Snowboard boots (along with their bindings) are designed to
efficiently transfer the movements of your body while riding
onto your board. To minimize any possibility of toe and heel
overhang, the soles are shorter than other types of footwear
of a similar size. You should, therefore, not consider wearing
any other types of foot apparel for snowboarding.
The following are some factors to consider before purchasing a pair of
Step In or Strap In
You'll have a little more flexibility if you decide to go with
the more traditional strap-in bindings. This is because strap-in
bindings should work with pretty much any non-step-in soft boots while
step-in boots must be purchased together with their respective
step-in bindings. To find out more about step-in boots and their
bindings, see our article on Strap-In or Step-In Bindings.
Soft or Hard
Unless you're an advanced rider who's into racing and high
speed carving, you'll probably want to opt for soft boots.
Soft boots allow for a greater range of ankle movement making
them ideal for freestyle boarding and soft snow conditions.
Beginners will also appreciate the greater margin for error
soft boots will allow not to mention the warmth and comfort they
provide even if you just want to use them for taking a walk.
Finding a pair of boots which fit you comfortably is crucial.
Exactly how tightly fitting a boot should be comes down to
personal preference. Some riders have even deliberately purchased boots
half a size too small to allow them to pack out perfectly
onto their feet after a few rides. Others may like a little
(but not too much) give to allow for a better feel for their board.
Pay attention to any discomfort, or even pain, you experience while trying
on your boots. Snowboarding is meant to be fun, not an ordeal
caused by undersized boots. Conversely, boots which are
too loose will result in your heel lifting instead of your
board during a toeside turn
and will lead to a degradation in board control and, subsequently,
your snowboarding experience.
Boots For Women
If you are a woman, you should probably get snowboard boots specifically
designed for women. This is due to the fact that women typically
have narrower heels and forefeet with lower calf muscles and
as pointed out above, you'll want to get the best possible
fit which is something you will most likely not get with
boots for men or 'unisex' boots.