The number of women’s snowboard boots on the market continues to rise, and there’s a terrific range up for grabs this year. In some cases the brand has adapted a popular men’s model, and in others they’ve started from scratch. Neither is more legitimate than the other, though, so judge each model on its own merits.
Before you even try on your first pair, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is my budget?
- What type of snowboarder am I?
- How many days will I be likely to ride this winter?
Even if money’s no object, it doesn’t make much sense to splurge on an expensive pair if you’re only going to use them once in a year. Conversely, seasonaires should consider coughing up a little more for something that’s likely to retain its quality beyond to the 100th day of the winter and beyond.
We’ll say this until we’re blue in the face – no matter what kind of boots you want, visit your local snowboard shop! Not only does it save the hassle of sending back a pair that you ordered online when you find out they’re not comfortable, there’s a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned from shop staff that fit customers with boots all winter long. They’ll make sure that when it comes to the three F-words – Fit, Flex and Features – you’ll be making the most informed decision possible.
Where lacing systems are concerned, it’s really all about preference. Speed lacing systems are more popular than ever, but if you prefer a Boa wire or a classic fat lace, then go for that. A lot of models these days come in more than one option, giving you a great choice.
Check out our guide to choosing your snowboard boots, then enjoy our top picks for 2015/2016:
Scroll through the list to your heart’s content, or skip to your favourite brand using the links below.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi
Click any image to enlarge
The adidas Mika Lumi is still the only women’s boot in their range, but it’s versatile enough to appeal to a broad range of riders.
The tongue has been 3D moulded for extra comfort and a longer lifespan, and the speed lacing system is split into higher and lower sections that let you customise the fit.
The already-lightweight construction is improved with an EVA sole that provides all of the cushioning with less of the bulk.
So if you’re looking for something that ticks the boxes for both hard charging and big tweaks, then Helen Schettini’s boot of choice is an option worth considering.
Burton Emerald Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
Offering an all-rounder flex at a reasonable price, the Burton Emerald is one of the more popular women’s boots on the market. It’s therefore no surprise to see it back for 2015/16 without any major overhauls.
Like all Burtons, it’s been designed to feel ‘broken’ in straight out of the box but with no sacrifice of support. The tongue has a medium stiffness, and the sole is infused with cushioning gel to lessen big impacts and generally reduce foot fatigue.
Even if it’s seriously nippy, this boot will keep you toasty with a heat-reflecting foil under your foot and a Thinsulate-infused liner around it. Round it off with the speed-lace system (which now features a lifetime warranty), and you’ve got a gem of a boot.
DC Karma Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
Oocha, that’s one eye-catching boot - but not an eye-wateringly expensive one. In fact, the DC Karma is one of the more affordable models on the market.
Whilst they’ve kept things classic on the outer shell lacing system, the liner boasts a simple speed-lace that gives you a snug fit with minimal fuss. The outsole, meanwhile, is DC’s lightest to date.
Thanks to the medium flex, you can take this thing pretty much anywhere and it’ll get you noticed - and if you bought boots that look like this, we’re assuming that’s what you want!
There are also some other colourways available, should you be looking for something more subtle.
Deeluxe Ray Lara Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
There’s no need to hold back with this one; the Deeluxe Ray Lara may have a fairly soft flex, but with the high-impact sole and extra reinforcement at the calf, it’ll really help you spread your freestyle wings.
The lacing system has been upgraded this year, making it even easier to adjust on the fly. The single speed lace is simple but effective, and there’s a powerstrap across the tongue for extra support.
Also, for our money that’s got to be one of the best-looking boots out there.
Flow Hyku Coiler Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
An affordable women’s boot, the Flow Hyku Coiler is simple yet effective - and built specifically for female specs.
As a soft boot, this one will lap up piste butters and side hits aplenty, and will stay comfortable all day long. If you’re keen to gobble up powder faces or halfpipes, perhaps go stiffer, but for fun at slower speeds this is just the job.
The simple Boa system is a piece of cake, allowing for instant adjustment and full-on loosening when you’re stopping for lunch. The moulded EVA insole is mega comfy, and the outsole is malleable and forgiving.
It may not be hi-tech, but if you spend your days cruising with the odd dabble into freestyle, the Flow Hyku Coiler could be the right choice.
Nitro Cuda TLS Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
The Nitro Cuda TLS is all about four things; confort, convenience, a light weight and a low cost. Unless you’re a steep-and-deep addict, a pair of these is well worth considering.
TLS stands for ‘Twin Lacing System’, and sure enough there are separate laces controlling the upper and lower sections of the boot. It’s been further refined this year, making it easier than ever to get the fit you want in a fraction of the time it takes to sort out chunky laces.
The EVA sole keeps the overall weight of the boot down, and is still tough enough to withstand a season’s worth of abuse - and beyond. The liner will keep you snug all the while, thanks to its ‘Thermacell’ head-mouldable material.
Both benefit from female-specific construction, making the Cuda a great choice for any rider on a budget who doesn’t want to compromise on comfort.
Northwave Opal Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
The Northwave Opal has been around for a while now, and its all-purpose credentials have earned it rave reviews.
The seamless liner has been specifically designed with a woman’s feet and legs in mind, and features memory foam that will adapt to the natural contours of your foot. The speed-lace keeps you snug, with an additional powerstrap across the top for extra support.
On the outer shell, the speed-lace is quick and easy, and manages the upper and lower sections of the boot independently.
The asymmetrical ‘Thermo Welded’ construction means that the ankle area is supported where it needs to be but flexible in all the right places. Put simply, this will accommodate both hard charging on piste and mellow butters on slushy days.
As for the sole, it has all the impact absorption and heat retention that you could ask for, but is around a third lighter than the industry average.
Ride Harper Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
The Ride Harper shares a lot of the same tech as the men’s Anthem boot, and will suit a similar open-minded rider who likes to do it all. It’s a bit softer, though, so hard-charging females might want to keep looking. For everyone else, there’s a lot to like.
The liner is fully integrated into the rest of the boot; while you can’t take it out, it does mean that you get the best fit between the lining and the shell. Besides, with the marcobiobial coating on the inside, it won’t take much to keep bad smells at bay.
If having sore feet is a recurring problem (or your worst nightmare), the soft liner foam and EVA insole make the Harper one that you should definitely consider.
Plus the easy-tighten Boa system - which comes with a lifetime guarantee - applies even pressure around the foot and allows you to adjust quickly on the fly.
Salomon Ivy Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
From the ground up, the Salomon Ivy has been crafted with the female shredder in mind - specifically all-round killers with a preference for freestyle, such as one Jenny Jones.
The liner has been especially designed for a women’s feet, and the foam is heat-mouldable at key points to give you comfort and security. It’s also very easy to remove and wash, so you never have to worry about the build-up of boot stink.
If you like boardfeel, you’ll like these; the outsole is a women’s version of Salomon’s ‘Lo-Fi’ sole, which as the name suggest is low-profile. You’ll get all the sensation you want, while the combination of rubber and EVA minimises both big impacts and everyday chatter.
The insole helps too, with a two-layer system that provides support while still adapting to the shape of your foot.
It also features Salomon’s ‘STR8JKT’ harness, which compliments the zonal outer lacing to banish hell-lift forever. If you prefer Boa, not a problem; there’s a wire-and-dial version available too.
ThirtyTwo Lashed FT Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
In the company’s two decades in operation, the Thirty Two Lashed is their best-selling women’s boot. It’s available in both classic and speed-lacing versions, and here we’re taking a look at the latter.
Fat laces have their own advantages, but zonal lacing lends itself to achieving a better and more customisable fit. The outer shell has been designed to move and flex with your natural actions, so ‘breaking in’ doesn’t have to mean warps and bulges. The result allows for tweaking those grabs, and will still stay stable at speed.
A great all-rounder, then, so it’s little wonder that it sells in droves. Expect it to do so again in 2015/16.
Vans Encore Women's Snowboard Boot 2015-2016
Available in both men’s and women’s versions, the Vans Encore is a freestyle-friendly boot that has enough flex to let you really throw shapes on the hill. It’ll also suit anyone that’s just looking for a comfortable, cruisey ride.
The single Boa system is a rapid, no-nonsense way to get going, and the mega-comfy cuff will keep your calves happy all day. While it’s towards the softer end of the spectrum, don’t expect it to pack out too soon; stretchy material on either side helps to keep the shape and prevent creasing.
The sole profile has been reduced, cutting down on bulk and improving board-feel. The chunky waffle tread is hard-wearing, so even if you spend your whole winter hiking streetrails it’ll still be in one piece come the spring.