Re-Tales: Boot Lacing For Total MoronsBy Jim O'Leary • Sep 27th, 2013 • Category: Features, re-tales
An entire sub-industry has grown within snowboarding, all claiming to offer a faster or easier way to lace up your boots. BOA, quick lace, speed zone, FT, speed dial, all of it has been put up for sale to solve a problem literally no one is having. Okay wait, maybe I am being too harsh saying that literally no one can justify speed zone laces. If you’re missing a limb, and you’re still snowboarding, do whatever the hellfuck you want. I don’t care if you fought a bear, or got in a horrible car accident, or you were tripping balls and thought you had to save a tiny kitten from the maw of that industrial baler, whatever the reason you’re missing a hand and you can’t really tie your shoes that well. That’s cool, grab whatever lacing method tickles your fancy, and go to town. Everyone else? Grow up and learn to tie your boots, it isn’t hard. You’ve spent a couple hundred dollars on clothes, equipment, lift tickets, whatever; you’re about to spend a few hours falling down the side of a mountain, skating across flats to get back to the lift line, hiking the same shitty rail fifty times, and you can’t be bothered to tie your damn shoes?!
The worst part is that most of these systems don’t even work. Yeah, they close the boot and technically hold your foot in place, but they don’t do a good job. Most of them tighten the whole boot as one zone. Need it more snug around the toes? Fuck you. Like it loose around your calves? Tough shit. One area of tightening, one level of tightness. You know what is a key indicator that these suck? Most rental boots are set up like this. And what sucks more than rental boots?
Traditional lacing may take longer, but think about it – how much longer? For me barefoot to ride-ready takes about ten minutes. When I had my last boots, they were “speed zone” laced, and it took me about eight minutes. Two minutes out of a full day riding, and completely ignoring the fact that I was having to go back two or three times throughout the day and redo them. Because the shit came undone, almost exactly like a decent hockey lashed boot won’t. Even the few times I’ve rocked BOA’s, I would catch my highback while skating, pop the reel, and have to spend a few minutes serenading the lifties with a rocking click solo.
You know what else makes traditional lacing better? It makes sense. You don’t have to push this and turn that and only move the lines in one direction or else it all comes undone. You just tie your boots. Done. I mean, think about it, humans have been lacing and tying our shoes the same way for hundreds of years, right? If there was a better way to do it, we already would be tying our boots that way. Traditional lacing is simple, straight forward, and doesn’t need to be explained. No “how to videos” no elaborate instructions in the box. Just put them on, lace them up, and go.
But Jim, BOA uses braided steel cable, so I don’t have to worry about the lace braking! Okay, yes, traditional snowboard laces can get trashed pretty easy. But they can be replaced just as easily, literally every boardshop on every mountain will have replacement laces. Even if they didn’t you can use pretty much anything to replace them. Regular boot laces, hockey laces, bits of string, paracord, anything. BOA, or even speed laces, need special laces at exact lengths and precise arrangements to work. Don’t even think about trying to use an old single-pull Burton Speed Zone on your ThirtyTwo FT’s.
Want to be told how wrong you are? Have a gear question you just can’t figure out? Need someone to translate marketing gibberish into something resembling English? E-mail Jim and he’ll answer you in a future article. And probably an e-mail too. He’s cool like that.