So yea, when i first bought them they were impossible to put on, super tight fitting. got them heat molded, and while they were still a pain to put on, held my feet super tight and were comfortable. this will be my fourth season in my first pair...and i ride 'bout 100 days a season, and i'm still usin' em. bought a backup pair last year, just in case mine finally died, but they're still goin'. sure, they're not as stiff, but stiff enough, and i've got the option of adding the additional stiffener to the front should i need to. i make sure never to walk on pavement in them (every time your heel hits the ground, it softens your boot), and i guess i take pretty good care of my gear...the toe bit with "32" on it is starting to come off, but nothing a bit of shoe goo won't fix. i'm stoked about the ankle tightening bit on the newer models...can't wait to try that (it's on my backup boots that i haven't used yet)!