Thereâ€™s no feeling like dropping down a powder line with no sound besides the swish of the snow below your feet. And thereâ€™s no thrill like stomping your target trick for the first time off a massive jump.
Snowboarding is a sport that connects our bodies to the mountains. We feel closer to nature, ourselves, and each other.
No setup is complete without a good pair of snowboard boots. As the Air Jordan was crucial to Michael Jordanâ€™s ability to slam dunk, a good snowboard boot is as useful, if not as iconic, to the snowboarder in their pursuits.
How to Choose the Perfect Snowboard Boot
Snowboard boots vary just about as much as snowboards do. There are many different types of boots for as many different purposes. Weâ€™re going to run through the different styles, technologies, and builds of snowboard boots before moving on to review the best snowboard boots on the market today.
Beginner boots do not mean the cheapest boots in the store. The cheapest boots will fall apart before you break them in. Beginner boots should have a soft flex, be comfortable, and be reasonably priced. Needless to say, the boot should also fit properly.
A proper fit boot should be snug enough that you canâ€™t wiggle your feet inside, jeopardize response time, or have too much heel lift (weâ€™ll get to this soon!), but loose enough that the boot doesnâ€™t cause cramps or mess with your pressure points.
To clarify, heel lift is what happens when your toes are snug in your boots, but your heel moves up and down. Heel lift could lead to ankle pain and injury and is avoidable at all costs.
To resolve this issue, be sure to have your boots fit to your foot by an expert, and if that still doesnâ€™t work, you could buy J bars that could be inserted into your boot to increase ankle support.
Freestyle Boots are soft, though not necessarily quite as soft as beginner boots. If you want to hit jibs all day, youâ€™ll want boots that rank at around a 3 out of 10 in stiffness. To clarify, 1 is the softest fit and 10 is the most stiff. If youâ€™re hitting jump lines, the boot should be quite a bit stiffer — somewhere between 4 and 6 out of 10.
In terms of response, or how quickly and drastically your boot reacts to your footâ€™s movements, you will want a medium response or a slow-medium response snowboard boot. Boots that are hyper-responsive will hinder you in the terrain park.
A slight twitch in your foot would lead you to catch an edge on a box if you were to use hyper-responsive boots. At the same time, boots with a very slow response time will prove sluggish in the park.
It goes without saying that freestyle boots, as with any other style of snowboarding boots, should firmly hold your heel. There should be some degree of adjustability around your heel and ankle, too.
Ideally, you should be able to adjust the inner and outer layer of your freestyle boots separately as well as the higher and lower sections of each layer.
Lastly, freestyle snowboard boots should provide shock absorption. This is perhaps the most important aspect to consider when looking for a new set of freestyle boots. As freestyle riders constantly land on varied terrain, a boot with good shock absorption provides an easier ride on your feet, knees, and back.
All Mountain Boots
All Mountain Boots should be medium-stiff and pretty responsive for all mountain riding. There is no extra time for delay on steep slopes and tree runs, where every millisecond counts. The more aggressive of a rider you are, the more responsive your snowboard boots should be.
To determine what type of boot will best suit you, you should figure out what type of all mountain rider you are. If you ride the terrain park a decent amount, youâ€™ll want boots with good shock absorption and a flexy fit. If youâ€™re more likely to just carve down blue hills, shock absorption wonâ€™t be so important and nor will a soft fit.
Lastly, you will want a decent amount of traction, especially if you foresee yourself riding backcountry. There is no hassle like boots that cannot hold when youâ€™re walking uphill.
Freeride Boots are among the most costly snowboard boots, for good reason. They are built for the fast and aggressive rider who typically finds themselves riding backcountry runs, quick trails, and searches for drops everywhere.
Freeriders will want the stiffest and most responsive boot they could find. While a stiff boot will be tough on your feet, no compromises could be made on the most dangerous runs. The most responsive boot will be stiff, cushioned, and have a good heel hold.
The best freeride snowboard boots will have excellent traction for backcountry hiking. They should also have decent shock absorption for all the steep drops in extreme terrain.
Snowboard Boot Lacing Systems
There are three different types of lacing systems that the best snowboard boots will use.
Traditional Lacing Systems
Traditional lacing systems mean that your snowboard boot will tie up just like a sneaker, at least on the outside. The pros of traditional lacing system are that you have more control over the tightness of your boots. In addition, the boots tend to be cheaper and broken laces are easy to replace.
Traditional laced boots are best for riders who get pressure points, as youâ€™ll be able to tie your boot however you please.
Their cons are that they might be tough to lace as tight as you want them. In addition, traditional laces loosen throughout the day and are tough to deal with when you have gloves on.
Boa systems employ a knob that you twist to tighten your snowboard boots. Single boa systems use one knob to tighten the whole boot while double boa systems use two knobs, one that tightens the upper section and the other that tightens the lower section.
Boa system boots are simple to tighten, easy to deal with when you have gloves on, and are designed to mitigate the chances of heel lift.
Their cons are that they could cause pressure points — especially the single boa systems. They are also not nearly as simple to replace as traditional lacing systems.
Speed Lacing Systems
Speed lacing systems use one or two handles to tighten your boots. Different brands have different names for their speed lacing technology system, but they all use handles to quickly tighten your boot.
As their name suggests, speed lacing systems are very easy to deal with. The lacing system is lightweight and simple to handle with gloves on. Some speed lacing boots are equipped with ankle harnesses that reduce heel lift.
At the same time, speed lacing systems are not as easy to tighten as boa systems. They are not as adjustable as traditional lacing systems, either. Finally, they could loosen throughout the day so you might have to readjust them while youâ€™re out on the slopes. Due to the quickness of adjusting them, though, this shouldnâ€™t be a huge issue.
Where You Should Buy Your Snowboard Boots
Just like sneakers, you should try snowboard boots on before buying them. Buying snowboard boots in your neighborhood shop ends up being a bit of a trade off. Your local snowboard shop will be able to fit you and youâ€™ll be able to walk around in different boots, but your selection will be limited.
On the other hand, you could buy hundreds of different types of boots online, but you wonâ€™t be able to try them on virtually. Furthermore, sometimes when youâ€™re scrolling through page after page of snowboard boots, they all end up looking like the same product and youâ€™ll have a difficult time finding exactly what you need.
I personally think that buying online is the best option, but only after having tried on the boots and knowing that theyâ€™re a good fit.
The following websites have a large collection of snowboard boots at great prices.
Snowboard Boot Comparison Table
So youâ€™re on the hunt for a pair of the best snowboard boots.
What Iâ€™m going to do in these next couple sections is review some of the best snowboard boots for beginners, freestyle riders, all mountain riders, and freeriders, each for men and for women.
Regarding the categories: style indicates whether the boot is for beginners, freestyle riders, etc.; flex will indicate a number between 1-10 (the lower the number, the softer the boot); lacing system; and price. In the more detailed reviews below, weâ€™ll look at adjustability, shock absorption, and other aspects of each boot.
|Make and Model||Style||Flex||Lacing System||Price|
|Burton Moto Boa||Beginner||3||Single Boa||$229.95|
|K2 Ender||Freestyle||6||Traditional Lacing||$329.95|
|Adidas Tactical ADV||All Mountain||6||Traditional Lacing||$289.00|
|Ride Insano Focus||Freeride||9||Double Boa||$399.95|
|Make and Model||Style||Flex||Lacing System||Price|
|ThirtyTwo Shifty Boa||Beginner||2||Single Boa||$169.99|
|Salomon Lush*||Freestyle||4||Speed Lacing||$209.96|
|Burton Ritual LTD||All Mountain||5||Speed Lacing||$279.95|
|Burton Supreme||Freeride||7||Speed Lacing||$449.95|
*This page links to a single size. Search Salomon Lush on Amazon to see every size offered.
The Best Snowboard Boots Reviewed
This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are too many different categories of snowboard boots to give you many more options without sacrificing the quality of the content of this post.
Iâ€™d rather offer quality than quantity — so Iâ€™m reviewing 8 total boots that should give you a good idea of what some of the best snowboard boots on the market are all about.
I am not including any snowboard boots that cost over $500. Any boot with an extraordinary cost will be excellent and feature all the latest technologies, but many readers could not imagine paying so much for snowboard boots. And I donâ€™t blame you.
I also didnâ€™t include boots under $150. Below this price point youâ€™re losing a lot of necessary quality in the boot, and youâ€™re just buying a blister or a tear waiting to happen.
The Best Men’s Snowboard Boots
The Burton Moto Boa is comfortable and easy to adapt to for beginner snowboarders. Total Comfort Construction provides you, per Burtonâ€™s words, â€œa broken-in feel right out of the box.â€ Snowboarding is going to tax your muscles, so it is crucial that a beginner boot maximizes comfort.
The Moto Boa includes a snow-proof internal gusset that completely seals the lower zone of the boot, making the boots effectively waterproof. They also feature reflective foil cushioning underfoot, a material that absorbs and reflects body heat, providing a warmer and more cushioned ride.
Burton Moto Boas are soft and flexy, once more providing maximized comfort for the beginner rider. Soft boots are optimal for terrain park riders, so the Moto Boas are doubly good if you plan to ride park.
The Boa lacing system is simple to adapt to and easy to use. You wonâ€™t need to take off your mitts to adjust them and the lacing system is careful to avoid pressure points, though not as precisely as traditional lacing systems.
The Moto has been in Burtonâ€™s lineup for close to 2 decades. Beginners love these snowboard boots for being affordable, soft, and reputable. They arenâ€™t full of cutting edge innovations like some of the other boots on this list, but a beginner wonâ€™t need all the innovations of a freeride boot.
The K2 Ender is a fantastic snowboard boot for freestyle riding. They are comfortable (just look at the inner fabric in the picture) and built for the all day rider. The Ender is not a very soft boot. With a flex rating of 6 out of 10, this boot is for riders who love jump lines or dropping cliffs. If youâ€™re into jibs, youâ€™ll want a softer boot.
Its Endo 2.0 construction is described by K2 as â€œthe most technically advanced boot construction available.â€ An injected heal counter gives the rider strength and ensures that the boots will have the same response as time goes on and the boot begins wearing down.
K2â€™s IntuitionÂ® Pro Foam 3D liner provides the brandâ€™s most supportive liner. This technology features two J-Bars around the ankles, so heel lift should not be a concern.
The Ender features a traditional lacing system. Itâ€™s a simple technology, but it is important to many freestyle riders to have control over the tightness of their boots, and traditional laces provide that control. Boa lacing in the liner provides a tight inner fit.
Thanks to their Vibram Outsoles, these snowboard boots have soles with a good grip for backcountry riding. Furthermore, the K2 Enderâ€™s Harshmellow technology cushions impact from big jumps and drops, making riding easier on your feet, knees, and back.
These snowboard boots are one of the best freestyle boots for the intense rider who sticks with jump lines. Because of their stiffness, shock absorption, and rugged build, these boots will also fair well in freeriding terrain.
The Adidas Tactical ADV is built for the entire mountain. They provide a stiff fit for maximized response and control, but theyâ€™re soft enough to ride through the park and not tax your feet too hard. These snowboard boots conform to the contours of your foot with heat moldable Ultralon foam liners, ensuring that the boots will fit comfortably on your feet.
The Adidas Boost footbed technology features energy-returning properties to keep your riding light, quick, and warm, even on a cold day. Traditional laces provide a customized fit, while the inner ankle harness uses a speed lacing system to secure your foot inside the liner and shell.
A lot of the reviews say they fit a little big, so be sure to try these snowboard boots on before buying them. Too big of a boot will reduce your comfort, response, and will lead to blisters.
These boots are a great option for the all-mountain rider who wants to hit the slopes all day. They are just as suited to the park as steep groomed trails, making them a true all-mountain boot.
The Insano Focus, as its name implies, is a boot for riding extreme terrain. This pair of snowboard boots are expensive, but theyâ€™re worth it for the rider who will be hucking cliffs, chasing steep tree runs, and generally riding advanced terrain.
The Ride Insano Focus is a very stiff boot. What it doesnâ€™t provide in comfort, it makes up for in response time and cushioned landings.
The H3 Boa Focus System provides a two-zone fit system for excellent heel hold. Internal and external J bars ensure that you will not have to deal with heel lift.
The Ride Slime Tongueâ„¢ technology lessens breakdown in forward flex, providing a more consistent feel and flex over the lifetime of the boot.
In2gratedâ„¢ Construction creates the lightest and shortest length freeriding boot on Rideâ€™s catalog. This is important for the freerider — you shouldnâ€™t be worried about extra weight or boot drag on a double black diamond run.
Best Women’s Snowboard Boots
The ThirtyTwo Shifty Boa stresses comfort and ease. They are equipped with Comfort Fit technology which provides a heat moldable and customized fit with soft flex. The liner is covered with microfleece, giving your feet warmth.
The Shifty Boa is very soft. They are perfect for the beginner rider just getting a start on the slopes. Flexy snowboard boots are beneficial to the terrain park rider, especially for boxes and rails.
Boa lacing is easy to adapt to and simple to use. Boa lacing systems are not the best system for riders prone to pressure points, but the softness in other areas of the boot should reduce the likelihood of unpleasant pains.
The ThirtyTwo Comfort footbed molds to your feet and provides a soft feel. It isnâ€™t ThirtyTwoâ€™s best footbed technology, but considering the affordability of the boot, itâ€™s great bang for your buck.
ThirtyTwo builds excellent snowboard boots. While you arenâ€™t paying for a large number of cutting-edge technologies, the Shifty Boa is a trusty start for the beginner snowboarder.
The Salomon Lush is a fantastic freestyle snowboard boot with medium flex, neither too soft for jumps nor too stiff for boxes and rails. The liner is heat moldable, providing a snug fit and maximized comfort.
The Lushâ€™s ShadowFlex gaiter is constructed with a watertight and weatherproof seal around the lower section of the boot. The ShadowFlex technology relieves pressure points and provides maximum flex that a park rider needs.
Salomonâ€™s ZoneLock Lacing System — their version of speed lacing — offers a dual tightening system. This means that you could tighten the top and lower parts of your boot separate from one another.
Ortholite C3 footbeds are designed to offer comfort, dryness, and a cushioned feel for the feet.
While the Salomon Lush is made specifically for the terrain park, the medium flex of the boot will make these a great option for anywhere on the mountain.
The Burton Ritual LTD offers Total Comfort Construction technology, promising riders a broken in boot right out of the box. The Ultraweave material provides a comfortable, water-resistant, and very light shell.
The boot has moderate flex — about a 5 out of 10 — meaning that you could ride most features besides extreme terrain, assured that your response time will be quick without sacrificing comfort.
Women’s Specific True Fitâ„¢ Design means that every element of the boot is designed specifically for how women ride. The liners, shell tongue, baseplate — everything is constructed to provide a better ride for women.
ReBounce cushioning brings a softer and heat-reflective cushion close to your foot, enabling you to ride all day without foot cramps or frostbitten toes.
These snowboard boots also use a speed lacing system with two separate zones that could be tightened to your preference.
These boots, with medium flex and rugged construction, are built for the all-mountain rider. They are soft enough to hit the park yet responsive enough to give you confidence on tree runs.
The Burton Supreme is a freeride boot loaded with technological innovations. These snowboard boots are built for the advanced rider that considers adrenaline loaded riding ideal.
These boots have a stiff feel that provides the rider with quick response times in the most extreme terrain. While they will neither be as soft nor as comfortable as beginner snowboard boots, Burtonâ€™s Total Comfort Construction assures that your boot wonâ€™t blister up your feet as you break them in.
Like every other snowboard, binding, and boot from Burtonâ€™s women’s line, these boots are constructed with Women’s Specific True Fitâ„¢ Design. These boots reflect and accommodate the ways in which women ride extreme terrain.Â
The Supremeâ€™s Snow-Proof Internal Gusset completely seals off the lower portion of the boot, maximizing comfort and dryness in extreme terrain.
I could go on for paragraphs about the many impressive technologies with which these boots are equipped. They are freeriding boots at the very highest level and they are built with care.
To save you some time reading about dozens of technologies with unique names, Iâ€™ll leave it at this: these boots are light, stiff (yet not stiff enough to rule out a park lap), and built for women who love the backcountry, tree runs, pillow lines, and cliffs.
They certainly arenâ€™t the cheapest pair of snowboard boots on the market, but they are one of the best.
It is impossible to write a comprehensive post about the best snowboard boots without leaving a few of the best ones out. Otherwise, this post would be a book.
I tried to review boots from different makers that use different flexes, lacing systems, liners, and other technologies, to provide you with an idea of all the options you have.
Snowboarding is a quickly progressing sport and boot makers are constantly innovating to keep up with the changes. Boots made 2 years from now are going to be more technically advanced than those made today. Thereâ€™s just no way around that fact.
With that said, all of the boots that I reviewed here will do a pretty good job keeping up with the innovations to come. After all, these are snowboard boots, not machines, and while we love all the latest innovations, they only provide a marginal difference.
I always recommend doing your own research. Ideally, this involves going to your local snowboard shop and being fit by an expert who could put a pair of boots on your feet and explain their benefits.
Buying boots online is your next best option, but if youâ€™re buying boots for somebody else or you are pretty sure that you wonâ€™t need to try boots on before buying them, this post will hopefully have helped you on your search.
Now that you have your boots, check out our post on Buying The Perfect Snowboard Bindings.