December 13, 2021

How to Choose Snowboard Boots

by Bernice

Table of Contents

Choosing the right pair of snowboard boots is essential in guaranteeing a fantastic snowboarding moment. It is common for people to focus on selecting their board and the bindings while forgetting the boots’ significance in snowboarding. Failure to choose the proper boots can lead to a poor experience during snowboarding. 

It is important to know how to choose snowboard boots appropriately when selecting snowboarding boots. Typically, one should look at every detail involved in the activity, such as foot size and shape, individual riding style, ability level, and how someone would like to progress. Failure to consider may result in frustrations such as sore feet, among many others. 

People’s feet tend to differ in many ways, such as heel sizes, arch heights, widths, and varying sized angles. Deciding on the proper boots is a very personal thing.

What to Look out for When Choosing Snowboard Boots

What to Look out for When Choosing Snowboard Boots

There are many things to put into consideration before investing in snowboard boots. Choosing the proper boots can enhance an individual’s experience, both in terms of performance and comfort. On the contrary, a wrong selection replaces enjoyment with sore feet, legs, ankles, and back pain.

This article concentrates on choosing snowboards depending on the following factors.

  • Sizing/Fit
  • Compatibility
  • Flex
  • Lacing systems
  • Individual riding style

Further, read how to put on your snowboard boots and bindings.

1. Sizing/Fit

The most significant part is finding the right snowboard boot size and fit when choosing a boot. Some of the things to put into consideration here include:

  • Size
  • Pressure points 
  • Hell lift
  • Wide lift
  • Narrow feet
  • Skinny ankles

An individual’s boot can be the same as the size of the shoes or a half larger or smaller. This varies depending on how someone wears their shoes and the brand of the boot. In some instances, the entire shoe size may be different. Boots are included in our guide on what to wear skiing and snowboarding.

The good thing is that boots are sold with a mondo-print that indicates the size of feet they were made for. Essentially when a boot has a mondo-print of 28cm, it means that the boot can fit someone whose feet have a size of 28cm. Although sometimes this can vary slightly, it is usually an excellent point to start.

Pressure points are not necessarily a must. Their necessity is only known when they first try the boots in person. They will then identify whether the pressure point is essential or not. Another thing that is not desirable has too much heel lift in the boot. Too much heel lift on the boot usually affects the response of the boots. Too much heel lift means that the toe edge turns are usually delayed since the boot engages late. 

2. Boot Flex

Getting the right Flex for an individual mostly relies on an individual’s style and ability level. However, it is right to have a personal preference for specific Flex – as such, someone may try something new for a better experience. 

Most beginners opt for soft-medium Flex, medium-stiff flex, all-mountain riders with a medium-soft, or freestylers with soft or soft-medium Flex. 

  • Soft Flex: These snowboard boots contain comfortable and resilient materials that usually feel great on the feet.
  • Medium flex: They can balance mobility and essential support for all-mountain functioning.
  • Stiff Flex: These boots have maximum support. They enhance edge power and control when at high speeds and when encountering rough conditions.

3. Compatibility with Snowboard and Snowboard Bindings 

Compatibility is basically about the size and Flex of an individual’s boots. Given the snowboard has the right width and the bindings are the right size, compatibility with the size should not be a problem. 

As far as the Flex goes, it is recommendable to ensure that the Flex of an individual’s boot, bindings, and snowboard matches. Even if there are variations, they should not be way too far. For instance, if someone has a soft flexing snowboard and equally has stiff boots, there is no need to find a soft flexing snowboard.

How to Choose Snowboard Boots Other Aspects to Put into Consideration

4. Lacing Systems

There exist three different lacing systems.

  • Traditional Lacing
  • Boa (Single and Double Coils)
  • Speed Lacing

The majority of the lacing systems fall into the above three categories though there can be slight differences with different brands. An individual’s lacing style depends on different aspects altogether.

5. Individual’s Riding Style

Which riding style does an individual prefer? There are a few aspects to consider when looking at how individuals ride, but the central focus is the Flex. Other things to look at apart from the Flex include:


Apart from getting a boot that has a soft or medium-soft flex, the other significant thing for a freestyle rider is the shock absorptions qualities of the boots. Typically, boots with the right bindings have shock absorption taken care of.

However, the boots should have enough cushioning to absorb the ground shock that freestylers put their bodies through, significantly more than other riders. Typical snowboarding tricks, landing jumps, and hitting jib require extra shock absorption. Therefore, freestylers should opt for boots with EVA Paddling, airbags, gel, or anything that enhances cushioning in plenty. 

Free riders

The best preference for free riders is to go for stiffer flexing boots. However, they have other things to put into consideration. Shock absorption may not be as significant in free riders as with freestylers. The one crucial element that free riders cannot assume is traction.

For instance, a free-rider who does a lot of hiking in the backcountry would need their boots to grip the ground sufficiently in varying conditions. It follows that soft underfoot cushioning is unnecessary and can make hiking cumbersome.

This would mean that a balance has to be struck to ensure the boots suits the right requirement for free riders. The most crucial element is ensuring that the bindings have decent proper shock absorption. Afterward, it is advisable to enhance maximum traction for hiking boots. Another element to factor in is how well the boots fit the feet of a free rider. The boots must be well-fitting to ensure perfect responsiveness. 


Usually, all mountaineers fall somewhere between the freestylers and the free riders, while in terms of Flex, they fall somewhere between Medium-soft to Medium-stiff. The best type of cushioning for all mountaineers usually depends on an individual’s style. The one that does a more freestyle kind of riding will need cushioning, while the one that does more freeriding needs to enhance the level of traction in their boots. 

General Flex Recommendation

General Flex Recommendation for Snowboarding Boots
  1. Riding Type 
  2. Boot Flex
  • All-mountain (most riders)
  • Soft to medium
  • All-mountain (racers)
  • Stiff
  • Free rider
  • Stiff
  • Freestyle
  • Soft

How to Choose Snowboard Boots: Other Aspects to Put into Consideration

Apart from the listed factors regarding how to choose snowboard boots, there are other things to consider when choosing individual boots, including ankle harnesses, liners, and socks.

Snowboard boot liners

There are three types of lines mainly:

  • Standard liners: They take some time to mold to the feet. Typically, an individual has to use the boots for some time before they can conform to the shape of their foot.
  • Moldable liners (thermoformable): They typically mold the foot more quickly and utilize the body heat to assume the shape pattern of the foot.
  • Heat-moldable liners: This type is usually first heated then placed around the foot, which immediately makes the liners to the foot’s shape. This can be fixed where an individual acquires the boots or can find a facility that can do it if someone makes the purchase elsewhere. They are most preferred due to the customized fitting style. 

Ankle harnesses

Choose Snowboard Boots

These are men to hold the ankle firmly in place, which they do by wrapping around the line of the boot. However, they are not usually in all boots. It is possible to tighten or loosen the ankle harnesses whenever the need arises since they are controlled from outside the boot. They are more useful when someone is using a bad heel life.


  • Custom insoles: They are important in eradicating any imperfections in the alignment of the feet, knees, and ankles. They play a crucial role in reducing the risk of boot injury and lessening fatigue.
  • Trim-to-fit insoles: These are better than those that come with the boots. An individual has the privilege to choose their preference or that which suits their immediate need. 

Snowboarding Boot Socks

Socks are the other important element to consider, with the most important thing being their capacity to wick away moisture properly. They should also be long enough, probably up to knee length. It may be advisable to get more insulation on the feet in some instances.

Good ski and snowboarding socks should wick away moisture, keep the feet warm, and should be thin enough. Polypropylene and woolen socks are recommendable. On the contrary, cotton socks should not come anywhere close since they retain sweat, creating a lot of discomforts and making the boots smell. 

Notably, there are snowboard-specific socks that typically meet snowboarding standards. They usually are long enough, sufficiently wick away the moisture, and have padding to enhance comfort. 

Final Thoughts on How to Choose Snowboard Boots

Knowing how to choose snowboard boots and how to choose a snowboard is critical for the rider, as we have seen throughout the article. Boots are supposed to fit firmly on the feet but not to the extent of hindering circulation. The liners are likely to soften as time passes, so acquiring newer ones is recommended.

There is always a desire to find loose boots, which everyone should avoid at every expense for safety reasons. Remember, when snowboarding, an individual should be firm on both the snowboard and the boots.

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About the author 


Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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