The Best Snowboard Boots for a Better Ride

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Having the right snowboard boot is about so much more than comfort. 

Sure, comfort is part of it, and modern snowboard boots have features like heat-trapping liners and waterproof lace guards to keep you dry and cozy. Features like gel and foam padding can usually help prevent too much rubbing or pinching. 

But what many people don’t know is that your snowboard boot can seriously impact your performance on the hill. Different boots are made for different styles of riding, so if you find yourself having trouble absorbing landings on jumps or connecting tight turns through icy steeps, trying a new pair of boots could be just what you need. 

The best boots below score high marks on comfort, features, price, and functionality, though some excel at certain styles of riding more than others. Read on to scope our list of the best snowboard boots for the 2021-2022 season, along with guidance on what kind of boot to buy for your ability and what to look for when shopping for your next pair.

Best Overall: Burton Men's Ruler Snowboard Boots

Burton Men's Ruler Snowboard Boots

EVO

What We Like
  • All-mountain

  • Medium flex

  • Budget friendly

  • Comfort-focused

  • Multiple lacing options

What We Don't Like
  • None

Burton makes a whopping 36 different styles of snowboard boots for men and women (plus another five options for kids), so it’s likely you’ll be able to find a good boot for you from the line. While we love high-end options like the Supreme (women) and Photon (men), the one that truly takes the cake is the Burton Ruler. At around $300 it’s hardly the most expensive on the market, but it’s loaded with Burton’s best tech, like heat-moldable liners, and heat-reflective gel cushioning. You can choose one of two lacing options, both of which also come in a wide version. It’s a mid-flex, highly-rated boot that’ll suit the majority of riders without breaking the bank. Just be sure to avoid the “Step-On” version unless you have compatible Burton bindings.

Lacing: Boa or Speed Zone lacing | Flex: 5 | Liner: Heat-moldable liner with 3M Thinsulate | Closest Women’s Version: Burton Limelight

Best Overall, Runner Up: K2 Orton Snowboard Boots

K2 Orton Snowboard Boots
What We Like
  • Heat-reflective lining

  • High-end materials

  • Double Boa system

  • Comfortable vis-a-vis stiffness

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • A little stiff for park

  • Limited inventory

If the Burton Ruler is the good-for-everyone, budget-friendly best pick, the K2 Orton is the bells-and-whistles, more-expensive pick. It’s on the stiffer side of average and is packed with tech that may get overlooked by beginners, but intermediate and above riders will notice the differences. Features like the dual Boa system, heat-reflective liner, and top-of-the-line materials designed to hold their shape even after seasons of hard-charging through heavy off-piste snow. It’s an aggressive boot and definitely more on the all-mountain and freeride side of things, so if that describes your riding style, you’ll want to give it some serious consideration.

Lacing: Dual Boa | Flex: 7 or 8 | Liner: Heat-moldable foam liner | Closest women’s version: K2 Format (almost exactly the same)

Tested by TripSavvy

After hearing from a few snowboarding friends about how much they loved their freeride-focused K2 boots, we sent our male tester to the slopes with the Ortons in tow. He tested them on a mix of groomed and ungroomed resort terrain and reported first and foremost that it’s certainly a stiff, expert-oriented boot. However, he did say that he found landings to be softer than expected and didn’t feel any foot fatigue after a full day of riding, two statements that don’t usually pair with stiff boots. 

Our tester loved the two separate Boa systems, especially with his narrow foot and muscular legs. His only complaint was around the heel-hold system and experiencing a slight bit of heel lift while toe-side, though with narrow feet, that’s not unexpected. For extra-narrow feet, we’d recommend sizing down (since the heat-moldable footbed leaves room to pack out) or buying a pair of inexpensive heel inserts for the liner. Guys with normal-to-wide feet should have no problems with fit. — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester

Best Budget: Vans Hi Standard OG Snowboard Boot

Vans Hi Standard OG Snowboard Boot

Vans

What We Like
  • High flex for comfort

  • Great price

  • Classic snowboard look

What To Consider
  • Traditional lacing system

  • Not ideal for powder and aggressive riding

It’s kind of crazy that the Vans Hi-Standard is priced as well as it is, especially considering how highly reviewed it is. With a flex rating of 4 out of 10, it’s on the soft side of normal and lends itself to putting in a full eight hours of mountain exploration. Inside the liner is a harness to keep your heel locked in place even if you’re loose on the laces, and the PopCush footbed is comfortable whether you’re heelside or toeside, even for riders with high arches or wide feet.

Lacing: Lace-up | Flex: 4 or 5 | Liner: Heatmold liner | Closest Women’s Version: Hi-Standard OG Snowboard Boot Women

Best for Beginners: Burton Women's Mint BOA Snowboard Boots

Burton Women's Mint BOA Snowboard Boots

Backcountry

What We Don't Like
  • Quick-tightening system

  • Warm footbeds and liner

  • Minimal breaking-in period

  • Too soft for high speeds

  • Single Boa system doesn’t allow for different ankle and foot tightness

The Mint Snowboard boot ticks all the right boxes for a beginner-focused boot that won’t break the bank. Burton manages to keep the price reasonable by removing features better suited to powder and backcountry riders but keeps features beginners will want: A Boa lacing system for quick adjustments while you’re finding your preferred tightness levels, a moldable liner, and a women’s-specific footbed cushion. It’s also on the soft side, giving you a little more wiggle room if you lean a little too much one way or the other while connecting low-speed turns. It also comes in a non-Boa version.

Lacing: Single BOA | Flex: 3 | Liner: Imprint 1+ Liner with Integrated Lacing | Closest Men’s Version: Men’s Burton Moto BOA

Best for Kids: Rome Minishred Snowboard Boot

Rome Minishred Snowboard Boot

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Soft and comfy

  • Sizing grows with your kid

  • Single-point tightening design

What We Don't Like
  • Sells out quickly

  • Uninspired styling

Let’s be honest: Most snowboarding kiddos aren’t going to be good enough to really notice the performance differences between a “beginner” or “advanced” kids’ boot. What matters more than anything else is comfort and warmth, both of which will help kids to be happier on the snow (even if they’re mostly heel-siding down the bunny slopes). That’s what makes the Rome MiniShred boot ideal. It has a very straight ankle, mirroring a natural standing stance and making it easy for kids to walk. The single Boa system and liner-less design make it easy for kids to pull on their own boots, and the extra cushioning (it’s a very soft boot) helps retain heat. It also comes with multiple footbeds, theoretically allowing your little shredder to wear the same boot even when they go up a shoe size or two.

Lacing: Single Boa | Flex: 3 | Liner: none | Unisex

Best for Wide Feet: thirtytwo Men's TM-2 Double Boa Snowboard Boot

thirtytwo Men's TM-2 Double Boa Snowboard Boot

thirtytwo

What We Like
  • Stiff

  • All-mountain design

  • Extra reinforcement to prevent packing out

  • Boa-optional

What We Don't Like
  • No women's wide version

  • Not ideal for beginners

There aren’t a lot of wide snowboard boots on the market, probably under the logic that with heat-molded liners, you can shape your boot to fit even a thick, larger foot. But if you do truly have wide, wide feet, check out ThirtyTwo’s TM2 WIde, which comes in three versions: a non-Boa option, a double-Boa option, and an option in partnership with Merrill. All three are well-suited to intermediate and above riders, with a tighter, firmer fit and a reinforced heel to keep them stiff after a season of wear. It also comes with extra inserts for the heel in case it’s only your toes that need the extra space.

Lacing: Traditional or double Boa | Flex: 7 | Liner: Heat-moldable, extra tall | Closest Women’s Version: TM2 Women (or with Boa)

Best for Extreme Cold: Ride Anthem Snowboard Boots

Ride Anthem Snowboard Boots

Ride

What We Like
  • Great price

  • All-mountain

  • Warm

  • Heat-reflective liner

What We Don't Like
  • May pack out too quickly

  • Could be too soft for aggressive riders

There are a few things you can do to make your current snowboard boots feel a little warmer, from buying heat-reflected footbeds to wearing them a little less tight or buying new socks. But if you still end up with icy cold feet halfway down the hill, opt for a heat-focused boot like the Ride Anthem. It has a heat-reflective inside foil to blast your body heat back at you, and the mid-level flex ensures there’s enough cushioning to act as a buffer between your foot and the cold air. If you generally prefer a less-flexible fit but want the warmth of the extra padding, use the included heel inserts to make your foot feel a bit more secure. The Anthem also has a fairly reasonable price point, so they make a great second pair for when you want a warmer, more comfortable ride.

Lacing: Boa | Flex: 5 | Liner: Intuition Plush Liner with quick lacing | Closest Women’s Version: Ride Hera

Best Backcountry: Nitro Incline TLS Snowboard Boots

Nitro Incline TLS Snowboard Boots

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Very comfortable

  • Quick adjustments

  • Different modes for hike and ride

  • Ice-ready outsole

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Unisex-sizing may be hard for narrow or small feet

Here’s the deal with splitboarding boots: You don’t need them. It’s the bindings that are different for backcountry split touring, but your boots fit into the bindings the same way as when you’re in bounds.

However, that doesn’t mean your current boots will be comfortable or pleasant to wear while splitboarding, which is why you may want to consider a pair like the Nitro Incline TLS. They're comfort-focused boots, because who wants sore spots and blisters when you’re skinning for miles? They also have a super-grippy footbed to keep you upright on ice and splitboarders can switch into “hike” mode on the uphills to add extra flex and make striding easier. Users report that they’re extremely warm despite being very lightweight, and the quick adjustment tab lets you tighten the liner without loosening the shell. It’s a thoughtfully designed boot for all-day backcountry adventures.

Lacing: TLS (Twin lacing system) | Flex: 7 - 9 (depending on mode) | Liner: Heat-moldable with Ortholite® footbed | Closest Women’s Version: Technically unisex

Best Freestyle: Salomon Launch SJ BOA Mens Snowboard Boots

Salomon Launch SJ BOA Mens Snowboard Boots

Salomon

What We Like
  • Soft/medium flex

  • Lightweight

  • Clever heel hold

What We Don't Like
  • Light on padding

  • On the beginner side

  • Hard to find online

It used to be that you wanted your freestyle boot to be as soft as possible, but now that freestyle riding has moved outside of the park boundaries, riders are switching to boots with a more middle-of-the-road flex like the Salomon Launch. It’s fairly lightweight and has tightening straps above and below the ankle to keep your foot secure even if you hit kickers with your boots barely tied. They’re available with or without the Boa tightening system; you’ll save a few bucks if you go for the old-school laces look.

Lacing: Boa or laces | Flex: 5 | Liner: Heat-moldable foam liner | Closest Women’s Version: Pearl BOA (soft flex) or Ivy BOA (medium flex)

Best Women’s Specific: Vans Women's Viaje Snowboard Boots

Vans Women's Viaje Snowboard Boots

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Very warm

  • Dual Boa system

  • Heat-molded and quick-dry liner

  • Adjustable flex via tongue inserts

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Too aggressive for beginners

Women who have spent their snowboarding careers eyeing the high-end features and models of men’s snowboard boots can let go of that feeling that's the Viaja—a loaded snowboard boot for intermediate-and-above women who like to charge hard and fast through all types of terrain. (Well, it may be a little too stiff for park riding). The Viaja has a ton of great features, one of our favorites is the removable tongue lines. Leave them in and you have a very stiff boot for backcountry sessions and sidecountry trees, but pull the inserts out, and your stiffness drops down closer to a six, better for more playful resort riding.

Lacing: Dual Boa | Flex: 6 - 9 (9 with tongue liners in) | Liner: Heat-mold liner with The North Face FlashDry moisture-management tech 

Tested by TripSavvy

In my 20-plus years of snowboarding, five or so of which have been spent as a gear tester, I can’t remember a boot being more comfortable right out of the box. That’s especially notable as the Viaja is a very stiff boot; even with the tongue inserts removed, it still has below-average flex. The dual Boa system lets me set my feet loose and ankles somewhat tight, and the waterproof, zippered lace-cover around the toe keeps my feet extremely dry. 

The first day I tested these was spent on a mix of groomed and ungroomed trails with snow varying from tracked-out resort lines to fluffy, fresh tracks. Because they were so comfortable on the first day of testing, I wore them for a backcountry splitboard session on test day two. I stayed warm even when digging myself out of thigh-deep snow, and found the Viaja’s stiffness (with two of four tongue inserts left in) to be the perfect setting for comfort during uphill skinning and somewhat deep turns crossing on and off skin tracks. At the end of day two, I noticed just one pressure point on my ankle, but because it’s not anywhere near the Boa laces, I credit that more to the liner not yet being molded to my foot shape rather than any design flaw. I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners (both due to cost and stiffness), but they’d be a great buy for any all-mountain, intermediate or above lady shredders. — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester


Best Ultralight: thirtytwo Light JP Snowboard Boot

thirtytwo Light JP Snowboard Boot

thirtytwo

What We Like
  • Super lightweight

  • Heat-mold liner

  • Comfort-focused fit

What We Don't Like
  • Too soft for fast backcountry lines

  • Lacing system may be too loose for some riders

It may seem like a weird name, but the JP isn’t random: It’s for pro snowboarder JP Walker, one  of the best park and freestyle riders in the history of the sport. Of course, the “light” is for how ridiculously light this boot is. The materials are more on the flexible side, with a foam shell and fleece liner, which makes it lean more toward the park boot side of the spectrum. If you find yourself with foot fatigue after a few runs in “normal” boots, the Light JP Boot could be a good way to extend your time spent on the slopes.

Lacing: Dual Boa | Flex: soft-to-medium | Liner: lightweight heat-moldable liner | Closest Women’s Version: No exact equivalent; Try the STW BOA Women or Shifty Women

Final Verdict

Burton may be a tried-and-true brand at this point and not have the “cool” factor of up-and-coming brands, but there’s a reason it’s the most successful snowboarding brand in the sport. They make darn good gear and are constantly innovating new tech and new design options for expert and beginner riders. That’s why the Burton Ruler takes the cake (view at Zappos). It represents the best of the brand at a great price point and is suited for nearly all riders who want one pair of snowboard boots that can be their only pair all season long. 

What to Look for in Snowboard Boots 

Fit/Size

Snowboard boots should fit very snuggly on your foot, at least at first. You should expect the padding to compress over time (called “packing out”), which will make it feel like the boot stretched out. That’s especially true for softer boots with more padding. It’s not unusual for your feet to be a bit sore after the first few days of breaking in a pair. 

“If the boot is too roomy, your foot will get fatigued from a day on the hill. And a boot that’s too tight can lead to cold feet or a callus. When the boot is on, your toes should be lightly pressing on the front of the liner. One way to best size a boot is to evaluate how much room is within the exterior shell, with the liner removed and the foot in the shell. Ideally, you want to have a finger width of room behind your heel when the toes of your foot are just touching the front of the boot.”  says Jay Zoeckler (aka Jay-Z), boot fitter, and snowboard expert at Jackson Hole’s Hoback Sports Shop. 

Flex

Flex is how flexible your boot is, or how much it gives when you move. The more flexible the boot, the more it’s going to absorb motion, transferring less to your board. That makes more flexible boots more forgiving for beginners. In a stiff boot, the smallest movement can transfer to your board, which may make you more prone to falling or catching an edge. Flex is related to comfort in that flexible boots will give you a little more room to move, but a properly designed stiffer boot can also be comfortable. Stiffness is usually on a one-to-10 scale, with 10 being the stiffest. 

"Generally speaking, stiff boots are good for freeride and carving. Soft boots are good for freestyle," explains Yohann Kelkel, product manager for snowboarding at Decathlon. "But apart from your type of riding, stiffness is also a personal thing. I personally ran in a freeride world qualifier with my Endzone freestyle boots because I can play with the tightening system precisely and work on the rigidity. It's true that our softer boots—rated 2 or 3 out of 10 in flex—are designed for beginners. Having softer boots allows the rider to have a margin of error. When he or she presses against the boots, that movement is not directly transmitted to the binding, and the board is, therefore, easier to ride when you discover the sport. Also, boots with less response (softer boots) will usually have a more comfortable feel as the foam is less rigid."

Lacing

Lacing is personal preference more than anything else. Old-school, sneaker-style lacing systems can be great for saving a few bucks on your boot, though it can be hard sometimes to get the laces very snug. Many brands have various quick-lace systems or pull tabs that tighten wires or laces crisscrossing against the foot and ankle. Recently, many brands have switched to Boa boot lacing, which uses one or two small wheels to adjust non-stretchable metal laces. Dual Boa systems have separate systems across the foot and ankle and are best for riders who like some areas of their boot tighter than others.

Liners

The vast majority of snowboard boots on the market are designed with liners—the soft, padded, inner layer that keeps your foot warm and secure. Most liners have their own internal adjustment systems (usually a pull tab and/or Velcro strap) to keep it snug on your foot. High-end liners will mold to your foot via heat transfer, and may also have features like heat-reflective linings or customizable ankle pad inserts. Liners are not interchangeable between boots. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much should I spend on snowboard boots?

    Short Answer: Expect to spend between $200 and $300 for a pair of good all-mountain boots, and $300 to $400 if you’re going for a high-end boot with features like a dual Boa system, lightweight materials, uphill modes, or extreme waterproofing. While you can usually buy snowboards and snowboarding bindings with just a visual inspection, you probably want to spring for new boots.

    "When it comes to buying used equipment, I think that boots are not a good investment. They break down too fast and can’t be fixed as easily," says Zoeckler. "Bindings and boards on the other hand are a good investment. That’s as long as the base and edges are in good shape. Boards can be ridden for many years as long as they’re maintained properly.”

  • How do I know my riding style and how does that impact my boots?

    If you’re a beginner, then your riding style is “beginner.” Opt for a softer, more flexible all-mountain boot you can wear while exploring the mountain and figuring out what kind of terrain and conditions you like riding the most.

    Once you know what you’re doing, you can narrow it down a bit more. Most boot brands categorize their options into all-mountain (groomers, ungroomed, icy conditions, etc.), park or freestyle (jumps, halfpipes, rails, jibs, etc.), powder (generally backcountry and deep snow), and/or freeride, which is sort of a hybrid between all-mountain and powder. If you frequently take laps through the terrain park, look for a soft boot that’ll make it easier to ride rails and absorb shock on big landings. If you ride groomers and resorts, an all-mountain boot with a mid-level flex is a safe bet. If you’re hard-charging at high speeds (groomers or backcountry), you’ll want a stiffer boot that will effectively transfer as much energy as possible into your bindings and board for quick turns. 

    “A stiffer boot gives you more responsiveness. Typically that rider is looking to carve turns, hike, or splitboard in the backcountry," Zoeckler explains. "Softer boots are going to give flexibility and a more playful performance.”

  • Should my experience level influence which boots I buy?

    It can, but doesn’t have to. Beginners usually want flexible boots as they’re more forgiving of errors like quick shifts or leaning too far. And newbies usually prefer comfortable boots to stay on the slopes longer without rubbing or pressure points. Experts who generally prefer faster, deeper conditions usually opt for stiffer boots. But ultimately, it’s a personal preference.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Suzie Dundas is a freelance travel writer and gear tester in north Lake Tahoe, California. She’s been snowboarding since she was 13 from slopes in Vermont to Japan to Whistler and rides in conditions ranging from bluebird powder days to rainy, flat-light days (though she prefers the bluebird days, of course). She’s worn snowboard boots from nearly every brand on the market and used her own experience plus factors like cost, online reviews, tech specs, and feedback from her fellow snowboarders to select the options on this list. 

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