For any snowboarder choosing a pair of snowboard boots is an important decision. They form an integral part of your set-up; influencing performance and comfort. Getting it right can mean the difference between progressing beyond your wildest dreams, or eight hours of pain on the hill.
If you have the time we recommend you come into one of our shops and let our expert staff assist you in finding the perfect boot for you. We will assess the shape of your foot. Is it wide? Do you have a high instep? And ask you a few questions about your snowboarding level, what style of riding you mainly do and what snowboard/bindings you have. This way our staff can suggest some boots for you to try on that should suit you. Once you have tried on several pairs and decided which one is for you we will heat the liner and shape it to your individual foot for out-of-the box comfort.
This guide is here to aid you in finding the right boots and provide you with some knowledge before trying on boots so that you can ask our staff the questions that are important to you.
Anatomy Of A Snowboard Boot
Liner: A liner sits inside the outer shell keeping your foot it warm and comfortable.
Backstay: The spine of the boot, this prevents the back of the boot collapsing and increases responsiveness.
Internal harness: A lace-up harness stitched to the outside of the liner. This keeps the liner close to your foot and prevents movement.
Tongue: Sits against your shin driving power into the binding and snowboard.
Zonal lacing: Allows the upper and lower sections of the boot to be laced independently for the optimum fit.
Eyestay: Lacing eyestays help you to tighten your laces.
Articulating cuff: Allows the upper and lower zones of the boot to flex independently. It supports a smooth forward motion, minimises shell distortion, and improves heel hold/response.
Air pocket: Normally found in the heel of a boot it helps absorb board chatter and heavy impacts.
Outsole: The outer layer in direct contact with the board.EVA cushioning:A rubber foam like material that improves shock absorption.
Boot Flex & Riding Style
A stiff boot requires greater precision to work effectively. A soft boot has a bigger range of tolerance in which a movement will result in the board turning without catching an edge. This leeway lets novices learn to control their board without being punished for every slight mistake.
A soft board that is intended to butter and flex on rails will ride better if it is ridden with soft boots. This way the boot can bend in sync with the board for a consistent smooth feel. You have more movement in the ankle letting you tweak grabs and presses. Landing jumps the boot gives you a slight degree of leniency as the foot moves a little bit before the binding does. Another thing to look out for is air pockets and impact dampening soles to lessen the force of impacts.
If you are going to be riding a variety of terrain you will want a boot that is stiff enough to react at high speeds on the piste without being too hard not to flex on the odd park run. This best-of-both-worlds boot is a popular choice for intermediates and those who want a bit more performance.
Deep snow and technical lines demand a lot of control, meaning a stiff boot is needed. The rigid materials and advanced makeup of these boots let you transfer weight and power accurately and quickly providing precise control in demanding situations.
Simple and a classic for a reason, shoelaces everyone knows how to tie shoelaces and how to customise them to your foot. Whilst being slightly cheaper than other lacing methods and easy to replace they can become loose over a day's riding. A way to minimise loosening is to use wax coated shoelaces.
This lacing system is quick, convenient and easy to use. Glove-friendly pulleys are attached to a nylon cord which pulls the boot together. One pulley tightens the forefront area whilst the other secures the shin zone.
Simple to use, you pop-out then twist a circular dial to contract steel cables. The cables follow a traditional shoelace pattern closing up the boot. High-end boots have two Boa dials with one in control of the bottom cables and the other looking after the top – customising the fit to your boot. This lacing system is good at staying secure all day long although it can add to the cost of the boot.
Over time the boots will eventually mould to your feet but this will take a long time and the liner will never truly fit properly. Very few snowboard boot still have this type of liner.
These liners mould to your feet, ankles and calves using the natural heat form your body. The more you use the boots, the better the fit will become.
Placed in a special heated oven then left to cool around your feet, heat mouldable liners mould to your unique foot shape. This provides out-of-the-box comfort, stops heel lift and helps direct energy from the boot into the binding.
Fully custom insoles negate any slight imperfections in the alignment of your feet, ankles and knees. This set-up supports your feet and body reducing the risk of injury and lessening fatigue.
Much better than most insoles that come with snowboard boots you can select the insole that best suits your feet.
Wearing snowboard-specific socks is going to improve the fit of the boot, eliminate rubbing and keep your feet dry and comfortable. A thin merino or synthetic substitute will wick away moisture whilst elasticated bands in the right places aid fit.
It's important to wear an appropriate sock when you are trying on boots.
How are my snowboard boots supposed to feel?
Your toes should graze the end of the liner although you should be able to move them slightly. As you start to ride in the boot they will pack out about half a size leaving the liner just off your toes – a close but comfortable fit.
Your heel should not lift up when you rock onto your toes. This is important if you want to be able to quickly and precisely transfer from heel to toe edge.
The boot shouldn’t pinch at the sides but your foot should not raise up off the insole.
There should be no pressure points.
If you're a size nine in your trainers, it doesn't necessarily mean you're a nine in a snowboard boot. The proper fitting pair can easily be a full size up or down.
Almost all snowboard brands will fit differently - even different models of the same brand can change in width or flex.
Make time to try on lots of boots - don't rush yourself and ask as many questions as you want (this will help you and the boot fitter understand what type of boot you want).