I bought the 2004/2005 32 Lashed snowboard boots. Strictly speaking this isn’t a comparative review as I was moving away from the Salomon Malamutes, which are a different kettle of fish all together. However, some features of a snowboarding boot are the same whether it’s a freestyle, freeride or an all-round boot (e.g. the lacing system).
So I was looking for a more freestyle orientated boot. At the time I was totally pleased with the Malamutes, but when I started to do more jibbing, especially on the indoor slopes I found that they were too stiff. Flex was the main motivation…
However, the thing that drew me to the Lashed boots was their weight. From the moment I picked up the 32s in the shop, I knew that they were light. Seriously light. I haven’t tried this on an accurate set of scales (maybe I should?), but the old test of holding one boot in the left hand and another in the right speaks pretty loudly here. You can easily tell the difference when you put them on… it’s like walking around in a pair of sneaks!
This actually made me think that they were pure freestyle boots, but 32 push them as all-mountain. I suppose the label doesn’t matter though if the boot works for you.
The other feature of the 32s that interested me was the basic lace set up: velcro, laces and hooks. The Salomons used the pull-and-lock-off set up, which although very easy to use, had two things that I didn’t like: firstly they seemed to loosen off after hard/long riding and secondly, the clip thing that you’re supposed to hook onto the edge of your boot always fell off, and ended up clattering around your bindings.
Plain old laces seemed to be exaclty what I wanted: a double knot that wasn’t going anywhere. Simple.
And they’re great. I tie them up once at the start of the day and don’t bother with any re-tying. No need. The laces just stay right where you put them. Although I’ve got to say that the gadgetary of other lacing systems (lock-off, hooks, boa etc.) do have advantages. I sometimes find myself fumlbing with those pesky hooks… the lace is always jumping out. This might not be a problem for those with a little more dexterity!
The best thing about the 32s in my opinion is the fit. Of course the same boot might be a great fit for one person and a horrible fit for another: feet come in different shapes and sizes! However the design of a boot can help out a lot.
Although the boots are relatively soft, as you bend and flex, the boot keeps it shape and hold with your ankle and leg. The softer flex doesn’t seem to compramise the control as the boot bends. I think there are three things that contribute to this:
- A velcro strap that goes around the top of the inner boot, preventing the inner from opening up
- The control/freedom that you get with the simple laces, you can have the boot tight where you want it tight
- The tying mechanism for the inner boot: an ‘ankle brace’ that it attached to the outer boot behind the inner boot. When you tie the inner boot it is pulled-in against the outer
This setup really makes the whole boot work in sync with your feet/ankles/legs. Even though it’s a soft’ish boot you still feel like you’ve got great control. Consequently I don’t really notice the boots when I’m riding. The fit is great.
The Inner Boot
I’m going to mention the inner boot and it’s molding capabilities – which is somewhat of a double edged sword. (I think) You can have them heat molded to your feet when you buy them, but I was told you get a better fit if you let the moulding happen naturally. Whether or not that’s true, that’s what I did. Besides, I didn’t have a choice because I bought them on eBay 🙂
It works. The inners totally match the shape of my feet/ankles. For me this is an excellent feature as my right ankle is permanently swollen so it needs more space than the left. Great comfort and fit.
But… it has been noted (strongly) by others that the inners stink. My two previous set of snowboard boots never smelled (honestly), but these 32s are always the worst culprit in the chalet. To further back this claim up, I visited some seasonairres’ accommodation last season where the majority of the lads were riding 32 boots. They all stank! I think it must be the material of the inners…
Of course I’m kinda joking with this point, and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Chances are you’ll leave your boots somewhere out of the way and the performance clearly isn’t effected. You never know though, it might put some people off!
The 32 Lashed boots are excellent. Not a single complaint. Thanks to the design of the inner boot and how it works with the outer boot, I don’t seem to get heel lift or ‘opening’ at the top. The boots feel great to ride in, it’s like I don’t notice them, and they’re like sneakers to walk around in. Being super light and having a soft’ish flex they work well for me as a freestyle boot and perform great around the mountain. If I was doing a lot of aggressive freeriding I’d probably want something stiffer – but I’m not. Fumbling with the laces was the best I could do for a negative point. And besides, once they’re done up you don’t need to worry anymore. I know that there are other compelling freestyle/park boots out there that claim light weight, low profile and the like. No doubt some of them are great too – just like these 32s, that I can’t fault!
If you’re looking to buy the 32 Lashed boots, or other boots by 32, check out our snowboard gear reviews.