Don’t underestimate the importance of a good pair of boots.
Just like in skiing or snowboarding … or walking down the street for that matter, if your feet aren’t happy when you’re on the water, chances are the rest of you won’t be happy either. The good news is, boots have come a long way since not that long ago.
The days of needing dish soap to slick up your feet to be able to get into your bindings are all but over.
These days you have a ton of great options to choose from, each with unique features and benefits that appeal to different types of riders.
Here are a few main considerations to help narrow down what boot is best for you:
Open toe or closed toe?
The main benefit of open-toed boots is they allow for use by riders with different size feet. This is great for families, casual riders, youngsters with growing feet or as a backup setup that can be shared with multiple people. Generally featured in size ranges small/medium, medium/large and large/XL, one pair of boots could potentially work for riders three to four shoe sizes apart. If you want one versatile setup you can use for multiple riders, an all-around board and a pair of open-toe boots is the way to go.
While open-toe options have plenty of features built in, they’re generally not as high-performance or as secure of a fit as a pair of closed-toe boots. They tend to be a softer fit and flex to accommodate a range of feet sizes and aren’t as warm in cold water.
For a boot in this category, the Slingshot Option is one-of-a-kind. It features a unique Gummy Strap closure system that squeezes tight as you ride and will never loosen. Check it out!
For performance-oriented riding, a super secure fit and more direct feel and control over your board, closed-toe boots are the way to go. They’re more expensive, but what you give in the price you get plenty back in performance. You can normally share with riders about half a shoe size up and one size down, but anything more than that isn’t very functional or comfortable.
Within the closed-toe category, there are a variety of options to choose from. Soft, medium or stiff? Inner laces or not? Removable, walkable liner or not? Check out our 2018 boot lineup for an overview of each.
The general rule of thumb is that a softer boot will be more comfortable and forgiving for casual or entry-level riders. If you’re not riding super hard or if your form isn’t dialed, having more flex underfoot will give you a bit more margin of error and a little slower response in your board. Stiffer boots generally translate to higher performance, with a more direct and immediate reaction from your board and more ankle support for aggressive riding.
An exception to this is in the cable parks, where many high-performance riders prefer a softer booth for tweaking out tricks and grabs and leaning father into presses.
In the Slingshot lineup, flex ratings are as follows:
Soft flex- The Option: Open-toe design and soft flex make it a comfortable, forgiving and user-friendly behind-the-boat choice for riders of all shapes, sizes and skill levels.
Medium flex- The KTV: THE KTV and the RAD are built from the same shell, just with different closure systems. The KTV features a three-zone gummy strap closure that maximizes custom flex control by allowing the rider to tighten the lower, middle and upper parts of the boot independently. Gummy Straps provide a dynamic riding experience. Unlike static closures, Gummy Straps flex with your movement and squeeze your boots tight while you ride. It’s the perfect balance between support and mobility.
Medium flex- The RAD: THE RAD and the KTV are built from the same shell, just with different closure systems. The RAD features a synching lace closure over the top of your foot that you can pull tight and lock down, and a gummy strap closure over the ankle that squeezes tight as you ride. Flex can be controlled by loosening or tightening the dual closure zones. The RAD has been a popular choice for boat riders for years thanks to its simplicity.
Stiff flex- The Shredtown: The Shredtown is a boot within a boot. It has an inner liner with hard, “walking soles” – a big bonus for cable riders and winchers who don’t have feet like cavemen. The liner synchs tight with a full lace-up closure and slides into the outer boot, which has the same three-zone gummy strap closure as the KTV. The Shredtown is built for superior support and stiff board control.
WHAT ARE GUMMY STRAPS AND WHY ARE THEY TAKING OVER WAKEBOARDING?
WAKEBOARDING NEEDED A NEW TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE OLD PROBLEMS. INTRODUCING GUMMY STRAPS…
We introduced Gummy Straps to solve a problem that has afflicted wakeboarding boots since the very beginning. Velcro (the worst offender, that’s why they SUCK), laces, the BOA system- they loosen over time, come untied, blow out, break, fray, flap around your feet and often don’t provide the support you need even when they are functioning properly. Gummy straps are the solution.
Made of super strong, high-tension Thermoplastic Poly Urethane (TPU), they stretch firmly to fasten, then squeeze tight as you ride. Set the tension level by how much you stretch the straps before fastening them, and once they’re set, they’re set. No slipping, loosening or getting ripped off, and no leftover laces to dangle around your ankles. As an added benefit, gummy straps are inexpensive, almost indestructible and they come in a rainbow of colors so you can customize your look.