Snowboard boots should be the first thing you select when purchasing gear --boots, bindings, and a snowboard--because having a great fit will enhance your enjoyment of the sport. Because comfort is so important when riding a snowboard this is the area where it might be worth spending a bit more. When choosing boots, consider your typical style of snowboard riding and the snow conditions you will commonly encounter.
What's the best boot flex to get?
The best boot flex--from soft to stiff--depends largely on your snowboard riding style. Determining your riding style will help you choose the proper boot flex. Find your riding style to see what's recommended for you:
- All Mountain: Most riders fall into this category, which encompasses groomed and ungroomed trails, half-pipes, and terrain parks. If you like to keep your options open, you'll probably want softer flex boots, especially if you're a beginner. The exception is for snowboard racers, however, who will appreciate a stiffer boot, as will someone who likes riding at high speeds since it gives your foot more stability.
- Freeride: Freeriders like to ride largely on backcountry or ungroomed trails, with some groomed trails mixed in. Terrain parks, however, aren't usually a part of their repertoire, and for this reason, a stiffer boot is in order to keep your foot well seated in the boot.
- Freestyle: Freestyle riders like to have FUN, and spend lots of time in terrain parks and half-pipes, and doing jumps, spins, and tricks. Look for soft, flexible snowboard boots to make these maneuvers easier.
What kind of laces on your boots are best?
There's no one "right" answer here; it's all personal preference. You have three kinds of lacing systems from which to choose:
- Traditional Laces: We're all familiar with these; the benefits to a traditional lace-up are that they are easy to adjust tightness and are inexpensive to replace should they wear out. They are, however, difficult to use with gloves on which is one reason some people prefer one of the next two options.
- Quick-Pull Laces: These bungee-cord-like boot laces pull fast and easy even with gloves on. They can be adjusted for different tension in the foot and ankle areas although some people find they can't get their boots as tight as they'd like them with these.
- Boa System: With Boa snowboard boots, tiny cables are attached to one or two dials which can be adjusted with precision. The Boa system helps give a very good fit in all areas of the foot and ankle. Boa snowboard boots tend to be more expensive than traditional lace-up and quick-pull boots.
What are some popular snowboard boots?
Many companies make good quality snowboard boots, but the most popular brands are popular for a reason--they make excellent boots. Burton, Salomon, ThirtyTwo, K2, Ride, and DC are just some of the manufacturers that produce great boot options.