Goofy Feet: The 6 Best Snowboard Boots

The rumor mill has been in overdrive of late claiming that the snowboard boot industry is going to hell in a handbasket. Big names like Nike and Vans are bailing out of the business and with more innovations being made in both alpine and cross country skis there seems to be fewer people that want the deadly, reckless, out-of-control rush that a snowboard can bring. We can’t say why this is happening, but we do know that anyone who still wants to strap in for a ride on a snowboard needs the right gear to get the job done.

The first thing to know is the best boot for you is one that fits properly and feels comfortable. While we can tell you which ones have the sleekest design with the best hold and the sexiest features, we can’t make them work for your strange webbed toes or make them help your Plantar Fasciitis. What we can do is tell you which boots have the most cushioning, the best balance and weight, ideal support, and which ones look best with your ski jacket so you never make a mountain fashion faux pas. Now get your little piggies ready for the 6 best snowboard boots around.

Vans Revere Boa

Vans Revere Boa

Pro: Hybrid lacing system
Con: Very traditional look

All Terrain: Vans might not be making boots for snowboarding much longer, but their Revere is still a standout among the back country rider who prefers to avoid the park in favor of finding their own adventures. It works overtime as a hiking boot and is easily one of the softest, most comfortable boots available for when you need your feet to be on cloud nine. The lacing system is a hybrid, combining a single boa with the traditional system to double team your feet in in the most supportive and comfortable way possible. The stiffness is such that you can jump from big-mountain lines right to boot-pack trips without too much trouble or time spent tweaking the fit as you pull another board out of your quiver. Since this is a 2013/2014 item (because Vans has abandoned us) it could be a little harder to find, but you’ll save a bundle once you track them down. [Purchase: $160]

K2 Darko

K2 Darko

Pro: Can adjust the bottom and top of the boot independently
Con: No Endo construction

Takes All Kinds: When the original Darko first came on the scene, it was largely hailed as one of the best boots that K2 or any manufacturer had made. It’s now in its 7th iteration and has proven that with a strong foundation anything is possible. The flex of the Darko has improved with time and now it is the go anywhere, do anything choice for freestylers, back country adventurers, or weekend warriors who only hit the park a couple times per season. The sole has a Harshmellow component that prevents vibrations from rattling your teeth loose while the liner from Intuition can easily be molded to fit even the strangest feet. The important upgrade on the Darko that occurred this year was the addition of a Street Light outsole that makes it a little less clunky and combines well with the laces and toe strap for excellent overall performance. [Purchase: $230]

Deeluxe The Brisse

Deeluxe The Brisse

Pro: Aggressive yet comfortable
Con: Strange lacing system

Master Shredder: Dan Brisse’s signature snowboard boot has a lot of diversity crammed into its slightly oversized footprint, but where it excels is thrash-happy riding either on the hill or even out on the street. The C3 construction is a little strange and will almost surely annoy purists and lace lovers since it can take some time to learn how to get the fit to work for your foot. The plush liner makes the whole boot feel comfortable but can pack down, so expect to add some thermal socks or supplementary materials as the boot ages, otherwise you’re going to be too free for comfort. Articulation around the ankle uses a series of solid panels rather than a neoprene to give you improved flex for taking on heavier terrain without losing support. Mid-range stiffness means these can go out to the park or up to peaks well beyond any black diamond. [Purchase: $280]

Ride Trident

Ride Trident

Pro: Triple Boa Adjustment
Con: Hard to find

Lockdown: When you need a little extra precision in your boot, or like to fiddle with the tightness of the tongue, the lower region, or the upper cuff, you’ll be happy as a clam adjusting your life away while on the lift. The end result is a powerful ability to get the exact support you need, especially for freestyle riders. In the undercarriage you’ll find a Blow Light Apex sole made from lightweight phylon to help cut down on the weight without forcing you to endure a bumpy ride. On the exterior the rubber sole has deep treads like a hiking boot for better traction during difficult climbs. Double gel pads on the heel and arch give a walking-on-water feel that is very comfortable. The stiffness can put off many experienced riders and newbies at first, but Ride has really managed to make it feel less like an Iron Maiden for your foot than most of the competition out there, and the overall performance of the three boa system can accommodate any but the most loose and relaxed user. [Purchase: $400]

ThirtyTwo Ultralight 2

ThirtyTwo Ultralight 2

Pro: Incredible board feel
Con: Evolution foam sole

Weightless: The Ultralight 2 is #1 when it comes to unbeatable lightness, and it just won the ISPO Gold Award for 2014 in action sports. The flex runs from stiff to medium and is meant for all-mountain riders, so if you want to freestyle with it, expect some serious resistance. The Level UL liner is trim, but uses Intuition foam that still manages to wick moisture away quickly for long days on the trails whether walking or making run after run. The liner itself comes with a Velcro strap at the top to make internal adjustments before you ever get to the shell. Totally heat moldable for an ideal fit if you’re a perfectionist. Your sole can rest easy on the Level 3 footbed with a slight foam pad on the heel for hard impacts, though the low weight means that expecting a really comfortable, cushiony ride is mostly out of the question. Made with articulating boots in mind, the flex and board feel for this is amazing and manages to be comfortable yet feel barely there. [Purchase: $379]

Adidas Energy Boost Boots

Adidas Energy Boost Boots

Pro: Inner sole foam changes according to conditions
Con: Expensive

Cushion Revolution: Adidas has only had a year of experience making snowboard boots and already they have become darlings of the sport. The Energy Boost is a costly new attempt made by the shoe maker, and it is truly impressive what they have managed to do. The Boost Foam they use in the interior sole outperforms the more traditional EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) polymer adopted by many manufacturers. What the foam does is transfer energy from motion down into the boot and transfers it out to your board for more responsive turns and quick edging. When energy isn’t being stored in the foam, the fit becomes slightly looser and more comfortable for cruising down the bunny slopes at the park, when you aren’t fogging up your ski goggles and wearing out your knees with exertion. Though this foam is nice, it isn’t the whole story. Recco avalanche technology, a dual-zone lacing system, and a firm footbed that somehow employs recycled coffee to prevent your foot from sinking. Finish it off with warm, water-wicking merino wool and you’ve got a winner. [Purchase: $498]

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