By STEPHEN KRCMAR
Collaborations (“collabos” in cool-kid speak) are popular in the urban-bike world, but less common in snowboarding. One exception? As a new version of a classic boot from Burton and sole-maker Vibram, the Driver X is Burton’s $350, high-end, freeride boot. According to the company’s rating system, it’s a 10 out of 10 in stiffness — that’s one of the stiffest snowboarding boots they make.
The sole — full name: Vibram Ecostep Recycled Rubber Outsole — is, as the name says, a recycled rubber build. It provides “traction, snow-sensitivity, and weight-savings,” according to Burton. The boots, which retail for about $350 but can be found for less online, are great for folks who love a lot of support and love going fast.
I have been testing the Driver X boots this season at Mammoth Mountain. It has been my daily boot for the past few months. It’s stiff, supportive and light (about 1060 grams in size 9.5 men’s).
The Driver X includes Burton’s Speed Zone Lacing system, which is an auto-tightening design that’s just as fast as the much-ballyhooed BOA system. Although I liked the Speed Zone, it took a few days to realize that the hanging laces can get hung up on your binding straps if they’re not tucked away.
The shell of the boot is smaller than most. Although my 9.5 size boots fit well, they slid into the binding like a smaller boot. Not a huge deal for me, but if you’re on the border between needing a wide board and regular board, this may be a good solution if you want to stay with a more lean deck.
One note: This boot fit me a half-size smaller than what I normally wear. Try it on if you can.
Overall, I’d recommend these boots for anyone who is looking for a new freeride setup. Buy ‘em now while they’re going on sale around the country and the interweb, and then you’ll even have some time to get a bit of spring riding in, which, depending on where you are, can go into the summer (hello, A Basin, Mammoth and Mt. Hood). http://www.burton.com
—Stephen Krcmar usually rides into June in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.