Snowboard boots are the most important thing in your setup and should be the first thing you buy when upgrading to a new one. They must fit comfortably and match your bindings and board.

The best snowboard boots also match your riding style and the snow conditions you are facing. Other things to consider are the boot flex, lacing system, liners, footbeds and the overall comfort and fit.

Don't skimp when buying new boots since they are the most important thing for your comfort on the mountain. If you are tight on cash you can save some money on bindings and the board.

What kind of a rider are you?

Powder lines? Shredding the park? A bit of everything?
Regardless of what you want to do on the mountain, buying boots is no easy task. A good starting point is to consider what kind of snowboarding you do the most. A beginner or a park rider might enjoy a softer and more forgiving flex while an advanced rider might find stiffer boots to better satisfy their need for speed.

All-Mountain

All-mountain boots are considered the most versatile of the bunch. Anywhere from powder lines to full-on park and pipe riding, these boots can do it all (even splitboards). Most of all-mountain models have mid to soft flex which is why they can be used for many different types of riders. Just consider how skilled you are as a rider and what you want from your boots. Soft and forgiving or stiff and responsive?

Freeride

Freeride (or off-piste/big mountain) riders rely on speed and responsiveness from their boots which makes them stiffer by nature. This makes turning more aggressive and provides better grip on icy surfaces. So, if you mostly enjoy groomed runs and deep powder snow, this is the way to go!

Freestyle

Are you a rail/park/pipe/jib enthusiast? Then look no further!
This fun-inspired flex will give you all the flexibility you need for quick maneuvers and a skate shoe like feel. While these softer boots might not be the best at high speeds it will give you all the flexibility you want for your freestyle needs.

Overall fit of the boots

Snowboard boots should fit you snugly and be comfortable for long hours on the mountain. Finding the perfect fit starts from getting the right size boot.

Out of the box, your toes should touch the boots toe box lightly but not cause any discomfort. Leaving a bit of wiggle room is always recommended. Your heel should be locked in nicely and not raise when you are at knees are bent. These will help you maintain control of your board.

When buying new boots use the same socks that you would on the mountain.

Women’s boots are specifically made to fit women’s anatomical body. These boots are often on the softer side as well as being more narrow on the heel area. For all you lady rippers out there, the best snowboard boots are the ones that fit the best.

Kids boots are just like adults boots. However, some models offer peel-away layers for a pair of growing feet. We do not recommend buying oversized boots hoping that your child is going to grow into them because it will only be more uncomfortable and hinder progress on the mountain. The best snowboard boots are the ones that give you the most comfort.

Flexibility of the boots

Snowboard boots come in multiple flex ratings ranging from soft to stiff. While this is a personal preference, a softer flex will benefit beginners and park riders for their easier maneuverability and agility. If you are an advanced all-mountain rider or do a lot of powder lines you might want to consider a stiffer boot for enhanced response. Boot flex is not standardized from brand to brand in any way. However, they often use the same rating on how stiff the boots are. 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest. Generally speaking these ratings are:

  • 1-2 Soft
  • 3-5 Medium
  • 6-8 Stiff
  • 9-10 Very Stiff

Boot lacing systems

The most commonly used lacing systems are traditional, quick-pull or BOA systems. Some manufacturers even have boots with a hybrid design that supports two of these systems. All of these lacing systems have their pros and cons so let’s take a closer look at them!

Traditional lacing is a tried and true option for every rider as long as it can tie your own shoelaces. You can tighten your boots by hand which offers you the perfect fit in all conditions and riding styles. However, the only downside is that tying your boots laces in harsh winter conditions can be a bit tricky. Regardless, the traditional style still remains the most widely used lacing system on the planet.

While quick-pull lacing looks similar to traditional lacing it does have some differences. Quick pull lacing systems allow the ankle and for food area to tighten independently for a customized to fit. This is called zonal lacing and is easy and faster than the traditional lacing system. And best of all it can be used without taking your gloves off.

BOA lacing systems offers easy adjustability with dials that control small cables in front of your boots. It can literally be adjusted by just turn of a button. Too loose? just turn the knob a bit. Too tight? Dial it back a bit. It’s that simple. However, the downside is that if one cable breaks that’s it for that days riding.

Liners

The liner refers to the inner boot and is usually made from the same lightweight moldable EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) material found on the skate shoes as well as running shoes. This material and construction provides insulation cushioning and stability for better comfort on the mountain. Some liners are even removable and can be taken out so they can dry overnight.

Liners can be divided into three categories: Non-moldable or “stock” liners, moldable liners and heat moldable liners

Stock liners are the most affordable option and provide generic padding and stability for your feet but are not as soft as the others. These liners will conform to your foot over time.

Moldable liners are a step up from the stock liners and provide better padding for more comfort. They mold to your food through body heat but breaking in might take a few sessions at the slopes.

Heat moldable liners are the cream of the crop and they provide a customized fit for your feet. We recommend that you let a trained professional help you with the heat molding process for the best result.

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