The 6 Best Snowboard Boots of 2012

Salomon F4.0

Salomon F4.0 snowboard boots    Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Salomon F4.0 Snowboard Boots

A single lace draws tight three independent panels that wrap the foot, eliminating pressure points and creating a uniform, moderately stiff flex. The only downside: micro-adjustments are difficult to make. Great for big-footed riders, as the integrated liner and shell reduce the profile of the boot, diminishing overhang on your board.

TAGS: LIGHTWEIGHT, LOW-PROFILE

DC Gizmo Snowboard Boots

DC Gizmo
DC Gizmo snowboard boots   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

The softest boot we tested, the Gizmo is geared toward all-mountain riding. A Boa closure keeps your forefoot nice and snug, while traditional lacing up top allows you to ride loose or cinched down. Bonus: a slimmer profile means they pair well with many binding designs.

TAGS: BOA, MIDRANGE FLEX

Flow HyLite Snowboard Boots

Flow HyLite
Flow HyLite snowboard boots   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

The freestyle-focused HyLite offers the best of both worlds in fit and flex. Dual Boa systems control foot and ankle tautness independently, so you can customize stiffness, while an articulating cuff allows the boot to flex with you. Our crew happily reported that this combo resulted in noticeably better board control.

TAGS: DUAL BOAS, COMFORT

Ride Hi-Phy Boa Coiler Snowboard Boots

Ride Hi-Phy Boa Coiler
Ride Hi-Phy Boa Coiler snowboard boots   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

By building the Hi-Phy's injection-molded foam frame in one piece (compared with some two dozen pieces in traditional boots), Ride reduced the seams, glue, and thus overall weight of this all-mountain freestyle boot. Testers praised its midrange flex for freeride but found it a bit stiff for tricks.

TAGS: STIFF, SOLID ANKLE SUPPORT

Vans Cirro x POW Snowboard Boots

Vans Cirro x POW
Vans Cirro x POW snowboard boots   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Vans collaborated with pro-sustainability nonprofit Protect Our Winters to revamp this top-of-the-line men's boot with recycled materials, cork footbeds, and nontoxic, water-based solvents. Sustainability aside, the Cirro earned high marks for out-of-the-box comfort, ankle support, and micro-adjustability (the Boa Focus dial lets you customize three different closure zones).

TAGS: ECO, CUSTOMIZED FIT

Burton Rampant Snowboard Boots

Burton Rampant
Burton Rampant snowboard boots   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

To keep the freestyle Rampant ultralight and maintain long-term pop and rebound, Burton built thin carbon inserts into the lateral side of the uppers. Testers liked the resulting high level of support and spring. A consistent but cushy flex (second in softness to the Gizmos) and the traditional lacing system were also well-received.

TAGS: FREESTYLE, SMALL BOOTPRINT

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