2003 Boots

Simple closures and custom fits mark the snow-boot scene.

Closure may be a term introduced on the couches of 1990s therapists, but it has equal merit in the 2003 snowboard-boot department.

Four years after Vans and K2 introduced the Boa dial-a-close system, a bandwagon of brands are pimpin’ the lacing formula that doesn’t convert your digits into diced-and-callused nubs. Drop the lace pullers from after-school ice hockey, Boa gives an even tug on your boots’ drawstrings with the turn of a dial. The dial tightens a steel cable that runs the path of regular laces-back and forth over the tongue. A fear of anything different and some early cable issues (stronger now, but don’t traditional laces break sometimes, too?), have left most riders blind to the future, but Boa’s worth a stare.

If you’re down with different, check Salomon’s “F” boot. This snow sneak is so packed with innovation, you may not have the enzymes to digest it at first.

Closer (not closure) to home is KJ’s new boot from APX. An offshoot of Northwave (made in Italy and worth backing just for that), Kevin’s sig model is on the loose and pure black like we like ’em. Let your binding support you is the train of thought behind this line of Charmin-soft FS slippas.

Soft is comfortable, but it’s not the route for every rider. Daniel Franck says, “A stiffer boot is always better. It may be a little painful at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll know it was the best call.”

Osiris has also entered the snowboard scene this year; it’s rockin’ off the blocks with a Marc Frank boot and true-to-the-name snow version of the D3-the first boot modeled directly from a skate shoe.Customizable liners and real footbeds are finally in, too-don’t settle for anything less if you’ve got the wad. What you need is on the shelves, so shop around-boots are the most critical part of any setup.-K.H.