Oh, the importance of snowboarding boots. Is it even possible to count the ways? A nice pair of boots turns your day into a heavenly montage of cozy lines and cushy powder turns, underscored by warm, toasty feet. An inferior pair creates a horror sequence of frozen toes, cramped ankles, and smothered circulation — that aching band of ankle numbness known only to snowboarders (especially those who’ve ridden with cheap or ill-fitting boots).
Your boots are a critical part of your winter gear closet and it’s imperative they fit you specifically — your foot shape, fit preference, and riding style. If you’re sending off giant cliffs, for example, you want something stiff enough to absorb hard landings. If you’re lapping the park, you want a flex that feels playful and offers solid connectivity. If you’re charging through choppy terrain, you want soles that absorb chatter and smooth out your ride. And if you’re hiking ridge lines or scurrying along icy traverses, you want traction you can trust with your life (literally).
Above all, you want a comfortable boot that’s cozy enough to wear in the lodge and possibly even to bed. In short, just like with snowboards, you want the best snowboard boots you can possibly find. Here is a list of the best snowboard boots available.
Ride The ’92 ($400)
The Ride ’92 packs all the features imaginable from the top of the food chain without the stiffness. Even the staunchest of believers in traditional laces should give the ’92 a look with its Tongue Tied Boa system, which utilizes two independent dials for a custom fit. The top dial adjusts the top, outer section of the boot, while the side dial connects to the tongue to operate the lower portion and pull your heel into the heel cup.
If you want an even more customized fit, the ’92 has a heat-moldable Intuition liner — just take it into the shop and you’ll walk out with a pair of boots tailor-made for you. Michelin even provided the Peak Sole, which keeps you surefooted anytime you’re not strapped into your bindings.
K2 Ender ($231)
The K2 Ender is one of those “best of both worlds” type of boots. On top of being playful — yet solid, lightweight, and supportive — it features a blend of traditional lacing on the outside with a Boa Conda on the inside. This combo lets you dial in an uber-customized fit, depending on your foot shape and preferred snugness. The inner lacing on the liner also allows you to pop the Boa when you’re on the chairlift, thus giving your feet a break in between rides.
K2’s Vibram outsole and Harshmellow midsole technologies fight together like soldiers in battle to destroy shock, delivering stellar dampening control. The heat-moldable Intuition liner boasts a soft-fleece interior for comfort and coziness, offering a form-fitting, mid-flex boot with an awesome feel. This is a great all-around boot for intermediate and advanced riders alike.
DC Travis Rice ($400)
Travis Rice is a legendary backcountry rider, so it’s all but given that his boot yearns for big lines. An award-winner and industry favorite, DC’s Travis Rice recently added traction beads under the heel and footbed, making its backcountry grip even grippier. Moreover, the boot’s asymmetrical design features a reduced footprint, meaning it allows wearers to lean deeper into edges without the risk of drag and catch. This model is known for having a comfy, broken-in feeling right out of the box, resulting in a soft, cozy feel while maintaining a stiff, aggressive flex.
The double Boa, aka DC’s H3 coiler platform, delivers micro-adjustability at three key contact points: Mid-shin, ankle, and top-of-foot. It’s equipped with dryness technology called Aerotech, which uses vents inserted into the shell and liner to suck out moisture while you ride, keeping your feet warmer and less prone to end-of-day stink. Add to that a storm flap overtop which prevents snow from piling up on your laces and you’ve got a toasty, snug ride.
Adidas Samba ADV ($250)
Calling all skaters and park rats: We’ve found the ultimate snowboarding boot for you. If you love the flexy feel of your everyday skate kicks, as well as their high-level responsiveness, the Adidas Samba is one of best boots for this niche. Always one of the softest boots on the market, its 2018 ADV upgrade made it even softer. Not only does it boast a playful feel, the Samba has a skate-inspired aesthetic which scores big on style points. Traditional laces offer flexibility and customization when dialing in your fit, while a 3D-molded tongue wraps your shin and leg, offering enhanced stability.
Paired with the solid, heat-moldable Ultralon liner and articulating technology in the ankle zone, your toe-side turns feel sound and supported. In addition, the new version also boasts a super grippy Continental rubber outsole. The drawback to all the extra connectivity is that the struggle’s real when it comes to chatter. These boots don’t offer great dampening features, so avoid them if you want to stomp big landings with total ease. However, if you’re looking for a pair of buttery, skate-like kicks that make you feel one with your boot and board, the Samba ADV is worth checking out.
Head Five Boa ($249)
The Head Five Boa is a shreddy, all-mountain boot designed for intermediate to advanced riders. Equipped with Perfect Fit technology, its liner is not only heat-moldable but also DIY: Just take that bad boy out of the boot, stick it in your oven for a few minutes, stuff it back inside, and insert your foot to give it a shape. The custom fit gives the boot an out-of-the-box feel, which allows you to charge hard from the beginning without that achy, breaking-in-my-boots feel at the end of the day. The side-mounted Boa rounds out the ultra-perfect fit and the liner has an adapting toe box as well as extra heel padding. All this combines to give you added blood flow, keeping your feet warm and cozy while warding off that “holy hell my toes are frozen” sensation.
Head designed the boot with nine degrees of internal forward lean, so beginners may find this boot a bit too aggressive. That said, the mid-flex makes up for some of that aggressive feel and lends it a degree of forgiveness. It has a grippy sole so you can scurry over sketchy side-terrain with confidence, or charge over chop with smoothness and ease. This is a fantastic boot for all-mountain riding, park shredding, or pretty much wherever you decide to take it on the hill.
Salomon Ivy with Zonelock ($230)
The Salomon Women’s Ivy boot is forever a classic and last year, it got even better. Salomon revamped the outsole, adding the company’s ZoneLock Lacing system previously featured in some of the Men’s boots. The technology offers a lock on the side of the boot as well as the tongue, bolstering the heel hold and allowing your ankles to feel cradled in tight, cozy goodness. Add to that an Ortholite C2 memory foam insole and it’s like a day at the spa for your feet.
Additionally, a new blend of Salomon materials now permits you to wash the removable liner, ridding your garage or storage locker of that stinky snowboarding boot odor. The redesigned outsole also has EVA cushioning which dampens landings, meaning if you decide to put some air under your feet, your boots absorb the impact. This boot is comfortable, snug, and full of style points. Falling in the mid-range price point, these are perfect for an intermediate rider or a beginner looking to up her shred game.
Ride Cadence ($300)
There honestly aren’t enough good things to say about this long-running Ride favorite that offers so many ways to adjust your fit that a snug and secure ride is all but guaranteed. First, it features CAT tech (Calf Adjustment Technology) at the top of the boot, which utilizes Velcro straps on the sides to customize the width. This means it allows you to tighten the front Boa without squeezing the circulation out of your calves. This also increases blood flow and thus, riding performance. Moving down the leg, there’s a dual Boa system to snug up the top, middle, and ankle section. Inside, there’s also an internal ankle harness which tightens down with a pull.
The best part of the tightening system, however, rests with Ride’s Closer Lace Guide tech, which uses cables over the forefoot. These lift pressure from the top of the foot and allow you to crank down the side Boa without creating that painful strap-of-death phenomenon. They’re equipped with Michelin-based soles that feature durable, tire-like treads so if you’re hiking along icy, gnarly traverses, you don’t have to worry about taking a slide.
The Intuition liner also makes the boots quicker to break in and less stinky due to the antimicrobial coating, which is a good thing because these boots are designed for fierce riders. They are Ride’s stiffest women’s boot and, without a doubt, aimed at the rider who logs 100 days a year and needs boots thate last.
Rome Memphis Boa ($280)
If you’re in the market for a mid-flex boot that tunes you into your turns with ultra-responsive heel cushioning yet maintains stiffness, check out the Women’s Rome Memphis Boa. Revamped and overhauled this year, the boot now features an AsymCuff to better fit women’s calves and offers smoother, more consistent flex. With its precise dual Boa system, the tightening tech lets you dial in the snugness factor in the specific spots where you want, while allowing breathing room where you like to keep things looser. Aimed at women with slightly wider feet, the boot feels light while riding yet is firm enough on the heels to support hard impacts.
The boot also now boasts a brand-new Pro F.I.T. liner with dual-density, heat-moldable foam SkateCuff 3D, and QuadZone Lining. One drawback is there’s a lot of material under the sole, which may feel a little bulky. However, the trade-off is that you get stellar chatter-protection. Women of all riding levels will like this boot.
Northwave Devine ($130+)
Northwave’s Devine is an aggressive freestyle boot made for the park-shredding woman who needs medium-to-stiff flex, stable heels, and soles that absorb huge landings. It features Northwave’s TF3 Liner made with Thermo-Fit Foam and an EVA Footbed that work together to lock in heat and ensure a custom-mold to your feet. It’s injected with memory foam and boasts off-the-charts shock-absorbing properties to make you feel confident when charging big air. The liner also has something called the Flex Window at the collar area that creates progressive flex while ensuring powerful transfer of energy.
The boot’s crossbow Hypershock sole is ultralight yet solid, offering cushioning and dampening while still providing strong grip. If you happen to find yourself outside the park and amid hike-worthy terrain, you can rest assured you’ll have reliable traction. The boot’s Super Lace closure system is a clever blend of lace-up and Boa-style tightening, working with just laces but allowing you to adjust the upper and lower sections independently. The Heel Retention 540 adds to the bombproof snugness, pulling on the liner webbing for precise pressure and fit. These boots are technical yet super comfortable and guaranteed to keep you upping your game.
Burton Coco ($90)
If you’re someone who wants a snowboarding boot with a basic, no-frills lacing system yet delivers top-notch performance at an affordable price, the Burton Coco is an excellent choice. This soft, skate-style boot remains comfy with a solid heel hold and above-average responsiveness. It features articulating cuffs which let the boot flex without distortion most of the way up the calf and extend the life of the boot.
Its heat-moldable Imprint 1 liner keeps your feet toasty on the iciest and most frigid days. If you’re planning to shred park, you’ll love the soft-flex, power-up tongue and Level 1 Molded EVA footbed, which absorbs impact like a rock star. Beginner to intermediate-level riders who are after a fun, freestyle boot should give these a run.
Nitro Faint TLS ($300)
The Nitro Faint isn’t your beginner’s snowboarding boot. Each element of this tough-as-hell boot helps the hard-ripping, pow-charging rider who spends her time stomping through the burly backcountry. First up, the Vibram Icetrek outsole features a bed of sturdy, grippy traction meant to dig into the iciest, sketchiest terrain. If you’re bombing down fields of choppy snow, Nitro’s AIR suspension technology — and triple density footbed — absorbs shock and keeps you smooth and in control.
As of last year, the Faint works even better thanks to an upgraded heat-moldable liner and an ultra-lightweight Therminator shield and power strap. This helps make your feet snug before you even start to lace up.
Speaking of laces, Faint’s TLS 5 twin lacing setup is not a simple system — at least, not until you get the hang of it. In theory, you simply step in, pull the liner lacing, adjust the main lacing, and you’re set. In reality, it takes most riders some practice to get the tuck-and-go system down. That said, once your boot is laced and ready, it stays in place with remarkable security and fits like a glove. So, if you’re planning a day of heavy, aggressive riding, you may find that taking the time to dial in the system is worth it for this rad boot.