A Perfect Day in Snowboard Boots
Snowboard boots are an incredibly important element of your snowboard set up. If they’re too tight they can completely ruin your day, too loose and they just won’t perform. That’s why it’s so important to find the right boots for you. The selection is vast, with a boot to fit any foot - be they massive and manly, dainty and feminine, or any combination thereof, Blue Tomato has the perfect boot for every snowboarder.
It is important to distinguish between soft boots and hard boots, which have different purposes, are made of different materials, use different closure systems and which require different bindings.
Soft Boots - Riding Comfort Meets Function
Let’s start things off with the “soft” part: soft boots are made up of two parts, the outer shell and the liner, or inner boot. Depending on the model these are either removable or fixed to the outer shell. Usually the liner will also have a lacing system for optimal fit.
Soft boots have a thick, flexible sole and an outer shell made of a stiff material. Compared to a hard boot, they are much more comfortable to wear and are perfect for freeriding and freestyle riding. Whether in the park, on the piste or in powder, a soft boot will do the job. Depending on their flex rating, certain boots are better suited to certain types of riding (see table).
- Live for freestyle and can’t imagine a winter holiday without tearing up the park? Sounds like you need a boot with a softer flex. Softer boots give you all the stability you need to punish the kickers and are flexible and forgiving enough to help you develop your park riding style.
- Most at home on rails? A super flexible jib boot will give you the freedom of movement to bother boxes and rails all day long. Your best bet here is a boot with a flex rating of between 2 and 5, maybe from Burton or Deeluxe.
- Freeride boots are stiffer and offer you all the stability and edge grip you need to tackle icy pistes and steep backcountry slopes with a smile on your face.
- If you’re the kind of person who likes to shred every inch of the mountain - we’re talking piste, park and powder in the same day - an all-mountain boot will be perfect for you. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
Don’t Get Tied Up in Knots - Check Out BOA and Quick-Lace Systems!
BOA lacing systems were originally designed for wakeboarding, but the technology quickly spread to snowboarding. Rather than wasting time making bunny ears and loop-de-loops, you simply twist the BOA dial to tighten or loosen the steel cables, forming the boot tightly to your foot and giving you the comfort and foothold you need.
The Focus BOA system lets you individually adjust the tightness of your upper and lower boot for optimum performance and comfort.
Hybrid lacing combines the BOA system with traditional laces for a more exact, customisable fit.
The Speed Zone lacing system, known as quick-lace or fast-lace, is, as the name would suggest, unbelievably fast. Simply pull the lace to the right or left on your boot and you’re off - the pinnacle of ease and foothold.
Traditional laces give you that skate shoe feeling on the mountain. You have the freedom to tighten or loosen whichever part of your boot you want, giving you more hold or more freedom in exactly the areas you want it.
Hardboots - Perfect Power Transmission for Hard Carving
If you’re a speed junkie or just love laying down huge, wide, carves, a hard boot might be the one for you. Hard boots give you absolute stability and perfect power transmission for high speed turns. They are only compatible with alpine bindings which are available either with a manual closure system or a step in system.
The outer shell can be fastened with buckles and is virtually infinitely adjustable for a perfect fit every time. The backs of these boots feature forward lean mechanisms so you can adjust them to suit your riding needs. A lot of the time, the liners can also be fastened so you can further optimise the fit.
When buying hard boots, make absolute certain that the boots you want are compatible with your binding system.
Pressure points are a thing of the past with today’s market. You can now get special gel pads to protect stress points like the shins. For ultimate comfort, look to the Premium Liner - these heat formable beauties mould themselves to your feet.
Snowboard Boot Technology
- Shrinkage™ Technology: Don’t ask us how but this technology makes the total length of the boots a whole shoe size smaller than they actually fit so a size 10 fits like a size 10, but is the same length as a size 9. Shorter, lighter and with a lower volume, you’ll forget what toe drag even means.
- Vibram® Ecostep™ Plus outsole: An outsole that isn’t just comfortable and grippy, it’s also made of 50% recycled materials. With Dual Zone EVA and B3 gel in the heel and toes you also get some extra padding and shock absorption.
- Antibacterial Aegis™ Coating: Thanks to the wonders of science this clever coating keeps bad odours at bay.
- Thermo Flex Premium: A heat formable leather liner that regulates moisture for the perfect fit and optimal comfort.
- Conweb Outsole: The outsole is made up of grippy hexagonal stamps that give you incredible grip and unbelievable amounts of boardfeel.
- D Lug Sole: With dual damping zones to absorb shocks and impacts, this sole gives you huge amounts of traction without any worries. Extra tread knobs also give you that extra bit of padding.
- BOA® Conda: this lacing system allows you to adjust the fit of your liner without having to undo the outer shell.
- Harshmellow: A composite material built into the shock absorption system that absorbs vibrations before they reach your bindings.
- Endo Construction: A urethane exoskeleton for your boot that offers consistent flex and a boot that returns to neutral quicker and with more energy so you can ride for longer.
Useful Knowledge about Snowboard Boots
The secrets of snowboard boots:
The Liner is the Lynchpin of your Boots
The liner plays a hugely important role when it comes to comfort and functionality. Every foot is shaped differently, so it’s important that you can adjust your shoe accordingly and not the other way round. Many brands offer thermo-formable liners, which you heat up, put on, and wear until it they cool down, guaranteeing a perfect fit.
Padded liners are also available and can be a massive advantage to park riders in particular. They soften your landings so you can keep riding, even after those harder landings.
There are also liners that are fixed to your boot and liners that are removable. Removable liners are extremely handy when it comes to drying and cleaning your boot. The choice is yours!
Pimp your Snowboard Boot!
For longer snowboard trips it can be a good idea to pack some inserts and gel pads as your shins and the soles of your feet can be put under quite a lot of strain. What could be worse than foot cramp after just two runs? A little padding always helps; with Bootdoc accessories you can ease the strain and save yourself a few problems.
Cold, wet boots are the last thing you want on the mountain - a problem that can easily be solved with boot warmers. Just pop them in your boots at the end of a long day’s snowboarding and your boots will be nice and dry in just a few hours. No more squelchy boots in the morning.
The Perfect Fit
Getting the perfect fit is the most important thing with your new snowboard boots. Normally your shoe size will be the same for soft or hard boots as it is for your sneakers or skate shoes, but the only way to know for sure is to try them on!
It’s also important to try your boots on with ski socks as normal socks are thinner and won’t give you a true idea of the fit.
When you stand up straight your big toe should come to the end of the boot and when you get into a riding position (knees gently bent, back straight) your heel should sit at the back and your whole foot should slide slightly backward. If you feel any pressure, get that boot off your foot! A little bit of vertical wiggle room in the heel area is normal and ok, but if you’re heel can slide up quite a way, the boot is definitely too large. Take your time trying on boots and listen to your feet!
The right snowboard boot is the first step towards the perfect season, so get searching and find your perfect boot at Blue Tomato!