Intro - Best Snowboard Boots
Intro - Best Snowboard Boots
UPDATE: Check out the best men’s snowboard boots for 2015-2016 here, and the best women’s snowboard boots for 2015-2016 here.
The ‘best snowboard boot’ is of course the one that fits, and since everyone’s feet are different it is impossible to create a definitive list. Nevertheless, factors such as weight, cushioning, support, brand reputation and of course looks all play their part in the appeal of a snowboard boot, and with this in mind we’ve delved the market to bring you our picks for the 2014-15 winter season.
Read our fitting guide below, scroll through the highlights and try on as many as you can before you buy.
Snowboard Boot Buyer’s Guide
Fit, Flex and Features: either pay attention to these three F-words, or get ready to drop some less savoury ones whilst you curse your aching feet. Getting the right boot is hugely important for the first-time buyer, but no less so for the experienced shredder. More so than with any other bit of kit, here’s where you should really be consulting your local shop(s). There’s no substitute for actually trying on the boots yourself, and the staff will be there to help keep you right. They’ll also tell you what to avoid – you don’t remember any day quite like the one where you had the wrong boots…
To paraphrase O.J.’s lawyer: if it doesn’t fit, it’s not legit. It is impossible to overstate how important a well-fitting pair of boots is! Snowboarding is like any other sport in this regard – expect to have way less fun when in the wrong footwear. At best, you’ll miss out on comfort. At worst, you could end up doing some real damage. The obvious starting point is to get your foot accurately measured. All snowboard shops worth their salt have one of those slidey gizmos, so they can help if you’re not sure. Since every company does it differently, given that they’ve got their own designers and factories, it’s well worth trying on as many pairs as possible. You may think you love the first pair you put on (given that all snowboard boots are pretty comfy, especially if you’re used to ski boots), but you can’t be sure until you’ve had a shot at something else. Also don’t just try them, test them. When standing comfortably with the boot fastened, your toe should be brushing the front of the boot, but not squashed. Flex down through your ankle and the toe should come away from the boot wall slightly, while your heel should not lift more than about a centimetre. If this all feels OK, and there’s no awkward pinching or rubbing, you may have found the right pair. If the shop offers a heat-moulding service, take them up on it as it’ll give you an even better fit.
Luckily the days of hard boots are largely behind us, and we can all actually choose how stiff we’d like ours to be. Soft, malleable boots tend to be comfier, and suit riders that like to play around on the mountain. They’re also pretty good for first-timers. Stiffer boots, meanwhile, are way more supportive and so can handle high speeds better. Once again we’ve normalised the brands’ various stiffness scales as accurately as possible in order to give you an idea of what the boots in this guide will offer. The scale goes from 1 (softest) up to 10 (stiffest).
There are a lot of bells and whistles on modern snowboard boots, so we’ll focus on the essentials. When it comes to liners you might want ones decked out with heat retention, anti-stink technology, or a heel harness for an extra-secure fit. Some boots like the Deeluxe Yusaku even give you a choice of different liners to suit your style. Which lacing system you go for is hugely important (in fact, this could easily be filed under ‘Fit’ too): speed systems, Boa wires and classic fat laces all have their benefits, so check them out and see what works for you. Cushioning is getting pretty space-age – will you be doing the kind of riding that makes it worth shelling out for better shock-absorption? Finally, if you’re likely to do a lot of walking in your boots then make sure you get a boot with a durable sole.