The BOA system is a proprietary technology used in partnerships with various outdoor gear companies. It appears on snowboard boots, running shoes, cycling shoes, ski helmets, and now alpine ski boots.
Initially, the tech was designed to replace awkward snowboard boot lacing systems by using a dial connected to thin wire cabling. The BOA click wheel cable closures have redeveloped a new system for alpine ski boots which have been adopted this winter by four brands: Atomic, K2, Fischer, and Salomon are using this system, with more to follow shortly.
This new system closes down the lower portion of a ski boot’s shell like nothing else. It does indeed “feel different” in a good way. So far it’s been very robust, and if something does go wrong, it’s easy to work on. It adds minimal weight, and it allows boot manufacturers to create boots that work better for a wider range of foot shapes, right out of the box.
K2 who are using the system on their new boots, including the Mindbender cross over boots are saying it is “The Biggest Advancement In Skiing In 60 Years”
ENGINEERED FOR ALPINE SKIING
The BOA Fit System featuring H+i1 consists of three integral parts: a micro-adjustable dial, lightweight yet extremely strong cable laces, and low-friction lace guides. BOA spent over 50,000 hours of design, engineering, and performance testing with the world’s top ski brands to deliver the best-fitting boots on the market. BOA understands the durability and performance requirements necessary to perform in difficult environments and deliver meaningful improvements in fit, performance, and overall user experience to make the change to a new system. Buckles have worked well for decades so a new technology has to do much better.
Yes the system is slightly heavier and more expensive, but less likely to break than tradition buckle clips. Aside from the fit improvements, brands insisted that the BOA that this system had to over deliver on durability. Before this new advancement there had been too many people who had bad experiences with the lighter weight BOA systems that did not hold up to the stresses of alpine and backcountry skiing. This new system is over-built, but nothing is indestructible, if something does break it is easily reparable. It is an external system, attached with screws to the boot and replacing the cable is relatively easy and easier to repair or replace than it is to replace a riveted-on buckle.
The BOA Fit System is guaranteed for the lifetime of the product on which it is integrated.
Atomic Hawk Ultra XTD 115 Woman BOA
The 2024 Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 BOA W GW is a new ski boot designed for aggressive women skiers who want a super-snug do-it-all option. This polyurethane boot features a BOA system that actually achieves a high-performance fit. It is a solid option for narrow-footed skiers, with a true 98 mm last that can be modified to feel more like the shape of a race boot, however this boot is both warm and versatile
The BOA and the switch from polyamide to polyurethane added a whisper of weight, but the performance trade off is undeniable. The new Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W skis like an alpine boot, and flexes more stiffly and more progressively than the previous iteration. Ski a lot of bad snow, and this boot will handle refrozen death cookies, windstripped couloirs, and whiteout conditions. The consistency of the new plastic gives the user confidence and brings immediate trust in the new boot when conditions got difficult
Fit wise, the ceiling of the lower shell lies quite low on top of the foot-bony-instep folks take note. There is decent width in the forefoot, so if you have a narrow foot that splays, there is hope for you yet. The tongue is a little fiddly; it’s curved a bit too tightly, so it takes some care to not get pinched by the edges, but it’s removable and can be positioned so you can play with it until you get it how you like. Both testers initially reported hating the tongue, but then retracted their comments once they got it sorted.
At 54 degrees, the range of motion is not huge, even for a hybrid, but it tours comfortably and is on par with other boots in the category. While it’s a pretty standard, the stiffness of the cuff, and particularly that of the liner, leads to a less-efficient feeling while hiking than with other models.
Atomic really did a good job with this boot; it’s confidence-inspiring and skis on the piste incredibly well. Give it a spin! The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W is a favourite backcountry and hybrid boot this season.
K2 Mindbender 130 BOA
The all-new K2 Mindbender 130 BOA Ski Boots are a good choice for both resort skiing and alpine touring. They focus on downhill performance and ease of use over being the lightest weight boot in its category.
The Mindbender 130 Ski Boot features the BOA synching system for the lower of the boot which gives a more universal locking feel compared to buckles. It is a versatile 50/50 option for skiers who don’t want to think about their setup before heading into the mountains. Equally at home on the uphill skinning track as it is riding the lifts, this boot is makes a perfect travel option for ski trips without needing to take sets of boots.
Skiers with a high instep will be happy too. The Mindbender 130 BOA has room at the top of the foot where the second buckle would traditionally sit. K2’s MultiFit Last cranks all the way down to 97 mm, and low-volume feet should be able to ski this boot as hard as they want with the BOA spun down.
It has less friction in walk-mode than previous crossover AT ski boots, allowing you to move uphill more efficiently. While not delivering a wide range of motion is designed to be smooth and friction less, so the user can have big days of climbing with minimal fatigue.
The new BOA system makes it easy to get on and off and adjust over the top of your foot. The boots are easy to mold to your foot, so if they’re fitting a little tight, you can have them adjusted at your local ski shop (rather than at home, as technical details include a heat moldable shell, which allows you to cook the K2 Mindbenders in an oven and put foam on your foot on the areas where there are hot spots and mold out the pain points.
Overall, the K2 Mindbender 130 BOA is easy to fit to a foot, easy to get on and off, walks really well, and performs strong in all styles of terrain. A user-friendly ski boot that will make your outings to the mountain more enjoyable.