by Jakob Jelling [July 18, 2006]
The key to comfort on the hill.
The boots that you wear when snowboarding will make a huge difference with your ability to control your snowboard and your comfort on the hill. You will quickly find that cold, sore or wet feet will destroy a day of snowboarding faster than anything else will.
When it comes time for shopping for your snowboarding boots it is important to get the correct style of boot for the type of snowboarding you intend to do. There are three types of snowboarding boots commonly available, the soft boot, the hard boot and the hybrid boot.
While each boot is different on the outside, the insides tend to be the same. All snowboarding boots have a liner called the inner bladder. This inner bladder cushions and supports your feet, draws away water keeping your feet dry and keeps your feet warm. Generally the inner bladder will have its own laces so you will be able to secure the inner bladder to your foot in a way that is comfortable to you.
The soft boot is a specially designed boot that is very different from skiing boots. Soft boots are the most comfortable style of boot and can be used with Highback Bindings and Flow-in Bindings. The soft boot allows for a large amount of movement in just about any direction. For this reason soft boots are a must for pulling tricks since they are great for doing whatever you want. Also, soft boots are fairly comfortable for walking and even driving your car when you're not on the board.
Hard boots are quite a bit different as they are designed for precise control and are only used for a specific style of snowboarding. Hard boots support your foot, ankle and lower leg firmly, making them a must for racing and high-speed carving on hard snow. The hard outer shell is made out of hard plastic and is usually closed using buckles or ratchet bails. The benefit of having hard plastic as an outer shell is that it gives riders more precision and power in edging movements. In order to provide some flexibility, hinges are often built into the ankles.
Hybrid boots are a combination of both types of boots. Hybrid boots combine the flexible, soft upper part of soft boots with the sturdy hard soles of hard boots. They are used in combination with step-in bindings. People who are looking for a mix between the comfort and flexibility of soft boots and the control of hard boots will often opt for hybrid boots.
When shopping for boots it is important to bring along the footwear and leggings that you wear when snowboarding. If you do not wear these items when trying on your boots you may end up with a pair of boots that are too small when you wear heavy socks or pinches your legs due to your leggings.
Another important thing to do is to walk, run and jump in the boots you are thinking of purchasing. If you find any discomfort while doing this in the store you can be sure that they will also be uncomfortable when on the hill. If you keep all of this in mind you are sure to get the correct pair of boots and will be able to enjoy many days of snowboarding without complaint from your feet.
About the author
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.snowboardinghelp.com. Please visit his website to discover the world of snowboarding!