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Published Sep 19, 2022 2:53 PM

Every snowboarder has a unique checklist of the specifications they want to find in their perfect snowboard boot. Criteria ranging from purpose (backcountry, park, big mountain turns and freeride) all the way to the intricacies of individual feet. Does your foot tend to get cold? Is it wide? Is it long? Do you have a smallish heel and need extra support to combat slippage? 

Have you been painstakingly outlining, coalescing, and itemizing all the features you’re seeking in a pair of snowboard boots? If you’ve been scrimping and saving up and want to spend those dollar dollar bills carefully, we understand. To help you in your quest to find the one set of snowboard boots to rule them all (tailored to your foot needs) we’ve compiled wrap sheets on all the best snowboard boots slated to be released this winter.

Things to Consider Before Buying Snowboarding Boots

Although style, color, and a modern design are important aspects of choosing snowboard boots, one of the most important things to remember about snowboard boots is that they will be less comfortable than regular everyday boots, but more comfortable than rigid ski boots. A couple considerations to think about when picking a pair of snowboard boots is sizing and fit in accordance with the anticipated style of riding, maintaining a comfortable temperature in one’s boot and current skill level is. Think about these factors when choosing the snowboard boot.

Boot Size and Fit

Ideally, snowboard boots will hug the foot a little more tightly than everyday boots. For example, when fitting yourself for sneakers, you’d want a little space between your toe and the end of the shoe or toe box. This is not the case for snowboard boots. Your toes should come right up to the end of the boot. 

Another consideration is manufacturers’ sizing which can vary. Some brands tend to run large, some brands tend to run small, while some brands can run a little wide or narrow. When choosing the best size and fit, it can help to visit a retail location which has the boot you are interested in and try it on in person. 

Warmth 

Boots size and fit and warmth can go hand and hand. If your boots are a little too tight sometimes your foot will get cold for lack of blood flow. If your boots are a little too large, and you wear two pairs of socks to fill the space, the extra sock layer may squish down the plush lining and as a result there may not be enough room for the air space and padding necessary to create good insulation. Finally, sometimes snowboarders’ feet get cold waiting in line for lifts and once the border is back in action shredding down jibs and gully stashes, their feet are back to sweaty betty. If your foot is cold, it’s important to think about why and what can be done to solve that problem. Sometimes it’s boot technology, sometimes it’s sizing, sometimes it’s cardio. 

Skill Level

When deciding on a snowboard boot, it’s good to know and understand your skill level and what sort of riding you like to do. For example, if park laps are your thing, the stiffer and more agressive your boot, the better you can get at table tops, boxes, and all the other park options. Similarly, the approach of backcountry split boarding also demands a stiffer boot. For an everyday rider or someone just starting out, a more relaxed fit is just fine. Some riders also feel that stiffer boots last longer.

Best Overall: K2 Maysis

Best Overall

Why it Made the Cut

Some sources say these are the best-selling model of boots the world over. And it’s no wonder because these babies are bootsmithed with simple tried and true design laced with all the accouterments of modern technologic bells and whistles. 

Key Features 

  • 3D Formed EVA Footbed
  • Harshmellow is a dampening system that reduces vibration from impact and thus tends to combat fatigue 
  • S’Cafe Coffee Mesh, a coffee based mesh made from recycled post-consumer coffee grounds combined with post consumer recycled polyester and enhances odor control and moisture management beyond that of standard lining mesh. It is made from 95 percent recycled material with no added chemicals.

Pros

  • High-performing boot
  • Longstanding popularity
  • Traditional and classic design

Cons

  • Some riders might want the latest technology or a more specialized niche boot

These true-to-size boots are interchangeable with nearly all snowboards and bindings. 

They are built with a versatile medium- to high-density Intuition Control Foam, which is a heat-molded liner that custom conforms to the wearer’s foot. The Lacing system is a H4 Boa Coiler and TX3 Lacing delivering even tension for systematic tightening and the appearance of a textile lacing material rather than a steel cable. Outer and inner coilers allow for custom fittings with changing terrain and snow texture. Griping with premium rubber, the outsole and Harshmellow technology provide unmatched grip at the lightest possible weight. This stiff boot is ideal for all mountain riding on varied terrain for advanced to expert shredders.

Best for Beginners: Salomon Launch Lace Boa

Best for Beginners

Why it Made the Cut 

For its weight, this boot has the highest performance ratio compared to other brands. By adding heavy duty materials on higher impact zones while lightening the weight of materials on low impact zones the construction of this boot is a feather weight that performs like a heavy weight.  

Key Features 

  • Fit to Ride construction is 10 percent lighter and 10 percent more compact while just as comfortable and durable  
  • 1:1 every half size change in liner gets a half size change in shell
  • STR8JKT BOA technology or a specialized inner heel harness engaged by activating the Boa fit system

Pros:

  • Manual method, lace-ups
  • Multi-density foam in liner placed in sensitive foot zones
  • Light weight

Cons: 

  • Specialized for park shredders

This do-it-all park boot for the modern freestyle rider harnesses the best of both worlds when it comes to lacing. A quick-turn STR8JKT Boa technology locks the rider’s heel in place while paired traditional laces allow for a more custom fit. Liners are Custom Fit heat moldable with multi-density foam strategically placed in sensitive areas of the foot, shin, ankle, and heel. Outsoles are constructed with a combination of Contagrip Rubber and Feather Outsole, both proprietary Salomon technology. This medium flex boot is interchangeable with nearly all boards and bindings and they come with a 2-year warranty. Consider that many feel the boot borders on running a half size large when ordering.

Best Budget: Vans Hi Standard OG 

Best Budget

Why it Made the Cut

Laced with tradition and steeped in classic style points, these boots have an attractive price tag and come in unisex sizing. Made with tried-and-true go-to design, these boots bost a simple liner and the classic V1 Waffle Lug outsole. Like the top shelf label states, the timelessness of the OG speaks for itself.  

Key Features 

  • A bestseller and classic that sets the bar for traditional design and modern performance in unisex sizing
  • Infused with tradition, including lace-ups, a quick-pull internal liner, and an iconic waffle outsole
  • With a flex of 4, these puppies are broken in and ready to jib, rail, and fly free-style

Pros

  • The quintessential timeless standard
  • Great price point
  • Pre-broken in, great flex

Cons

  • Not necessarily the latest and greatest in modern boot technology

Running true-to-size, these traditional lace-ups are interchangeable with most boards and bindings. Sporting a Vans proprietary Waffle Lug outsole, these medium flex boots are built for park and free-style riding. V1 UltraCush liners deliver comfort, support, and flexibility through an amazingly simple and streamlined design. This boot appeals to those who’ve been riding for decades as well as those who are just getting into the game and satisfy riders of all levels.

Best with Laces: DC Phase Lace-ups

Best with Laces

Why it Made the Cut

If you don’t want to break the bank—but do want to invest in a new pair of snowboard kicks—the DC Phases are the pick for you. Offered in lace-ups or boas, the price point on these boots (and their performance on verified terrain) is unbeatable. 

Key Features

  • A long time favorite with recent upgrades available with laces or a boa synch
  • Soft enough to be comfy, but not so soft they will only last one season
  • Featuring upgraded BOA technology like BOA Fit System with H4 Coiler, Sequence Technology, and BOA Silver SS Laces

Pros

  • Thermal regulating fleece liners 
  • Great on a budget
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Having to decide between lace-ups and BOA’s

A unique feature of this boot is that the rider can choose between traditional lace-ups or more modern BOA’s. Interchangeable with most boards and bindings, the Phase’s tend to run a half size small and are meant especially for beginner to intermediate freestyle and freeride borders. With a moderate to soft flex, the liners feature Response Liner I, a premium performance-driven liner constructed from multi-layer EVA memory foam, and thermal-regulating fleece. This liner can be heat molded for a perfect fit. Made of 100 percent UniLite, the Phase’s Foundation UniLite outsole is DC’s lightest weight outsole. They provide essential durability, dampening, and cushioning while drastically reducing weight. A custom traction pattern on the bottom of the sole is designed for attaining and descending and skating on the flats.

Most Comfortable: Burton Step on Photon

Most Comfortable

Why it Made the Cut

Convenience is king with the high-performing, quick lock-in technology of the Burton Step On Photons. This aggressive boot is arguably the easiest style of binding (or lack thereof) to sidle into while touting the most sensitivity, connectivity, and responsiveness to under-board terrain. 

Key Features 

  • Step-ons emulate the simple and direct feel of boot to board just like skate and surf heritage intended 
  • Features the warrantied for life and indestructible New England BOA, natural fiber rope laces. A proprietary, redesigned inner coiler spool combined with the diai-it-in system means quick, easy, and effective lace management 
  • Shrinkage footprint technology lowers foot drag by shrinking your foot print a one whole size

Pros

  • This season the step on series has a lace-up option; the Kendo
  • Recycled components
  • Surf and skate inspired

Cons

  • Boots aren’t interchangeable with other boards with different binding systems

Not only will you save money on bindings by purchasing step-ins, you’ll also get a stiff skate and surf inspired boot ready to ride for intermediate and advanced borders. True to size specs, the lacing system on the Photons are a Dual Zone Boa System with New Sequence, Coiler Technology and TX3 Lacing. For liners, heat moldable and a slew of other technologies are included. Imprint 3 Liner, Focus Cuff Heel Hold System with Velcro J-Bar Interface and Inner Lace Lock, Plush Cuff 1.0 (available in women’s only), Lightweight Power Panels, Velcro Liner Closure and Level 2 Molded EVA Footbed with ESS Support Shank and Aegis Antimicrobial Coating. Plus a DryRIDE Heat Cycle Lining keeps feet warm while simultaneously wicking moisture away. Step On EST Outsoles, using recycled components and elimination of a binding ramp angle ensure a dropped center of gravity and the most skate and surf-like natural feel possible.

Best Intermediate: Nitro Profile TLS Step On

Best Intermediate

Why it Made the Cut

This boot is the first Step On in the Nitro lineup, and like many Step Ons, it’s stiff. Stiffness and the direct connectivity it provides is true to the intention of Step Ons, which is to echo the flex, feel, and flow of skate and surf crossover. 

Key Features 

  • Unlacing is a breeze with the Bail Out System which works in tandem with TLS. It’s effortless and allows for record breaking speeds in boot removal.
  • 2 year warranty

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No bindings required
  • Surf and skate inspired

Cons

  • Step-ons is a new kid on the block technology for Nitro. There could be kinks in the first iteration.

With a highly rigid flex, this playful freestyle boot is for intermediate to advanced borders. Riders enjoy the ease of step-ins as well as the surf and skate inspired connectivity of boot to board. The Nitro is true to size and boasts an ultra-lightweight pre-molded Thermacell technology called Cloud 9 which mainlines a straight out of the box fit. Nitro’s also have a highly reliable and low friction Dyneema Twin Lacing System. Whether in the park, boot packing, or walking down the steps to the loo, the Step On Rubber Sole traction pattern which combines abrasion-resistant and high-grip in one rubber sole will fill your trek with ease. 

Best Men’s: ThirtyTwo Jones MTB BOA

Best Men’s

Why it Made the Cut

These are the holy-grail backcountry boots of the century designed by the man who’s been doing the backcountry niche the longest. It maintains a stiff rating for the ride down while comfortable enough for the skin up. Unique and practical to its purpose, this boot is a tsunami of a crowd-pleaser in the market it’s meant for.  

Key Features 

  • Special fit features like a 3D molded liner tongue, a rugged toe reinforcement and custom heal hold kits to create the perfect, no-slip pocket will have your foot melting into this boot like springtime snow in the blazing sun
  • Designed and endorsed by Jeremy Jones
  • 1 year warranty

Pros

  • Excellent for backcountry
  • Designed by the best in the business

Cons

  • Expensive

The stiffest boot on the block, these snowboard boots are for experts venturing into the backcountry for extreme approaches with big mountain descents. They tend to run a half size too small, but are interchangeable with most bindings and boards. These Jones’s have custom fit with heat moldable Intuition foam and a full-zip gaiter for weather proofing and a BOA Tongue Tension for heel lockdown.

How I Made My Picks

I considered all the top snowboarding brands, then selected the top boots based on my 20 years of snowboarding experience. From there, I examined all the specifications of each boot and gave priority to boots demonstrating clear expertise in technology designed for a women’s foot. 

FAQs

Q: How much do snowboard boots cost? 

Snowboard boots typically cost between $200 and $600 dollars. Usually the price variations reflect extra components and technology engineered for comfort, aggressive riding or some other useful extra. 

Q: How long do snowboard boots last?

Snowboard boots last anywhere from one to several seasons. Some companies offer a one or two year warranty. Typically, the stiffer a boot is, the longer it will last. The lifespan also depends on how many days in one season a person rides. 

Q: Should my toes touch in snowboard boots?

For the most secure, advanced, and aggressive fit, down-size as much as you can without pain or extreme discomfort. This includes having a proper fit where your toes touch the front of the boot. 

Final Thoughts

There are many tried-and-true snowboard boot manufacturers and brands, which can provide riders with excellent, top-of-the-line boots. The key in picking a boot is pinpointing what type of riding you like to do, what skill level you pose and how warm you want your feet to be. In my experience, splurging for the extra bell’s and whistles and new technology almost always pays off.