Whether you go with a boa or lace lacing system for your snowboarding boots will depend on a couple of different things.
Let’s go through the most common lacing systems and cover
- how they work;
- the pros and cons; and
- who they are most suitable for
The Different Lacing Systems
There are 3 broad categories of lacing systems which are:
- Traditional/Standard Lacing;
- Boa; and
- Speed Lacing
There are different varieties of all of these and they differ between brands but these are the 3 most common broad types on the market at the moment.
Traditional Standard lacing
These work pretty much like lacing up shoes – on the outside at least.
Usually there is a separate system to do up the inner part of the boot with a pull string and then the outer part of the boot is done up with laces.
- You control how loose or how tight, and you can control that looseness and tightness over different sections of the boot
- Because of that control they are less prone to creating pressure points
- Tend to be cheaper
- If the Laces break they are easy/cheap to replace
- It can be hard to get them really tight especially if you lack grip strength
- Usually you need to remove your gloves to tighten them (this can also make it particularly hard to get them tight on colder days)
- The laces can loosen up over the day (this can be stopped using the ‘hockey skate’ technique – see video below)
Using the hockey skate technique to tie your boots
Check out the video below to learn how to use stop your laces from loosening off.
Who Traditional/Standard Lace Boots are Most Suitable For
Go with traditional lace boots if:
- You tend to get pressure points in boots; or
- You have high arches which may make you more prone to pressure points; and/or
- You don’t have any trouble getting laces tight; and/or
- You are on a tight budget
There are two main types of boa systems – Single Boa and Double Boa -though each boot manufacturer’s boa systems are slightly different.
These systems often have an inner tightening system similar to traditional lacing systems but the outer boot is tightened using a knob that you twist to pull a system of wires tight across the boot.
Single boa systems have one knob for the whole boot.
Double boa systems have one knob which controls the lower boot and one knob that controls the upper boot.
- Really easy to get them tight (just a matter of twisting the knob) – especially good for those with weaker grip
- Easy to do up when fingers are cold – and can do them up with gloves on
- Less likely to experience too much heel lift
- Can cause pressure points – especially for those with high arches and on cheaper models (double boas less prone to pressure points because you can adjust the lower and upper sections separately)
- If they break it’s critical and you’ll have to end your day on the mountain
Check out the video below to see how easy these are to get in and out of.
Who Boa Boots are Most Suitable For
Choose Boa boots if:
- You find it difficult to get traditional or speed lacing systems really tight
- You often ride in really cold conditions which makes it more difficult to tighten your boots
- You like a really tight fit
- You just want it to be easy getting in and out of your boots and you aren’t prone to pressure points
- You find that traditional and speed lacing systems always have too much heel lift – boa might be the answer (but heel lift can also be helped by some other things – see this post on sizing snowboard boots for more)
Speed Lacing Systems
Though each brand that does speed lacing have slightly different systems and are usually called something different, here is the general principle behind speed lacing:
The tightening of the laces in speed lacing systems is usually controlled by a single handle (or a couple of handles) which you simply pull to tighten and then lock in place.
Some speed lacing systems also come with a separate inner ankle harness that you can use to hold your ankle in nice and tight. The method for tightening the ankle harness is the same as for the outer boot. The bonus with this is that you can tighten the inner boot without having to loosen the outerboot.
Others come with a traditional inner tightening system like you’d find on most traditional lace and boa boots.
- Really quick to get your boots done up (as speed lacing would suggest!)
- Light weight – adds minimal weight to your boots
- Can tighten with your gloves on so you can easily make adjustments on the fly
- Dual systems offer the ability for some independent tightening of lower and upper sections of the boot
- If has ankle harness can help with heel lift and getting the ankle nice and tight and you can retighten easily during the day
- Can be difficult to get really tight – especially if you lack grip strength
- Adjustability over different zones of the foot is limited – better with dual zone
- Can loosen off over the day and may require regular retightening (though is fairly quick and easy to do)
- Can be tough to figure out how they work at first (but fine once you get the hang of it)
Learn the Speed Lacing System in the Video Below
Speed Lacing Systems are most suitable for
Choose speed lacing if:
- You have the strength to pull them tight enough
- You prefer a looser feel in the boot
- You want your boots done up and removed super fast and easy (once you learn the system)
Thanks for reading
Thanks for reading and I hope this has been useful in helping you to choose the lacing system that’s right for you.
If you’d like to learn more about other factors to look out for when choosing snowboard boots check out the link below.
If you have any questions or comments they are more than welcome in the comments section below.