Hello and welcome to my Northwave Decade SLS snowboard boots review.
In this review I will take a look at the Decade SLS as all-mountain snowboard boots.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Decade SLS a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other all-mountain boots.
Boots: Northwave Decade SLS
Price: $304 (USD recommended retail)
Flex Rating: Medium-Stiff
Flex Feel: Medium (6/10)
Rating Score: 82.1/100
Compared to other All-Mountain Boots
Out of the 30 all-mountain boots that I rated:
Overview of the Decade SLS’ Specs
Check out the tables for the Decade SLS' specs and available sizes.
A touch heavier than normal
Who are the Decade SLS Most Suited to?
The Decade SLS are best suited to those who need a boot that can be both playful and aggressive and can match with a wide range of the most common flex of boards.
Best suited to boards with a 4/10 to 7/10 flex and most ideal in that 5/10 to 6/10 flex range.
Not for those that need low profile boots.
Not for beginners, unless you're a bigger person or particularly strong/athletic. But anyone from intermediate and up should be good with the flex of these boots - barring maybe very light riders, particularly un-strong riders or those with a strong preference for softer flexing boots.
THE Decade SLS IN MORE DETAIL
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Decade SLS are capable of.
Boots: Northwave Decade SLS 2023
Size: 10 (US Men's Sizing)
Date: February 2, 2023
Cloudy but high cloud. Very good visibility. No rain or snow.
Temp: 32°F (0°C). 25°F (-4°C) with wind. Winds 12mph (20kph) from SSE.
24 hour snow: 1" (3cm)
48 hour snow: 6.5" (17cm)
7 day snow: 7" (19cm)
On groomer: Groomers were real nice. Hard packed with some nice soft on top. Even though there was a decent amount of people there, nothing got too messy and was just nice and easy to be confident bombing and laying down carves. Nicely groomed.
Off groomer: Not too bad. Hard underneath but with enough soft on top to make it decent and nothing icy/crunchy.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Board Demoed With: YES Greats
Bindings Demoed With: Union Falcor
Rider Height: 6'0"
Rider Weight: 180lbs
Outersole Length: 32.4cm (mondo 28cm)
Difference between Mondo & Outersole: 4.4cm
Backstay Height: 11.5" (29.3cm)
Weight: 2lbs 12oz (1240 grams)*
* Average of a sample of around 50 boots I've weighed was 1028g (2lbs 4oz). Heaviest I've weighed were 2lbs 15oz (1320g) and lightest were 1lb 8oz (680g). So the Decade SLS were on the heavier side.
Width: Quite narrow around the forefoot. Right at the base of the big toe especially. I’d say narrower than medium. Nothing that was too uncomfortable for me or anything. I have a medium width foot though, so anyone with a mid-wide or wide foot may find them too narrow.
There was room in the toe box for the sides of toes though - there was plenty of width there - my pinky and big toe weren't being squished or anything. It's just at the forefoot it gets quite narrow.
True to Size?: Toes didn't quite touch the ends. But overall fit wasn’t too loose or anything. In terms of length maybe half a size smaller would work, though I don’t think I’d want to be any narrower at the forefoot. True to size bordering on running 1/2 size large.
Good amount of wiggle room for tops of toes.
High or Low Arch: I typically get at least some pressure on the top of my right foot, but in this case there wasn't anything. Was still snug enough though - wasn't loose or anything. Foot couldn't move up and down or anything, but just really comfortable on top of foot. More so than 95% of boots, when I first try them on.
Around Ankles: There was a little bit of ankle pressure on initial try on, but a couple of laps into riding that had eased to a point that I barely noticed it - and only got better and would only get even better with time.
Fit with Bindings
Ankle Strap: Had to loosen it up a notch - so a little bulkier around the ankle vs my control boots (Adidas Tactical ADV).
Toe Strap: Had to loosen this one too. Which was no surprise, given these boots were quite lengthy for a size 10 and that my control boots are really low profile.
Width in bindings: Fit the same width-wise as my control boots. Good fit width-wise with Malavita Ms.
When it came to quick turns at slow speeds, the Decade SLS were pretty similar to my control boots but just slightly not as quick to turn in them.
For laying down carves, I couldn't tell the difference between these and my control boots. So very good, without being epically carvy or anything.
Heel hold was really decent. Some lift but very similar to my control boots. If I had to say I'd say they lifted maybe a touch more than my control boots. I'd be interested to try a 9.5, because if they fit well and didn't feel too narrow (see fit notes above), then I think that heel hold would be really good in the 9.5.
There is independent upper and lower boot separation. One speed lace toggle thing tightens the 3 laces on the lower boot and the other one tightens the top 3 laces.
There is also a strap that goes around the top of the liner, to give you more or less support (depending on how tight you tighten it) at the top of the liner.
Overall really comfortable boots. There was that small bit of ankle pressure but that became less and less as I rode in them. There was also a bit of pressure on the inside of my forefoot (big toe side) from the boots being narrower in that area, but it was nothing painful and again, it eased as I rode in them.
Top of the foot was one of the most comfortable I've ridden in.
Absorbed shock pretty well. Wasn't to the same level as my Tactical ADV, but those are the best I've ridden in terms of shock absorption. These also weren't quite in that tier just under the Tactical ADV, but they were still better than average in terms of absorbing shock on landings and absorbing chatter.
Average level tread depth. Some pattern variety. Quality of sole seemed decent too.
Quite stiff in the heel and mid-foot, then quite a bit of flex in the toe area. This is typical but the difference between the mid-foot and toe was a little more exaggerated than what I find to be typical. Board feel was overall very similar to my control boots.
This is the biggest downside of these boots, if you need lower profile boots. They are quite bulky. Not an issue if you don't need low profile boots, but if you do, these aren't it. One of the longer boots vs mondo that I've measured.
It was quite awkward getting the speed laces loose to start with. But when you realize you have to do clip the things all the way down it became easier. Still required quite a bit of force to loosen them up. But I imagine they would become less stiff (and even on the next time I did them up were a little less stiff). I did like the clip system for the speed laces – as opposed to the just tug back system in some other speed laces. It feels a little more secure.
When did eventually get it loose enough was average in terms of getting foot in. Had to put a bit of effort, but not really forcing or anything.
Doing up the speed laces was easier than undoing them, so that was nice. I'm not a big fan of speed laces, generally, but these weren't bad.
The strap for the top of the liner was a little awkward to do up, but nothing too frustrating or anything. Overall pretty normal for getting into and out of.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
TOTAL after normalizing
The Decade SLS provide a great balance between fast and slow riding, so you can be both playful and aggressive in these boots.
I also found them super comfortable, noting that comfort in snowboard boots is at least somewhat subjective.
If you're needing a low profile boot, these aren't it, but apart from that, they were really good all-round boots, in my experience.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you’re interested in learning more about the Decade SLS, are ready to buy or want to research current prices and sizing availability, check out the links below.
If you want to see how the Decade SLS compared to other all-mountain boots, or want to check out some other options, check out the link below.
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