The 6 Best Snowboard Boots of 2013

   Photo: Vans

Vans Infuse Snowboard Boots

BEST DURABILITY AND SUPPORT

The key to the Infuse’s secure feel is a three-part closure system that includes traditional laces, a BOA dial, and a removable power strap up top. It was easily the most supportive boot we tested. The only downside: a sturdy leather boot like this takes longer to break in.

Nike Zoom ITES Snowboard Boots

  Photo: Nike

BEST CUSTOMIZATION

By swapping out boomerang-shaped stiffeners in the liner, riders can adjust flex. Which means the Zoom ITES can ride the pipe in the morning (our freestyle testers loved these boots), then stiffen up for steeps in the afternoon. Bonus: a space-blanket-like liner in the insole reflects your foot’s heat.

Rome Libertine PureFlex Snowboard Boots

  Photo: Rome

BEST FAST-AND-TIGHT LACING

Of all of the lacing systems we tried, Rome’s PureFlex, which tightens four separate zones with one lace pull, earned the highest praise from testers. It simply never came loose. Board feel and shock absorption on the all-mountain Libertine were also superb. Our one (major) gripe: the locking mechanism that cinches down the laces is so grippy it frays them.

Ride Triad Snowboard Boots

  Photo: Ride

BEST ALL-DAY COMFORT

Traditional lacing still has its perks: you can snug ’em in the upper and lower, independently, to your liking. The Triad’s medium flex was ideal for groomers and pipe walls, but this wouldn’t be our first choice for challenging, choppy terrain. Prefer Boa? Upgrade to freestyler Seb Toutant’s signature model ($220).

ThirtyTwo JP Walker Light Snowboard Boots

  Photo: ThirtyTwo

BEST FREESTYLE

The softest-flexing boot we tested earned high marks in the park and on naturally jibby terrain. The articulating cuff made for easy grabs and responsive board feel, improving balance on rails. At 1.7 pounds, the featherweight Walker  felt great on our feet and in the air but a bit outmatched in the steeps and deeps.

Burton Ion Snowboard Boots

  Photo: Burton

BEST SOLE TRACTION

This iconic all-mountain boot gets a new snow-tire-inspired outsole through a design collaboration with Pirelli. Testers reported no-slip grip on icy boot-packs and rinklike parking lots and touted the perfect mid-to-stiff flex and out-of-box comfort. But Burton, we’re curious: why are the laces so absurdly long?

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