You might be wondering why a company that makes ski and snowboard socks (and not BOA ski boots) is writing about BOA system ski boots?
Well, since we don’t make the ski boots, we think we can offer an objective take on the BOA revolution and what it means to comfortable feet. After a combined decade fitting ski boots in Val-d'Isère, our co-founders also learnt a thing or two about the synergy required of foot, sock and boot in achieving a comfortable day on the hill. You can read about Lé Bent’s humble bootfitting origins here.
Since we exist to keep you in the moment with our luxuriously soft snow socks, we also make it our mission to stay up to date with the latest in boot and bootfitting technology. After all, you can’t have a comfortable ski boot without the right ski sock, and vice versa.
So, do BOA ski boots with BOA system actually fit and feel better? Here’s a few things we know about BOA…
What is BOA?
BOA introduced a new way to tighten snowboard boots way back in 2001. Their patented ‘dial’ and wire system, has been ubiquitous in snowboarding ever since and even gone on to rival the humble shoelace.
Since the original BOA snowboard boots, a host of other sports footwear and accessories have taken on the BOA system including BOA cycling shoes, BOA trail running shoes, BOA hiking and mountaineering gear and even ski and snowboard helmets.
The common thread between these other footwear and accessories being Boa-fied, was they had all previously used laces or straps. However, ski boots have always been built with buckles. So, can the BOA system compete with a buckle?
What is BOA in ski boots?
BOA describe traditional ski boot buckles as either being “on or off”, and anyone who’s looking for maximum connectivity between their foot and boot will have to agree.
Before dropping into a run, skiers inevitably have to crank up the boot buckles for the most secure fit, and this compresses the foot in the process. Depending on how well your boot fits to begin with, this tightening can be anything from constricting to excruciating. You can also feel like you’re on the clock as it’s not a fit that you can sustain all day long (or even all run long).
The BOA system by comparison, is far more delicate when it comes to spreading the compression around. Where a conventional 4 boot buckle is limited by a few levels of buckle-tightness, the BOA fit is more micro-adjustable. The dial is connected to a thin wire cable and when you turn the dial, the cable tightens. Since the pressure is spread across the forefoot by the evenly placed wire, you avoid the pressure points that can arise underneath traditional buckles.
Not only does this mean less (or even zero pain points) it also means circulation is maintained, so feet stay warmer and more responsive inside the boots — something we pride ourselves on with our Lé Bent snow socks. For those who struggle with circulation in ski boots, you might also benefit from our compression ski socks with their uncompromising form fit that helps facilitate blood flow to your feet.
What is the BOA lace made of?
The lace itself has a core made from nineteen strands of stainless steel, wrapped in 90 more strands and boasts a tensile strength greater than 254kg, meaning it’s a lot more durable than it looks.
This cable replaces the bottom two forefoot buckles on your ski boot — the two buckles that typically give skiers the most grief and discomfort. While the cuff of the boot still retains the traditional buckle set-up.
What brand ski boots does BOA work with?
Some of the most well kown ski boot brands have adopted a BOA style boot in their latest range, including Atomic, Salomon, K2 and Fischer. For now, you have a choice between BOA or regular buckles but depending on how well they’re received after this first year, we may see many more BOA boots lining the shelves and in lift lines over coming seasons.
Some particular Alpine-oriented BOA models include: the Atomic Hawk Ultra XTD 130 BOA, the Fischer RC4 Pro MV BOA, the K2 Recon 120 BOA, and the Salomon S/Pro Supra 120 BOA.
According to the boot brands, the new BOA system offer 8% more volume reduction than traditional overlap boots.
Is BOA better for quick ski boot adjustments?
One of the major benefits of the BOA system is the ease with which you can tweak your boot fit. Whether you’re about to drop into a run or are standing in a lift line at the bottom, simply turn the dial to tighten or loosen the boot. Every click of the dial is .25mm, so it’s a super dialled fit.
It’s also a much quicker process tightening the boa system than a regular boot buckle and these micro adjustments also cater to a range of foot shapes, sizes and skiing preferences.
Is BOA better for ski performance?
In theory — yes! The more customisable your ski boot fit, the better the connection between your foot, sock and the boot. Having a boot that effectively ‘listens to you’ means you can dial in your fit and not compromise on comfort to achieve maximum performance — a trait that is also core to us here at Lé Bent.
What ski socks work well with BOA?
We craft ski socks to suit a range of cushioning preferences. From ultra low-profile, low volume,zero cushion snow socks that are highly responsive in boots, totargeted cushion snow socks with padding on the shin, tolight cushion snow socks with padding both on the shin and underfoot, and of course, there arefull cushion snow socks that have cushioning all over the foot and leg for maximum padding and protection.
The beauty of the BOA system is that you won’t need heavily padded socks to absorb any additional pressure points from your boot buckles. Instead, the evenly distributed fit from the metal wire ‘laces’ will allow you to wear a sock that suits your style of skiing and your boot volume.
What is our Definitive Fit System™?
The Definitive Fit System™ is baked into every single Lé Bent sock we make.
Just like how BOA thinks about all the parts of the foot and forefoot in creating the right fitting ski boot, we craft our snow socks with elastics and strategic stitching to provide targeted support in all the key areas.
- Elasticated Instep — keeps you secure and snug, no wrinkles or bunching.
- Ankle Band — precision fitting for twists and turns all day long.
- Achilles Support — extra comfort and security in a high friction area that also minimizes heel lift for better in-boot performance.
- Memory Stretch — moulds to your foot every time you slip the socks on.
The Definitive Fit System™ combines with the material benefits of our Signature Merino Blend™ which ensures exceptional breathability, temperature regulation and comfort by melding the luxuriously soft on-skin properties of bamboo rayon and the unrivalled odour resistance of merino wool, to make this the recipe for the perfect bootfit.
Check out our award winning range of snow socks to find the right sock for you.