Best splitboard specific boots on the marketQuick and Dirty: These boots are not for everyone. These boots are for the experienced splitboarder, that knows what they are doing. They are very stiff, high volume, beefy boys for splitboarding and/or big mountain boarding. These boots are not ideal for cruising the resort. When you have something designed by Xavier De La Rue, you know you have a serious boot on your hands. I love these boots, and am so thrilled I bought them. They are rugged, durable, comfortable, and perform incredibly well while splitting up the mountain and while descending.
More detailed review:
How I tested it: I have used these boots 175 times. Although they are designed for splitboarding and backcountry boarding, I have used them a bunch in the ski resort as well. I have used them in -25 degree F, howling storms, and bluebird days. I have used them in everything from crusty traverses to deep powder. To climbing ridge lines in crampons to bootpacking up. I have thrown a lot at these boots, and they have lived up to the hype.
Overall rating: I'd buy again!!
Green friendliness: I have worn almost 200x, and I think they have another 200x at least left in them. Because of that, I give these a gold star.
What I like about it:
- Very stiff (7/10)
- Speed laces make adjustments very easy
- semi-automatic crampon compatible
- great grip on the soles (Vibram)
- Amazing board feel
What I dislike about it:
- very bulky (high volume)
- C3 speed laces are impossible to repair in the backcountry
The nitty gritty:
The boots were developed with the help of one of the most gnarly snowboarders of our time, and they actually live up to the hype. The boot was designed for splitboarding, and has a pre-shaped collar and added strap that allows you to get a little bit more range of motion while splitting up the mountain. The lacing system is called C3 speed lacing, and while to took me a while to get used too (I used to be a traditional lace snob), I do see where there are some advantages. I still like the old school lacing system best though, because if you break a lace while in the backcountry on these boots, it is impossible to repair.
I use this boot every day now, mainly because I was too cheap to buy another pair of boots for riding the resort or deeper powder, where having flex is generally a good thing. So I will keep this review only on their intended use (splitboarding and backcountry).
I love splitboarding in these boots. The boot is quite still (7/10) and there is an option to get stiffer by buying the TPS shield (I did not). Going up in these boots is a breeze. While you don't get the same range of motion as the Jeremy Jones boots made by 32, I find you have enough movement not to hinder you at all. That being said, my friends swear by the JJ boots. The DEELUXE boots win major points on traverses. They are very steep, and you don't get much ankle flex, allowing you to keep powering through the traverses, and more or less keep up with the skiers in their hard boots.
When things get super steep, and you need to take off the planks on your feet, the DEELUXE boots will keep you safe and sound. I have boot packed up some pretty steep stuff, and the waterproof membrane kept my feet dry, while the vibram kept me from sliding. One of the cool features with this boot is that their is a heel lock for semi-automatic crampons, which is great for when things get serious. My semi-auto crampons don't fit this boot properly, which is a shame. I use some universal crampons, and while they work ok, I would rather have the security and ease of attachment of the semi-automatics. So if this is a "must have" feature for you, you better test your crampons before buying.
Descending in these boots is great. There is not much flex, but enough to allow you to transfer a lot of lower to the board. You have to be a strong snowboarder to ride these boots properly. If you are a newbie, I would hold off until you have a few years experience under your belt. For me, these boots offer the right amount of flex / power transfer / board feel. I can feel the board really well when riding, despite the high volume. The soul of the shoe is a bit thinner than you would expect, which helps minimize the toe/heel drag. There is enough cushion for stomping jumps onto hard pack snow, while not being too cushiony. I prefer these boots for descending steep couloirs (40 to 50+ degrees) because of their stiffness and power transfer. If you are riding deep powder in 30 to 40 degree slopes, you honestly don't need anything this still.
Overall: I love these boots and recommend them to all my friends. They are not the cheapest on the market, but these things were built to last. The stiffness and power transfer is exactly what you need for splitboarding, split-mountaineering, and riding steep couloirs. I happen to ride these everyday, but that is definitely not what they are designed for. So if you are looking for something splitboard specific, I would go with these. It is probably also worth checking out the Jeremy Jones 32 boots as well, as the DEELUXE boots are a little high volume.