When you are looking for snowboard boots for beginners there are a few key specs to look for.
Picking boots with specs that are suited to beginners will help ensure that the beginner rider’s progression is assisted and that your day on the mountain is a comfortable and enjoyable one.
But Shouldn’t I just go for the Cheapest Boots?
Isn’t that what a beginner boot is?
Unless you want less enjoyment and slower progression, then cost shouldn’t be your only consideration.
Yes it’s true that you aren’t likely to want to spend as much on boots as a beginner as you would if you were a more experienced rider. But if you just focus on the cheapest, then you may end up with very uncomfortable boots and boots that will make it harder to ride.
If you do a bit of research (as you are doing by coming to this site and checking out this post!) you can find boots that are great for beginners and won’t break the bank.
So what Should You go For as a Beginner?
As a beginner you want boots that:
- Fit Properly;
- Are Comfortable;
- Have a soft to medium-soft flex;
- Have a reasonable price tag
This is a really important point for any rider. But often beginners don’t spend enough time/thought getting this right and just hone in on “what’s the cheapest price!”
Poor fitting boots can:
- affect responsiveness;
- lead to pressure points;
- cause cramping in the foot; and
- create too much heel lift;
If your boots don’t fit snugly enough in the right areas then your foot is likely to move around too much.
This movement causes a delay in response from the point when you engage your muscles to perform a movement and when that movement is translated into movement of the snowboard.
A little bit of give is great for beginners but that’s where choosing a boot with a medium-soft or soft flex comes in. You want that give (see below) to come from the boots flex not because your foot is floating around! A soft flex will allow a nice even, smooth give, not that jerky unpredictable type of give.
And a moving foot is way more likely to cause rubbing and cramping and some very sore feet at the end of the day.
And if the boot is too tight in the wrong places then this can lead to pressure points (which usually occur on the tops of the foot, on the ankles or on the calves).
Too much heel lift will also affect responsiveness - and can also lead to cramping and discomfort.
Check out the link below to learn how to get the right fit for your boots.
This is so important for beginners.
Firstly, if you’ve just started and you are already addicted and just can’t get enough of the slopes, then you are likely to want to ride all day and get in as much time as you can when you are up the mountain.
If your boots are really uncomfortable for whatever reason then you are either going to end the day with very sore feet or you’ll have to cut your day short. Imagine having the perfect bluebird day and having to cut it short!
And even if you make it to the end of the day, you may not be as keen to get back out there the next day if you are in pain - even if your mind wants to, your body might have other ideas.
Just Starting Out?
If you’re still warming into the sport then uncomfortable boots could even cause you to stop altogether! So if you are buying boots for a friend or family member that you really want to get into the sport then, for the love of all things good, get comfortable boots!
And if you are really keen to get into snowboarding so you can ride with your mates, partner, family etc then make sure your boots are comfortable.
What to Look for to Make Sure I Get Comfortable Boots?
The most important thing you can do for comfortable boots is to get the right fit (see above) but there are a couple of other things you can look out for.
Make sure the boots have plenty of shock absorption
Shock absorption will make your day way more comfortable, your feet, ankles, knees and hips will thank you for it.
Later on if you get into free-riding you may need to make sure your boots have good traction and may need to sacrifice a little bit of shock absorption but you would need to upgrade before then anyway.
I don’t rate shock absorption as being important in beginner bindings (because you aren’t going to be landing any big jumps just yet!) but it’s something to look out for in boots - just for the reason of comfort.
Make sure there is no calf-bite
This can be an issue with both boots and bindings. When you try on boots (whether it be in store or in your house after buying online) make sure to walk around in them for a good while before deciding how comfortable they are and whether there is any calf-bite.
If you have a board and bindings already then stand in and strap in and flex in the boots too. If you don’t have board and bindings yet (it’s actually a good idea to get boots first) just stand in a snowboard stance and flex as if you were turning.
Why do I recommend a soft or medium-soft flex?
I recommend a soft or medium-soft flex for beginner snowboards, beginner boots and beginner bindings - this is for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, and most importantly, softer flexing boots have a bit of give in them, which means they are more forgiving of errors. It also makes things more maneuverable, particularly at slower speeds, which is really important when you are just starting out.
If you start out too stiff, you will be punished for every little mistake. And I don’t definitely don’t agree with those who claim that learning in harder learning conditions will make you a better rider. In fact, I believe that the opposite is true.
Learning Under Pressure is Detrimental
When you learn anything under too much pressure you learn fast but you learn crudely. You basically learn how to do whatever it takes to survive! In snowboarding terms this means that you will get down that slope however you can without hurting yourself - or because you are so sick of falling.
This develops poor technique and some really bad habits. It’s just plain a bad idea.
Yes, as you progress it’s important that you challenge yourself, but this needs to be a progression - if you jump too far ahead your snowboarding will suffer in the long run and will take you a lot longer time (if ever) to become a truly fluent rider.
Not only that, but learning on gear too far beyond your ability and it can kill your confidence - and just isn't fun - and snowboarding is, after all, supposed to be fun!
Is Soft or Medium-Soft Better?
Medium-soft can be better, depending on your preference. It gives a balance of getting that forgiveness but also keeping a bit of responsiveness at higher speeds. Which means that your boots can quite happily take you through the beginner and intermediate phases so you won’t have to upgrade too soon.
Going soft is the easiest possible start, and aids the fastest possible progression, but does mean that you have to upgrade sooner - as they will be more limiting as you progress.
Don’t go any stiffer than medium-soft though - again, you wouldn’t learn to drive in a tank, it’s just a bad call!
REASONABLE PRICE TAG
As a beginner you, or if you are buying for a beginner, you probably, although not necessarily, aren’t ready to invest too much in your first pair of boots. And that's fair.
There are a good selection of boots out there that will suit you very well as a beginner and also won’t break the bank so this isn’t really an issue. In fact, softer boots tend to be cheaper, so good beginner boots tend to be cheaper too. And manufacturer's know they can't charge too much for boots that are beginner suitable.
If you're buying used, or past season, there is a greater risk of going cheap, if you don't pay attention to these factors, as you may get something too advanced for a cheaper price.
As a rule of thumb, as a beginner, look for boots with:
- A great fit for you (the same pair of boots that fit someone else well may not fit you well)
- In a soft (1 or 2 out of 10) or medium soft-flex (3 or 4 out of 10)
- Comfortable (great fit, decent shock absorption, no calf-bite)
- Minimal heel lift
Price is up to you but know that there are plenty of perfectly suitable beginner boots that you can get at a reasonable price.
Thanks for reading
Thanks for reading and visiting this website. I hope this post has helped you to find the perfect beginner boots for you.
Check out my top 5 women's and top 5 men's beginner snowboard boot posts at the links below to check out some options and get your research started.