Finding a good snowboard boot is important for several reasons. First, a good snowboard boot should keep your feet warm, dry, and remain comfortable. Each of these aspects will make your snowboarding experience an enjoyable one and prevent you from having to worry about the cold. Additionally it will allow you focus on your riding. Second, an insufficient boot can actually hinder your performance and prohibit your progression. Thus it is important that you find a boot that is an appropriate match for your board, bindings, and your skill level.
- Video Tutorial: How to Properly Fit a Snowboard Boot
- Men’s v. Women’s Boots
- Video Tutorial: Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Boots
First and foremost, it should be understood that snowboard boots are not shoes, and they should not fit like them. When you buy a shoe, you will generally wear them with additional room and a little larger than necessary. A snowboard boot is made for performance, and therefore if it is too big, your foot will move around instead of directly transferring energy to the boot and subsequently the binding. Thus you want to select the smallest size you can without being uncomfortable. Snowboard sizing is the same as regular shoes, but as we’ve outlined already, many people exaggerate their shoe size larger than they actually measure. Be sure that you avoid doing this and you’ll end up with a proper size. For additional help, please review our snowboard boot sizing guide.
When trying on a snowboard boot you should sit down, completely loosen the boot, and then slide your foot into it. Make sure that you are wearing the sock you will generally be riding in. Kick your heel back into the boot a few times to make sure your heel is set back in place. Then tighten the liner and then the exterior of the boot. When you stand up, your toes should be touching the end of the liner, but not cramped or curled. When you bend your knees, or stand in a bent stance, your toes should come away from the end of the boot slightly. This allows for just the right amount of room in the boot when it is broken in.
Women are built differently than men. Therefore their snowboard boots are built differently as well. Women’s calves are positioned lower on their legs than men. Therefore, the cuff of the boot on a women’s snowboard boot does not come up as high. This creates a snowboard boot that is less restrictive and more comfortable for women. Additionally, women’s snowboard boots are generally softer from a flex standpoint, making the transfer of energy easier.
Women also tend to have narrower feet; therefore their boots are designed to compensate for this difference. If you have a woman’s snowboard boot you should select a woman’s binding to work with it. Additionally, if you have a woman’s binding you should select a woman’s boot to work with it. This will allow for a more precise and secure fit, making the set up for your board more responsive when riding.
Like other pieces of snowboarding equipment, there are different levels of performance and materials used.
Up to $139: Entry-level boots will fall into this price range. The flex of entry-level boots will generally be very soft and forgiving. The liner will be simple and the lace up system will be basic. The fit of an entry-level boot will offer a little bit of extra room because it is designed to fit a variety of different foot types.
$149 – $199: Snowboard Boots retailing in this price range will usually represent a mid-level boot with a mid-level flex. The boot will still be soft and forgiving, but offer more response and performance than an entry-level boot will. The liners in this price range will generally be made of materials that will wick away sweat and moisture, helping to keep the rider’s feet dry and warm. The fit of the boot will be a bit more precise, less bulky, and reduce the overall weight while maximizing energy transfer.
$200+: High-end performance boots with all of the bells and whistles will be found here. Boots will be stiffer and more responsive and give rider’s the ultimate in customization. Boots will be lightweight and extremely comfortable. Liners will generally be heat moldable, allowing the rider to obtain a custom fit.
You may not think that a lacing style is an option you have much control over, but you several options to choose from. Each different closure style offers it’s own benefits and comfort features.
Traditional: Everyone is familiar with the traditional lace up closure system. This system is just like the one you find on your shoes. You simply pull up the laces to tighten, tie them in a bow and you’re good to go. The simplicity is unmatched and it is the most basic form of tightening system you will find on a snowboard boot.
Speed Lacing: Almost every brand of snowboard boots will offer some form of speed lacing system. The goal of a speed lacing system is simple, to get your boots tightened quickly, efficiently, and for them to remain tightened until you are done riding. Most systems involve some sort of drawstring, sometimes fixed to the tongue of the boot. After the user pulls up on the system to tighten the boot, the system usually locks into place so the lace cannot become loose while riding. Speed lacing systems also allow the user to get more leverage than a traditional lace system allows. This is especially beneficial for women and kids who may not be able to tighten their boots as much as they might like.
Boa: If you’ve ever seen snowboard boots with a cable lace and a dial at the top of the outer tongue, then you’ve seen a boot with a Boa system. If not, boots with a Boa lacing system use a cable instead of laces and a dial that can be turned to tighten the cable to the desired level. This system is very convenient, making it easier to tighten your boots and keep them tight until you pop the dial to loosen the cable.
This system is found on various levels of men’s, women’s, and kid’s boots. It is especially nice for riders who feel that they can never get their boots as tight as they want them. Additionally, it provides the added benefit of being able to tighten your boots without taking your gloves or mittens off. As your boot and liner loosen up throughout the course of a day of riding, you can simply reach down, give the dial a few turns, and then jump back on the lift for more runs.
The Boa Focus system is a variation of the Boa system and provides riders with the ability to tighten the boots in different zones. This way you can keep certain sections tighter or looser than others, offering ultimate customization. If you’re wondering about the durability or warranty if the system were to break, you need not worry. Boa is its own company, and its system is used on everything from shoes and hockey skates to horse boots. The Boa system is a proven one that is made to outlast various levels of performance. The system is also covered under the warranty of the snowboard boots and is easily replaceable if any problems were to arise.
Regardless of how good of a snowboard boot you buy, wearing the wrong type of socks can have a negative impact on the benefits your boots can provide to you Many people believe that layering socks, or wearing a super thick sock will keep your feet warmer, but each is a common misconception. Layering of socks or wearing very thick socks will make your feet sweat and you will find your feet will ultimately end up colder.
A good snowboard sock is generally thin and made of material that wicks the moisture away from your feet so they can breathe better and remain dry. In turn, this will keep your feet warmer. Also, a big, bulky sock will take away from the overall fit of your boot. The thinner the sock, the better the fit you can get with your boot, and the more response out of your boot you will receive when riding. Investing in a good pair of snowboard socks will keep you more comfortable and keep your boots performing like they should.