The Humanoid Howl boots are designed to be as close to straps as boots can be. Lower, softer, simpel 2-screws connected (“smart toof technology”) to the board and lighter than others. Not meant for the real pro, but for the average to experienced rider who wants to have the best of both worlds.
Humanoid is a wakeboard brand which produces the boots. There is not much to find on the internet on the Humanoid Howl what it’s made for related to kiteboarding. It seems to have some sort of connection the brand Best Kiteboarding. We guess Best see some major success coming with these boots and do not want to rule out any non-Best sponsored riders. The -smart- branding is comparable to for example Manera harnesses, which are directly linked to F-one. But again these are just guesses.
How did we get in touch with these boots? Well, it started talking to the locals in Tarifa who -when asked- advise to be careful just buying any boot. A lot of Boots seem to break really quickly. A live time of several months is more common instead of several years. Second warning was on the comfort; boots will add weight to your board, and you will notice it. So we where told to head down the local Best shop and ask for the Humanoid Howl. Significantly lower -and thus lighter- boots, a tiny but effective and neat connection system by just 2 screws a boot. Best calls it the “Smart Toof Technology”, since the angle of the boots on the board is set by these 2 screws inserted into some type of teeth. The bonus promises where -we did hear that before though- softer and really durable. So this is what we have tested.
We did some weighing; Straps and pads together will be around 500 while one Humanoid Howl boot weighs 1075 grams. So 2 boots will give you one (yes only one) extra kilo of weight. That seems really little. But off course these are only “dry” figures. The differences will probably grow significantly on the water.
Looks and feel
The boots have a very distinguishable colour. Some kind of a mint look. Not really everybody’s favourite and too bad there where no other colour options. Googling Hamoind Howl does seem to promise some (2015) colour options on its way (red and brownish). But not (yet) available in the Best shop. We did have -off course- sufficient size options (about 5; EU sizes 38-48, by steps of 2) which is needed to find the perfect fit for your feet.
Before we took the boots out for a ride we where explained a few tweaks; First we had to switch the large Velcro straps from left to right on booth boots. This sets the opening part on the inside of your legs, and should prevent unexpected opening of the Velcro due to the force of the water while hitting it. Seconds was to get a significant amount of o-rings (around 12), to exactly get the perfect length of the screws which do the most important job: keeping the boots connected to the board. A bit too long and you damage the board or have wobbly boots. A bit too short and they may not hold the immense forces which are pushed and pulled while riding.
Testing the boots on the water
Putting the boards on your feet, with the 2 (1 large around the ankle, 1 smaller on the toes), is not as easy as it looks. The large Velcro is not a problem and just takes 2 seconds to tension it, but the smaller one is quite hard to get some tension on the first 2 front lines of straps. Strings, also used a lot instead of Velcro, probably will need less effort to get it as tight as
needed. But the good news is they don’t stretch. So re-tightening is not necessary (which is quite an exception to other boots). And -again more good news- the boots indeed feel lighter, softer and more freely than other boots. The boots still give this untouchable tank feeling you get with any boot, but it does feel a bit more flexible and more free than other boots. It is definitely not mid-way between straps and (bigger) boots, more like 20% straps to 80 % (big)boot feeling. For the average rider who want to experience the boot riding feeling and want to benefit of it, will for sure be a lot happier on these boots than any other we have experienced.
Endurance wise we can say there is, after about 15 sessions in really rough conditions, there is no sign of any wearing what so ever. Off course this would be very bad if there was, but we can’t say more about it than that they look to last for years.
One thing these boots are less suitable for is really cold conditions. We rode the boots in 6-10 ºC air and 8 ºC sea water, which allows you to kite just over an hour. Any longer and your feet really start to get cold. Compare it with neoprene boots of a few millimetres, not really meant for these cold conditions.
Overall we are convinced these boots will become a big hit. It full fills perfectly the needs of 90% of the riders who are interested in riding in boots.
List price; 369,99 Euro