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Why do my BOA shoes keep loosening?

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Why do my BOA shoes keep loosening?

Old 12-31-22, 09:54 PM
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Why do my BOA shoes keep loosening?

My Lake MTB/SPD style shoes have BOA dials, which keep loosening up. Its most notable when walking. Even after tightening them as much as I can, all it takes is 10 steps for them to become loose. (Also happens when pedaling, but not nearly as quickly. In order to maintain the same tightness, I need to adjust them about every 10 minutes.) Is this normal? If not, is there a trick to prevent it? Or, does this mean they are defective? (This happened even when new.)
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Old 12-31-22, 10:11 PM
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Some BOAs you push in to lock. Did the shoes come with instructions?
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Old 01-01-23, 12:04 AM
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Agreed. If you aren’t pushing the BOA button IN to lock, it will loosen. Pull up on the button to release.

I push the button in and then tighten.
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Old 01-01-23, 03:51 AM
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Mine loosen even when pushed in.
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Old 01-01-23, 04:00 AM
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I've had my Lake CX170's for ten years and they have never loosened, How old are they? Lake has a two-year warranty.
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Old 01-01-23, 08:20 AM
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BOAs are lifetime guaranteed. Maybe you need a repair kit. I got a kit one time for some Sidis.

https://www.boafit.com/en-us/support/warranty
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Old 01-01-23, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr
BOAs are lifetime guaranteed. Maybe you need a repair kit. I got a kit one time for some Sidis.

https://www.boafit.com/en-us/support/warranty
I've got a pair of MTB with some BOAs that die frequently...They seem to be a type that is easily fouled by dirt. They've sent me many replacement sets - always very promptly and for free. Though I suspect earlier posters were correct that you are just not using the dial properly.
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Old 01-01-23, 10:12 AM
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I've a pair of Shimano shoes who's BOA's seem to loosen up. They are locked but feels like play is developed and the wires get a bit loose. If I get bored I'll go to the LBS and order replacements.
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Old 01-01-23, 10:20 AM
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I have a pair of Bonts that have Boas which loosen while riding.

I can’t see it can be user error, because the dial is disengaged from the filament/cable when pulled up and unlocked, spinning freely, so the cable cannot be tightened unless it’s in the ratcheting/locked position. I’m unaware of a Boa which operates such that the user could think the cable is tightened securely but isn’t.

Boa have, and have had, a bunch of different models over the years for different pricepoints and applications. Boa say, for example, that their M series is “A multifunctional series that combines durability, closure strength, and effortless adjustability with resilience to force and impact even in the toughest conditions.” Do the lightweight L series I have on the Bont shoes offer less closure strength?

Also, there are other brands of dial adjusters, e.g. such as can be found on Mavic shoes, so it’s important to make sure blame is properly assigned.
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Old 01-01-23, 10:22 AM
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Why are these seen as better than velcro straps?

My velcro strap shoes last years and years without me having to do anything.

The idea of replacing a fat ratchet/buckle strap with an anorexic string of plastic fiber seems insane to begin with, even if they stay in place.

My bike helmet has one of these, too (Bontrager Wave Cell), and I have to tighten at least once per ride. Helmets should be set and forget. That seems like a design and safety flaw.

Last edited by Polaris OBark; 01-01-23 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 01-01-23, 12:00 PM
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The ones my SWorks 7s creep, but the ones on my Lakes (the push-in kind) don’t.
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Old 01-01-23, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
Why are these seen as better than velcro straps?

My velcro strap shoes last years and years without me having to do anything.

The idea of replacing a fat velcro strap with an anorexic string of plastic fiber seems insane to begin with, even if they stay in place.

My bike helmet has one of these, too (Bontrager Wave Cell), and I have to tighten at least once per ride. Helmets should be set and forget. That seems like a design and safety flaw.
Velcro does eventually wear out. The fuzzy gets worn and doesn't grip the hook as well. BOA does, in theory, last. Its a metal wire that rarely breaks, and Its got a warranty, so you can order a replacement cable/knob set. Plus, it works very well.
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Old 01-01-23, 12:32 PM
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Polaris OBark yeah, Boa took on a revered status like the second coming of Christ for reasons I don’t understand either. I prefer Velcro, and have ages old Bont A3s that are seeing serious enough decay of the uppers material to be retired despite the Velcro strapping being in good condition. A3s are probably close to 12 or 14 years old by now.

Ever tried to sit cross-legged in the grass in shoes with a Boa dial in the typical spot on the outside of the forefoot? Ouch!
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Old 01-01-23, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
It's a metal wire
I had not realized that. I thought it was like nylon fishing line.

The velcro on my sandals wears out, but so far my bike shoes haven't suffered that.
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Old 01-01-23, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
I had not realized that. I thought it was like nylon fishing line.

The velcro on my sandals wears out, but so far my bike shoes haven't suffered that.
In a pinch, I have replaced the Boa wire with fishing line. Lasted for years
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Old 01-01-23, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
Why are these seen as better than velcro straps?

My velcro strap shoes last years and years without me having to do anything.

The idea of replacing a fat velcro strap with an anorexic string of plastic fiber seems insane to begin with, even if they stay in place.

My bike helmet has one of these, too (Bontrager Wave Cell), and I have to tighten at least once per ride. Helmets should be set and forget. That seems like a design and safety flaw.
For some of us, velcro straps on cycling shoes are a curse. I started out with laces before velcro existed. If the shoe had enough lace crossings (and was otherwise good and good fitting) real all day comfort was easy to get, assuming one knew how to tie them properly. Velcro and triathelons brought us straps. Fast But soon, straps were the only option. Buckles came along but they were still on straps. I found that I got some discomfort using strapped shoes to climb big hills on fix gears where I had to pull up very hard and the straps felt like they were digging into my foot bones.

Not a huge issue until I started riding the week-long Cycle Oregon fixxed. Now, with climbing nearly every day, some very long, and near 500 miles total in seven days, those foot issue became quite real. In fact, I was visiting the doctor with toe infections or simply nursing a foot that felt like it had cracked bones. (Toe issues were from loosening the straps to spare the bone.) From second fix gear ride on I started carrying sandals for the rest stops just to get out of those strapped shoes. (The red back you can see under the DT on my avatar photo.)

Then one day I cut off the straps. Inserted brass grommets from Tandy Leather and laces. Bliss for my feet! I now have 3 pairs of lace-modified shoes that get nearly all of my use.

Last summer I was ready to do Cycle Oregon fixed again, looked at that pair of shoes and thought that they were so old and had done so many that they might not make it. So I went on the Lake website (Lake shoes are a sweet fit for my rather particular feet) and, starting at the cheapest, looked for the first model with the 3-bolt cleat system and leather tops. (Leather because I was riding them for a very serious ride in three weeks. If a synthetic upper didn't work for my feet, 450 miles fixxed could be pure h***.) I didn't care about straps because I was going to simply cut them off. Well, first shoe that meet the requirements was the $300 CP268! With BOA. In fact, dual BOA. Took a deep breath, found a local shop that carried Lake, called and special ordered a pair. 5 days later I was at the shop trying them on. Nice! I still needed to ride them but in the shop with my usual (often deal breaking) tests, they passed gloriously.

Took them home, put on the cleats and went riding. Well, the BOAs were a whole new adventure, but the shoes? Comfort like I didn't know was possible.

Now, that comfort would have been just as good with $10 of those Tandy grommets and laces. It was due to 1) the Lake fit my feet like so much, 2) the new wide toe box (a TG for American feet and about time!) and 3) wonderful padding in the tongue under the BOA wires that are both a lot harsher than soft laces and considerably fewer so spreading the load a lot less.

My feet came through that Cycle Oregon week with no issues at all, save a few miles of too tight laces and a few of too loose. (Learning curve, way to easy to over-tighten! and on the fix gear, attempts to adjust on the fly is like doing watch repair with a sledge hammer. (I dare anyone to get just one click at 100 pedal RPM.)

So my take on BOAs is that on a road bike where you can stop pedaling and coast and on shoes with really good padding, properly done (Lake's dual system was very well thought out) - simply as good as it gets. But on a fix gear, simple laces has real advantages. No wheel to bump when you reach for toestraps. (The bottom BOA wheel on my Lakes is just behind the buckle. While riding, just fine but unstrapping to stop, I hit it often. I didn't even expect them to work at all with that bottom wheel and was quite pleasantly surprised when I didn't have to remove the BOAs and lace them. And those toestraps will always stay on my fix gear. Always. Unclipping at speed and very high pedal RPM is one of my re-occurring nightmares. Falling over at a near stop while strapped in tight? NBD.)

And both systems, BOA and laces, compared to straps? Pure bliss! (Or can be with any BOA bugs worked out and a well padded tongue. Only drawbacks to laces - you have to know how to tie them properly and do it, they take longer to tie and yo cannot do it while riding.)
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Old 01-01-23, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
The idea of replacing a fat velcro strap with an anorexic string of plastic fiber seems insane to begin with, even if they stay in place.
My Bontrager Circuit shoes have BOA dials on the upper part of the shoe and Velcro straps on the lower. I like the ease that the BOA dial gives me to adjust the tightness and the Velcro will never wear out because I don't think I've ever had to open that portion since I got them where I wanted them adjusted.
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Old 01-01-23, 01:32 PM
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I realize now that my shoes have one buckle strap at the top (where the Boa is on more recent models) and two velcro straps closer to the toe. The buckle and strap seem optimal (Shimano).
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Old 01-01-23, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M
My Bontrager Circuit shoes have BOA dials on the upper part of the shoe and Velcro straps on the lower. I like the ease that the BOA dial gives me to adjust the tightness and the Velcro will never wear out because I don't think I've ever had to open that portion since I got them where I wanted them adjusted.
I got it wrong. Mine is like yours, except buckle instead of Boa.
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Old 01-01-23, 02:52 PM
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Does Boa line still have a metal core? You'd think they'd have gone to Dyneema or something years ago.
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Old 01-01-23, 02:54 PM
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My simple shoe laces never loosen and I keep them tucked inside my shoes so that they don't get tangled into my chain ring.
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Old 01-01-23, 05:13 PM
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"Why do my BOA shoes keep loosening?"

Short answer: Because BOA fasteners suck. My experience after 3 replacement kits.

Long answer: Get a repair kit from BOA. They are really easy to work with as the whole thing is done through their website and fairly seamless. Expect to do this every year or two.

My solution: Finally I chucked the shoes that cost 350 bucks back in 2012 (S-Works) and only used 3 seasons, replaced with Sidi Genius 7, the last of the ratchet type closures for the Genius model. The last pair I had went 20 years and I expect 20 years from this pair.
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Old 01-01-23, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
Why are these seen as better than velcro straps?

My velcro strap shoes last years and years without me having to do anything.

The idea of replacing a fat ratchet/buckle strap with an anorexic string of plastic fiber seems insane to begin with, even if they stay in place.

My bike helmet has one of these, too (Bontrager Wave Cell), and I have to tighten at least once per ride. Helmets should be set and forget. That seems like a design and safety flaw.
Bingo.

My 18-year old Shimano road shoes are falling apart, but the three velcro straps still work fine. Meanwhile, I've replaced the BOAs on my four-year old MTB shoes at least 4-5 times.

BOAs suck. It's a high-tech solution in search of a problem.
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Old 01-01-23, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
In a pinch, I have replaced the Boa wire with fishing line. Lasted for years
It's worth keeping a zip tie (or two) in a saddle pack in case a BOA fails.
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Old 01-01-23, 11:07 PM
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I think BOA has a lifetime guarantee. At least a friend of mine who was having BOA issues reached out to the company directly. They got back to him with a whole new BOA assembly. My recommendation? Reach out to either a) whomever made your shoe - Specialized, Shimano, etc. or b) reach out directly to BOA and see what they have to say. For the price of an email what harm can it do?
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