Expert Review: K2 Aspect Snowboard Boots · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard boots, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard boots, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2022.
The K2 Aspect Snowboard Boot is the best backcountry snowboard boot on the market. I have used these boots primarily in the backcountry of the Inland Pacific Northwest. These boots have been tested in all conditions. They held a grip on slippery logs and wind-crusted ridges and stayed warm and dry through creek crossings and deep post holes. I’ve enjoyed comfort and durability in the lightest snowboard boot I’ve ever worn.
About this gear
- Model: 2022 K2 Aspect Snowboard Boot
- Size: 9.5
- Lacing type: Lace outer shell, BOA stiffener/liner
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 180lbs
- Street shoe size: 9.5
- Foot shape: High arch, wide toe box, narrow heel with a fairly large “pump bump,” also known as calcaneal exostosis, which can make reducing heel lift in a boot challenging for me.
- Experience: 30+ years of snowboarding and 9 years of splitboarding
- When I bought these: December 2022
- Days tested: 20
- Board: Weston Backwoods Backcountry Split 158
- Bindings: Viole Light Speed (Medium)
- Where I’ve used it: Backcountry throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Glacier National Park, the Cascades, the Selkirks, and the Bitterroot mountain ranges.
- Terrain: All mountain, backcountry, steep trees, powder glades, icy hardpack. They are also used for challenging boot packs and with crampons for highly exposed ridge lines.
How it performs
What I was looking for
Splitboarding can be really hard on boots. I had been using my resort-style boots for the past few years and quickly wore them out. So I was looking for something that would be lightweight, durable, crampon compatible, and hold up to the brutal conditions I would put them through in the future.
Why I chose this gear
This product stood out to me because it is one of the stiffest boots on the market. I was drawn to the versatility of the lacing system in combination with power straps and BOA. This boot is also crampon compatible and has an awesome mountaineering-like Vibram sole. I was also drawn to the Vans Verse because many of my friends raved about them. I have always been a fan of Burton, so the SLX was also a competitor. The thirtytwo Jones MTB was also a formidable contender with the endorsement of Jeremy Jones. Ultimately, this boot met my needs and was at a more favorable price point.
What I love about it
- Size: These are true to size. When I first tried them on, my toes touched the end of the liner, but after the first short tour, they formed naturally to my feet. I have a wide-toe box. They do not compress the metatarsals at all and still provide the necessary stiffness.
- Comfort: This is the most comfortable boot I’ve ever worn. I’ve never had the thought that “I wish I could just take my boots off,” and that includes following a 14-mile splitboard trek that took nearly all day. My feet have never felt cramped unless I overtighten the BOA stiffener. So many features of this boot are designed to make uphill travel more comfortable. The lightweight is hugely impactful with this, as is the neoprene lining at the top that allows more plantar flexion within the boot, somehow without sacrificing responsiveness. While somewhat tedious, the ability to adjust how tight the foot and the calf are independently also influences comfort positively.
- Warmth: In part due to the comfort and also the heat-reflective lining, these boots are incredibly warm. Admirably, despite some grueling climbs, I have not had sweaty feet in these either.
- Shock absorption: Most of the landings I’ve done have been in powder conditions, but I have felt very comfortable even when cutting across icy or chunder slopes.
- Responsiveness: I am blown away at the responsiveness of this boot. At first, I was nervous that a boot designed for touring would leave something to be desired in terms of responsiveness, but boy, was I wrong. From the moment I dropped into my first line, I knew that this was the tool for the job. It became more apparent when traversing out of a challenging exit, and I had total control. In addition, these are canted forward some, reducing fatigue on a long heel traverse.
- Grip (outsoles): Phenomenal grip. This is one of the reasons that I purchased this boot. When looking at the outsole, the pattern is like that of a traditional mountaineering boot, adding stability and grip. There is also a heel counter that allows for easy crampon donning.
- Durability: I’ve worn these for 20+ days, and still no signs of wear. I plan to replace the laces annually just because of normal wear. It is also possible that the velcro may rub against the liner and cause some pilling of the fabric.
- Weight: These are nearly as light as Skimo boots. I’ve raved to all of my friends about how much faster I can travel uphill. No longer are the ski friends waiting for the splitboarder.
- Versatility: I have tested these on nearly all possible conditions. I ride steep and deep whenever possible, but that often means going through some crappy terrain to get there. I’ve hiked wind-affected ridges and boot packed with crampons to get up a steep couloir. These boots have more than held their own.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Heel hold: Heel hold has notoriously been an issue for me. These are not perfect, but they are the best I’ve ever had. I added a very small (⅛in) heel lift to the back, which helped me out. The crampon heel counter also fits perfectly under the heel cup of my binding, so there is no boot movement within the binding. The Aspects have felt more responsive than any other boot I’ve used.
- Ease of use: While I was initially drawn to the lacing system, I had taken for granted just how easy it is to use the Burton Speed Lace or a double BOA system. These boots take a bit more time to lace and unlace. However, I appreciate that I can lace them tightly and leave the BOA all the way loose for an easy uphill walk. At the top, I have only to adjust one BOA dial, and I’m ready to go.
Favorite moment with this gear
There are so many things that I love about this boot. My favorite moment thus far is when I was hiking the northeastern ridge of Mt. Nyack in Montana. The snow was wind affected and unsuitable for splitboard skins. I put my board on my back and started hiking up the ridge. I felt completely stable and comfortable. At the top of the ridge, we found a great entrance to an open chute filled with powder and unbelievable awesomeness. I was so grateful to have upgraded boots that day.
Value for the money vs. other options
The value of this product is ultimately why I purchased the K2 Aspect compared to the thirtytwo Jones MTB or the Burton SLX. It was offered at a lower price than either of them and more than holds its own in terms of performance, comfort, and durability. I also appreciate how these boots have a neoprene sleeve on the calf that allows me to lean back in them more, making for a more natural uphill walking movement than traditional snowboard boots. I thought it would influence downhill riding, but it doesn’t.
The K2 Aspect Snowboard Boot will change someone’s life for the better. One will enjoy incredible comfort, warmth, responsiveness, and durability, unlocking comfort they didn’t know they had. But please, remember to be safe out there.