The first step you’ll have to take to learn how to snowboard won’t be to learn how to maneuver. Actually, your snowboarding journey begins much, much earlier – at your local ski shop, and with the answer to the following question – how to choose snowboard boots? In this article, we’ll help you with buying snowboard boots, so once you step on the snow you feel fully comfortable and able to focus solely on the learning process, without spending your time and energy worrying about your gear.
Once you get your boots, snowboard and bindings should follow, and the result will come in the shape of many amazing hours on the snow.
What Affects The Choice?
One of the main reasons people opt to try snowboarding is because it looks cool in every aspect, from the movement to the looks of the equipment, but this should be on the bottom of the list of things your new boots should have. Before you dedicate your attention to looks and try to combine them with your clothes and, here is the list of things your boots will have to fulfill to keep you safe, mobile, and steady on your legs:
First of all, being honest is essential. If you’re a beginner, say so. If you prefer to slowly move down the hill instead of chasing the wind, don’t hide it. Different styles require different boot flex, and you’ll have to find the ones that fit your style and the location you most often visit.
The main categories are soft-flexing, medium-flexing, and stiff-flexing boots.
The most comfortable, easy to wear, soft flex boots are perfect for longer sessions, but they are not a perfect solution for bad weather or rough conditions. They are the best choice for beginners, along with these beginner snowboards.
As the name says – these are a bit stiffer and provide you with better mobility and could be used in any conditions. Medium flex boots are favorites among recreational snowboarders.
If you’re an adrenaline junky or would love to bring the game to a higher level, using stiff-flexing boots is the best option. They offer the best support for edge power and allow you the greatest control when you achieve high speed. Also, these boots are the go-to choice in bad weather.
The flex levels could vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it is recommended asking the seller for a recommendation
Each of those three flex levels is the best in the combination with one of the riding styles:
As the name itself says, this is a term used to describe any terrain that can be used to snowboard. This is also the term for novice snowboarders and you’ll need soft-flexed boots. And you should combine it with an all-mountain snowboard.
Also known as a big mountain ride, this type of boarding is done on the terrains away from the groomed tracks. Because of the fast-paced and precision-needed nature, you’ll need stiffer boots.
In freestyle, which includes tricks, jumps, lots of spins, half-pipes, etc, it is a good option to go with the soft flex.
Proper snowboard boot lacing will prevent blisters from forming, while it will keep your feet safely and comfortably tucked inside. There are three boot lacing systems used by manufacturers:
These laces can easily be adjusted, they are not expensive and if needed they are easy to locate and replace. On the other hand, they are not cold-weather friendly as it is almost impossible to tie them with your gloves on or with freezing hands, and they can loosen really easily.
Quick-pull laces are fast to do, simple to tighten up with the gloves on, it is possible to adjust the tightness on the different parts of your leg separately. There are some cons, as possible pressure points creation, unintended loosening, or even inability to tighten them as strong as you’d love. Also, it may be complicated at first and if it breaks, you may have to finish your session.
This is by far the simplest type. At the top of the boot, there is a wheel connected to cables used to adjust the tightness. In some cases, there may be two wheels, and the boot is adjusted by simply turning. This makes it by far the easiest lacing system that can be done using only one hand, even if you wear gloves, and allows you to adjust it the way you want. There are some cons, though, because it can’t be adjusted differently on a different part of boots, and if something breaks, you’ll have to take it for a repair. And they can cost more.
The inner part of a boot is called a boot liner that serves as an additional layer of insulation, stabilizer, and provides comfort. Sometimes it can be removed from the boot at the end of the day, so it can dry faster than those that can’t be removed.
There are three boot liner categories:
These are the least elastic liners with generic padding and stability. It may take some time but they will eventually break in and become completely fit your feet.
This type of foam liner uses the heat from the foot for the custom fit. It may take a day or a bit more to break in, but not longer than that.
With the help of artificial heat, custom-moldable liners can be molded to fit basically and foot. It is recommended to do it in a shop, but if you know how, you could do it at your own home.
Fitting Boot Size
Boot size is probably the most important aspect of snowboarding safety and comfort. If the boot is too small, it will be awkward and painful to move, while if it is too large, you may find it difficult to maneuver and make turns.
Most of the time the boot size will match the size of your regular footwear, but there may be some differences. For instance, the same number doesn’t necessarily mean the same size at two different manufacturers.
The Perfect Fit
The perfect boot fit is the one that keeps your feet securely locked in but it doesn’t prevent your blood from circulating. Remember, as you wear your boots, liners will become softer over time and create more space. That is also a reason why you should avoid getting a boot that feels loose at first, especially at the heel part. If the heel part is not firm, you’ll rise your hill, not your board
When you hit the store to try out the boots, you should have synthetic or merino wool socks on. They are the ones you’ll be wearing during your session, so it is a good idea to try them combined. The main feature of these socks is their ability to allow moisture to go through easily without causing too much friction. What you should avoid are multiple layers, especially thick ones.
Snowboard Boot Buying Errors
There are a few errors snowboarders make when they buy boots, and here are some of the most common ones:
- Too big or too small boots can not only be uncomfortable but also dangerous. To avoid it, if you’re not sure, you should ask for help.
- Wrong style or skill level. If you underestimate your abilities and your style, there may be slight discomfort. On the other hand, if you overestimate your abilities and you go with the boots made for more skilled snowboarders, you could end up getting injured.
- Going cheap. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find quality boots for a smaller price, but most of the time you’ll get what you pay for. If you find the perfect boots and you can afford them, don’t skip them.
- Following fashion trends. Remember, the main purpose of your boots is to keep you safe, comfortable, and allow you to maintain control of your board. Of course, it will be great to find the ones you really like, but if you have to choose between comfort and safety on one, and style and looks on the other end, go with the safety. You won’t regret it.
To avoid any future confusion, check out our guide on basic snowboarding terminology.
Avoid Shopping Online
Shopping online is easier and can be done from the comfort of your home, but to keep that comfort with you on track, you should go to the shop and try it out just to make sure everything fits the way it should. Once you find the pair you like, you could order the next from the online shop, but it is still recommended to take it to the nearest shop and set it up.
Globo Surf Overview
Snowboarding is one of the most popular winter sports, but it also requires proper snowboarding gear. One of the main pieces of that gear is snowboarding boots. They have a purpose to keep your feet warm, stable, and allow you to fully control your board. With this article buying the best boots will not be an issue, so you’ll find the pair that will allow you to enjoy your time without any distraction, with the help of our tips and tricks and gear checklist suggestions.
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- SNOWBOARD BOOTS BUYING GUIDE, tactics.com