Spark R&D has broken the mold, so to speak, with creating their own Pillow Line straps for the Arc and Surge splitboard bindings. What makes these ankle and toe straps so amazing? Why would Spark want to make their own straps after using very nice straps from Burton? We had a chance to test them out during the Baker Splitfest and high up in the Colorado backcountry to find out.
I strapped the new Pillow Line straps to my Surge bindings and went for a tour in a super wet snow storm at Baker and put them through the ringer. To compare, I only installed the Pillow Line straps one binding and kept the current Surge straps on the other. Right away you notice the weight savings over the current straps. 43% lighter than the current Surge straps! Also, they don’t have any foam, so they won’t take on any snow, water or pack out.
The straps get their “Pillow” name from the flexible pillow like ribs throughout the design. These ribs make contact with the boot and offer good support without being too tight. The design is also very durable. I twisted them, stepped on them, slammed them and tried to F them up. They were not giving up! I seem to break everything (heck, I broke a few things on the tour, but these straps were not one of them).
After several more tours, in different kinds of weather, I can say that these are impressive straps. One of the most impressive things is that these are actually made in-house, at Spark R&D, in Montana. That’s right – made in the USA. Spark spent 2 years developing them (scanning several snowboard boots to make sure they fit perfectly).
The Pillow Line straps weigh 40g for the Arc, 46g for the Surge and 16g for the toe strap (same for both models). The Arc are softer and the Surge is stiffer. We tested the Surge in this review. MSRP is Arc Ankle $55, Surge Ankle $60 and both Toe Straps are $40. Available for Women’s bindings in sizes XS/S and M/L and Men’s Small, Medium and Large. They will come standard for the 2017-2018 Spark Arc and Surge bindings, or you can upgrade your current kit. If you want to save weight (38% for Arc and 43% for Surge) and have a trustworthy, durable and waterproof strap, these are worth the upgrade.