After reading this review you know which details are important to find your best matching pads and straps. Which are comfortable and in the same time firmly fixed to your feet.
The reason we started this test is because buying a random pair of pads and straps can be quite a disappointment. On our quest to the best pads and straps we used the opinion of our own WTK test members.
Which happens to cover a big range of shoe sizes; EU 36 to 47. Some of our own team members know the painful frustration after riding on pads and straps that are far from perfect. Sometimes resulting in blisters, cuts and scars. After all a good session means you are literally attached to them for a few hours. So make sure you are a good match. One brand stood out by combining a customized size with an improved ergonomic shape. Surprisingly it is not one of the bigger brands.
The basic tip
The best tip we can provide is easy. Pads with a high toe padding combined with a deep heel bed is a good sign. Being locked-in will be best possible in pads that have a very curved shape. This will only work when the pads have the correct size for your feet.
A little explanation: the more demanding and sporty you get the better the grip needs to be.
Something that can be described as a ‘locked-in feeling’. Imagine you spot the perfect take off for a jump. The last thing you want is that when you start edging and loading for the pop your feet start moving around. Or even totally slip out of a strap.
Measure your sole length
There for you need to sort out what is a good match for you. And that will start out by measuring the length from your heel to to the start of your toes. A few brands -Padics, Duotone and Yeti- that can use this measurement to get to the right pad size.
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The best from our test
There are two very clear reasons why our favourite in this test is Padics kiteboarding (‘Sized line’ 220 Euro). The first one has to do with the fact they provide 9 different pad sizes. Including the claim that the ideal fit of a pad isn’t about shoe size. The distance from the heel to the beginning of your toes is actually what is important. So you will need to measure this and compare it with the recommended pad size. We are sure anyone can get a very good match.
The second reason has to do with the shape of the pads. The Padics pads have the most radical shape we had ever seen. Extremely high edges near your toes and outer heel side.
After our team had tested half a dozen of these pads we can say they are right. But this extreme shape will only work out if you get the perfect size for your feet. And they are the only brand that have this size and shape combination. Perfect for the more demanding riders that look for a firm and tight fit.
What a great locked-in feeling!
Are those Padics a 10 out of 10? Let’s settle it on a 9. It can be perfect on bare feet but when winter kicks in and you wear really thick shoes they may get too tight. Doing board off’s can get a bit harder compared to other straps. The pad itself could have been made less slippery. And the straps are not much different to others. But no doubt these pads are the best choice from our test.
The Yeti pads offers more grip (see the high too edge for example) over a majority of the other brands. When you get the right size you have a perfect locked in feeling.
Luckily Yeti is embraced by many (twin tip) brands/shops (recognizable by the four droplet shaped holes in the pad).
Overview by brand
The smallest one starts at EU size 37.5 and should work until 42. L/XL goes up to 44. That is quite a few sizes bigger as we would like if the aim is to get the right options for women. The colours are -other than the name on the strap- not very specific either. Quite a disappointment since they are very similar from the ones sold by the SP Kiteboarding wholesale brand. And they do offer a very wide range of sizes.-Update after the review was made Big Blue Boards adjusted the sizes on their website; Size S/M- 36-39 L – 39-42 EU sizes. We tested a bigger version and can’t verify if the small size suits smaller feet.
The H1’s are simple and traditionally shaped with one strap. The pads have very little curves. Which means plenty of space to move your feet around on the pad.
The H2O’s are the most expensive set in the test. Yes the H2O has some extended options to reset the straps. But this is available on many other straps to.
What struck us is that the pad is quite flat on the heel side. Which is in compliance with the fact that one size should fit all. But that does result in a less locked in feeling.
Crazy Fly is the only brand we tested that needs a wider connection on the board. Which provides extra width possibilities. which is handy when wearing shoes. But it also means that on most twin tips there are only 2 (out of the 3) stance options left.
It is interesting to see that they have the same background as Padics and they even collaborated in the development. The Entity’s come in 4 sizes and are more colorful over the Padics. But unfortunately we couldn’t test them as we did not have any Duotone board available.
Nobile gives the option to connect the pads to your board without a screwdriver (click’n’go screws). However we preferred the normal screw option since the click’n’go couldn’t be set tight enough.
The other outstanding detail is the upper part of the strap which is quite big and made from one piece. We haven’t figured out what the benefit is.
All in all resulting in our top 5 from the test.
A Naish Apex next level? Or did Kevin take it a bit too far? The striping on the pad gives a funny tickling feeling. And the most distinctive feature of the Superbindings are the unique upstanding edges near the straps. We measured all the pads and these bindings come with the smallest width in our test. It may be a perfect match to a few riders. But be warned. One of our testers with wider feet got quite a bleeding blister on his feet. So try them before you buy them.
In the summer of 2021 a couple things popped up at the same time which has lead to this pads and straps review. Our team member with EU size 36 broke the beloved 2016 Naish Apex strap. She even had bought them twice when the first pair broke down. As other straps couldn’t .
At the same time another member needed to find a replacement for his broken KTV boots. Wanting straps that comes with a locked in feeling as close to riding boots. And another one scarred his feet in the quest to the perfect pads & straps after buying his third new pair. And last but not least we frequently got advice request. Mostly from woman with small feet.
At the same time Yeti Kiteboarding proposed to do a test. But of course a proper test needs more brands. A couple of months later we had tried over 20 different pairs.
A lot of details have been left out from this review. For example we checked the weight. But these weights seem not to be of relevance as the differences in weight (which was 500g’s between the most heavy ones the Naish Apex and the lightest from Big Blue Board) are only up to 10% of the total weight of the board.
A lot of credits to: Slingshot (1 unit), Padics Kiteboarding (5), Big Blue Boards (1), Crazy Fly (4), Yeti Kiteboarding (2), Nobile (1), Reedin (1), Cabrinha (2), and Naish (2) providing us the pads & straps. F-one and Duotone were bought by ourselves.