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How to Buy Snowboard Boots

The most difficult snowboarding challenge and probably the most important one you'll Snowboard Bootsprobably ever face is finding a comfortable fitting snowboard boot that also performs well.

Of course the most obvious choice is going to be whether to purchase a lace-up or lace-less type snowboard boot. Since this is a topic of its own and a personal preference we will leave that article for another time. It does not matter if you're a strap in or step in rider, the information below applies to both types of boot. So With some help from our friends at America's Best Bootfitters (an organization of top rated boot fitting shops, following are some helpful tips on How to Buy Snowboard boots.

Boots not only have to match your skill level they must mate with your foot and leg shape. That means your pal's pro rider series boot may be your black hole of pain. Since on-slope boot testing opportunities are rare, its best to visit a snowboard shop where experienced techs can analyze your feet and help you narrow down the choices. A trained tech can accurately measure your foot and assure you that the brand of boot will match your particular foot shape.

Snowboarding BootsBuying snowboarding boots is a time-consuming process that too many people rush through. Everyone's feet are unique and snowboarding brands are also unique in that they may or may not be suited to your foot structure. Snowboarding boots do not easily mold to your foot's subtle nuances, even if you wear it all day, every day, so take your time to make the right choice. Expect the process to take hours, not minutes. Even with an ABB tech's guidance, you should plan to try on a variety of different brands, models and sizes.
When you seem to have found the right boot, leave it on your feet and walk around the shop for 10 or 15 minutes. Flex repeatedly to seat the foot and start the foams compressing.

For the best boot fit service, visit ABB city and suburban shops midweek in early fall at off-hours. During snowboarding season, America's Best Bootfitters' resort shops are busiest early in the morning and right around lift closing. Trade some riding time for personal attention and go when everyone else is out riding.
And remember, your feet can swell up to a half-size during boarding so size to fit them at their largest. For the best fit, shop in the afternoon or evening or after physical activity.

Many people buy their boots too big. Understandably so. A good fitting boot feels tight out Womens Snowboard Bootsof the box and may remain very snug during the first few days of riding. Wear socks that you would wear while boarding (one single pair of medium weight is best). Relax. Your boot will. We've tested lots of brand new boots over the years and most initially feel short and tight but compress to comfortable levels after riding as few as two runs. Frequently you'll find yourself battening down the laces a bit more after just one run. Ouch! Too tight.
It's common, though, for there to be some snugness for the first few days you use a new boot. Buying a boot that's too big can be painful and cause injuries. In extreme cases, oversized boots can cause ankle sprains and bone breaks. Oversized boots also hinder your snowboarding and promote fatigue. You'll find yourself in the "backseat," clawing your toes and tightening your thigh muscles and hamstrings to maintain stability and control.

The main thing to watch out for is heel lift. Heel lift occurs when you are leaning into a front side turn and your heels lift up instead of the board, meaning your turn is not going to be responsive because there is a gap between your feet, boot and your board. This is a common problem and one all brands try to solve. Make sure when you bend at the knees with your feet flat on the ground that your heel feels securely in place and grounded. If you experience heel lift, your boot tech can add some fit aids like an Eliminator Tongue to reduce volume and increase responsiveness.

Snowboard BootA tech can easily shim, trim or stretch boots but that kind of work is best kept to a minimum. To check fit in a boot with a removable liner, take it out and put your foot in the outer. Slide your foot forward until your big toe touches the front. About ½"-3/4" of space between your heel and the shell will give you a good snug fit when the liner is reinserted, assuming no other parts of your foot are touching the outer. If you feel contact, these are potential "hot spots" and your bootfitter may suggest another model or customization options.


If a boot has a good fit but feels unusually tight with the liner reinserted, have your boot tech check for a "short lasted" liner. Manufacturers spec a small gap between the toe of the liner and the outer to ensure liner toe boxes don't become crumpled when they're inserted into the shell at the factory. Sometimes, though, liners come from the factory as much as a half-inch shorter than the outer cavity. Your ABB tech can stretch them.

Don't buy a boot because the internet says its cool or your friend or your favorite rider has his/her name on it. Buy a boot that fits, a boot that you wore for a while and walked in to break it in.

Check out our Snowboard Boot Buying Guide>>

Boa Snowboard BootsThe Boa Closure System was designed to address the long list of deficiencies found in traditional closures and delivers the following benefits completely foreign to traditional shoe and boot laces, buckles, ratchets, Velcro straps, and other closures of yesteryear:

  • Glove-like Fit. The Boa Closure System provides custom comfort with smooth, even closure and no pressure points.
  • Micro-adjustability. Boa reels offer seemingly infinite degrees of fine tuning.
  • On-the-Fly. Get easy, one-handed adjustment with a quick turn of the Boa dial.
  • Lightweight. While traditional shoe and boot laces can bog you down, Boa closures shed water, mud and ice, shaving precious weight.
  • Fast. Quick on. Quick off. Boa saves time when seconds count.
  • Secure. Once locked into place, Boa reels and laces stay that way. This powerful yet flexible closure allows the ideal amount of flexibility without compromise that will sacrifice performance.
  • Easy to Clean. In gritty environments, when muck and grime may collect in lace guides and beneath Boa components, a simple faucet or hose cleaning will help extend the life of your system and ensure it's ready for next time.
The Boa Closure System represents a completely different approach to closing the upper. It consists of three primary components:
(1) Knob
(2) Spool
(3) Lace

Boa Lace Snowboard BootsTHE BOA LACE.
This dial-driven tightening mechanism connects to the Boa Lace, and is literally tightened click-by-precise-click. Extensive research and field testing have gone into discovering the most optimal lace configuration for your footwear and activity, whether it's running a marathon, logging long hours at a construction site, dropping into the half pipe, or cycling across Europe.

The Boa Lace is available in varying thicknesses and with different coatings, depending upon the intended end use. However, the primary lace* -- used in over 90% of Boa-powered products -- is composed of aircraft-grade stainless steel twisted into bundles that are then woven into other bundles.

Gram for gram, the Boa Lace is stronger than tank armor.

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