One of the biggest stories out of SIA and the world of snowboarding trade shows is that 32, the freestyle focused snowboard boot company has designed a backcountry boot around big mountain legend Jeremy Jones. This comes after Mr. Jones has finished his masterpiece trilogy of movies with the end cap Higher. We were lucky enough to get a first peak at this boot and here’s our deeper thoughts on the product.
There’s a big gap between traditional snowboarding boots and the more focused towards backcountry touring. Deeluxe has their Spark XV boot and K2 has the Stark boot which utilizes their proprietary Kwicker system. Both are taking steps to be solid choices in the growing backcountry market.
Here’s where we see the Jones boot from 32 surpassing them. The boa system on this boot is not a traditional closure system for locking the foot in, but instead is a walking mode collar. When this collar is open it allows for longer strides when skinning as well as to aid in walking around either the campsite or natural features. That extra amount of fore and aft play can be critical when skinning or walking.
On top of having a Vibram outsole, which has become a standard of most high end boots it also has solid boot to crampon compatibility. Some have questioned whether it has the heel welt like the Spark boot for crampons, I want to say after playing with them at SIA that it does, although it might not be as prevalent as its competitor.
Jeremy Jones is a big fan of laces, he knows that they work, and I can only assume in certain situations their ability to be cut off surpasses the ease of use from Boa or even a quick lace. Because of his penchant for laces he has suffered from them freezing and has had to spend the night in his boots in the backcountry. Now if any of you reading this have ever partook in aprés and passed out from too many libations, you know how much it sucks to sleep with boots on. If you haven’t, I don’t suggest trying it because foot rot is not pretty. Jeremy’s solution to this was a stretch Cordura gaiter. By having this zip over the laces it saves them from freezing and also prevents any snow from creeping into the boots while skinning.
While we could go into the whole subjective nature of the flex and fit we’ll leave it as this. The best boot is the one that fits your foot. The best flex is the one that fits your needs. This boot is designed on the stiffer side due to what it is being marketed for, but that’s not to say that for someone out there it might not be stiff enough. As with all 32 Boots it does feature a true Intuition liner that is heat moldable. This liner is compatible with the walk feature which makes it unique to this model of boot.
While this boot won’t resonate with everyone for the backcountry enthusiast that is spending more time skinning lines than waiting in a lift line it’s a solid offering from a boot brand with 20 years experience and input from a man that has pioneered the backcountry. In my and others I talked with this boot is the segue between traditional snowboard boots and ski mountaineering/AT boots. With Jeremy’s design input and serious brand recognition this boot aims to be in my opinion the boot that will change the boot game for those going outside the confines of a ski resort.