Intro - Best Snowboard Boots
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.
adidas Energy Boost 2014-2015 £350
Promising 'a revolution in cushioning' - the adidas Energy Boost are all about new sole tech. Recycling the energy you put in when you're really pushing hard - and dropping off for a more mellow feel when you're cruising about. Merino lined for comfort - there's a whole lot going on in here.
Burton Highline Boa 2014-2015 £185
Built for intermediate riders, with a high speed boa lacing system - Burton's Highline Boa are designed to get you going from the first day of the season. Minimal break in time, undersole warming and increased cushioning 'Dynolite' sole - they're pretty playful and soft too for good times all season long.
Burton Ion 2014-2015 £300
Low profile - top of the range boots from the biggest name in the game. Burton's Ion boots are some of the best snowboard boots if you something highly responsive. They'll keep your feet toasty with 'Sleeping Bag' tech and DryRide moisture wicking for extra comfort on long-haul rides.
DC Lynx 2014-2015 £225
If you've got a decent collection of skate shoes, the name 'DC Lynx' might well be familiar to you already - and now the street classic been reborn as a snowboard boot! Ideal for stomping big tricks, and riders seeking high-end response without sacrificing comfort...
Deeluxe Yusaku 2014-2015 £225
How about these for a good-lookin' pair of skate-inspired boots! Yusaku Horii's collab with Dayze and the 1817 crew looks built for stomping tricks - and it's low profile mid-soft flex is going to leave you with comfy feet even in long sessions. There's three different liners to choose from so you can customise this one to find the best snowboard boots for you.
K2 Darko 2014-2015 £210
The K2 Darko is a team boot that's constructed with freestyle in mind. Its Street-light outer-sole gives a tonne of traction for digging spots and getting work done while the lace/boa combo offers extra adjustability for when you need a bit more support. The mid-stiff flex has enough support for those big hits too.
K2 Sapera 2014-2015 £210
Fur lined boa boots for women who want to put the whole mountain at their feet - and stay comfortable while doing it. The Sapera features K2's 'harshmellow' damping tech underfoot, and is a mid-flexer that'll keep your feet happy all day long.
Nike Women's Vapen 2014-2015
Nike Vapens have a great reputation as some of the best snowboard boots for comfort and a quick break-in period - and this latest women's specific incarnation is no different. Lightweight classic lace-ups that have been very popular for the last few years.
Nike Zoom DK 2014-2015 £250
Danny Kass signature boots from Nike are an all rounder with a clear freestyle focus. Bang-on mid flex, and negligible break-in time, they're also supported by Nike's Zoom Air cushioning in the heel - lightweight and super impact-absorbant.
Northwave Decade SL 2014-2015 £220
The boot of choice for Northwave pro riders like Victor De La Rue and Alvaro Vogel - the Decade SL is a stiffer boot that's going to be responsive without stopping you from tweaking out those grabs. Heel retention systems and a reasonable price add to the list of pros that make this Northwave's best selling boot.
Thirty Two Ultralight 2 2014-2015 £260
All the power - none of the bulk. Thirty Two's Ultralight 2 is an award winning feather-weight boot that has ditched the traditional rubber sole. Instead implementing a 'PowerWrap' cage and Evolution foam sole to save on weight - it looks pretty space-age too.
Salomon Ivy 2014-2015 £180
Speed locking, women's specific boots from Salomon that look classy and don't break the bank. The Salomon Ivy is mid-flex with an internal 'STR8JKT' harness to help you dial in the fit - and a low profile sole for excellent board feel.
Salomon Launch 2014-2015 £180
Salomon's Launch line of boots have options for all tastes. Whether you pick the speed-lacing system (pictured), fat laces or boa - it's super light, with classic looks and even features a footbed designed by podiatrists to keep your toes super cushty.