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SNOW! Now is the time to start hitting the slopes and having some fun. If you need some help with choosing the right snowboard boots, this article is for you.
It would help if you had a few additional things, such as a board and bindings (the things that attach your boots to your board). So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Finding the right pair of snowboard boots should be your first step in setting up your snowboard system.
It would be best if you took time here so you can find boots that fit comfortably. Just remember that you will be wearing them all day long.
A few things to consider when selecting your boots are the boot flex (this depends on your riding style), how the boots lace up (laces or BOA, for example), and the types of liners and footbeds (this is mainly for the perfect fit and your personal comfort).
Let’s start with how your boots will lace-up. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to each type. Let’s cover them quickly here.
- Think of these just like a normal pair of shoes. They are cheaper, can customize the tightness by hand, and can easily replace them if they break.
- Sometimes they can be difficult to tie when wearing gloves (I wear mittens and have to take them off to tie my boots), and just like shoes, they can loosen over the day (I have found tieing double knots and then tucking them into the boot helps a lot).
- The BOA system
- These are quickly on and off, very convenient, only need one hand to adjust, and you don’t have to deal with the laces falling out of your boots.
- The downside is that you cannot fine-tune the tightness (it’s all uniform when tightening). This can cause some pressure points when on the mountain. If they break (has never happened to me but can), your day on the mountain is done and can add cost to the boot.
- Quick-pull laces
- I have seen these more with kid boots, but many inside liners will have this system.
- These are single-pulls that are commonly in the ankle and lower leg section of the boot. They are fast, you can use gloves, and they have an area to secure the pulls.
- They may seem confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, they are speedy. I have heard they can sometimes cause pressure points on foot, some users cannot pull the laces tight enough for a good fit, and like the BOA, if they break, it could end your day on the mountain.
How do you choose the right snowboard boots?
This depends on your riding style as well as your personal preference. After you try on a few boots, you will notice the difference in boots.
Some common things to look for include the softness (most comfortable that are easy on your feet for long days), medium (provide a balance of mobility and support for all-day performance), and stiffness (maximum support for edge power and control at high speeds and difficult runs).
If you need some help determining your riding style, here are some things to consider:
- All-Mountain: Any terrain where you can snowboard. This is where a majority of snowboards fall into. If you are in this category, look for a more flexible boot. Just as a side note, if you want to go faster, I suggest going with a stiffer boot.
- Freerider: For those that like the backcountry and only some groomed runs. Or people that do not go to parks and enjoy speed and precision. So naturally, they will choose a stiffer boot. Mainly because the stiffer boot helps generate edge power for going across icy and firmer snow.
- Freestyle: Just how it sounds, the fun group; these are the ones that are doing tricks, spins, jumps, rails, half-pipes, and more. They require something to adapt to their environment, want quick responses, and gravitate towards the softer and more flexible boots.
Finding the right boots for you
- Important: Make sure they are the right size for your feet. If you have a pair of socks that you will be wearing, bring them along when you are trying on boots.
- The Shell fit:
- First, put on a pair of thinner socks.
- Next, remove the liner from the boot and step into the shell.
- You want to slide your foot forward, so your toes are slightly touching the front of the shell.
- Your heel will move away from the back of the boot. Having two fingers between the back of the shell and your heel is what you are going for.
- The last thing to check is to make sure the ball of your foot is not touching the sides of the shell. Ensure this is also true when you are standing (as your foot flattens out when you put your weight on it).
- Put the liner back into the boot.
- Step into both boots (that has the liner back in it) and slightly tighten the boot, but no too tight.
- Stand up
- You want your toes to touch the front of the liners slightly. You DO NOT want your toes cramped up or bending here.
- Next, lean forward as if you are actually going down a hill. If you are new and don’t know what that means, try to point your knees to the ground.
- Make sure your toes and feet are comfortable in both boots. I mention this because I have found that one of my feet is slightly larger than the other. Yours might be too.
Some Additional Tips for Trying on Snowboard Boots
- Remember to wear thin, synthetic snowboard socks. Stay away from thick hiking socks and absolutely no cotton.
- Your feet will swell over the course of the day. So it might be a good idea to try boots on in the afternoon or evening.
- I cannot express this enough, when standing up straight, your toes should only brush the end of the boots (when the liners are in them).
- When you are trying to touch your knees to the ground, your toes should barely pull away from the front of the boot. Your heels should stay down. And the fit should not be painful.
- It’s not a bad idea to walk around for a while after finding a good pair of boots. If you are at a store, look at other things you could get. I will cover outfitting yourself later in this article.
On The Mountain – Getting The Snowboard On Your Feet
Putting on a snowboard for the first time might be a little tricky. I have a few ideas to help you with the process. I decided to add this because I remember the first time I tried putting the board on at the park. It was not very pretty.
I would suggest doing these steps a few times at home before hitting the slopes. It might seem like a lot, but it’s straightforward and will soon become second nature.
So, don’t do what I did. Instead, follow these simple tips so you don’t look like a goof on the mountain.
- Put your boots on when you are still in your car or at the lodge.
- Now is time to grab your board (and make sure you have your bindings already installed) and head to the mountain.
- Place the board on the ground and have a seat next to it (it’s easier to be sitting with your back towards the mountain).
- Hit your forward foot a few times on the heel to remove any access snow.
- Move the binding straps out of the way (there should be two of them, one for your ankle and one for your toe).
- Move the high back of the binding to the top position.
- Slide your boot to the back of the high back and ratchet the ankle strap is as tight as possible.
- All that is left is to attach the toe strap. You will make this snug but not super tight.
- Now do the same for the other boot.
Now you need to stand up. There are a few ways to do this, but I have found one way to be the easiest. Take one hand, grab the side of the board that is away from you, between your two boots, lean forward, use the hand on the board as leverage, and now using your legs and hand as leverage, stand up.
It might take a few tries, but I know you will get it down and will be standing up in no time.
If you decide to be a baller, you can put your board on while standing up. Just make sure you dig the board into the snow a bit. This will create a flatter surface, and you shouldn’t eat snow.
Removing The Board
Want to get out of your bindings? This is easy. As you remember, your bindings have two ratchet systems (one on your ankle and one on your toes). Pull the ratchet up, and they will easily slip out.
Side Note: When at the parks, you will see most snowboards leave their forward foot in the bindings at all times. They then use the board as a skateboard to get from one place to the other.
This is also a great way to get going once you are on top of the mountain. If you have a few small hills to go down, you can place your back foot in front of your rear binding to get from one place to the other.
Outfitting Yourself For Comfort
You will want to be comfortable, and I think that should go without saying. But here are just a few things that you should consider when spending the day on the mountain.
Keep in mind, I have found having quality gear is the difference from having a good day to a GREAT day in the snow.
Think about things such as:
- Properly fitting helmet
- Quality clothing and staying away from cotton (as it will make you colder once it gets wet)
- Extra pair of dry clothes (leave them in the car for after your fun day on the mountain)
- Water to stay hydrated and some hot coco never hurts (I keep mine in a Hydro Flask)
Suppose you don’t have much room in your car for all your gear. You can get things, like what I use, which is the Thule SnowPack. This handy device goes on top of your vehicle’s crossbars to hold skis and boards out of the way. It’s also nice not to have to dry everything off before putting it back in your car at the end of the day.
I also have a snowboard bag that keeps all my stuff in one place. It’s called the Thule Round Trip and is super convenient.
If you want some additional ideas and see things that are even on sale, check out Eastern Mountain Sports below!
Time To Hit The Slopes!
I hope this has helped you to choose the right boots for your snowboard.
Is there anything else you need? Why yes, don’t forget your lift ticket! Besides that, I think you are ready to hit the slopes.
Have you gone snowboarding this winter yet? If so, let me know. I am very curious about how the parks are running things since COVID. I have heard many parks are requiring masks (or a face covering), six feet of space in lines, and only one person per lift.
If this post helped you find the perfect snowboard boots, I would love to hear about it. What pair did you choose? Bonus points if you take a picture of your board and boots together!