Splitboarders get their very own tech hardboot
Efficiency has always been a sticking point in snowboarding, and even more so with splitboarding. Soft boots are inefficient and cumbersome for hiking. Traditional snowboard bindings are bulky and a time suck on transitions. Colorado based Phantom Snow Industries is getting one (literal) step closer to streamlining that process with their new Phantom Slipper split tech boot.
The boot arrives on the heels of Phantom’s other efforts to optimize tech split boarding. Under the direction of founder and chief engineer John Keffler, they have designed and manufactured their own line of split tech bindings, they sell splitboard mod kits for the TLT6, and last year released the Phantom Link Levers (reviewed here). The Phantom Slipper incorporates many of their efforts thus far.
“This is the logical extension from Phantom’s TLT 6 mod kit,” Phantom Chief Operating Officer and owner Alex Gelb said in an interview last week. “One of the main goals of the TLT6 mod kit was to move that lower buckle to the pivot point. That concept carried over to the Slipper.”
The new Slipper also features a heat moldable shell with a carbon spine and Grilamid flaps, a rockered Skywalk sole, platinum light liner, and tech toe fittings. It looks like a modern AT ski boot (notably similar to the Atomic Backland, which was used as a model during prototyping), except that the buckles have been moved to the pivot point to create a more secure heel pocket for riding down. It also has a built in Link Lever, for which riders can choose their desired stiffness.
“One of the things we’re really trying to highlight is how comfortable this boot can be. The name is a play on the idea that hardbooting means that you’re riding a really hard, unforgiving boot,” Alex explained. “We’re trying to make the opposite of that with the memory fit and the platinum light liner that should make for a really comfortable fit for people.”
Phantom also sought to replicate the surfy feel of a soft boot, while maintaining the efficiency of a hardboot. Of course I had to ask whether the boots could be skied. “The boot is designed solely for splitboarding, simply by matters of flex,” Alex explained. “We think that we found a really nice, soft compliant shell. When you add in the Link Lever, it’s going to have a good amount of forward flex. More importantly it’s going to have the lateral flex which snowboarders want but skiers don’t.”
“Basically what we were trying to do is make a boot that really hasn’t ever existed before.”
Pre orders will be announced in early fall and shipping is anticipated early November. The boot shell and associated parts manufactured in Austria, and will then be assembled and finished in the U.S. in Colorado at Phantom headquarters. The boots will be sold only direct to consumer through Phantom at a price of $799.95. Stay tuned for a full Phantom Slipper review later this season.
Manasseh Franklin is a writer, editor and big fan of walking uphill. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and especially enjoys writing about glaciers. Find her other work in Alpinist, Adventure Journal, Rock and Ice, Aspen Sojourner, AFAR, Trail Runner and Western Confluence.