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Cheap Snowboard Boots Buying Guide

Companies that make cheap snowboard boots range from skate shoe brands (such as DC and Vans) to snowboard apparel brands (such as ThirtyTwo) and general snowboarding brands (including Burton, K2, Ride, and Salomon). Note that buying a certain brand of boot doesn't lock you into a snowboard or binding by the same brand.

The best cheap snowboard boots on our list are the men's Burton Invader (starting at $130) and the Vans Mantra (starting at $105), which is available for both men and women (there's also a Mantra for kids but no reviews that we could find).

Reviews indicate that both these boots offer superior comfort for boarders on a budget. The ThirtyTwo Summit (starting at $100), a good cheap snowboard boot for men and women, earns praise for being warm and lightweight. The Burton Grom (starting at $60) makes our list as a youth boot that promises parents good value for relatively little money. Think twice about opting for the men's or women's DC Phase (starting at $87 for select sizes and colors). The boots lack certain features, such as a heat-moldable liner, and reviews raise questions about quality.

Choosing the best cheap snowboard boots is somewhat problematic because everyone's feet are different and a boot that suits one rider may not fit another. However, online reviews from experts and users indicate that the boots on our list are generally warm and comfortable and offer a lot of bang for the buck. We've confined our picks to current models, but savvy shoppers can also find higher-end boots from previous seasons at bargain prices.

Cheap snowboard boots tend to be soft and flexible, making them ideal for beginners and freestyle riders who perform tricks in the park. They also suit frugal all-mountain riders who enjoy many different types of terrain. More expensive boots are stiffer and more responsive, translating a rider's every move to the board quickly and efficiently. Compared with upscale models, cheap snowboard boots have more basic liners and lacing systems and generally fewer bells and whistles.

Be sure to try on plenty of cheap snowboard boots inside a store before settling on your favorites. Comfort is the primary consideration. A proper pair of boots should be snug -- especially in the heel -- but not constricting. Your toes should no more than graze the front of the boot. Cheap snowboard boots will "pack out" after a couple of weeks of riding and become a bit roomier, so choose a pair that feels good and tight. Perhaps most important, your heels shouldn't lift when you shift your weight to your toes. As you would with a regular shoe, try walking around a bit in the boot to get the feel of it and to test overall comfort. (Keep in mind that the walking motion is different from the way your feet move on a snowboard.)

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