We tested the Fitwell Freeride for you.
Less extreme than its big brother and already known Backcountry, the Freeride is in our opinion the optimal splitboarding and mountaineering boot for those who like it hard, but also comfortable.
Out of the box the Freeride seems really high quality, well developed and excellently finished. Getting in for the first time, the lacing of the inner shoe seemed a bit peculiar, but quickly turns out that it works fine. The Reel Knob screw is great. You can adjust the fitting exactly to your needs and your heels stay where they belong to - at the bottom of the boot. When you want to pull off the boots you just unlock the Reel Knob turning the weel to the opposite direction and everything loosens up quickly. I might have wished the wheel a bit bigger so that it can be turned easier under heavy pressure. Nevertheless, so far it works perfectly. The additional strap above the shaft of the Fitwell Freeride provides extra support.
All in all the Freeride fits very well on my feet even at high dynamic loading. Vice versa, the boot protects my feet well even at high pressure and quick changes of strain due to changing conditions or fast riding. Even after hours of use while touring or riding groomers it remains comfortable and very dry for a snowboard / splitboard boot, that means my feet sweat less than in other shoes of this type. At the same time the Freeride keeps my feet warm even in adverse conditions.
Size: Compared with other boots of this category the Freeride is quite short, regarding the sole length. Even when it seems a bit clunky by design. Due to its snug fitting I wear the Fitwell Freeride one size larger than my "conventional" splitboard boot.
Uphill: The Davos sole with tiny shards of glass keeps its promises. Of course - ice is ice and since then you need crampons. Thanks to the "lip" on the heel of the shoe semi-automatic crampons can be easily and securely attached.
So, regarding the ascent in your binding. Yes, the lateral pressure is transferred well and quite directly to the board and the edges, which facilitates traversing and improves the performance of your whole splitboard setup significantly. In flatter ascents this boot is not as comfortable as a boot with a proper Hike-Mode, but due to it`s softer area on the calf and if you close the lacing slightly you have still an unexpected forward and backward flex which makes it comfortable even on long splitboard missions.
Downhill: Due to the hard Flex when properly closed the pressure comes very quickly and is directly transferred to the edges and you have great support while charging on the descent. The edge comes even so fast that you should get used to it a few runs before you enter technical terrain. But then you can trust the Freeride completely.
The sole of the Freeride is slightly higher than the sole of a "normal" snowboard boot. Here is the hidden compromise, because a higher sole offers great advantages on the way up in mixed terrain. But you loos a bit of boardfeel. Anyway, the boardfeel is still at the upper middle, compared to conventional snowboard boots.
Conclusion: The Fitwell Freeride offers everything required for normal and ambitious Splitboard touring. It increases the ascent safety and performance of your entire Splitboard setup and is very comfortable. It is also great that Fitwell is produced in Italy!
Price / performance = Top!
The Fitwell Freeride is the second Splitboard / Freeride Boot built in Italy. A bit softer than the Backcountry Boot, the Fitwell Freeride offers great performacnce for all splitboarders who like European produced products and Italian Boot quality. The Multy-Layer System offers great comfort and sensitivity for splitboarding and snowboarding. The Liner is made from Memory Foam and thermo-adjustable. The REEL KNOB Lacing combined with a Velcro Strab keeps a snug fit at your feet. The flexible bootleg eases up the ascent adding some comfort even if you carry your board on the back. The sole contains some glas to give uncompared grip.
As soon as we have tested the Fitwell Freeride you can read the results here.