Not all snowboard boots are made for the same purpose. This post will broadly outline the different types of snowboards boots.
Of course everyone has personal preferences but these are broadly the types of boots that different types of snowboarders will go for, depending on ability level and style.
Firstly we’ll cover the different boots for different styles and abilities and then we’ll take a look at the different lacing systems.
A lot of people simply label a beginner boot as a boot that is cheap.
However, not all cheap boots are suitable for beginners. In fact, if you just go for price then you are missing out on some very important beginner specs. Don’t get me wrong you still want a reasonable price if you are a beginner of course, just don’t make that your only concern.
First and foremost – like with snowboards and bindings – beginner boots should have a soft or soft-medium flex. Boots that are too stiff will be difficult to ride in for beginners – they are far less forgiving and are physically harder to ride in.
Typically softer flexing boots are cheaper – so it’s a win-win for the beginner!
Secondly, these boots should be comfortable. Some really cheap boots aren’t that comfortable. Why do they need to be comfortable?
I’ve heard far too many people complain about foot soreness from uncomfortable boots (usually from hire boots). This is enough to put some beginners from even riding again.
Learning to snowboard can be challenging enough without dealing with foot soreness.
Heel hold is important in order to have your boots respond how you are telling them to.
Whether or not your boots have good heel hold depends partly on the boots and partly on the person’s feet and ankles.
One boot might have great heel hold for one person and not so good for another. This is why I always recommend trying boots on in a store before buying if at all possible.
Like beginner boots you want freestyle boots to have a bit of give too.
However, the level of forgiveness will depend on the particular type of freestyle that you like to do.
For example if you just like to jib all day then something like a medium-soft (3-4/10) is a good option.
On the other hand if you like larger jumps or like riding the pipe then something stiffer is usually a good option (5-6/10).
If you like to ride a bit of everything in the park and pipe then medium (5/10) is a good choice – and this will be good too if you also like to ride the trails or do freestyle on the rest of the mountain, in addition to riding the park.
Another really important aspect of freestyle boots is that they should absorb shock well.
You are constantly airborne – and therefore constantly landing – when riding freestyle, so you want some decent cushioning in there for sure.
All mountain Boots
All mountain boots need to strike a balance of being able to ride the whole mountain from backcountry to piste to park – and they need to be able to do everything.
Generally speaking a medium (5-6/10) or medium-stiff flex (7-8/10) is the best way to go for all-mountain boots.
If you like your ride more casual or like to incorporate more freestyle type things in your riding then something with a medium flex is good.
If you like to ride more aggressively and want more response then a medium-stiff boot is a great option.
All mountain boots need to strike the right balance between shock absorption, traction on the soles (in case of backcountry hiking missions) and keeping the weight nice and light.
For freeriders who like they’re riding more aggressive and faster/more extreme, whether in the backcountry or on the trails, then you will want a boot that can handle everything you can throw at them.
Freeride boots tend to be the most expensive because they are made tough and made for the highest possible performance.
If you are looking for boots for freeriding then you will want a stiffer flex. Medium stiff (7-8/10) or Stiff (9-10/) are your best options.
You are going to want every bit of response you can get out of your boots.
Of course you will want to be an advanced rider to handle all that stiffness but you’ll want to be an advanced rider to do all the things that freeriders like to do anyway.
Traction is important for freeride boots. If you are in the backcountry hiking you’ll need some good grip on the soles. Sometimes you might have to sacrifice a bit of shock absorption (but some boots do manage a pretty good mix of both).
Broadly there are 3 types of lacing systems on the market currently. There are some subtle variations amongst them but all fit broadly into the following 3 categories.
- Traditional Lacing
- Speed Lacing
- Boa Lacing
Learn more about these different lacing systems, and who each one is most suited to, at the link below.
Thanks for reading
I hope this post and the respective links have helped you to learn the best specs for boots for different types of snowboarding and helped you to determine the best boots for you.