Vans BOA Viaje Snowboard Boot Review
Snowboard boots must accomplish two seemingly clashing tasks: insulate your feet from the outside world and allow them to instantly respond to it.
Like a racecar with leather interior, the women’s Vans Viaje demonstrate that comfort and performance can co-exist.
Synonymous with skateboard shoes and skate-inspired fashion for over fifty years, Vans introduced its first snowboard boot in 1993. The Viaje is new to their lineup, a women’s-specific snowboard boot inspired by the men’s Vans Verse, which the brand introduced last season. Rather than just sizing it down and slapping a different color way on it, though, Vans engineered the Viaje from the sole up for women’s feet.
Stiffness and Performance
The result is a stiff, aggressive performance boot that is a far cry from the slouchy snowboard boots of old yet doesn’t sacrifice comfort. The stiffness comes in part courtesy of two removable plastic stiffeners that crisscross over the tongue; with both in place, the boots rate as one of the stiffest available.
Tying it all together is the BOA Fit System. Click the dials to cinch down the laces, pop the dial out to instantly loosen them; micro-adjustments are a breeze whether in the backcountry or the back of your rig.
The comfort starts with FlashDry, a proprietary moisture-wicking fabric designed by The North Face for use in its outerwear, that shunts snow and sweat away from the skin toward the surface of the liner. In the boot shell, the brand’s Heat Retention 360 technology wraps a heat-trapping layer around the sole and toe box, while waterproof valves help with airflow to keep feet dry.
BOA H4 Coiler and H4 Dials
The Viaje consists of two BOA dials, the H4 Coiler and the H4. The H4 Coiler is used in the front of the boot and showcases a faster entry of the wire lace, which makes for quick tightening. On the side of the boot the BOA H4 dials in the instep and that provides the stability I mentioned above. In addition, a small waterproof fabric layer zips over the bottom of the laces to protect them from the elements.
The review period took place in the midst of an Arctic air mass settling over the Northern Rockies, with wind chills near zero and stale snow—less than ideal conditions for snowboarding, but perfect for putting a boot through its paces. Underfoot were fast, chattery groomers and chunky, tracked-out snow off-piste: two scenarios that demand snappy turns and can be unforgiving to feet.
The Viaje charged right through it all. The butterfly-style heel-hold noticeably locked the foot in place, which, combined with the tongue stiffeners, translated into telepathic communication between boots and board. Meanwhile, the FlashDry liner and Heat Retention 360 technology kept feet fully cocooned yet completely engaged.
Tester Nicki’s three-word first-run verdict? “Warm and stiff.” High praise coming from a snowboarder with perpetually cold feet.