Best Cheap Snowboard Boots
If you're new to snowboarding, you might assume the most important piece of equipment is the board itself. On the contrary, experts say: It's the boots that are most crucial to comfort and performance. An uncomfortable pair of cheap snowboard boots can discourage you from riding at all, and the money you spend on gear will have gone to waste. Experts actually recommend buying snowboard boots before the rest of your kit, so you can concentrate your spending there and use what remains of your budget on the board and bindings.
This boot from skate shoe brand Vans, which makes both men's and women's versions, has a soft flex that suits beginners and freestyle riders who do tricks in terrain parks. The Mantra comes with a heat-moldable liner, and experts and users rave about how comfortable it is, especially for the price.
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).
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.)