Having the right shoes with the right fit is important for any sport. At a glance, snowboarding might seem to be just about the board—after all, while you’re doing the sport, your boots are just bound onto the snowboard.
However, your snowboarding experience can be ruined by the wrong pair of boots. The best snowboarding boots need to have excellent insulation, or the wearer’s feet will be so cold he/she won’t able to continue.
In addition to being just the right size, snowboarding boots also need to have an excellent, supportive fit, just the right degree of flexibility, and have a good closure system.
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
Thirtytwo Lashed Women’s
Animal, Blue, Teal, Black, Tie Die
Divas SnowGear Women’s Avid Technical Boots with Boa
Thirtytwo STW Boa Women’s
Women, Wide Feet
Black, Gray, White
Burton Mint Women’s
DC Men’s Phase Lace
Burton Ion Boa Men’s
Men, Wide Feet
Black, Blue, Camo, Tie Die
DC Control Dual Boa
Black, Dark Shadow
[Youth girls] K2 Lil Kat Girls’
[Youth unisex] Burton Zipline
How can the right pair of snowboard boots affect your ride?
While many of the critical features are determined by foot size and the type of snowboard riding one is doing, some, such as the type of closure system and appearance, are ultimately up to personal preference.
For this reason, it’s so important to try on snowboard boots. Keep in mind that they should feel snug at the first try, because they stretch out around the foot with wear, and it’s not ideal for the boot to be loose, as this will undermine the responsiveness of the shoe. In other words, the shoe will not move with your movements as effectively.
Flexibility/stiffness also plays into responsiveness. Advanced backcountry or mountain snowboarders generally get a better ride with stiff boots, while beginners or freestyle/park riders generally are happier with flexible boots. Men may like stiffer boots than women and young people.
Because of snowboarding’s impact on the foot and the need for a good interlocking fit, the liner becomes especially important. People with non-average foot shapes or foot problems generally benefit from heat-moldable liners, which allow an instantly customizable liner shape, so there’s no time spent breaking the shoes in.
Things to Consider when Choosing Snowboard Boots
Riding style (stiff, medium flex, soft flex)
Snowboard boots all have a flex rating that goes from 1 to 10, with 10 indicating maximum stiffness. Generally, larger people like a relatively high flex rating.
However, those who stay on groomed areas and parks, regardless of expertise level, will prefer a lower flex rating. Ultimately, the wearer has to find his/her own average of these factors to get the right flexibility.
If you anticipate riding in different environments, a medium flex boot with a good fit is probably the best investment.
Comfort and Fit
A perfect interlocking fit with no heel slipping improves both the comfort and responsiveness of a snowboard boot. Some boots even have a structure called a J bar to lessen heel slipping. A 180 power strap (a strap around the top of the boot’s neck) also adds security.
Your foot shouldn’t move around much in the shoe—doing so can cause chaffing and foot pain. Also, it undermines the responsiveness of the shoe.
Snowboard boots should be snug around the whole foot, except the toe area. The toes should not be bent at all to fit in the shoe. Keep in mind that the boots will stretch around your foot over time, so if they’re a little tight at first, that’s ideal.
Style is not an inherently important aspect of snowboard boots—of course, it in no way affects how responsive, warm, durable, flexible, etc. the shoes are.
However, most people feel better in a good-looking shoe. It can be a real source of joy and motivation.
Also, it’s a versatility issue. You could end up walking around a lodge or other snow sport-related building in your boots. In that context, you might care more about the appearance of the shoes. Fortunately, most good-quality boots have attractive designs.
Footbed and Liner
All good-quality snowboard boots have a liner that molds around the foot. However, there are three basic kinds: one is the stock liner, which simply molds to the foot with wear. The second is one that molds faster with presence of body heat.
The third is the heat-moldable liner that can be heated up and placed under the foot for an instant perfect molding. Those with irregular foot shapes or pain-prone feet might prefer the instant perfection of the heat-moldable liner.
There are three basic lacing systems, all of which have their benefits. The traditional lacing system is composed of shoelaces drawn through eyelets—similar to the lacing system of sneakers.
The speed-lace system (or quick-pull) is composed of a system or systems of laces that can be controlled by pulling one cord and locking it in place.
The Boa system is a system of coils (sometimes split into more than one controllable zone) that tighten with the turn of a dial. Most users love the Boa system for its speed and easiness—you can tie the shoes so easily, even with gloves on.
However, the speed-lace system might offer a little more individually customized fit with just a little more effort. That said, a great benefit of the traditional system, other than familiarity, is that the laces can be replaced if they break.
The other systems are trickier to deal with if there’s a malfunction. That said, good quality shoes are not likely to malfunction quickly.
12 Best Snowboard Boots Reviewed
1. Thirtytwo Lashed Women’s [Women’s Beginner]
The ThirtyTwo Lashed is a good fit for the female beginner. The flex value is relatively low (shoe is soft), which is ideal for beginners. Also, women tend to prefer a slightly softer shoe.
The lacing is traditional—ideal for the beginner who does not want to adjust to a fancy lacing system. The shoe has a heat-moldable liner, making it especially suitable for all foot shapes and instantly comfortable for any individual. It has a mechanism to prevent heel slippage and excellent traction.
The ThirtyTwo Women’s Lashed is one of the best shoes to consider for the beginner. One user complained that the shoe was hard to break in, but when compared to other reviews, it seems that this person probably failed to use the heat-moldable feature of the liner.
2. Divas SnowGear Women’s Avid Technical Boots with Boa [Women’s Expert]
The Divas SnowGear Women’s Avid Technical Boot with Boa is a more expensive option for the advanced snowshoer, but it’s worth the money.
The boot can protect from -40 degrees C and is waterproof. Somehow, it still manages to be effectively breathable. So, there should be no trouble with an entire day of snowboarding in otherwise hazardous temperatures.
Also, it has the Boa closure system, which makes for very quick and easy binding, even with gloves on. The liner provides top-notch support to prevent foot pain even after long activity and it’s antimicrobial to prevent stench and fungal infection.
Some users suggest that the stiffness is a negative, but in fact, stiff boots are generally ideal for very advanced snowboarders. An added bonus is that the Divas SnowGear boots are also great for snowmobiling.
3. Thirtytwo STW Boa Women’s
[Women’s Best For Wide Feet]
The thirtytwo STW Boa Women’s snowboard boot is a great, relatively affordable beginner to intermediate snowboard boot for women with relatively wide feet. Some seem to complain that the boot runs small, but this could be the common misunderstanding that snowboard boots should fit perfectly when new.
The thirtytwo STW has a 3-D molded tongue that creates a better, more customized fit when the shoe is tied with the Boa lacing system. This overrides the common complaint that the Boa system is easy to use but may not fit the individual foot very well.
The heat-moldable liner is helpful for fitting the shoe to any unusual foot shapes, including wide and/or flat feet.
4. Salomon Scarlet Quicklock [Women’s Best For Flat Feet]
The Salomon Scarlet Quicklock is suitable for beginner to intermediate snowboarders. Its heat-moldable liner makes it great for those with idiosyncratic foot shapes, including flat feet.
Also helpful in this way is the supportive Ortholite C1 insole. Plus, it has excellent heel grip—generally important for protecting foot health and safety.
The Salomon Scarlet Quicklock is also lightweight with its D-Light outsole. The Boa closure system, as always, is yet another positive about this boot. The Salomon brand is well-recommended and known for boots that better fit flat feet. Furthermore, the shoes are reasonably priced.
5.Burton Mint Women’s
[Women’s Best for a Range of Levels]
The Burton Mint Women’s snowboard boot is an all-around ideal boot for a range of experience levels, and even with all of its fine features, it relatively low-priced. It has a fairly low flex value, so it might not be the best for advanced all-mountain boarding, but for everything else, it’s wonderful.
Users especially love the excellent fit and the Speed ZoneTM Lacing System equipped with durable New England Ropes—these shoes are quick and easy to use in every way. Even the boot’s tongue is specially designed to enhance the fit for the individual wearer.
In addition, the footbed is heat-moldable. So, this boot really is the best for anyone with foot problems or unusual foot shapes (such as wide and flat, narrow and high-arched, etc.).
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
6.DC Men’s Phase Lace
The DC Men’s Phase Lace is ideal for the beginner with its great value, support, and lightness. It has EVA memory foam soles, a special mechanism of ankle support, and a mechanism to reduce heel lift.
Despite all of this, it’s very lightweight, because of the material of the outsole. That said, the outsole still manages to provide especially good traction. People complain about this shoe running small, but it looks like one factor may be that snowshoes should feel tight at first.
The traditional lacing could be seen as good or bad for beginners, depending on one’s preference. Higher-tech lacing systems might be easier and faster, but you have to be used to them—good quality traditional lacing gives customizable comfort in a familiar form. Also, if there’s a malfunction, traditional laces usually just require replacement, while other mechanisms are more complicated to repair.
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
7.Burton Ion Boa Men’s
The Burton Ion Boa is a top-notch boot for the advanced snowboarder. It has a high flex rating of 8, which makes it ideal for mountain and freestyle snowboarding.
For the expert snowboarder, the Ion is worth the relatively high price, because it has so many novel high-tech features. It has Dual Zone Focus Boa Coiler with New England Ropes. It has a Firm Flex PowerUP tongue to give the boot better fit and responsiveness.
The Ion has everything for comfort—a pressure relief panel, a snow-proof interior gusset (support layer), and an anti-microbial interior coating, as well as several specialized lining elements for the best possible support.
Along with other insulating cushion elements, it also has Sleeping Bag Reflective Foil, which reflects body heat back to the foot.
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
8.K2 Men’s Maysis
[Men’s Best for Flat Feet]
The K2 Men’s Maysis, with its medium flexibility, durability, and great support system, is ideal for the flat-footed man interested in mountain snowboarding especially. However, the medium flex makes the boot inherently versatile, so it’s great for the snowboarder who loves all riding styles, as well.
It has an H3 Boa Coiler system for a quick and easy closure. The K2 Men’s Maysis also has internal Boa coils that adjust the fit all around the foot, especially the heel for a perfect, slip-proof grip.
The heat-moldable (i.e. thermal formable) liner, as always, makes for an instant perfect fit. All of the comfort and fit-perfecting features make this one of the most supportive shoes available for a range of ride styles—great for average and non-average feet alike.
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
[Men’s best for wide feet]
The ThirtyTwo Lashed is a good pick for the wide-footed male snowboarder, especially if he’s an all-mountain beginner. The shoe is flexible but not too much so, has excellent shock absorption, and it has the essential heat-moldable liner to create an instant fit with no painful break-in period.
The Intuition® foam liner gives gentle support and flexibility for the entire foot, including the heel. The shoe has an internal harness mechanism for even more support and stability. Even the tongue is designed for a comfortable fit.
The lightness of the shoe and its dual Boa lacing system make it easy to put on. The ThirtyTwo Lashed is a great beginner-intermediate shoe with a forgiving fit for the wide-footed rider.
10.DC Control Dual Boa
[Men’s Best for a Range of Levels]
The DC Control Dual Boa ia the ideal boot for the intermediate snowboarder, but in fact, is a great choice for those of all experience levels. It has a flex level of 6, which is mid-range, especially for a man.
The DC Control Dual Boa has some effective and novel features, while still being moderate in price. It has a J bar, a feature of the heel shape that prevents heel slipping, and a 180 power strap, which is a tightening strap around the boot neck’s top that keeps the boot’s fit snug and stable.
Its interior is lined with quality fleece to keep feet warm. The boot gets its name from its Boa H3 Coiler system, which comprises 2 separate closure zones, each controlled by a separate dial—this feature generally creates a more precise fit than the regular Boa system.
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
11.K2 Lil Kat Girls’ [Youth Girls]
The K2 Lil Kat Girls’ snowboard boots are an excellent choice of snow boot for a young female snowboarder with a girl-friendly design and the quick-and-easy Boa closure system. It has an EVA foam insole and a removable liner.
The K2 Lil Kat is suitable for relatively experienced snowboarders, especially in all-mountain situations. In addition, the footbed is made to fit some degree of growth in the wearer—helpful for parents who are making an investment in snowboard boots.
The Lil Kat also has a heel-and-tongue pull mechanism to make them unusually easy to put on and take off, and it has J bars to stabilize the heel.
12.Burton Zipline [Youth Unisex]
The Burton Zipline is the best quality snow boot on the market for kids. At a reasonable price, it offers a heat-moldable liner, EVA footbed, and a newly improved version of the Boa closure system. For insulating protection, it has a special snow-proof gusset (supportive layer) on its interior.
Even with all of this, the Burton Zipline is light, partly due to the material of its outsole. Unfortunately, the high flexibility of this shoe that makes it so nice for beginner children might be annoying to more experienced kids.
This unisex shoe only appears to be available in one color pattern, but Burton is an altogether excellent company and offers other kids’ snow boots in other patterns.
How Should Snowboard Boots Fit?
How to size for snowboard boots?
Generally, boot size coincides with normal shoe size. However, there’s no replacement for trying on boots.
First, remove the liner and put your foot into the boot with your intended snowboarding socks on. When you stand in the shoe, try sticking 2 fingers back to back from each other into the heel. If you cannot get 2 fingers in, the shoe is too small. If you can get three in, the shoe is too large.
Note that in the right size, you should be able to stand in the shoes without the sides of your feet touching the sides.
If the shoe passes these tests, then try putting the liner back in, tying the boot almost as tight as if you were about to use it, and try the boot on again. Upon standing, your toes should just lightly make contact with the liner. Then, try rocking back and forth in the boot.
Ideally, you should feel very little heel shifting as you do this. If all of this has gone well, then repeat the whole process with the other foot—most people have somewhat asymmetrical feet.
How tight should my boots be?
New snowboard boots will get looser over time, so don’t be concerned if they do feel a little tighter than you would like when you’re trying them on.
What about people with flat or wide feet?
For both flat and wide feet, a heat-moldable liner goes a long way towards making a perfect fit. Also, in general, people with wide feet should avoid any boot that runs narrow.
If the wideness is pronounced enough, one should consider a boot that is specially made for wide feet or wide size version, if available. For example, the Salomon wide (D+) is especially for wide feet, and the DC brand is known for fitting wide feet better than most.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I buy snowboard boots rather than rent?
Rented snowboard boots don’t give you the chance to have a customized fit, so if you have any interest in continuing to snowboard, it’s better to invest in your own pair.
How often should I replace my snowboard boots?
It varies, depending on how much you use them. Generally, it’s fairly obvious when you need to change them—if they’re noticeably falling apart or have become so soft that you’re losing desired benefits of a stiffer boot. There’s no reason to change them within a certain period of time.
What’s the difference between snowboard boots for beginners and advanced riders?
In general, more advanced rides like a stiffer shoe, especially if their area of expertise is all-mountain snowboarding. However, even advanced riders may prefer more softness if their passion is freestyle riding or stunts in a specially designed park.
Also, more advanced riders benefit more from enhanced features to give superior support, stability, shock absorption, responsiveness, and insulation; as a result, advanced riders’ boots usually wind up being more expensive.
Are snowboard boots waterproof?
Many are, and generally these are described as such in their published descriptions. Some are not designated waterproof, but they’re very insulated and provide good closure at the top of the boot neck, so for all practical purposes water isn’t likely to get in.
Do I need special snowboarding socks?
In a sense, yes. The special cold-weather socks used for snowboarding are certainly good for other cold-weather sports, too.
Such socks not only keep feet warm for hours, but also provide sufficient padding to prevent blisters and draw moisture off the foot to reduce stench or infection. Carhartt Extreme, Arctic Extreme Insulated, and Soxnet Eco-Friendly socks are three excellent examples.
How can I clean my snowboard boots?
Checking the care instructions that may have come with your snowboard boots is the best start—this is especially important to avoid damaging them with a chemical they cannot tolerate. Generally, it’s a good idea to give the boots a basic wipe down after each day of use.
If you feel that the liner has absorbed a lot of sweat or water, take it out and let it air dry. For leather boots, follow instructions for cleaning leather boots with leather cleaner. On a regular basis, just wiping or brushing them off should be sufficient, though.
Does it really matter whether the boot is gender specific?
Yes, for the kind of perfect fit you need in a snowboard boot, it’s probably best to get a boot designed for your gender. Female-specific boots generally have a narrower heel and a shorter boot neck to fit the foot and leg proportions characteristic of women.
It’s not just about style. However, for those who care, a female-specific boot usually comes in more feminine color patterns.
Choosing your best boots for snowboarding can be an exciting experience to prepare for your first experience with the sport or it can be a way to take your game to a new level.
While the sport is called snowboarding, the boot really is a critical part of the sport—it’s the gear that really is your control center as you manipulate the board and guide yourself in the direction you want to go.
Even more importantly, your snowboard boots give you the protection to brave really cold weather for long periods of time and to use your feet in ways that in other shoes would be impossible.
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