Should I get Specific Boots for Splitboarding
At Splitboard HQ we're often asked: "Should I get specific boots for splitboarding?" With the relatively high upfront cost of getting a full setup, aspiring splitboarders are often looking for ways to keep the budget in check. This short article will help you understand why you might (or might not) want to invest in splitboard specific boots.
Splitboard Specific Boots
YOU DON’T NEED SPLITBOARD SPECIFIC BOOTS
This is very important to understand: you can splitboard with your resort boots!
Regardless of age and quality, you can use your resort boots for splitboarding. Splitboard specific boots, although they have a bunch of features that are very valuable in the backcountry, they don't come cheap.
All snowboarding boots are compatible with splitboard (soft boot) bindings, with maybe the exception of some of those late 90’s step-in binding style boots.
NOTE: if you're looking at a hardboot splitboarding setup, that is a whole different conversation we'll cover in a future post.
SO, WHY BUY A SPLITBOARD SPECIFIC BOOT?
You may ask, if I can use my resort snowboard boots, why would I drop the cash to get splitboard specific snowboarding boots? A great question and not a one size fits all answer!
In my personal opinion, if you're starting out, I don't necessarily recommend you rush out to buy a split specific boot model.
That being said, there are a bunch of benefits to having a splitboard specific boot. As you would expect, splitboard boots are designed with the rigours of backcountry riding in mind.
PROS OF SPLITBOARD SPECIFIC BOOTS
Reinforcement in high wear areas specific to splitboarding -- primarily, the wear and tear of climbing in splitboard bindings
Vibram soles with ¾ or full shanks. This provides a grippy sole, that is rigid to minimize calf fatigue while bootpacking
Toe and/or heel bails for easy, fast, and secure crampon use
Thermo moldable boot liners. These can be molded much like a ski boot for best fit, comfort and performance
Higher end models offer a ‘climbing’ mode which increases range of motion when climbing. These perform similarly to ski touring boots
- Advanced Lacing Systems that allow you to adjust tightness to varying levels in multiple parts of the boot (Upper, Lower, and Power Strap)
As there are a limited number of splitboard bindings on the market (unlike regular snowboard bindings), splitboard boot models are designed to fit well with all major brand splitboard bindings
CONS OF SPLITBOARD SPECIFIC BOOTS
With everything, there is a ying and a yang. Splitboard specific boots are no different. Even with the technology and design that goes into these boots, there are some ‘downsides’ to them. This is purely anecdotal and from personal experience so please take with a suitably sized grain of salt:
The Vibram soles are typically quite thick. For those used to riding resort boots, it will feel like you're quite high off the board until you get used to them
Some (not all) models will feel heavier than your resort boots, especially if you ride lighter weight, softer resort boots
Although there's a lot of value in them, they aren't cheap
With any new boots comes a breaking-in period. Blisters aren't uncommon on the first few outings. A good boot fitting can really help with this
A truly splitboard specific boot isn't really a one size fits all replacement for your resort boots, so you may still want a pair of resort boots. There are also many backcountry boots that thread the line between splitboard and resort boots. For those who are looking for a one boot solution, see Deeluxe AREth RIN
SPLITBOARD SPECIFIC BOOT PRICING
Splitboard specific boots, due to the higher-end materials and design features, don’t really have entry-level price point options. The range is around $475 - $900 CAD.
Higher-end splitboard specific boots typically have all the features listed above. As the price gets lower, you'll sacrifice some features (most notably the climbing mode) at each price drop.
If you're a splitboarder getting setup for the first time, splitboard specific boots are your lowest priority as far as gear purchasing goes. But if in your budget, they'll save your resort boots from getting trashed whilst splitboarding. The advanced backcountry specific features are game changers for comfort and ease of use.
If you're an experienced splitboarder and you haven’t yet bit the bullet on splitboard specific boots, it is well worth considering.
If your days ARE NOT just straightforward pow days in the trees, ie. you are going on long missions, boot packing, moving in technical terrain and/or you have aspirations for more technical mountaineering style objectives, splitboard specific boots are well worth the money.
We hope this has been a useful article. Check out further Splitboard related articles in the links below and feel free to contact us for more information.
Other Splitboarding Articles
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