We take a hard look at one of the most popular boots for mountain riding. Did it meet expectations? Read on to find out…
Short form review
- Sole wear – They were done in under 1000 miles and company does not offer resoling.
- Sole grip – Though to be fair, no snowmobile company has nailed this…please, hire me as a consultant and let me fix this one!
- Boot height – I love looking an extra 1/2″ taller for the ladies, but I’d prefer to lower my COG on the sled. Yes, this is me being picky.
- Weight – Lets work on getting our boots lighter. Hop overs become more consistent and precise.
- Removable Liner – an intuition style removable liner could both reduce weight and make for a better fit (as well as easy to keep your boot longer)
Bottom Line: This is a good boot, the “industry standard” for a reason, but cmon’ snowmobile world, there is an incredible opportunity to step our game up. Why are we basically making a Sorrels meet snowboard boot type of product when we are neither shoveling our driveway or Travis Ricing down the hill? Something lighter, less bulky, with a sticky rubber sole would be a total game changer. Yes, I’m for hire if anyone wants to bring me into make it so…
iPhone “Quicky” Review
“Quick” iPhone based review with the product (new idea here at PB)
Long Form Review
When considering where to put your hard earned dollars in the sled industry can be a tricky proposition. Suspension. Turbos. Protection. Outerwear. The industry is rife with places to blow large sums of cash for very little in the way of better-on-mountain performance.
Footwear is one of those places that is easy to overlook as a pair of boots is a pair of boots, right? Well, not so fast.
Good footwear can literally be the difference between sticking that line and not. The way your boot interacts with your boards, and how dry it keeps you, how light weight it is, are all very important attributes to how good of a day you have in the hills.
We often spend crazy money on saving a few pounds here or there, I’d argue a few ounces of boot savings is more noteworthy than pounds of weight savings elsewhere on the sled. Hopping back and forth, riding wrong foot forward, moving around the boards – having a light boot means you can be more precise and ride with less fatigue. So what we are after, as a mountain rider, is a light boot with good support that keeps us warm and interacts with the boards well, capiche?
The Klim Adrenaline though tolerable, misses to hit these marks in spades. Though, as we indicated above, to be fair no snowmobile boot hits these marks with flying colors.
The fit is good, easy on, easy off. Waterproofing too seemed of the “good enough” variety. In heavy spring snow, I’d eventually end up with wet feet, especially if I was having “one of those days” but overall this was not a noteworthy issue at any point.
The boot was comfortable, no pinching or weird modifications needed to get the boot to feel right, which considering my track history with footwear, is a big positive.
Unfortunately, the boot fell short when it came to offering the best interface between rider and snowmobile when gripping the boards. Before I continue however, a caveat; no snowmobile boot on the market does this extremely well.
I come from a “professional” mountain bike background. This means I race mountain bikes at the pro level, but my mortgage is paid elsewhere (I am a “fake” pro, but more on snowflake culture later…). Still, I’ve been in the sport for the better part of two decades, and know first hand how important developments have been in the footwear market. Fifteen years ago, a smart mountain biker resoled his flat-pedal (read, no clips) shoe to with some climbing rubber. The company Five-Ten took notice (a climbing company) and boom, mountain bike footwear was revolutionized (not to mention Five-Ten getting a huge boost in sales). No longer were riders struggling to keep their feet on flat pedals. It was now easy and Five-Ten remains the “standard” in the mountain bike world.
I understand a smooth climbing sole rubber sole would be sure-death on an icy running board. However, a combination of extremely soft rubber (no, there isn’t a substitute for real climbing sole rubber) and hard rubber would be the ultimate. Grip the board but also keep you upright when walking through an icy parking lot. Add to this a way to resole the boot after a season of use, and boom, you have the ultimate setup.
Some may scoff at this, but as a skier I frequently ride in alpine touring (AT) boots. You know there is a problem when your ski boots (with a softer Vibram sole) grab the boards better than your actual sled boots. Eye roll.
Third, I’d like to see the height of the boot come down a bit. In current form, its a bit like George Costanza’s Timberlands in that one episode of Seinfeld (yes, I’m dating myself). Though I liked feeling taller at the bar, the increase in COG wasn’t something I was too into.
Finally, we’d like a boot company to completely rethink the shape and material use. What I’d really like to see is the utilization of a removable Intuition style liner (super light, warm). Not only do these offer a super precise fit, but it’d make for a boot that is easier to dry and make the boot more “modular”, easier to replace this part when the fit becomes a bit less than ideal.
Well, I’m not giving my boots up anytime soon, but there is marked room for improvement. After all, the interface between rider and machine is not something to be overlooked and if done correctly could read to reduced rider fatigue, easier technical manuevers and longer wear. We’re giving this a 2.5/5 and excited to see which company heeds our suggestions. In our eyes, the one that does will realize an easy way to take a huge chunk of market share.