Most snowboard boots used in freestyle and freeriding snowboarding are “soft boots,” with “hard boots” reserved almost exclusively for alpine snowboarding and racing.
Snowboard boots provide critical ankle and leg support, insulation from cold, and transfer of energy from the rider to the snowboard. Most boots can be fitted into snowboard bindings; however, certain boots, namely hard boots, clip in to bindings much like clip-in cycling shoes. These “step in” boots most often correlate to a certain binding that is sold with the boot itself.
When buying snowboard boots, remember:
One mistake that is sometimes made is trying to use similar looking winter boots, but not actual snowboard boots, for snowboarding, which will not work.
Hard boots are used mainly in alpine and racing events.
Soft boots are used more often in freestyle and freeriding.
The most important factor in choosing boots is fit. Snowboard boots should be fit on the tighter side, but not overly tight, and certainly not loose.
- More flexible boots are better suited for beginners.