While the term "hardbooting" is often used to describe the setup, Phantoms are designed to use lightweight alpine touring (AT) boots, not traditional "hardboots", like those designed for snowboard carving or racing. For many years, it's been a dream for all riders on a SplitTech system that someday , a true tech splitboarding boot would hit the market. Dream no more! The Phantom Slipper has arrived! There are a number of other boots that will work with our system as well, scroll to the bottom for some of our recommendations.
The advantages of using plastic shell boots in the backcountry are many.
Phantoms take advantage of the stiff soles of AT boots by using the sole as part of the binding's structure, thereby reducing the overall weight of the binding. The stiffness of the boots also helps tremendously for kicking steps in firm snow conditions, as well sketchy side hill traverses.
Toe and heel welts.
The toe and heel welts on AT boots are ideally suited for "bail" style bindings for a secure, quick and repeatable fit. They also provide a secure connection interface for automatic style crampons.
Tech toe connection points.
In tour mode, the SplitTech System uses the Phantom Tech Toes with our Phantom Rocket Risers. This increases efficiency, provides a greater range of motion and efficient power transfer when sidehilling, and reduces the touring swing weight since the bindings are stowed in your pack for the ascent.
Free-pivoting upper cuffs.
The Phantom Slipper, as well as several other AT boots offer free-pivoting upper cuffs. This provides for longer and more efficient strides while skinning. Since the ascent counts for a majority of the day on a splitboard, this translates into more energy for the descent. More energy also equals more laps!
Pairing Phantoms with the right boot is crucial in replicating that surfy feeling we all love about snowboarding. Obviously we would recommend that you buy our boot, The Slipper, but there are other choices that make great alternatives. Below are our top boot recommendations. We do not have experience riding every compatible A/T boot out there, but as long as you go with a tech compatible, 2 or max 3-buckle touring boot with toe and heel welts, the boot should work with the Phantom system.
Don't overlook how critical it is to dial in your boot fit! Spending a little bit of time with a professional bootfitter will go a long way and should result in happy feet for many seasons to come. If you do nothing else, you should at least replace the insole in the boot with one that fits your foot's shape and have your liners heat molded.
Atomic Backlands Line - These boots have become the standard in SplitTech splitboarding over the last couple of seasons. The advantages of these boots are numerous. Most importantly, they are compatible with our Link Levers, which allow the user to customize the flex and forwards lean to their liking. These boots also have MemoryFit shells, meaning that they can be heat molded to your foot , much like a liner. All of the hardware is attached with screws, instead of rivets, meaning easy adjustments and modifications.
Dynafit Speedfit - The Speedfit is a great low cost alternative that replaced the venerable TLT6 . The major difference with the TLT6 is that the tongues are fixed, but otherwise its a very similar boot. There are numerous threads on splitboarding forums that discuss possible modifications to these boots that will make them even better for splitboarding.
Arcteryx Procline/ Salomon S Lab - Arc'teryx accidentally designed a suitable splitboarding boot called the Procline, and all reports we received from Phantom riders who rode them in the last couple of seasons say that they are an excellent choice, especially in terms of lateral flex. They do have a similar fit to the TLT6/Speedfit (too narrow for some), and there is one mod that needs to be done because of the abnormally small toe welt. ACMG splitboard guide and Phantom rider Joey Vosburgh made a Splitboard.com post describing the mod here, and we have the longer nylon screws that are needed. The Salomon S/Lab X-Alp is another boot we get asked about a lot, and it’s more or less the exact same boot so also a great option.