Any reason there is no market for boots for general free ride style kiteboarding?
I kite where it's cold, even when it's 30 degrees in the summer the water is very chilly (glacier fed estuary) so I wear wet suit booties all the time. But I have struggled to find a good pad/strap combo that stays on my feet, especially when jumping. I also dislike having to wear booties but I'm a wuss when it comes to cold feet.
A pair of closed toe boots seems to be the perfect answer for me, but I'm not in to wakestyle and I never unhook so I feel like I shouldn't be using boots just because people generally don't.
So I'm wondering why not?
- Chance of injury on wipeout?
- Too hard to get on/off?
- Too constrictive?
- Too costly?
- People love doing boardoffs???
Half the time when I land a big air one of my feet slips out of my straps and the other stays in and that makes me worry about knee injury a lot. I also end up flexing my toes upwards during airs to try and keep my feet slipping out.
You won't get the benefits from boots that wakestyle riders get which are: edge control for popping, high speed (kite low) landing stability, hitting sliders and kickeres, and ankle hold for power control. They are harder to get on for sure, crashes are much harsher, I don't know if you're going for kiteloops or anything like that but you can tear your knees in half. If you know your rotations already and are unhooking they cause you to add speed to your tricks because it's harder to pull up into them - so to attain the same movement you need to ride fast and more powerfully into your trick. People think because they can unhook and do a raley they should be riding boots (they think it looks bad ass) but no.. I think it's a step that comes after you can do everything to blind and everything to wrapped at least (if not airpasses). They are also very expensive if you aren't utilizing them properly. Just get some heel straps and be done with it, there is no need for you to have boots.
Boots definately isnt for you. Neither are those slingshot joints sorry but those are pieces of crap, they dont last long at all maybe one season I had mine. Nearly the equivalent when cabrinha had those sync bindings worthless junks. Fine yourself a decent pair of straps you wont spend as much as boots.
IDK, I switched to boots 8 years ago pretty much as soon as I could go upwind. Having learned on a snowboard boots felt natural where straps felt sketchy. It was the confidence of riding with real edge power in boots that led me to unhook in the first place and it most definitely influenced and shaped my riding style and choice of boards. I say try em and see where it takes you. In/out is simple. Just step in and go, tighten em up once your nicely upwind, and loosen em off at the end of your session before you get close to land. Wipeouts are wipeouts. Any kind of jump or trick aside, I absolutely love the power and edge control a pair of boots and rockered board bring to all the riding in between. My only advice is that once you try it, if you like it, do yourself a massive favor and get a stiffer board with some decent rocker in it. You'll thank me. Boots are also a schlog in light wind, so either have a massive kite or maybe get a surfboard for light wind. Along the same lines incidentally I ride the Great Lakes predominantly and we don't really get much in the line of surfable waves but getting a proper surfboard was also one of the best moves of my kiting career.
Don't worry about all the negative things you hear about boots. Most of that comes from people who have never worn them. It's not what your wearing that causes the knee injury it's what your doing that causes it. Lots of pro's have popped their knees wearing straps.
Have you tried Liquid Force Lux Pads and Straps L/XL?
It's the only one I have found that fits my size 12 Oneil Epic 5mm roundtoe wetsuit boots over goretex drysuit feet with woolen socks inside. They can fit kind of loose while still sticking to your feet when angled slightly. That solution works well in icy water.
Edit: I did injure my ankle after one foot slipped in a half assed unhook attempt on shallow water using those boots in some other straps that didn't fit well (and took me 5min to get into). Buried tt tip in sand and twisted. Can't promise it won't happen with above mentioned, but it feels a lot safer, and it also helpts to kite with enough water before doing something stupid.
Edit2: I would say bindings are dangerous in cold water if you need to swim and your hands are cold.
Lets face it swimming in icy water is dangerous no matter what. In closetoe boots its not gonna be much change in risk factor. You get out of em to swim, you either have socks on or not, you freeze your feet or not.
I dont even bother with a TT in real cold water let alone boots anymore. Rather have a board that can float me and that I can paddle faster than swim. Lets be realistic about mitigating risk. That being said, A lot of my habits have evolved and I have in the past had plenty of cold water sessions in boots. As long as your cautious and stay within easy reach of shore its not different than any other TT.
If our in glacier fed water (brrrrrrr) close toe boots could well increase your enjoyment of the whole experience. I say try em. There is a lot more to gain than just warm tootsies.