When I learned to snowboard, I purchased the cheapest secondhand Burton boots I could find online. I didn’t know any better. They ended up bruising my calves, being way too big, and left my feet wet after a mere few hours.
From bindings and helmets to the snowboard itself, there’s a lot of gear to think about when starting a snowboarding journey, I get it. Riding footwear should be a priority, though. Boots provide a connection between your movements and your board’s response to them. And that’s huge!
The right pair of boots can be the difference between someone grasping a technique in an hour, or feeling unstable their entire first season. So it’s worth spending the time and money to find beginner snowboard boots to aid your progression.
My Review Process
As a snowboarding instructor, I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of proper footwear. The right snowboard boots not only aid in maneuvering a board, but can help a beginner snowboarder advance. And stay out riding for longer.
Unfortunately, there’s a misconception that the best beginner snowboard boots are the cheapest ones. Believe me, I agree that novices shouldn’t be spending several hundreds on boots upfront. Especially if they’re not fully “hooked” on snowboarding yet. But quality is paramount.
Boot flex, comfort, and versatility are equally important factors when choosing your first pair of boots. I discuss this more in the Buying Guide below.
ThirtyTwo’s most popular boot, the Lashed Boa, is our pick of the litter because it’s one that’ll keep up with the most dedicated of entry riders. From those learning to link turns on steeper terrain to those experimenting with their first park tricks, the Lashed Boa will have your back on the whole mountain. And for multiple seasons.
Although a tad pricier than some other boots on our list, the medium flex will make you feel comfortable growing with them. Impact absorption, ankle and heel hold, and an internal harness all provide extra support, too.
Hooked on snowboarding after the first few days? And already dreaming of bigger moves and bigger days? This is the boot I’d choose to reach new heights.
Deemed the best-selling snowboard boot on the market, Burton’s Moto Boa has built up its reputation for a reason.
The boots are warm, lightweight, and feature a very forgiving soft flex for fine-tuning snowboarding techniques as a beginner. Super comfortable, too; the kind of boots you purchase and wear out on the slopes the day after arrival.
Overall, a simple-but-sturdy design, with a reduced footprint to minimize toe drag and a BOA lacing system to ensure a no-frills fit. One of the best quality-to-price boots ever made for novice riders. If you’re keen on advancing quickly,, they’ll provide the needed support for the long haul.
Burton has always been a step above the rest when it comes to beginner snowboard boots. While the company offers several female-focused models, none matches the value-to-price of the perennial classic, the Burton Mint Boa.
For those learning to snowboard, a softer flex provides the flexibility needed to figure out how your board responds to those subtle movements. All while keeping it super comfortable. Burton’s heat-reflective underfoot also keeps you extra warm during those longer sessions.
All in all, a dependable boot for a great price. It’s well-loved because it’s built to please, and built to last.
Snowboard boots for kids have the same priorities as adult models: warmth, comfort, durability, and support. It’s easy to see why the DC Scout Boa is our top snowboard boot choice for tykes, then. It checks all the boxes at a price point that’s hard to beat.
Riding stays playful and forgiving thanks to an extra-soft flex, allowing small riders to learn the basics with the range of motion needed to maneuver a board. My favorite part, though? The “Grom Grow” insole, which allows sizing to be adjusted as that tiny foot grows.
An affordable, kid-friendly and kid-approved boot that lasts multiple seasons? A winner in my book.
When I take a lap through the terrain park, the Vans Hi Standard OG is the boot I see most often. And it’s no surprise why freestyle-focused riders dote on it so devotedly. It has the maneuverability, stability, and the cushioning needed to pull off tricks safely, and with style.
With the same iconic Vans skate-shoe design, the Hi-Standard OG keeps things simple but functional with traditional laces and a flexible liner. For a soft boot, the support around the ankles and heels is pleasantly surprising, too.
I’d say it’s one of the most well-rounded boots you can buy for the price. Take some runs at a resort and you’ll find that thousands of others agree.
Riders with wider feet have praised Salomon’s Dialogue Duo Boa Wide boots for many years for good reason. They feature a wider-than-normal toe box and sole, and the heat-moldable lining can be further customized to really get that perfect fit.
Beginner and intermediate riders alike will find the medium flex forgiving enough for gentler slopes, yet packed with a responsive board feel. Fans praise the heel hold, too, which results in strong, controlled turns. The Double Boa further ensures the most precise fit on upper and lower portions of the boot.
Although best suited for a more advancing beginner, if you have issues finding snowboard boots for wide feet, they’re worth it no matter your skill level.
Yes, backcountry beginner boots seem like quite the paradox. But the fact is, more and more snowboarders are learning the ropes outside of resort grounds these days. And so, a boot that caters toward the more rugged terrain of out-of-bounds, backcountry areas is warranted.
While Vans makes some pretty sturdy snowboard boots for sturdy adventures, their new Hi-Country & Hell-Bound model is a cut above the rest. A weather-proof construction keeps out moisture in deeper snow, while a stiff flex protects your feet in any and all terrain.
With that said, these are still boots you can take out on groomers at your local resort if you so decide. They may not feel as playful and surfy as softer boots, but they’ll definitely provide responsive and stable riding.
Finding snowboard boots that balance durability, comfort, and support without breaking the bank is no easy feat. Leave it to renowned skate brand DC to step in and deliver with their popular DC Phase.
Featuring both a mens and womens-specific model, the Phase keeps it simple in construction and with traditional lacing while keeping performance at the forefront. Their latest model has softened the flex a bit, providing a balanced yet supported feel for newer riders. There’s still more than enough cushion to help you master powerful turns, jumps and steeper lines as you move past the beginner phase.
What Size Snowboard Boots Do I Need?
Snowboard boots are sized the same way as regular street shoes, for both men’s and women’s models. So if you wear a size 8 sneaker on the day-to-day, your feet will typically feel best in size 8 snowboard boots, too.
Be aware, though, that some boots have a tendency to run small or large. Do a little “review research” first, and you’ll find this information quickly. That way you can adjust by a half-size or full-size if needed and avoid exchanges.
For women buying unisex or men’s snowboard boots -a great idea for those with wider feet or larger calf muscles- go for one size smaller. That means a women’s size 9 sneaker would be a unisex -or a men’s size 8.
Are men’s and women’s snowboard boots all that different, you wonder? I’ve noted some key distinctions in the Buying Guide below.
How Should Snowboard Boots Fit?
Snowboard boots are more than just protectors of your feet. They translate movements directly from your legs -and full body- to your snowboard. It makes it move the way it moves!
That’s why you’ll come across the word “snug” when shopping for boots. You want your feet securely “locked” in the boot, so that they’re as stable as can be when riding and translating movements.
Toes should be touching the front toe box, but not crammed up against it. Your toes should not be bending, or have enough room to wiggle around. Pay attention to your heel, too. When moving around- I recommend leaning back and forth on your heels and toes- your heel and ankle should stay in place.
Keep in mind that brand-new snowboard boots will be at their tightest, so a little discomfort when breaking them in is normal.
Beginner Snowboard Boots Buying Guide
A lot goes into making a great pair of snowboard boots. For beginner riders, I suggest focusing on these factors when looking for the best model for you.
The price of all your snowboarding gear adds up, I know. It’s normal to want to save money where you can when purchasing your first setup.
If I could offer one piece of advice for beginners, though: invest in your riding footwear. Your boots are more important than your board itself! I suggest buying new boots from reputable brands that will last for many seasons to come.
I’ve learned that purchasing snowboard equipment from respected, snow-focused companies makes a big difference. Snowboarding gear is usually designed by seasoned riders, so they know what’s important. Trust that buying your snowboard boots from companies like Burton, K2, Salomon, ThirtyTwo, Ride, DC, and others of the ilk will be well worth it.
Snowboard boots are rated on a flex scale of 1 to 10. The lower the number, the softer the boot flex. The closer to 10, the stiffer your boot will be. A softer flex allows for more range of motion and flexibility, while a stiffer boot provides more stability and control on steeper terrain.
What kind of flex, or stiffness, is best for a novice rider? I suggest those new to snowboarding look for a medium-soft flex.
Softer-flex boots help grasp maneuvers quicker, and let you “feel” the connection to your board. They tend to be more comfortable, too. Something closer to a medium stiffness will provide the option for growth, however. You don’t want to swap boots every season, so buy with progression in mind and don’t choose something too soft.
There are three main types of lacing systems on snowboard boots:
- Traditional laces. Regular tie-up laces, like on normal sneakers. But thicker!
- Quick-pull laces. Typically adjusted by pulling a single lace. Usually much faster than traditional laces.
- BOA system laces. Thin cables replace traditional laces, which are adjustable by a turning knob. Some boots even have two BOA systems! They help provide a fine-tuned fit, and are very easy to adjust quickly.
Each type of lace has its perks and downfalls. There is no perfect system! While BOA laces are great for their ability to make micro-adjustments with ease, they’re also a hassle to replace if something breaks. Traditional laces are more reliable, but they often get loose when riding.
It’s a simple equation: a quality boot should come with a quality liner. Liners keep your feet warm, fitted, and stable. They’re also responsible for translating movements from your legs to your boot to your board- a pretty important task!
Liners come in various thicknesses and material constructions, and can be “molded” to your feet in different ways. Some rely on high-tech memory foam, while others are thermo-molded.
Removable, heat-molded liners are my go-to. You can get them fitted just right for a comfortable, hurt-free fit, and dry them properly after long days in the snow.
Men’s vs Women’s Snowboard Boots
Although unisex models do exist, men’s and women’s snowboard boots are generally not built the same. Here are some key differences between gender-specific boots:
- Wider sole for wider feet
- Slightly stiffer flex to compensate for extra height and weight
- Liner and tongue allow for a wider calf-muscle
- Narrower sole fit intended for narrower feet
- Narrower heel fit
- Lower-cut boots to compensate for lower calf muscles
I’m a big proponent of beginners purchasing boots that will help them progress through several seasons. That’s why the medium flex ThirtyTwo Lashed Boa is crowned our Best Overall choice. It’s an all-mountain, all-level boot that has what it takes to keep up as you advance.
I recommend beginners look for snowboard boots from tried-and-true brands, like Burton, K2, ThirtyTwo, Salomon, Vans, etc. They’ve helped pioneer and progress riding footwear, and know what makes a great boot. Also look for a soft to medium-soft flex when learning, and invest in new boots so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Novice snowboarders should start out with boots with a soft to medium-soft flex (flex = stiffness.) Anywhere from 3-6 on the boot flex scale is ideal. Check out the “Flex” section of our Snowboard Boots Buying Guide to better understand why!
No, do not snowboard with regular boots. Snowboard boots are constructed to support your feet and your movements, and to correspond safely with a snowboard binding. Using a non-snowboard boot to ride is a recipe for injury.
Ideally, you don’t want snowboard boots that are too big or too small. Too small and they’ll be painful or cause circulation issues. Too big, and they won’t hold your foot in place properly or provide the needed support. This will make maneuvers difficult and potentially dangerous.
It’s normal for snowboard boots to feel uncomfortable at first, but they shouldn’t be overly painful. Especially with new riding footwear, there’s usually a break-in period of a few weeks if you haven’t had your liner heat-molded or professionally fitted. If you feel piercing discomfort after months of solid riding, the sizing may be off.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.