There's nothing like having the wrong footwear to put a dampener on your day, so be sure your leg-ends are covered appropriately. In this video we’ll help you select an appropriate style of boot for your riding; the fitting stage is covered in the next episode.
The most crucial factor to consider is flex. A stiff boot like the one above will feature a re-enforced tongue and a firm backstay. This provides plenty of support for aggressive riding and heavy landings, as well as instant response – ideal for advanced snowboarders looking to execute fast turns.
A soft boot, like this one above, features more pliable outer materials that make it much easier to flex. This is better if you’re just starting out, since soft boots are more forgiving of poor technique and usually more comfortable to wear. Park and rail riders might also favour a softer boot because they make it easier to shift your weight into presses and tweak out grabs.
The inner boot provides a secure, comfortable fit around your foot and will feature its own lacing system. The Boa system, seen here, works by turning a dial that tightens a steel cable. As an inner solution, it has the advantage of being adjustable on the move, without having to undo your outer laces.
Speed lace inners, like this, work by tightening a lever or toggle. This system is simpler and less bulky than the Boa dial.
Outer lacing systems come in three flavours: A classic lace offers timeless, sneaker-like style and is easy to replace should you snap one. You can also fine-tune the tension between the forefoot and shin.
The Boa system is much faster to do up; just push the dial in and twist. It’s also easier on your hands than yanking on laces, and can be popped open in a flash by releasing the dial, making it a breeze to get your boots off at the end of the day.
With a single-Boa system, the cable tightens around your whole foot at once, making it harder to fine tune the tension if you find you have any pressure points. Also, they're harder to fix when something breaks.
Speed lace outers are somewhere in between. As with the inner equivalent, you simply pull a handle and either flick a lever or push down the toggle to tighten. It’s quicker and easier than wrestling with laces, and the lace can usually be adjusted separately for the forefoot and shin.
Another feature to consider are gel or air soles. These provide extra cushioning for landings, making them more suited to freestyle riders hitting the park.
Finally, some boots include power straps across the inner or outer, which can be used to customise the stiffness.
Once you have decided on your criteria – soft or stiff, traditional laces or speed lacing etcetera – then make yourself a shortlist of boots to try on. It’s time to establish the perfect fit!