Snowboard boots are crafted to work in tandem with bindings and snowboard. The boots fit securely into the bindings providing seamless transfer of your energy onto the board. This secure fit ensures that you are able to maneuver the board exactly how and where you need.
The most important part about snowboarding boots is correct fit. Boots need to provide a snug fit around your feet and ankles. You need to avoid boots that allow any heel lift and excessive movement of the foot. When you go to turn or stop your snowboard, the boots are an essential interface allowing your motion and energy to be applied to the board. If you're feet are swimming around within the boots, you'll lose energy and control of the board and risk injury. Correct fit equals proper control and performance.
Most snowboard boots feature two separate parts: an inner liner or bladder and an outer shell. Each part usually has its own lacing to provide close fit and support. The inner liner is usually composed of foam while the boot itself is made from leather, rubber and synthetic materials. The outer boot provides waterproofing, while the bladder serves to tightly secure and insulate your foot, ankle and lower leg.
Snowboard boots use a variety of lacing systems. The least expensive, most basic boots use standard tie-up lacing that you'd find on any boot or shoe. More expensive models have one-pull systems that allow you to tighten the laces by simply pulling a handle connected to both sides of lacing. One-pull systems are quicker, easier-to-use and provide tighter lacing. One-pull boots generally come with split lacing systems in which the lower and the upper part of the boot can be tightened independently allowing for a customized, zone fit. BOA systems use a series of cables rather than laces and feature a simple twist knob that allows you to quickly tighten the boot around your foot by turning the knob. The most advanced BOA systems offer separate mechanisms for lower and upper zone adjustment.
Like other snowboard equipment, boots are sometimes designated by riding style. Boots designated as "freestyle" feature soft flex and comfort fit that allow the mobility to perform advanced tricks. "Freeride" boots are stiffer, providing extra response and support to riders looking to go big and fast. When boots aren't designated as any particular style, riders should consider the stiffness and overall feel of the boot. The vast majority of snowboard boots are soft boots; however, boots used for the marginal disciplines of alpine snowboarding or carving are hard like ski boots.