You are correct in the statement that the front foot position is critical. What I mean is that the straps need to be soft enough that you can stand on top of them with out too much interference.
I dont agree personally on this one...
I would NEVER feel good, when standing on a strap
Even if it was just a tiny plug edge or "anything" I could feel with my feet, I would simply HATE it, and it would not feel right for me
Maybe I am a bit sensitive, I dont know - but it has to feel perfect and no annoying small things.
So thats why I like straps that adapt to your foot, but still very well formed so they can not collapse.
Very important to be able to slip into the straps extremely fast and without thinking or looking down of course - so "soft" straps is a "no-go" IMO.
What is really important though, is just in front of the rear strap - where there has to be very "soft" and clean and no schrew heads or bulky things, as you will very often place your foot here, both when going upwind (more than 50% of the hours you are out), but also when riding waves or tubes especially.
Personal preference, I know.
Kindly, Peter Frank