Nike Zoom Kaiju

I expected the Kaiju to be a stiff, responsive freeride boot that requires serious break-in time. Instead, its flex is medium, but on the stiffer side. The tongue is soft, with most of the stiffness coming from a thin, hard TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) backstay. The Kaiju’s neoprene articulating cuff is also a likely cause for the softer, even initial flex.

Jed Doane, riding the Nike Zoom Kaiju snowboard boot
Jed Doane, Snowbird.

(Note: The Kaiju fits and flexes extremely well out of the box, which is typically a sign that you will end up with a very soft boot by the end of the season. I’ve spent only 20 days or so in these boots, so there’s no way of knowing yet. But as I add more days, I’ll report back.)

I broke in the Kaiju during eight consecutive days at Snowbird, with conditions varying from hardpack and ice to a few inches of softer, windblown snow. Although the boots were softer than I expected, the Kaiju was relatively stable at speed and in rougher snow conditions. They were also pleasantly responsive, with a few degrees of built-in forward lean.

I also took them to the park at Brighton, comfortably hitting rails all day, and trained Boardercross at the Utah Olympic Park at night.

The Kaiju is extremely light and very low profile—two features that separate the Kaiju from the rest of Nike’s line. (My size 10 Kaijus had a substantially smaller footprint than a previous pair of Burton SLXs.) But so far, I haven’t had any issues with cold feet, which is a common problem with low-profile boots.

One important thing to keep in mind for those who purchase the Kaiju is the stiffness of the board and bindings paired with the boot. As a great mid-flexing boot, the Kaiju behaved playfully on a softer board (the Rossignol Jibsaw 157), yet didn’t feel too soft with a stiff, big-mountain platform (the Rossignol Krypto 163) at high speeds. To be honest, I hardly ever notice these boots while riding, which is a testament to their fit and versatility.

So far, these boots have proven to be very comfortable, lightweight, low profile, and extremely well thought out. I’d recommend these to any intermediate to expert rider who is willing to pay for comfort and for the boot’s even flex. I would not recommend these to someone who is looking for an extremely stiff, race-worthy model. Those with wider feet should pay close attention to the fit of the Kaiju, as it is definitely a narrow boot. Furthermore, it is essential for your boots to be tight while snowboarding, and those who have never laced a traditional snowboard boot should expect a steep learning curve.

1 comment on “Nike Zoom Kaiju”

  1. I took them on a 7-day trip to Austria and my feet were soaked after 3 runs for the rest of the week… How could they not be waterproof? Very disappointing. I’m in process of returning. I’ve been riding for 5 years consistently and never had wet feet all day like this. Wouldn’t recommend these, especially at that price tag.

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