The Nike Vapen is basically a watered down Zoom DK that has a softer and less responsive more forgiving ride. It’s a great entry level boot but also not a bad boot for those advanced to expert riders on a budget.
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Cartel Limited
Boards: Jones Mountain Twin, Lib Tech TRS,
Flex: Nice Medium to medium/soft flex.
Comfort: Nike makes very comfortable boots and even their entry level boot is almost there with their higher end boots. Nike knows how to create a comfortable boot around your foot so even if you don’t like them in the snowboard industry you can’t knock the craftsmanship.
Heel Hold: My ankle was very secure and I’ve never had issues with any Nike boot. Some might want more of a secure feeling that you can get from cranking down a BOA boot.
Adjustability: We like the little lace cinch mechanism that’s on the higher end Nike boots but for 2 bills it isn’t that bad without it. You can still use a mountaineers not to secure the bottom and the top locks pretty well.
Flex Retention: There is a nice neopreme notch in the ankle and it makes for great articulation. The flex lasts pretty long for a $200 boot. I only had 3 days on it but I have had a lot of feed back from people who have ridden these boots for more than 2 years.
Response: Pretty good middle ground response that isn’t too aggressive and pretty forgiving.
Traction: Very good traction and it’s fine in the parking lot. Most boots cut costs and do single mold eva foam at this price which has almost no traction so it’s nice to see a rubber sole.
Shock Absorption: Very good shock absorption. It’s got a lot of eva foam at the bottom
Footprint: This is the only gripe we have with this boot. On the inside it fits similar to other brands like burton but on the outside it’s footprint is a full size or evan more than most Burton and Ride boots. That can be a problem with people who are in between binding and board sizes. For example if you are a size 10 you might not fit into medium bindings made for size 8-10 boots or you might have toe drag if you are riding a board with a more narrow waist width. Here is a size 9 Burton Ruler (similarly priced) vs a size 9 Vapen footprint comparison from the 2013 season. Both fit my size 9 feet correctly on the inside.
On & Off Ease: It’s not going to compete with Speed Lace and BOA but the inner and outer lacing is really good and quick for traditional lace. Nike has some of the easiest traditional lacing out there.
We at The Good Ride were not enthusiastic about Nike entering the snowboard market but they sure won us over. We like their boots and feel they are worth a shot. They have a smooth and very comfortable feel. Not much has changed over the years since the Vapen came out and our only true complaint is we wish they would reduce the foot print.