Snowboard Boots Buyers Guide
Choosing the right snowboard boot is essential for maintaining control & comfort on the hill. While riding, your boots & bindings are not only there to keep you and your board from parting ways, but are responsible for translating your physical movements into heel-side/toe-side turns, complete stops, ollies, etc. One of the best things you can to ensure you're riding your best is have well-fitting boots. Your perfect pair will respond to your body's cues while keeping feet comfortable, warm & dry.
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For comfort & control on the hill, you need to have a boot that fits properly. When you first try them on, snowboard boots should feel a little too tight. Fight the urge to buy the next size up-after a few days of riding the lining & foot bed will condense (aka "pack out"), conforming to your foot to fit nice & snug. However, if you prefer wearing super-thick socks when you ride or wear special insoles, bring them along or make a mental note to choose a size that will compensate for them.When trying on, make sure toes are near the very front of the boot, but not touching it. Your entire foot, ankle & lower calf should feel firmly supported by the boot - take a little stroll & if your heel lifts up even in the slightest, try another pair. Heel lift will only get worse once the boots pack out.
Due to anatomical differences, sticking with gender-specific boots is the way to go. Women's calves generally begin lower & their feet tend to be narrower so their boots will be designed with different flex points, shorter cuffs & a slimmer width. For best fit, response, support & binding integration, choose men's or women's styles appropriately.
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The manufacturer's foot bed/liner combination doesn't always cut it, but it's an easy fix if the boot's good otherwise outweighs the bad. Everyone's got unique feet- luckily; there are a few ways to customize your fit. Whether you've got super wide/narrow, high/flat arch, broad/skinny ankles, you'll be good to go.
Heat-moldable Liners -
Break in your boots before ever setting foot on-snow. Stop in the shop & we'll use our boot heater to soften your liners, mold them to your feet & allow them to set, creating your perfect custom-fit.
*Liners can become destroyed/damaged if heat molding is done incorrectly. Prevent this by bringing them into the shop or following these steps when molding at home;
- Preheat a convection oven to 180-250 Degrees F. Temperature required to soften the liner varies depending on the materials used. (Never use a hair dryer or microwave!)
- Remove your boot liners & take out any toe caps or foot beds. Place ONE of them upright in the oven-don't go anywhere! Watch closely to make sure the heat isn't too high/low.
- Leave the liner in for about 5 minutes. While you wait, hold your foot bed to the sole of your bare foot & put the toe cap on over it. (A toe cap will ensure that toes still have a bit of wiggle room after heat molding. If you don't have one, you can easily make one by cutting the tops of an old pair of wool socks to cover toes down to the ball of your foot.) Slip into your favorite pair of snowboard socks to hold it all together.
- Remove the softened boot liner & put it back inside your boot (don't forget to insert the toe cap too). With your snowboard socks on, put your boot on & lace securely, but not the tightest you can get them.
- Flex your heel a few times to make sure it's completely in the heel pocket & walk around your house for about 15 minutes.
- Remove your boot & repeat with other foot.
many manufacturers include curved, adhesive pads in the box. Just peel & stick them inside your boot to secure heels & ankles.
contoured or heat-moldable foot beds can support your arches& alleviate sensitive nerve endings. Just remember to look for a slightly wider boot if you anticipate using them.
Power strap -
tabs near the top of the boot that are secured with Velcro & tightened to avoid pressure points & bruising of your shins. If your feeling discomfort even after smoothing out any creases from base layers or socks, adjust the power strap to keep the boot firmly against your shin.
Traditional Lace -
classic styling with the ability to pinpoint your desired tightness throughout the boot. Laces are easy & affordable to replace if broken or lost, but also tend to loosen up as the day goes on.
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Lacing System -
Designed for quicker & easier tightening, varying from brand to brand. Most lacing systems are composed of 1 lace strung through the loopholes with both ends bound together by a reinforced tab/handle. Once tightened, the laces are held in place by a securing device and the slack/end piece are stored inside the boot or hooked to the side.
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Boa Technology -
Single or dual-zone dials adjustwire cables strung throughout the boot. Easy & fast to adjust, even with gloves still on. Just be careful not to abuse the dial, broken wires aren't easily repaired.
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A soft & flexible boot allows for the most mobility & is best for active days (hiking the park). They'll be most comfortable to wear, but aren't as long lasting or supportive as a stiffer boot.
A firm, stiff boot is best suited for more experienced riders. They'll take a little longer to break in, but are the most durable & supportive.
Traction & cushioning are something to consider, especially if you ride pipe or park. Materials like EVA padding, air cushions, & comfort gel will come in handy to help absorb impact on landings. The sole should be stable, but alsogrippy when wet; look for tough, textured & rubbery soles made from materials like Vibram.