Snowboard essentials: snowboard boots
Just like socks, good snowboard boots are more important than your board and bindings. You’re going to be in them ALL DAY LONG so take the time to find some that fit properly.
If you tend to rent your snowboard equipment and are thinking about making an investment in some kit then boots are 100%where you should put your money first. You can always keep renting a snowboard until you find one you like!
There are a lot of choices out there so here’s a quick breakdown of what to look for.
Laces, speed lacing, boa – these are all terms you’ll come across as you start looking into boots. Which one to go for is personal preference as there are pros and cons to them all. It all comes down to the best fit for your feet.
The boa lacing system is quick to do up and quick to release. It’s a loop of wire that you can tighten using a dial on the front of your boot. Great for speed, not so great if the wire breaks and you need to replace the whole system (not common but it can happen). The boa system tightens the same across the whole boot and won’t work its way loose throughout the day.
Another one for speed and ease, this system usually has two different zones allowing you to tighten your boots separately across the top of your foot and around your shin. Pull the lace up, click it into place and you’re good to go. Like the boa system, it can be awkward to replace if it breaks but, again, this is pretty rare.
The most straight forward of all. Pull them tight, tie them in a bow. Re-tighten at lunchtime when they’ve worked their way loose!
All snowboard boots will have some kind of liner. More expensive boots will usually have some kind of lacing system on the liners that is designed to work with the outer boot and hold your foot in place. It’s worth checking if the liners are removable so you can dry them properly if you don’t have access to boot dryers. Some liners can even be put in the washing machine but make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions before chucking them in for a spin!
Having good fitting boots means that the movements you make with your feet will transfer to the board more efficiently, make it more responsive and easier to ride.
First thing’s first. Wear proper snowboard socks when you’re trying on boots. Your boots will feel really different with a pair of snowboard socks compared to thin trainer socks so take a pair of snowboard socks with you.
Once your feet are in, if you stand up straight you should feel your toes lightly touching the end of the boot. You don’t snowboard with straight legs (well, you shouldn’t!), so flex your knees. You should feel a bit of support on your shins from the boots and your toes should move away from the end ever so slightly. Wiggle your toes to make sure they’re not bunched up, and try to lift your heel. A good fitting boot will have minimal heel lift –adjusting the liners and lacing can help with this.
The flex of a snowboard boot refers to how soft it is. It’s a bit of personal preference again but generally a softer boot is better for beginners and a stiffer boot is better for performance riding. All boots will pack out and soften over time so it’s best to err on the slightly stiffer side to get the most life out of your boots.
A whole host of fit problems can be solved by using proper footbeds. Snowboard boots tend to come with flat footbeds so if you need extra support just swap them out for some proper footbeds.
Footbeds are also a really handy way to find the right fitting boot. Take the foot bed out of your trainers and measure the length of it in cm. This is your Mondo size, a universal sizing system used for ski and snowboard boots. It’s really useful to know this as different brands and models will size differently.
Here’s a quick video from Absolute-Snow explaining a bit more about it:
Of course, the best way to find snowboard boots is to try them on. Try different brands and different models until you find some that feel good.
The REAL boot of choice
Thirty Two are the boot of choice for the REAL Snowboarding team. This season we’re wearing the Mullair Boot. The traditional lacing system allows for the maximum comfort and adaptability whatever you’re looking to ride.
Working our way up, next time we’ll have a look at snowboard bindings. We’ll talk about what to consider when buying them, along with our recommendations. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to find out when it’s out.
ThirtyTwo have been making snowboard boots and snowboarding outerwear since 1995 and remain true to their by snowboarders for snowboarders roots. They constantly push for innovation in all their products and we are delighted to partner with them. Visit www.thirtytwo.com to check them out.