The Nike Vapen boots are one of the sets that I’m considering for the 2012 season. In this preview I’ll take a look at the general design of the boot, and comment on my experience from trying them on (alongside other boots) – is this the next snowboard boot for me?
This preview may also help you decide if the Nike Vapen is a good fit for your riding…
My thoughts on the Nike Vapen boots
They feel nice… My first thoughts when I put these on were: “they feel nice”. Inner boot was good quality, and the padding/foam/design around the heel was very snug. This isn’t based on riding experience, but the heel grip felt like it would perform well. The other noticeable feature of the initial “feel” was the low profile sole..;
Low profile sole. I had a Nike Vapen on one foot and a Burton Hail on the other. The Vapen clearly has less material between your foot and the group – I didn’t need to think about it. The design aim here is to get greater feel, leading to better control and response, from the terrain that you’re riding. Skateboard shoes use a similar approach. The Vapens definitely have a low profile sole.
Inner boot. As mentioned above, the inner boot felt good straight away. The other noteworthy feature from my point of view, is how the inner boot ties up. You can see it in the video below – it’s real quick to tighten and then slacken, and you still get a good, tight fit.
Outer boot. The Vapen has traditional laces, which is exactly what I like. No complaints with the laces, but I did prefer those on the Burton Hail, just a bit easier to use in your hands; they felt better. But a lace is a lace, right? Another aspect of the boot that stood out is the tongue. For a soft flexing boot, the tongue felt stiff in the shop. No doubt that will soften up after a few days riding, but perhaps Nike designed it to provide a little extra support, the video below suggests that.
Boot flex. It’s a soft flexing boot. Absolutely. I could tell that when wearing them in the shop. Two of the shop riders use them and they described them as “real soft”. Head to head with the Burton Hail, they felt very similar. The tongue that I mentioned above did create a difference in the feel, but without riding them both, it’s hard to say for sure. Overall – it’s a soft flexing boot, good for freestyle use.
Overall. I wasn’t sure about trying Nike boots on – but I was impressed with the feel of the Vapens. For me, the Burton Hails edge it over the Vapens. The fit seemed more suited to my foot. However, the Vapens were close with “good” fit, and were I to ride them, I could see them being a good match to my criteria: a boot with freestyle foundations.
It’s worth noting that for a good quality boot, they’re reasonably priced, much cheaper than the Hail…
Video explanation of the Vapen’s tech/design
The following video does a decent job of breaking down some of the design features of the Nike Vapen boots…
Get hooked up!
If you’re interested in the Nike Vapen snowboard boots, check out the stores below. At the time of writing they’re all stocking the Vapen with good size selection. As another option for UK shredders, Two Seasons has a good range of sizes too.