What should we look for in the best snowboarding boots?
One of the most important things when choosing a new pair of snowboarding boots, is not to rush the decision. Visit a ski/snowboarding shop, try on different boots, and seek advice from experienced riders or staff. Your goal should be comfort and functionality!
The best snowboarding boots
We have compiled five key points to consider when buying your snowboarding boots.
How should the best snowboarding boots fit?
This is crucial. Boots should fit snugly without causing discomfort. Try different brands and sizes to find the best fit for your feet and follow these top tips:
- Your toes should lightly touch the end of the boot when you’re standing upright. You shouldn’t feel cramped, but there shouldn’t be excessive room for your toes to wiggle around either.
- Your heel should be locked in place without lifting when you flex your knees or lean forward. This prevents heel lift, which can affect control and comfort while riding.
- The boots should feel snug around your foot and ankle without causing pressure points or pain. There shouldn’t be any gaps between your foot and the boot.
- Try them on with your snowboard socks: Wear the socks you intend to use while snowboarding when trying on boots. This ensures you get the right fit with the added thickness of the socks.
- Walk around in the boots and try squatting to mimic riding movements. You should feel comfortable and supported without any pinching or discomfort.
What riding style am I?
Consider your riding style as this will influence how much flex you need. Boots with softer flex provide more freedom of movement and are easier to maneuver. They are suitable for freestyle riding, park tricks, and beginners who appreciate the forgiving nature of softer boots. Boots with medium flex offer a balance between support and maneuverability. They are versatile and suitable for all-mountain riding, allowing for control in various terrains and conditions. Boots with stiff flex provide maximum support and stability, ideal for aggressive riding styles, high-speed runs, and expert riders who need responsiveness and control in challenging conditions.
Which lacing style is best?
Traditional laces, speed laces, or BOA systems each have their pros and cons. Traditional Laces use standard shoelaces that you tie manually. They offer customisable tension across different parts of the boot and are easily replaceable if they break. However, they might require more time to lace up and adjust. Speed Lacing involves pulling on handles or a mechanism to tighten the laces quickly. It’s efficient and convenient, allowing for easy adjustment on the go. However, if the lacing system breaks, it can be more complicated to repair than traditional laces. BOA systems use a dial to tighten steel cables or wires that crisscross the boot, providing even pressure distribution. They offer quick and precise adjustments with a turn of the dial and are often durable. However, if the dial or cables malfunction, they might be trickier to repair or replace compared to other systems.
Which materials are best?
The choice of materials can affect the boot’s performance, weight, flexibility, and comfort. Most boots tend to use durable materials that keep your feet warm and dry. The outer shell is usually nylon or leather to provide weather resistance and durability while offering some level of flexibility. The inner part of the boot is often lined with soft materials like fleece for insulation and comfort. For the ultimate insulation, opt for boots with Thinsulate. Many boots come with a footbed or insole made of foam or other cushioning materials. Some are designed to provide arch support or additional shock absorption.
Which features are most useful?
Some of the best snowboarding boots also offer state-of-the-art features such as heat-moldable liners that conform to your foot shape can improve comfort and provide a better fit. Boots with moisture-wicking liners help keep your feet dry, reducing discomfort from sweat or moisture buildup. Articulated cuffs have sections that move independently, enhancing flexibility and natural movement while maintaining support. And adjustable flex enables riders to customise boot stiffness through removable inserts or panels.
Don’t forget to read the reviews!
Reputable brands often produce reliable products, but reading reviews from both experts and other snowboarders can provide insights into specific models.
Related article: How to find the best ski boots