Manufacturer’s list of features:
- TPU backstay for protection and high rebound flex.
- Articulating Flywire Cuff for increased heel hold while decreasing bulk around ankle.
- Webbing lace system with neoprene eyestay for easy tightening with Nike Snowboarding lace lock at fourth loop for zonal tightening.
- Support truss with stitching reinforcement in upper quarter for maximum support with minimum material.
- Outlast temperature controlled liner and foot bed.
- Free Technology – Increased Board Feel.
- Asymmetrical “No Sew” weld on toe for edge protection.
- Zoom Air embedded in phylon for cushioning.
- Warming Strobal Technology in liner and shell.
- Neoprene cuff design allows freedom of movement without clumsy “floating cuff” piece.
Days Ridden: 20
2012 Rossignol Jibsaw 157, Burton Cartel, M
2012 Rossignol Krypto 163, Burton Cartel, M
Locations: Snowbird, Brighton, Utah Olympic Park
Conditions: Hardpark, Packed Powder, Powder, Dust on Crust, Terrain park, Boardercross course
When Nike entered the snowboard boot market a few years ago, I was skeptical. I figured the large corporation would cut corners with their products and pursue sporting goods store distribution. So when I finally decided this season to see what the hype was all about, I was surprised to find my assumptions proved wrong.
Nike Snowboarding has bolstered its image within the industry by producing high-quality boots, bringing on an all-star team of riders, and utilizing only core retailers. And with the Zoom Kaiju, their highest-end model, it’s clear that Nike is a legit player in the snowboard market.
The first thing I noticed when lacing up the Kaiju was the incredibly comfortable fit, right out of the box. The liner is well molded and lacks the troublesome seams and pinch points found in so many snowboard boots. Nike, unlike most other brands, also utilizes a traditional lacing system, reportedly staying away from speed-lacing systems at the request of their team. I had only used speed-lacing systems (Burton Speedzone, Northwave Superlace) in the past few years, so the traditional lacing system took a little getting used to.
Many riders question traditional lacing’s effectiveness in staying tight throughout the day, and choose speed lacing for its customizable fit. Nike, however, addresses this problem with an ingenious plastic lace-lock at the ankle that allows for two independent lacing zones. This enables the rider to have differing tightness in both the lower foot and shin zones.
The boot offered plenty of other pleasant surprises as well. The materials, features, and engineering of the Nike Kaiju are on par with or surpass the industry standards for a high-end boot. The liner, for one, is very comfortable, dries quickly, and I’ve experienced few pinch points thus far.
Directional fiber lining in the heel, coupled with an articulating cuff in the outer shell, held my heels down extremely well. The thick foot beds with shock-absorbing PU zones are well molded and supportive, and the liner/foot bed combo molded to my feet within a few days. I have slightly narrow feet, and the Nike liner was shaped perfectly, right out of the box.
While these are all nice touches, I’ve yet to come across a perfect pair of snowboard boots, and the Kaiju is no exception. Its internal liner tightening mechanism is disappointing, and seems to be the least thought out feature of the boot. Nike uses a standard bootlace here, perhaps to complement their outer lacing system. But tightening it was slow and resulted in uneven tight spots. Both hands are required to pull the individual laces, which makes it impossible to tighten individual lace loops when you’re tying up.
Now that the technical boot-fitting jargon is out of the way, it’s time to ask the big question: How does this boot ride?