For 2012/13, Nike Snowboarding has added the most expensive boot yet to its line up: the Zoom Ites — retailing for a mellow $400. I got the chance to take a pair for a ride, but before I break it down, I should offer a couple disclaimers. In addition to getting a free pair of boots, Nike got me good and liquored up before, during and after slipping into these things. And since the snowboard industry beleives female consumers aren’t worried enough about boot-tech to pay top dollar and just want something that looks nice and doesn’t let them get them wet, I was riding dude’s boots.
The most notable feature of the Zoom Ites is their “customizable flex” – basically inserts you can add, remove, switch around depending on your taste. The Ites actually range from one of the softest, to one of the stiffest boots on the market, depending on how hard you want to go. If you’re getting serious out there, you may want to switch them up depending on the day or the run (and it’s relatively easy to do with a nice tug), but realistically the benefit of this is you can up the stiffness if the boots go soft on you during the season. After starting soft, then sticking in a hard one, I opted to just go raw dog which, for me, was the best feeling.
Out of the box, the Ites slid on and off with ease without any sort of awkward fumbling, and were comfortable without much adjustment. They use the same lace lock webbing system as other Nike’s I’ve ridden, so tightening and tying is still pretty tedious. But if you’re that much of a pussy, go get a pair of BOAs.
Since boot size is probably important to you, I should note that the Ites use a different footbed than other boots in the Nike line, and fit a bit differently than the Kaijus or Zoom Forces. As far as the appearance, the round toe in the size six wasn’t especially sexy – but as they boots got bigger, things smoothed out a bit. If you’re a sports nerd you’ll probably get a bit excited by the white/ultramarine/infrared (not pink and blue) colorway, which is a throw back to the Air Max 180 running shoe.
After a few rounds here’s my final review: These fuckers aren’t cheap, but it could be worse, you could be paying $1,295 for a ski boot, and then you’d be skiing. Overall the boot is comfortable, customizable, sure to be the latest addition to any fashion-forward rapper’s wardrobe and will give any Nike fan a total boner.