So you love hiking, and now you want to dip your toes into the exciting world of snowboarding.My guess is that you’re also wondering – can you use hiking boots for snowboarding?
As a newbie, trying to get everything right for your imminent snowboarding adventure can feel pretty overwhelming.
There are snowboarding pants to buy, snowboards to look at and bindings to consider.
And along with all these comes the additional expenditure of trying out a new activity.
Wouldn’t it be nice to reuse your trusty hiking boots and not fork out a significant amount on a new pair of snowboard boots?
As tempting as that may be, I do need to point out that the most critical piece of equipment for snowboarding is your choice of footwear.
And as wonderful as it may be to reuse your existing footwear for this purpose, the truth is hiking boots just may not cut it.
In this article, I will cover the following:
- Differences Between Hiking Boots and Snowboard Boots
- Hiking Boots For Snowboarding – Yay Or Nay
- Choosing The Right Snowboard Boots
- Affordable Snowboard Boots Options
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Hiking Boots vs Snowboard Boots
If you’re wondering can I use hiking boots for snow, the answer is that it depends on the amount of snow present.
This article perfectly sums up when can you wear hiking boots in snow.
However, if your question is no longer ‘can you use hiking boots for snow’ and instead, ‘can you use hiking boots for snowboarding’, we will have to look at a completely different approach here.
Hiking in snow and participating in snowboarding are two completely different activities.
Yes, they both involve being in snowy conditions but the actual activity could not be more different.
Hiking in snow exposes you to varying levels of snow and ice.
On the other hand, snowboarding exposes you to extremely low temperatures, heavy snow conditions as well as the need for various snowboarding gear.
Hence, the type of footwear needed for both activities would naturally depend on different considerations.
The best boots for snowboarding provide excellent ankle support, ensuring comfort and stability during snowboarding. The boots should also be the correct size to fit securely into the snowboard bindings.
All these contribute to good heel and toe control during turns while riding and mitigate any risk of injuries.
So do you need hiking boots for snowboarding, or do you need snowboard boots specifically?
Let’s take a quick look at the features of snowboard boots and hiking boots before going into detail on both:
|Snowboard Boots||Hiking Boots|
|Ankle Support||Yes, up to your calves||Only for high-top hiking boots|
|Insulation||Well insulated||Not all, insulation options are available|
|Sizing||Bulky & heavy, fits well in snowboard bindings||Usually lighter and less bulky, may not fit well in snowboard bindings|
- Hiking Boots
Hiking boots are designed for trekking. Many hiking boots are waterproof, allowing your feet to stay dry when in contact with moisture and snow.
Their stiff sole also provides support for your ankle during your treks. However, the ankle support provided by hiking boots may not be enough compared to that provided by snowboard boots.
Besides that, some hiking boots may not be large or bulky enough to fit securely within the snowboard bindings. Trust me, you don’t want to risk your foot slipping out of the binding and sailing across the slopes, do you?
- Snowboard Boots
Snowboard boots on the other hand are designed specifically for snowboarding activities, so they provide the required comfort, stability, and support.
The sizing of the boots is perfect to fit into the snowboard bindings, allowing for greater control of the snowboard by the rider and a much safer ride. This is important, especially for beginners.
What Makes Your Hiking Boots Work For Snowboarding
Now, if you’re still wondering can you use hiking boots for snowboarding, I’m sure you considered the features of hiking boots that make them a seemingly convincing option.
Here is where I need to point out an important note – yes, hiking boots may work for snowboarding, but NOT ALL hiking boots.
Winter hiking boots, in particular, may be used before you make the transition to snowboarding boots.
So when can you use hiking boots for snowboarding?
Winter hiking boots may be useful if your snowboarding activity includes hiking in the snow as well. They provide adequate grip and traction for your hike.
Besides that, snowboard boots are much heavier, whereas hiking boots are lighter and more comfortable.
This makes it easier to lug around all your snowboarding gear without the additional weight on your feet when you’re climbing up a hill or mountain to snowboard on.
But what features should you look out for in your winter hiking boots that would make them work for snowboard hiking?
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Firstly, it is extremely important that your hiking boots are waterproof.
You do not want to be in a situation where your shoes and socks become wet due to all the melted snow coming into contact with your feet while trudging through snow.
Wet shoes and socks are a recipe for disaster – not only is it immensely cold and uncomfortable, but this can lead to painful blisters and other complications. You want to avoid moisture penetrating through your hiking boots as much as possible.
Secondly, you want to make sure your hiking boots provide fantastic support for your feet and ankles.
This is important for both snowboard hiking as well as snowboarding, as your movements are very much guided by your feet and ankle muscles.
Great insulation is very important when snowboarding or snowboarding hiking as you will be dealing with exceedingly cold temperatures.
A good pair of insulated hiking boots paired with merino wool socks will be able to keep your feet warm and comfortable.
While it is possible to make winter hiking boots work for snowboarding, it is not recommended to use this in the long run.
A good pair of snowboard boots will serve the purpose much better as it is, after all, designed for that exact purpose.
Which would lead us to the next part – how do you choose the right snowboard boots?
Choosing The Right Snowboard Boots
As with all footwear, the correct pair of snowboard boots can ensure a much more pleasant experience on the mountain.
Hence it is essential to pick the right pair to accompany you on your adventures.
So what do you look for?
1. Comfort And Fitting
- It is important to note that sizing may differ across brands, so it will not be a good idea to assume your sizes would be similar for different brands.
- Your feet tend to swell slightly during the later part of the day, so I would recommend shopping for boots during the afternoon or evening for a more accurate fit.
- Wear your snowboarding socks when trying out your snowboard boots to ensure that you pick the correct size.
- When trying out your snowboard boots, lace it up fully and then stand up and get your toes to do a little wiggle.
- You have to ensure the fit is snug from the top of your foot right up to your ankles, but not overly tight to the point of being uncomfortable.
- Your toes should lightly touch the toecap of your boots, and the rear of the boots should not have any space so that your heel is firmly planted into the heel cup.
- There should be only slight resistance when you lean forward, but overall you should be able to move comfortably without feeling too restricted.
- As tempted as you are to apply the same principle you use when buying shoes – picking sizes with a little room, especially around the toe area, do not do this when buying your snowboard boots.
- Your boots will tend to pack out over time, sometimes even up to half a size!
- So it is essential that you bear this in mind when determining the right size for your boots
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2. Riding Style
The second thing to consider when choosing your snowboard boots is your riding style and your preferred terrain, which in turn affects your choice of boot flex (which I’ll get into next).
Which one do you identify most with? Let’s take a look at each riding style:
Most riders identify with this style of riding, as this basically covers all terrains over the entire mountain that can be covered by a snowboard. This is also the style many newbies identify with while they experiment with different terrains throughout the mountain.
This riding style is usually for more advanced riders who favor speed, and involves many different snow conditions as these are untracked and ungroomed terrains (off-piste terrain).
This style of riding is usually used in terrains that require more maneuvering and jumps, for example in snowboard parks, and involves a lot more spins, flips, and jumps – mostly fun-driven.
3. Boot Flex
Boot flex very much depends on the type of riding style you adopt as a snowboarder, and come in soft, medium, and stiff.
In general, riding styles focusing on speed and precision will favor stiffer models as they are more responsive, whereas recreational riding and freestyling would require softer models that are easier to maneuver.
Here is a summary of the recommended boot flex according to your riding style:
|Riding Style||Boot Flex|
|All Mountain||Medium flex|
4. Lacing Systems
There are three main snowboard lacing systems which all work to ensure your feet are fitted well and comfortably within your boots. It is up to you to decide which system you’re most comfortable with based on personal preference and your riding style.
1. Traditional laces
This is a foolproof, fuss-free option that allows you to lace up your boots according to the fit that you are most comfortable with.
What I like:
- Replacement laces are easy to obtain and generally inexpensive
- Easy to put on and remove boots by losing the laces
- Snugness of the boot is evenly distributed throughout your foot and ankle
What I dislike:
- Difficult to handle laces while wearing gloves
- Prone to loosening during snowboarding
2. Quick-pull Laces
This lacing system is quick and allows you to adjust the tightness of the upper (ankle) and lower (lower leg & feet) portions of your snowboard boots independently of each other using two quick-pull laces.
What I like:
- Quick and convenient, even with gloves
- Independent customization of upper and lower fit of boots
- Lace-pulls can be neatly tucked away into the sides of the boots
What I dislike:
- Sometimes prone to loosening
- Strength is required to pull and tighten properly
3. Boa System
The Boa System lacing system works by turning a dial which in turn tightens the wires (which are used in place of laces) that goes within the boot shell. The dial can also be pulled out to release the wires.
What I like:
- Can be done one-handed and with gloves
- Allows for a very precise fit
- Quick, and can be done even during snowboarding
What I dislike:
- Snowboard boots with this lacing system are usually more expensive
- Unable to independently adjust upper and lower parts of the boot
- Additional parts required by the lacing system can result in heavier boots
5. Boot Liners
Liners make up the inner part of a snowboard boot and are usually made from EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) which is similar to the composition of running shoes. EVA provides insulation, cushioning, and stability.
Most liners are removable, so you will be able to air them out to dry them after your snowboarding activities.
6. Snowboard Socks
The right choice of socks is also essential when snowboarding, and has to be paired well with your snowboarding boots.
You want to avoid wearing multiple layers of socks to keep yourself warm. Not only does this add unnecessary bulk, but it also affects your stance when snowboarding.
Instead, go for snowboarding socks that have moisture-wicking properties, and work to keep you warm and comfortable in freezing conditions without having to bundle up.
Affordable Snowboarding Boots
Okay, okay, so we now know that a good pair of snowboarding boots are pretty much a must. Does that mean this should burn a hole in your pocket?
I’ve rounded up 3 of the most affordable snowboarding boots that won’t break the bank!
This pair of snowboard boots are suitable for different snowboarding conditions, comfortable, and only take around ten days to break in.
Ability Level: Beginner-Intermediate
This pair of snowboard boots are comfortable, and easy to put on and remove. Perfect for beginners and doesn’t take long to break in.
Lacing: Speed Lacing
Ability Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Long lasting and easy to use, this pair of boots looks good and is suitable for all ability levels.
Ability Level: All
FAQs On Can You Use Hiking Boots For Snowboarding
Can Hiking Shoes Be Used As Snow Boots?
Yes, hiking shoes can be used as snow boots in certain conditions. You can wear your hiking boots in snow only in light snow conditions. For heavier snow conditions, it would be better to invest in a good pair of snow boots.
What Boots Do You Wear For Snowboarding?
Wondering what boots do you wear for snowboarding? It is best to wear real snowboard boots for snowboarding as explained in this article. Snowboard boots are designed to provide the best ankle support and fit securely within the bindings to ensure a safe and comfortable riding experience.
Do Boots Matter For Snowboarding?
Yes. Boots matter for snowboarding. Snowboard boots are arguably the most important part of your snowboard gear and play a huge part in ensuring you have a pleasant experience snowboarding on the mountain.
It is important to ensure your snowboard boots have the right fit and is secure within your snowboard bindings.
Is There A Difference Between Hiking Boots And Snow Boots?
So, is there a difference between hiking boots and snow boots? Yes, there is a difference between hiking boots and snow boots. The difference between hiking boots and snow boots is that hiking boots are sturdier and give your foot more protection, ankle support, and traction on uneven ground.
Snow boots work best in conditions of heavy snow, but may be uncomfortable when used to walk for a longer duration and on icy, slippery surfaces.
So can I use hiking boots in snow?
Yes! As long as you’re walking or hiking in light snow conditions, your hiking boots would be a perfectly suitable choice of footwear.
And now if anyone asks you ‘can you use hiking boots for snowboarding’, you’re well informed!
While it may be possible to use some hiking boots for snowboarding (provided they have the necessary features we spoke about), you will eventually want to buy a proper pair of snowboard boots.
And now that you know of affordable options as well, you won’t need to break the bank for your newfound passion.
Share this with anyone you know who’s venturing into snowboarding, and do check out our other guides as well!