A $12 Experiment: Easyboot Back Countries with 12mm Pads
Yes, I tried it. Yes, I know you aren’t supposed to. Yes, it worked.
Those of you who are familiar with Easyboots know that the Gloves and their Back Country cousins (which use the same shell with a different gaiter) are supposed to be used without pads, though it is commonly observed that the 6mm pads work just fine. The 12mm pads are intended for use with other boot styles whose fit isn’t as precise.
I wouldn’t have attempted to use 12mm pads in Acey’s BCs if I hadn’t ordered them by accident. But, since I had them on hand and it didn’t seem worth the cost of shipping to return them, I figured it was worth a shot. You’ll recall that because Acey is so tiny, even her 00 BCs are bigger on her than I’d like. They’re probably a full size up from a nice, tight fit.
I’ve observed in the past that the 6mm pads crush quite a bit, and quickly. I find that a single ride smashes them to practically nothing around the hoof wall. This doesn’t seem to be a problem, as padding remains in the sole area, and I thought the crushing might come into play favorably in my 12mm pad experiment.
By the way, I’m not the first to try this. Easycare rep Alayna Wiley offers this blog post on the subject; it didn’t work so well for her. The boots twisted.
But what the heck. I cut the medium-density, 12mm pads down to 00 size and stuffed them in Acey’s boots. They certainly looked thick, coming up high enough to cover half of the heel screw. Without overlarge boots and significant crushing, this would never work.
Overlarge boots? Check. Even with the thick pads, the BCs went on Acey’s feet easily. I walked her around a bit to make sure they were seated, then double-checked the gaiter tightness. So far, so good.
Now to crush the pads. I saddled up and we hit the road for a few miles at a walk and bounding trot. (It was windy and Acey was, er, more enthusiastic than absolutely necessary.) I checked the boots frequently for twisting or other issues. Nothing. The only change seemed to be positive: reduced “slop-and-clop” from the outsized boots.
Acey seemed to feel really, really good! Even better than usual. Was it the weather, or the pads? Oh, and she was also a few millimeters taller. 😉
At the end of our ride, the boots remained perfectly in place. I removed them to find the pads crushed down to where they looked about like brand-new (un-crushed) 6mm pads. The screw in back was now fully exposed and the pad had settled down to consume less room all around.
Hmm. This could work.
Now, I’m not advocating the use of 12mm pads in Gloves or Back Countries under normal circumstances. I have yet to decide whether I’ll continue with them for Acey. Further tests will tell us more. But, it does seem that under peculiar circumstances such as ours, it’s at least a possiblity worth mentioning.