climbing. The lack of ankle support allows for getting bent for some deep tweaks. Can’t forget the lack of liner to give better foot to boot interaction. On a plus side these were waterproof and great for going out and shoveling the driveway in.
Airwalk was one of the first to step up to the plate with a “real” snowboard boot. I loosely stress the real part when it came to them. They might have had the Airwalk name on them, but they were far from anything spectacular. They also weren’t terribly waterproof as I remember.
While they did have a little bit more support than Sorels, these still left more to be desired. Once again a lack of a removable liner was present and these things didn’t do much to keep you warm. The tread was like a pair of old Vans with the waffle tread, you’d slip and slide on everything. Still they were a step up in the right direction.
Trying to fix problems with heel lift, someone invented this medieval contraption. Boot customization has come a long way since having an external harness that locks you down. Can anyone tell me if these things ever actually worked,please?
The next generation of boots got a bit better by having removable liners, unfortunately most if not all didn’t have an internal harness to lock you down. Got to love being in a boot that your heel slips in. Burton had those hard rubbery foam like burrito wrapped liners that didn’t seem to really pack out.
The support started to get better with boots like this. Anyone remember how low the cuffs were on boots back then, really let you bone the hell out of grabs. I just remember that the boots were so bulky back then that you lost so much boot to binding interaction.
I also think the guy snowboarding in this picture was a skier that got photo shopped to look like a snowboarder, and who the hell can’t spell shred?
Step-ins, anyone rock these or remember them? Possibly the biggest pile of crap the snowboard industry ever created. The day they stopped taking rider feedback was the end. But it’s OK everything is sicker with clicker. Strangely there’s people that will roam into shops and argue about how great they were and how only real people could handle riding them.
Around the same time as step-ins was when Salomon entered the playing field. They were one of the first if not the first to do locking lace loops and internal harnesses. That just changed how boots fit exponentially. I know there were other companies that were on this, Burton had some stuff in the works as well, in and around this time. DC was still making overly huge boots that were so large you had to dremel the heels of them down so they’d fit your bindings. Shit was crazy around then.
It’s funny to think that people believe decks have been the biggest area of technological advancement. Sure everything has fully evolved since anyone that’s started five plus years ago, but props should go to the guys designing our footwear. There’s more options than ever, boots that fit various widths, every kind of lacing option you could ever imagine. Strangely enough when we held the poll for biggest area of advancement only 15% were for boots.
I’d love to see pics of primitive footwear if anyone has them.