US Outdoor Store

INTRO

Quality boots are vital to your snowboarding setup. Boots will impact your time on the mountain as much as the quality of the snow that day. Boots that don’t fit well will likely be uncomfortable and could ruin your performance, while well-fitting, supportive boots will help keep you riding at your highest level and ensure a great day on the hill.

FLEX

How a boot flexes is both a matter of performance and preference. Boot companies typically rate boot flex from soft to stiff (and varying points in between). Softer boots often work well for freestyle riders who value playfulness and maneuverability, while boots more well suited to freeride conditions tend to be stiffer to better handle higher speeds and critical terrain.

All-mountain boots typically fall somewhere between the softer freestyle boots and stiffer freeride boots, but how well they suit your style of riding is a matter of preference. If you tend toward faster, more critical lines, then a stiffer, all-mountain boot is probably for you. If you find yourself enjoying more playful runs on the hill and occasional visits to the terrain park and halfpipe, a softer boot may be what you need.

NOTE

Note: Flex ratings provide some general guidelines as to how the boot will feel, but the ratings vary among boot manufacturers, so we recommend coming into our shop or calling us to talk with our qualified staff.

LACING SYSTEMS

Depending on the boot model, manufacturers employ several different lacing systems to help ensure a supportive and comfortable fit.

TRADITIONAL LACING

Traditional lacing allows riders to lace up like they would any any pair of boots or shoes, so you get a reliable, traditional feel. Adjustments on the hill may prove difficult with frozen fingers, but that’s what gloves are for, right? Traditional lacing requires little to maintenance, because, if you blow a lace, it’s easy to replace and inexpensive.

QUICK PULL LACING

The main appeal of Quick-Pull systems is just that - they’re quick. They typically allow for zonal tightening as well, so you can get a precise fit and feel for premium performance.

BOA LACING

The Boa® Lacing System is probably the most cutting-edge lacing system in snowboard boots these days and its convenience is probably its greatest appeal. No more fumbling with numb fingers and icy laces, because a twist of the knob efficiently cinches everything down.

LINER

Typically made from lightweight, moldable foam rubber, boot liners are basically the entire inner portion of the boot. The liner offers support and stability as well as warmth.

Some liners are removable, which allows them to be cleaned or aired out more easily than non-removable liners.

With a few exceptions, there are basically 3 types of liners:

TRADITIONAL

These stock liners offer basic padding and support. (That’s pretty much it.)

THERMO / HEAT MOLDABLE

Thermoformable foam liners make use of the heat from your foot to break in and mold more precisely to each rider, providing a more personalized, unique fit. The break in time is relatively quick, too, with riders typically seeing results after the first day of on the
hill.

CUSTOM

Often at the higher end of the price range, custom moldable liners require an external heat source (rather than a rider’s body heat) to create a precise fit. While some online tutorials exist to help folks custom fit boot liners at home, we recommend coming into our shop or calling us to speak with our expert boot fitters to get your fit dialed.

SIZING

Snowboard boots use traditional street sizing. (It’s pretty straightforward.)

As for fit, your boots should be snug, but not tight. (I’d like to say “like a firm handshake,” but we all know that one guy who thinks a handshake is an opportunity to display dominance and the shake ends up being aggressively tight, so never mind. Forget that comparison.)

When you’re trying one boots, your toes shouldn’t be cramped and they should gently brush the inside of the boot’s toecap when you move them around. As you ride in them, your boot’s liner will soften up some and should give you that custom fit and feel.

Your heel should fit snugly in the back of the boot and when you drive your knee forward and flex into the boot, your heel shouldn’t lift off the boot’s insole.

PRO FITTING TIPS

Wear the same socks you’ll be riding in when you try boots on. We recommend a pair of thinner wool or synthetic snowboarding socks that cut down on bulk and wick moisture from your feet. (Get this: We’ve got those, so you can grab a pair here.)

Your feet swell a bit during the day, so try boots on in the afternoon to avoid going home with a pair that ends up being too tight once you start riding.

First tighten any liner lacing and then tighten whatever lacing system the boot has.

Walk around the shop in the boots. Flex forward and back, side to side. Stand with your feet as far apart as they would be if you were clicked in and drive your knees forward to feel for any significant heel rise. Remember: Flexing forward and back simulates putting pressure on your toe and heel edges, so you don’t want your heel to rise or slip too much.

Again, if you have questions, come into U.S. Outdoor to talk with our qualified boot fitters to determine your ideal size and fit.

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