Salomon Launch BOA SJ Review
The Salomon Launch BOA SJ is a mid flexing, freestyle boot that is the answer if heel hold has ever been a problem for you. If you have narrow feet, it can be pretty difficult to find a boot that will lock your foot down hard enough, without being on the stiff to mega-stiff high end boots. Double BOA boots generally do a pretty good job, but there is always room for improvement.
The best feature of this boot is what Salomon call the STR8JKT or SJ for short. It is a panel or harness that is connected to the bottom of the shell of the boot, and when you tighten it, it holds your ankle down to the bottom of the boot.
Features of the Salomon Launch BOA
- BOA Lacing
Single BOA lace, that tightens the whole outside shell of the boot. Very quick and easy to tighten, you can get in and out of the boots much quicker than with traditional laces. In general BOA laces are quite tough, as long as you don’t rest your board’s sharp edges on the BOA lace when you are riding the lift up, nothing should go wrong. Either way, BOA boots have a worldwide warranty, and they will even send you a free repair kit for peace of mind from the BOA site. It doesn’t worry me though, I haven’t ordered any for myself.
- Gold/Custom Fit Liner
- Ortholite C2 Footbed
A plain and simple footbed, that is designed not to break down.
- Flight Outsole
Made from a mix of EVA and rubber.
The key feature of this boot, that locks your ankle down with a separate lace.
How the Salomon Launch BOA fit and ride
It is almost silly to review a boot, because how it feels on my feet is going to be completely different for anyone else. I never really had a hard time finding boots that fit well, but ended up sticking to ThirtyTwo TM Twos for quite a while as they gave me good heel hold and support.
From brand new they already suited my foot shape, the liner has some decent shape around the heel, so you can feel some support right from the start. The inner/liner has a nicer lock than most other boots, which is a little lever, rather than the standard two part lace lock that most brands use. If you need to tighten it further, you can just pull hard on the laces and it will unlock itself, which makes it easier to make small adjustments and the re-lock the lace.
On the outside of the boot there is the lace with the little handle, which tightens the inner STR8JKT. Giving that a pull you will feel the orange panel/harness inside the boot lock around your ankle. It doesn’t take much effort to tighten at all, it is easy to tighten it too much, especially before you have done up the main BOA. Once it is tight, you need to pull the lace back into the lock, which has a few teeth that stop the lace from slipping. Tightening the outer shell of the boot is just that same as it is with any other BOA boot, quick and easy.
If you don’t need the extra ankle support from the STR8JKT, you could just ignore it completely and just ride with the inner and BOA tightened. There have been days that I ridden with the BOA completely undone, and just relied on the STR8JKT to hold me in, it gives you enough heel hold by itself to ride with.
The Ortholite footbed that comes with the boots is nothing special, basically just some quite thin foam, there is no shape to it at all. I rode for a few days with it in, and then took it out and swapped to my custom footbeds. Even if you don’t want to go out and get custom food beds, I would try and get some footbeds that suit your feet, no matter what boots you end up riding in. They will almost always be better than what is included with new boots.
After owning a couple of pairs of TM Twos, I was looking for a boot that gave me good heel hold, and was a touch softer. The Launch ticked those boxes, and gave enough support for riding hard, but enough flex that I could push them around when I needed to.
Although the STR8JKT is easy to tighten, there is a bit of a trick to get them off. The lace lock on the outside (to its credit) will completely hold the lace tight even if only one of the little teeth is grabbing the lace, so make sure it is all the way forward to release the lace. Then on the inside, you need to grab the yellow strap and pull it away from the lock – towards your other boot rather than just pulling it up to get it loose. I don’t think it such a big deal, it is a decent tradeoff to get very good heel hold.
- Good price
- Quick BOA lacing
- Very good heel hold with the STR8JKT
- Suits narrower feet
- Specific way to release the STR8JKT
The BOA version of the Launch is around $270, but you can save a bit of money if you don’t need the convenience of the BOA lace. There are traditional lace and speed lace versions of the Launch, that still have the STR8JKT, which means you can save $30-40.