Foot troubles on the slopes can make or break your perfect day on the mountain. Choosing the right snowboard boot is very important to make sure you are as comfortable as possible on your board. To learn how to buy snowboard boots you will need to know how to size a snowboard boot, understand which flex to choose, what lacing system you want, and what kind of inner liner you need.
Snowboard boots are supposed to fit snug on your foot, but not too snug and not too loose. When putting on a snowboard boot you want it to feel comfortable. A boot that isn’t comfortable is going to be a huge pain on your feet whenever you snowboard. The boot shouldn’t be too tight to where it hurts, but you don’t want it too loose either! Your toes should barely touch the inside toecap and you should be able to wiggle your toes still. Your heel should sit firmly in the boot. Whenever you lift up the boot, your heel shouldn’t slide in the boot. With a loose boot, carving is going to be more difficult as it won’t be as responsive as a correct size boot would.
Boots have different flexes as a softer boot with allow for more play and movement and a stiffer boot with be more responsive but have less movement. Softer flex boots are typically more for terrain park/freestyle or beginner riders. For back country or deep powder riders you will want a stiffer boot. It is all personal preference when it comes down to boot flex too. Choose whatever feels most comfortable for you.
Snowboard boots have three different lacing systems. You have traditional lacing, quick pull lacing, and BOA systems.
Traditional Lacing – Traditional lacing is the most basic way to lace snowboard boots. It is based off regular laces on a shoe. The pros of traditional lacing is that it is a more customized fit and they are often cheaper than other lacing system boots. Cons are that they are harder to lace up with gloves on and can come looser the longer you ride during the day.
Quick Pull Lacing – Quick pull lacing boots are quicker to lace than traditional lacing as you just pull and tighten the laces and lock them into place. Some quick pull lacing systems have separate ankle tightening laces too to tighten your ankle separate from the rest of the boot. Pros are that they are quicker and can be laced with gloves on. Cons are they can loosen throughout the day and can sometimes be difficult to pull them hard enough to tighten.
BOA – Boots with a BOA system look a little different from lace boots because they don’t have any laces on the front. They have a knob with metal wires threaded through the boot. The knob in the middle loosens and tightens the boot by turning and pulling up on the knob. Pros are that it is very quick and easy to tighten and it can easily be done with gloves on. Cons are that they are more expensive and the metal laces in the boot can often create pressure points and tear the boot over time.
There are three different lines for the inside of snowboard boots and each vary on comortability and price.
Stock Liners – A stock liner is your basic snowboard boot liner as it provides basic padding and molds to your foot shape over time.
Moldable Liners – A moldable liner is a bit more expensive materials for padding and it molds to your foot shape over time using body heat.
Heat- Moldable Liners – A heat moldable able liner is a top-notch snowboard boot liner. It has the most comfortable padding and uses a special heat molding process to perfectly mold your foot shape to the liner.
When it comes down to it, the most important part of choosing a snowboard boot is comfortability. If a boot isn’t comfortable then it will do more harm than good. You want to make sure the boot fits correctly on your foot, has your desired amount of flex, has the lacing system that work best for you, and has a comfortable liner. When buying a snowboard boot you want to read the description and do your homework on the boot. The description will usually tell you everything you need to know about the boot.