An expert snowboarder understands that the boots are a vital part of their snowboarding gear, and it is imperative to choose them correctly. However, buying a perfect pair of snowboard boots can be challenging as several things need to be considered. Here is a guide to selecting the right shoes for a snowboarding trip.
Riders possessing different skill and ability levels require different snowboarding boots. The best way to determine which boot will suit them correctly is to work out their expertise level in snowboarding.
Beginners: Most beginners prefer to have softer flex boots because it helps them learn how to turn. These shoes support the calves and the ankles from getting hurt, and they are also not very expensive.
Intermediates: Boots for intermediate riders have a medium flex and are stiffer than the beginners’ shoes. Some of them even have additional features to match the different snowboarding styles.
Advanced: Advanced, all-mountain riders usually wear stiffer flex boots. These shoes are not as soft as the beginners’ boots and are generally more supportive and responsive.
Usually, people prefer to wear snowboarding boots at least a half size bigger than their regular shoes. Every brand makes boots that vary in width and volume. Therefore, it is better to try out a few shoes to have a better chance of getting the right fit. Many brands make women-specific boots designed to fit female calves and feet perfectly. Since women’s calves sit lower on the leg than men’s calves, girls should buy women’s snowboard boots as they have a shorter cuff which helps in alleviating calf and shin splints.
Boot Lacing Systems
Choosing the right boot lacing system is very important for the comfort and movability of the feet. The three lacing systems are Quick Pull, Boa, and traditional. Quick-pull can make putting the boots on faster, and pulling a single lace can tighten up the entire lacing system. It has a corset-like design that allows the user to adjust the laces properly, even while wearing gloves or mittens. The Boa lacing system has a small-diameter cable made from stainless steel strands. They are attached to the knurled dials for adjustment purposes, and it gives the user a snuggly fit. Some boots use two dials, one on the top portion and the other on the ankle portion of the boot. This lacing system can provide a precise fit around the lower leg down to the foot.
New boots can feel stiff and not very comfortable when trying for the first time. To get a snug fit that does not hurt the feet, one must wear the boots for at least ten days. Doing this will break in the liner and get the shoe to its proper size. Otherwise, a heat mould can also speed up the process. In a well-fitted boot, the toes should touch the end of the boot liner lightly and not jam up against the front of the boot. The heels should also remain in the heel cups when the rider flexes the knees forward or tries to stand on their toes. Heel hold is vital for a snowboarding boot as it is the ankle area of the boot from where most of the control comes.
There are no hard and fast rules for selecting snowboard boots as it’s entirely dependent on personal preferences. It is always better to visit a local shop that sells branded snowboarding accessories and try out a few shoes before buying. They usually have highly experienced boot fitters who can assist in choosing the best boots and achieving the correct fit.