Whenever I get to do a gear review I find myself struggling for a clever opening.
With boots I default to dumb stuff, clichéd stuff like “These boots are made for walking,” even though I’m almost certain the young folk have never heard of Nancy Sinatra, much less her chart-topping track circa 1966… Maybe they’ve heard the Operation Ivy cover, “One of These Days,” circa 1989..?
I guess some part of me still wants to be a music reviewer. I can’t help myself.
With the latest edition of Jeremy Jones’s signature 32 boots, I scrape even deeper towards the bottom of the barrel with jank like, “To know a man you need to walk a mile in his shoes.”
Well, with these boots you can walk, you will walk, and you’ll walk hard; the remodeled 2016/17 Jones boots reinforce the whole living legend status of The Jones, and their rejigged design is poised to augment your backcountry experience.
Like, next level augmentation, talking supreme-backcountry-enhancement type terrain.
Emphasis on backcountry here - yeah, by all means you can rock these inbounds as your everyday boot, but it’s a bit like swatting flies with a bazooka.
These boots are designed “from the ground up” with crampon compatibility, steep bootpacks, rigidity and high-speed stability in mind.
They’re tightly constructed with a virtual utility belt of features, and it was this utility belt comparison that had me thinking of Batman the first time I stuffed my feet into a pair.
Sure, the black and yellow colour scheme easily brings up thoughts of the Dark Knight, but it’s the boots resemblance to a monster bat that really struck me - coverlet unzipped, boot laces splayed and inner boot loosened, stomping into one of these is like stuffing a giant bat in the face with your foot.
Once you’re in, the three-layer dip of tight-as lacing and foot security features smacks you in the face.
Personally, I have nearly non-existent calves (saving up for implants, but that’ll be another review). Finding a boot, especially a stiff boot geared towards the terrain I like to ride, has been a challenge - usually I’m left swimming in boot-tops like some water-winged goob confined to the shallows for his own protection.
But with the 32 Jones I get great lock-down not only from the conventional lacing and inner, but by utilizing the “walk-mode” BOA feature to its max potential when ready for the down; the ability to easily back things off and on with the BOA system is a treat.
And I admit, I was leery of the BOA drop-back and walk feature when it first debuted - It made me think of driving a convertible car through a carwash with the top down, BUT, since logging a pile of miles and getting up and down to the early season nitty gritty, I now consider myself a full convert. The walk feature saves my calves on the gradual ups, and when locked into ride mode I feel more secure and faster response on my edges than I have in years. No more floppy-top boots for this guy.
I dig these boots.
*So far this season I’ve put in close to 30km on my tours "in" with these, and I’m happy to report zero blistering. I plan to add some basic insoles for a bit more arch support (I have poodle feet, but that’s another review), though that’s just a matter of personal preference. I’ve bootpacked some steep schnarb, kicked toeholds into some steeper gnar, and the boots are performing over and above what I’d expected.
With an upcoming crevasse rescue course slated for December, I’ll put the boots through the paces there with some crampons, and will report back then on how I fared.*
Review By: Tyler Austin Bradley