Words by Tom Copsey
Finding the ultimate foot-boot romance is easier said than done. What’s most important is a good fit that works well with your feet, gives you proper response and generally supports your riding. We put together an overview of the different features you should look out for in a boot.
How to choose a new pair of boots
There's a lot of choice out there for all kinds of riders and styles on the market. We've highlighted a few things you should consider before spending your euros on a new pair:
First up, you should feel as comfortable as possible in your boots; by that we don’t mean while hanging out at the aprés chugging down Jägerbombs but rather they should compliment your anatomy and style of riding. Beginners and people who mainly cruise the slopes will be happy with softer boots because they’re forgiving and work well at low speeds. They also give a good feel, so a lot of jibbers go for these too. Stiffer boots are ideal for when you need precise control, response and support at high speeds – things that mostly benefit more advanced riders.
As they directly surround your feet, these need to be comfortable and match your foot shape to avoid pressure points and enhance foothold. All liners will take the shape of your feet after a while; many models are heat moldable, which means they’re broken in by heating them before your very first ride. You can either do this at home in your oven or at the store. Footbeds are another way to individually tailor the boots to your feet. To get individual info on your boot model and adjustment options it’s best to ask directly at your local shop.
Some people favour the look and feel of a good old-fashioned lacing system, while others prefer the ease of speedlace or the dial-up Boa system. Speedlacing gives you the option to just pull the laces until you feel they’re tight enough and lock them off just there, and mostly you also have the option to independantly crank the upper and lower part of your boot. With Boa you turn a dial to tighten, and pop it open to exit. Boa also come in different parts of the boots like for example double- or triple Boa for a maximised custom fit. Another option is a combination of regular laces with Boa for an old-school look with improved heel hold.
A snug fit with the minimum amount of heel lift you can get is what you should look for. All boots fit differently, and as everyone’s feet are different too it pays to try a few on to see which work best for you. In store crank ‘em up how you would on the hill and your toes should just touch the liner when standing straight; bending into a riding position they should come slightly back – they will get more volume over time. Flexing onto your toes, ideally, you would have zero heel lift for maximum response, but a centimetre or so is acceptable.
adidas - Boost 2014 2015 Boot Review
adidas have been making footwear for over 60 years, so you can be sure they know a thing or two about keeping your feet sweet. Following their debut last season, this winter they drop a killer new premium model, the Boost, which they say revolutionises cushioning in shred sneakers. Their innovative Boost foam – that stuff looking like polystyrene – has been cooked up so it provides increased energy return, which improves edge-to-edge response, while still remaining super cushioned and comfy. It’s also three times more resistant to temperature change than regular EVA cushioning. Other pimp features include a Torsion System shank, dualzone speedlace, heat moldable liner with Merino wool, and Recco reflectors. After pinnacle performance? Apply here.
adidas - Mika Lumi Women's 2014 2015 Boot Review
Don’t let the classic winter apres-boot silhouette fool you – the Mika Lumi combines style, power and comfort in a women’s specific package built to crush any kind of terrain. A custom last tailored specifically for girls will give you a glove-like fit and a heap of cushy goodness, while you lock yourself in with dual zone speed lacing – you have the option to tighten the upper and lower boot independently for a fully customised fit. The EVA outsole is both durable and lightweight, the insole packs odor neutralising recycled coffee grounds and the 3D molded tongue keeps the flex on point too.
Burton - Viking 2014 2015 Boot Review
If you were snowboarding in 1997 you’ll find these new Burton boots trigger some fond memories – the OG Viking was worn by the likes of Johan Olofsson and Terje Haakonsen and were the flagship model of that season. Now, they get a rebate in the form of this fresh addition that remains faithful to the original while receiving an injection of cutting edge technology. The all-new lining retains heat on a whole other level while underfoot there is heaps of lightweight impact protection polished off with a durable, grippy Vibram outsole. You get the old-school look from the regular laces, but Burton added in Lock ‘n’ Load Speedzone internally so you can crank up the heel hold, and even adjust easily on the hill, making it perfect for all-mountain freestylers who like to know their heritage.
DC - Lynx 2014 2015 Boot Review
DC mark their 20-year anniversary this season, and to celebrate they are reissuing their legendary skate shoe, the Lynx. So what, isn’t this is a snowboard mag? Well, in addition to the sneaker, there is also a brand new boot that bears the same name and that features a design that echoes the shoe that blew the doors open in terms of skate shoe design and technology innovation. Of course, they might take their cue from skate shoes but this Lynx is a fully functional snowboard boot beyond the classic suede upper and DC styling. Aerotech Ventilation will keep trenchfoot at bay, while the articulated construction, 3D tongue and Wrap Lock hardware will keep you pressure point-free, locked in tight and ready to send it on any terrain.
Head - Seven Boa 2014 2015 Boot Review
Built for shredders who like their riding to be serious, the Seven Boa looks like it’s come from the future and performs like it has too. The flex is geared towards response and performance, with maxed out forward lean to enhance the most aggressive riders’ ripping, and this is added to by the carbon shank, Progressive Power Strap and Boa Instep Grasp. The new Ninja Pro sole is super grippy, super durable and super light, while frequency technology makes for a seamless construction that increases waterproofness. If you want the maximum energy transfer from your boots, check the Seven out. It also comes in a women’s specific model too for hard charging chicas.
Deeluxe - The Brisse 2014 2015 Boot Review
We’re pretty sure Dan Brisse the result of a covert experiment to engineer a kind of next-level snowboarding hyperbeast. From the heaviest urban gaps to monster backcountry wedges, Brisse does it all, does it BIG, and his pro model Deeluxe boot is built to cope with such fearless assaults on the mountains and streets of the world. C3 construction allows you to adjust the boot’s fit, flex and feel super quick and super easy while D-Lug sole technology and a Footprint insole guarantee epic comfort, performance and impact absorption for serious hits. There are two power straps for further tweaking the responsiveness and performance, and the flex comes in neatly around the mid point giving you the response you need with the freedom you like.
K2 - Darko 2014 2015 Boot Review
A team favourite since its first edition, the Darko drops into its seventh year as a staple of K2’s boot line, and it’s easy to see why. Flex is perfect for doing pretty much whatever and with K2’s patented Conda now improved (there’s now a urethane pad the Boa cable runs through for first class comfort and ease of use) your feet will get locked in better than ever. Harshmellow in the sole dampens vibrations and cushions impact while the heat moldable Intuition liner allows a custom fit. This year it’s been upgraded with a new Street Light outsole and when you add in the regular laces and toe strap you have a steezy boot that will perform like a boss.
Nike - Lunarendor 2014 2015 Boots Review
It’s pretty hard not to have your attention grabbed by these royal blue shred sneaks, and if anything the features they pack are even more eye-popping than the colourway. Nike swiped their Lunarlon tech from the running department and tweaked it for snowboarding to give superlight cushioning with dynamic support. Support is enhanced by the 3D molded upper and protective backstay, which also increases response, while fit is on point thanks to the internal harness and external lace lock system – allowing you to zonally tighten the Lunarendors how you like them. The heat moldable liner bolsters the boots’ fit, and also has a heat reflective liner to keep warmth in. Even more awesome is you have three levels of customisable flex to play with depending on you and your riding.
Nike - Vapen Women's 2014 2015 Boot Review
We couldn’t help stop and check this Nike boot when cruising the tradeshow halls – after all it’s frickin GOLD. This is the gateway model to Nike’s female-specific range, allowing you to get the fit, comfort and performance the brand are famed for at a solid price point. The flex is softer for a more stress-free ride and when it comes to specifics the Swoosh ain’t scrimped: the premium synthetic upper houses a Strobel technology liner that’s not only heat moldable, it actually reflects and stores body heat so your feet stay toasty. The sole is low profile and boasts a Phylon midsole with Zoom Air embedded in the heel for epic cushioning, so when you tot all these features up you have a pretty damn attractive bit of booty bling.
Northwave - Prophecy SL 2014 2015 Boot Review
|Price: €N/A |
This has been a team favourite for years and it’s easy to see why – the Prophecy is built for the ultimate in performance and durability: exactly what you need when you’re out sending it 24/7. Epic grip and support are assured thanks to the Prophecy’s hardwearing Double Crossbow Vibram sole unit, while you get the perfect mix of tweaky flex and rapid response thanks to the 540 Heel Retention system. The speedlacing is super easy to use and locks you in tight, so if you dig on any kind of performance snowboarding the Prophecy could be right up your street.
Ride - Fuse 2014 2015 Boot Review
|Price: €259.95 |
Ride’s mix of regular laces for tweakable steeze and Boa for heel hold caught our eye on the Fuse, and when you look closer you’ll find even more awesome. New for this year is Slime Tongue technology that offers better forward flex, response and rebound with long lasting dampening performance, and there’s a new FlexLight outsole to improve cushioning, dampening and performance. The liner is heat moldable, the cuff articulated to improve flex and you can also be sure that foot hold and support are on point. Tested to its limits by the Ride team, with its mix of new and proven technologies, the Fuse is a banging freestyle boot for the switched on rider.
Rome - Libertine 2014 2015 Review
This classic leather lace up will give you the freedom to slay everything. Regardless of your level or riding preference, if you are after a smooth-flexing feel with a comfortable, custom fit then the Libertine should be high on your list. The Ultralon liner has foam that is super cush, has self-molding heel hold and will fit you like a glove. Kink-free flex is a given with Rome’s NKS shield and 3D molded tongue and you’ll be locked in just how you like it thanks to the leveraged lacing. LNP even gets a tricked out tartan colourway, which looks just epic.
Salomon - The Launch 2014 2015 Boot Review
This mid-flexing freestyle boot was developed in conjunction with Quebecois bossman Louif Paradis and sets the bar high while keeping the price tag low. You know Louif so will have a good idea of the kind of riding The Launch will suit best, and as well as being constructed from high performing components – heat moldable liner, lightweight and durable sole unit, lockable interior harness – there are three lacing options available: a speedlace and a Boa, but the model with regular laces but with an adjustable speedlaced STR8JKT for limpet-like heel hold stuck out for us.
ThirtyTwo - Ultralight 2014 2015 Boot Review
|Price: €350.00 - €360.00|
The lightest boot ever makes a welcome return to the ThirtyTwo line, with a new shell construction and dual density impact cushioning outsole that’s geared towards providing full support, lockdown stability and lightweight performance. We’ve picked up heavier sneakers in our time, so for a full on snowboard boot to weigh this little is pretty insane. They haven’t scrimped on features, either. A 3D molded tongue, articulated cuff, performance backstay, heat moldable liner and a durable high density Evolution Foam outsole makes sure that everything you need to get done gets done. Available in regular lace or Fast Track speedlace.