Retrofit Kit For Boa Lacing System

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DayTrip

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Is there such a thing as a retrofit kit of some sort to convert a traditionally laced boot to a boa type system? In my continuing failures to find a comfortable Winter boot I'm considering resurrecting my clunky old Invernos for some trips but I always found the laces hard to tighten and keep tight on them because of the plastic tongue/body. Was curious if there was a way to relace them somehow with a mechanical tightening system like the Boa laces/bindings on a lot of stuff (or a similar system if there is such a thing) that locks the tension in place. Was even considering messing around with line locs like you see on tents. Not sure if that is a hack anyone has tried.

If such a thing is exists let me know. Thanks in advance....
 

sierra

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I can't answer your question, but just wanted to comment. My keen Summit County are like slippers, (they now call them Revel Polar) and they excel with traction and even more so, with snowshoes. Oboz Bridger is another great boot. Have you tried those?
 

DayTrip

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I can't answer your question, but just wanted to comment. My keen Summit County are like slippers, (they now call them Revel Polar) and they excel with traction and even more so, with snowshoes. Oboz Bridger is another great boot. Have you tried those?

I've tried A LOT of boots and shoes. A LOT. Asolo, Keen, Merrill, Oboz, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Innov8, Altra, Keen, Vasque and probably other ones I don't even remember. Apparently my feet are mis-shapen clubs because I have big problems with footwear of all kinds, not just hiking shoes. Two basic problems - my left foot is a full half size bigger than my right (maybe more) and my toe length is very different from big toe to pinky toe (imagine a right triangle). In Winter I have the added problem of my feet getting cold very easily. So most footwear I own I either have a left shoe that fits like a glove and a right foot that is very loose, rubs, lets my toes hit front of boot and/or blisters or I have a right shoe that fits like a glove and a left foot that is really tight, crushes my toes and impacts my circulation. In order to get a boot/shoe to have the proper toe clearance I have to get a size so big that my ankle is swimming around in the boot. So I try to crank down the laces directly over the ankle to mitigate the sliding.

Last year I went with a Keen Town And Country (? Maybe they are Summit County. I don't actually recall) and it falls into the left foot great/right foot too loose category. They're fine but fairly soft and I tend to hit my toes descending. 6-7 years ago I caved in and got the Scarpa Inverno double boots for the warmth and because it had a heat moldable insert. They actually fit probably the best of all the Winter boots I've used and I like using crampons that click on versus straps but they are really heavy and firmer than I really want for general hiking. Not awful but it is noticeable on longer hikes. This year I bought a pair of Baffin boots that also have an inner liner, are quite light and are actually really comfortable and warm but they are very soft. I've only done one hike in them so far and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have an issue with the toes hitting the front because the boot flexes so much. They'll be fine for most hikes I suspect. I'm hoping they firm up more in cold weather. It was only in the high 30's the day I took them out for a test drive. Made a lot of water crossings on that hike and could stand in 6-8 inches of water for 15-20 seconds and not even notice. Inside temperature did not change a bit.
 
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sierra

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I've tried A LOT of boots and shoes. A LOT. Asolo, Keen, Merrill, Oboz, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Innov8, Altra, Keen, Vasque and probably other ones I don't even remember. Apparently my feet are mis-shapen clubs because I have big problems with footwear of all kinds, not just hiking shoes. Two basic problems - my left foot is a full half size bigger than my right (maybe more) and my toe length is very different from big toe to pinky toe (imagine a right triangle). In Winter I have the added problem of my feet getting cold very easily. So most footwear I own I either have a left shoe that fits like a glove and a right foot that is very loose, rubs, lets my toes hit front of boot and/or blisters or I have a right shoe that fits like a glove and a left foot that is really tight, crushes my toes and impacts my circulation. In order to get a boot/shoe to have the proper toe clearance I have to get a size so big that my ankle is swimming around in the boot. So I try to crank down the laces directly over the ankle to mitigate the sliding.

Last year I went with a Keen Town And Country (? Maybe they are Summit County. I don't actually recall) and it falls into the left foot great/right foot too loose category. They're fine but fairly soft and I tend to hit my toes descending. 6-7 years ago I caved in and got the Scarpa Inverno double boots for the warmth and because it had a heat moldable insert. They actually fit probably the best of all the Winter boots I've used and I like using crampons that click on versus straps but they are really heavy and firmer than I really want for general hiking. Not awful but it is noticeable on longer hikes. This year I bought a pair of Baffin boots that also have an inner liner, are quite light and are actually really comfortable and warm but they are very soft. I've only done one hike in them so far and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have an issue with the toes hitting the front because the boot flexes so much. They'll be fine for most hikes I suspect. I'm hoping they firm up more in cold weather. It was only in the high 30's the day I took them out for a test drive. Made a lot of water crossings on that hike and could stand in 6-8 inches of water for 15-20 seconds and not even notice. Inside temperature did not change a bit.

I now understand the challenge you face in regard to footwear. If you ever want to experiment, IME has a lot of boots on Consignment, and you could try on a variety of brands for the Hell of it. Sorry I can't help with the lacing question; I only know the basic way. Footwear can make or break a hike. For years, I hiked in LaSportiva Makalus and my feet always hurt. Turns out narrow widths are my enemy, now it's wide width or occasionally just go up a half size, my feet are always happy now. Good luck Daytrip.
 

Spiny Norman

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DT, If you are going to plastic boots consider the Koflach Degre. It is the softest of the old Kolfach line, they don't have a tongue, and it will accept a wide variety of replacement liners. I've used intuition, burton snowboard boot liners and ski boot liners for various activities. The older stitched stock ones are terrible on my feet.

If you stay with the Invernos how about a lace up liner and velcro straps on the shell.

Cheers
 

DayTrip

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DT, If you are going to plastic boots consider the Koflach Degre. It is the softest of the old Kolfach line, they don't have a tongue, and it will accept a wide variety of replacement liners. I've used intuition, burton snowboard boot liners and ski boot liners for various activities. The older stitched stock ones are terrible on my feet.

If you stay with the Invernos how about a lace up liner and velcro straps on the shell.

Cheers

The inner booties on the Scarpa Inverno model I have do lace up and generally stay tight. It is that outside shell lacing that is the issue, particularly because they lack that set back loop/clip at the ankle you see on most boots. I was looking at boots online over the weekend and came across a model that had a large circular lace lock similar to what you'd see on a sleeping bag stuff sack which is what got me thinking about this. A velcro strap is an interesting idea.
 

Spiny Norman

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I grafted a snowboard binding strap onto a pair of plastic Kastingers once upon a time.

How about ultra thin skimo race liner for your smaller foot. https://skimo.co/palau-ultralight-race-liners

The Koflach Degre does not have a tongue and cinches up nicely.

I solved my bad feet problem by getting rigid Lowa Alpine Experts. Now my feet are happy but the hips and groin need more conditioning.
 

DayTrip

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I grafted a snowboard binding strap onto a pair of plastic Kastingers once upon a time.

How about ultra thin skimo race liner for your smaller foot. https://skimo.co/palau-ultralight-race-liners

The Koflach Degre does not have a tongue and cinches up nicely.

I solved my bad feet problem by getting rigid Lowa Alpine Experts. Now my feet are happy but the hips and groin need more conditioning.

Lowa is one of the few brands of boots I haven't yet tried. I had read they were good for wider feet and were a high quality boot in general. No stores in my area carry them though. REI used to have a few models of regular season ones I wanted to try to at least get a feel for my size but they didn't have in stock the time I went. There used to be Lowa authorized retailers in CT when I checked awhile back but when I investigated a few they were just like REI. They ordered the boots but didn't stock in the store.
 

jfb

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Lowa is one of the few brands of boots I haven't yet tried. I had read they were good for wider feet and were a high quality boot in general.

I tried a pair of Lowa boots around 20 years ago and found them to be narrow in the front and loose in the heel. Last month, I tried another pair of Lowa boots and they fit the same as 20 years ago. I ended up buying a pair of Zamberlan Vioz boots that come in wide sizes.

My new boots have pretty stiff soles, but probably not enough for ice climbing. Here's the shop: https://www.vermontgear.com
 
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DayTrip

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I tried a pair of Lowa boots around 20 years ago and found them to be narrow in the front and loose in the heel. Last month, I tried another pair of Lowa boots and they fit the same as 20 years ago. I ended up buying a pair of Zamberlan Vioz boots that come in wide sizes.

My new boots have pretty stiff soles, but probably not enough for ice climbing. Here's the shop: https://www.vermontgear.com

That's interesting. A lot of the recent reviews I've read of Lowa boots say they are wider than many brands. I guess I won't know until I find somewhere to try them on.

Has anyone here ever heard of or been to Evans On The Common in Townsend,NH? They were one of the places other than REI I had found awhile back that is a Lowa retailer. I sent them an email to ask if they stock Lowa. They had quite a few of the major outdoor shoe company logos on their site. Kind of ironic really. I drive right by them several times a year for work and had no idea that is what they were. Hoping they have inventory to try and knowledgeable staff. If anyone jhas been there and can add some feedback it would be appreciated.
 

Spiny Norman

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The current Lowa Alpine Expert is reasonably wide thru the forefoot. Lowa told me the last is widish to work with thick socks. Since they are rigid there is not much splay in the forefoot with each step. My widish 10.5 feel pretty good in them. And my local cobbler, United Shoe Repair in Concord, NH, said he could get some extra width even though the boot has a full rand.

The Lowa US distributor is in New Haven.

I hear the Scarpa Fuego and Wrangell are widish.
 

DayTrip

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The current Lowa Alpine Expert is reasonably wide thru the forefoot. Lowa told me the last is widish to work with thick socks. Since they are rigid there is not much splay in the forefoot with each step. My widish 10.5 feel pretty good in them. And my local cobbler, United Shoe Repair in Concord, NH, said he could get some extra width even though the boot has a full rand.

The Lowa US distributor is in New Haven.

I hear the Scarpa Fuego and Wrangell are widish.

Thanks. I heard back from the guy in Townsend, NH and he carries some Lowa boots but not the mountaineering styles. He mentioned he stocks some Zamberlan boots as well. I had never heard of that brand until you mentioned it. Looks like they do mountaineering boots as well. So I think I'm gonna take a ride up there and check out his shop.
 

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Something else you could consider, if you haven't yet, is to get a custom footbed for your smaller foot. A thick footbed would reduce the volume of the boot and keep your foot from sliding around as much. That's how downhill ski boot companies can offer 1/2 sizes even though the shells come in full sizes. I used a pair of SOLE footbeds in a pair of hiking boots and they worked fine.
 
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DayTrip

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Something else you could consider, if you haven't yet, is to get a custom footbed for your smaller foot. A thick footbed would reduce the volume of the boot and keep your foot from sliding around as much. That's how downhill ski boot companies can offer 1/2 sizes even though the shells come in full sizes. I used a pair of SOLE footbeds in a pair of hiking boots and they worked fine.

I use aftermarket soles in most of my shoes already. The trail runners I've been wearing the past few years (Innov8) are zero drop and I find I don't need soles in those. So I assume the drop in the shoe design probably also has a negative impact on my fit issues.
 

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Something else you could consider, if you haven't yet, is to get a custom footbed for your smaller foot. A thick footbed would reduce the volume of the boot and keep your foot from sliding around as much. That's how downhill ski boot companies can offer 1/2 sizes even though the shells come in full sizes. I used a pair of SOLE footbeds in a pair of hiking boots and they worked fine.
Throw a heat molded liner in the mix too.
 

jfb

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Throw a heat molded liner in the mix too.

If using boots with plastic shells, it would also be a good idea to see a boot fitter at a local ski shop. They can heat the shell and shape it to fit unusually-shaped feet.
 

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If using boots with plastic shells, it would also be a good idea to see a boot fitter at a local ski shop. They can heat the shell and shape it to fit unusually-shaped feet.

Note, only certain types of plastic boots can be stretched. I tried to have it done with some Koflachs years ago and they would not stretch, several bootfitters in the Conway area tried.
 

skiguy

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If using boots with plastic shells, it would also be a good idea to see a boot fitter at a local ski shop. They can heat the shell and shape it to fit unusually-shaped feet.
Shell stretching and shaping may not be necessary. Molding Liners are easily done at home with the proper research and may be all you need to do. I agree with peakbagger. Certain shells cannot be stretched. Some ski/hike boots are designed to heat and stretch but others are not. If they are not and you try to heat and stretch you can possibly damage the boot.
 

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Shell stretching and shaping may not be necessary. Molding Liners are easily done at home with the proper research and may be all you need to do. I agree with peakbagger. Certain shells cannot be stretched. Some ski/hike boots are designed to heat and stretch but others are not. If they are not and you try to heat and stretch you can possibly damage the boot.

All good info and appreciated but my plastic Koflachs fit fine, just really heavy. The sliding issue is with some other conventional boots I have tried. The issue with the Koflachs is keeping them tight around the ankle because of how the laces are and the anchor/eyelet placement.
 

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