Spring is in the air and for most of that means that our days on snow are coming to an end. It’s been a killer winter, the snow came early and often here in the Mid-Atlantic. If you are like me, all of those days on snow are taking a toll on your gear – broken binding ratchets, core shots and your boots no longer offer the comfort and support that they once did. No matter how hard you pull your laces you can’t quite seem to get your boots tight enough. The toe and heels are peeling back in spite of the shoo goo you’ve applied multiple times to try and correct this. The spot where the highback of the binding meets the heel cup has rubbed a hole all the way through the shell of your boot. And, quite possibly the #1 indicator that it’s time for new boots is when they stink so bad that your friends require them to be strapped to the roof for the ride home after a day of riding.Zach
So you’ve decided that it’s time for new snowboard boots. How do you decide what boots to buy?
When you are shopping for your boots, you should look at boots made by a minimum of two different manufacturers, so that you have at least one comparison. Different brands have slightly different liners and just a small difference in volume will make a big difference in comfort and performance. Please don’t judge the fit of a snowboard boot until you’ve tried it on, laced it up and flexed it. It’s common for your toes to go right to the front of the boot when you first put your foot in the boot. Many people take this as a sign that the boot is too small. Lacing the internal liner and external laces will oftentimes “seat” you foot into the boot, pulling the heel back and reducing/eliminating the pressure you initially felt on the toes.
Where should you go to try on and buy your boots?
Snowboard Specific Shops → This type of retailer is a great option (Support Your Local Snowboard Shop) as they have knowledgeable, trained and experienced boot fitters. You’re most likely to get someone who snowboards and has on-snow experience with many of the boots. They’ll gladly give you individualized attention!
Ski/Snowboard Shops → Ski boot fitters have been fitting boots for years. They have lots of resources for custom fitting your boots. If you have a really hard foot to fit, pay a visit to the most experienced boot fitter at one of these shops.
Large Box/Chain Stores → I don’t recommend these stores since they usually have only a very limited selection, and normally the staff are not as trained or experienced in boot fitting.
Internet → Proceed with caution! It may appear that you are getting a great deal, but when your feet begin to hurt, the deal’s not so good.
I have often times been asked the question, ” what’s the best snowboard boot?” I always answer, “the one that fits your foot the best.” Many people think that I’m kidding or being kind of facetious, but it’s the truth – to get a great boot fit you have to “do the work” (it’s a mini workout trying on multiple pairs of boots) and try on several boots (with a professional boot fitter) until you find the one.