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Old 09-29-2013, 08:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Beginner Boot Questions

I mentioned in my introduction post a few weeks ago that I'm from Atlanta, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that I'm not having any luck finding an experienced boot fitter. Yeah, it sucks - but I live here for now. I figured I need to start my setup with boots and then worry about the bindings / board. Those questions will come next...

There are really only two shops and I tried both this weekend. One of them said "the guy that knows snowboards" would be in during the week and he would be able to fit me properly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but thought I'd turn to this community for some advice.

I tried on a bunch of boots just to get a feel for them and the different systems (traditional lacing, fast track, and dual boa). I also watched a few videos online on proper boot fitting beforehand. Here are my questions based on my experience this weekend:

1) As a beginner, everything I read says that a softer boot would be easier. I really don't plan on riding much in the park, so I'd say I'm most interested in groomers / glades / backcountry (not anytime soon). Would I be better off going with a mid-flex boot given my riding preference or will it just make learning more difficult? I was worried that too soft of a boot would suck later in the season as I get more comfortable riding.
2) How reliable is the boa system? Do the cables break often or do most people have good luck with them? I read that sometimes people catch the cords when they ride lifts with their board resting on their back foot.
3) Is slight heel movement ok? I walked around in each pair for 10 to 15 minutes and flexed at the knees, etc. to see how things felt. I was able to dial in on the sizing as far as the toe box was concerned for the 32s and K2s I tried on. However, I could feel my heel rise up about a 1/4 inch or so when I flexed my knees on the pair that felt the best.
4) I'm planning on trying a number of boots to find the one that fits my feet best...I really don't care about the look of them or brand. However, there are so many damn boots to choose from. I'd appreciate any advice on at least a few that I should test out. So far I've tried on 32 Lashed, 32 Lashed FT, 32 Prion, K2 Maysis, K2 Ryker, Burton Ambush, and Burton Ruler. I plan on buying from my local board shop to help support them given the slim pickings already in my area. Any help to at least narrow down the list on what might work for a beginner like me would be helpful.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated. This community has been great so far, so thanks in advance for your patience and help.

Last edited by DevilWithin; 09-29-2013 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This season will be my 3rd, so hopefully I can give you some newbie insight.

1) I was miserable in softer boots. Last season I bought some 32 TM Two's which are a medium stiff (7 out of 10) and I couldn't be happier. Softer boots make you work harder in my opinion, riding seems a lot easier in the new boots.
2) Everyone with BOA seems to like it. I went with a traditional boot because that's what I preferred, I can tie in 2 locations if I decide I want part of the boot a different tightness. And I like the simplicity of laces.
3) I don't think you should have any lift. I don't.
4) Go with whatever fits best, it seems like some brands and models are made for different shapes of feet. Definitely have them heat mold the liners, I heat molded my boots myself and they fit awesome.

You are on the right track for sure buying at a shop, I wasn't able to and got lucky picking the boots I did. Starting off with boots and then picking out bindings and board seems to be what most people recommend. I bought bindings at the end of last season because I found a good deal, and the last piece of the puzzle (board) is in the mail right now. Demo a lot of boards and see what you like.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks KansasNoob! I appreciate the quick response and it's good to hear from someone that can still remember being a complete noob.

1) Cool -- I was thinking that a medium stiffness would better suit me and it sounds like you had a similar experience.
2) I started out thinking traditional laces would work best, but the dual boas I tried fit pretty well. Again, toe and heel fit are going to be most important. I just didn't want to rule out the boa system since some of the boots felt good with it.
3) Ok, thanks for letting me know. My guess is that it has more to do with me needing to secure them a bit more. I'll make sure to tweak the laces even more when I go back.
4) Right on...thanks.

Again, I appreciate the quick response. If anything, it just helps confirm some of what I've been researching. Problem is you can research things to death and I can easily fall into that trap since the mountains are so far away from me. I can't wait to get some real world experience once the season opens though.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You will have a blast, especially with good boots under you. I had awful rental boots my first couple times and still had a blast. I feel your pain being a long ways from the mountains. My closest hill is approximately 3 hours away, and I've never been there. I figure it's worth the money to go to the mountains. I can say it's more fun each time I go. There are lots of experts on here that can point you in the right direction if you have specific boot questions. There are lots of things you can do to improve the fit, hopefully your shop knows their stuff.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilWithin View Post
I mentioned in my introduction post a few weeks ago that I'm from Atlanta, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that I'm not having any luck finding an experienced boot fitter. Yeah, it sucks - but I live here for now. I figured I need to start my setup with boots and then worry about the bindings / board. Those questions will come next...

There are really only two shops and I tried both this weekend. One of them said "the guy that knows snowboards" would be in during the week and he would be able to fit me properly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but thought I'd turn to this community for some advice.

I tried on a bunch of boots just to get a feel for them and the different systems (traditional lacing, fast track, and dual boa). I also watched a few videos online on proper boot fitting beforehand. Here are my questions based on my experience this weekend:

1) As a beginner, everything I read says that a softer boot would be easier. I really don't plan on riding much in the park, so I'd say I'm most interested in groomers / glades / backcountry (not anytime soon). Would I be better off going with a mid-flex boot giving my riding preference or will it just make learning more difficult? I was worried that too soft of a boot would suck later in the season as I get more comfortable riding.
2) How reliable is the boa system? Do the cables break often or do most people have good luck with them? I read that sometimes people catch the cords when they ride lifts with their board resting on their back foot.
3) Is slight heel movement ok? I walked around in each pair for 10 to 15 minutes and flexed at the knees, etc. to see how things felt. I was able to dial in on the sizing as far as the toe box was concerned for the 32s and K2s I tried on. However, I could feel my heel rise up about a 1/4 inch or so when I flexed my knees on the pair that felt the best.
4) I'm planning on trying a number of boots to find the one that fits my feet best...I really don't care about the look of them or brand. However, there are so many damn boots to choose from. I'd appreciate any advice on at least a few that I should test out. So far I've tried on 32 Lashed, 32 Lashed FT, 32 Prion, K2 Maysis, K2 Ryker, Burton Ambush, and Burton Ruler. I plan on buying from my local board shop to help support them given the slim pickings already in my area. Any help to at least narrow down the list on what might work for a beginner like me would be helpful.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated. This community has been great so far, so thanks in advance for your patience and help.
GA not exactly prime snowboarding territory, but Atlanta is a big place and as a result there are quite a few shops - it will just take some effort to check them all. Peter Glenn, BC, REI, Rocky Mountain, Ambush, etc.

Re. your questions:
1) A medium to soft boot is not going to hold you back anytime soon. It will take much more than a season to 'outgrow' them.
2) Like everything in life, Boas sometimes break. But Boa cables break much less frequently than traditional laces - just depending on the boot it might more of a PITA to replace the cable. Re. resting your board on the boot, solution is simple: Don't do it (and anyway, it would destroy traditional or speed laces even more quickly).
3) That is way too much heel lift - ideally you should not have any, especially in brand new boots (they will pack out and heel lift will increase over time).
4) Just try to and see what fits - all feet are different. If you give us some indication of the shape of your feet (wide/narrow, high/low arch, high/low instep, etc.) we might be able to give you some guidance.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilWithin View Post
Thanks KansasNoob! I appreciate the quick response and it's good to hear from someone that can still remember being a complete noob.

1) Cool -- I was thinking that a medium stiffness would better suit me and it sounds like you had a similar experience.
2) I started out thinking traditional laces would work best, but the dual boas I tried fit pretty well. Again, toe and heel fit are going to be most important. I just didn't want to rule out the boa system since some of the boots felt good with it.
3) Ok, thanks for letting me know. My guess is that it has more to do with me needing to secure them a bit more. I'll make sure to tweak the laces even more when I go back.
4) Right on...thanks.

Again, I appreciate the quick response. If anything, it just helps confirm some of what I've been researching. Problem is you can research things to death and I can easily fall into that trap since the mountains are so far away from me. I can't wait to get some real world experience once the season opens though.
Disagree with 1). Very generally speaking you want something in the 3-5 rage (out of 10). Stiffer boots can feel a little easier initially, but can really hinder progression.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks hktrdr...I appreciate the response. I've been to both Peter Glenn and Ambush. Unfortunately, REI doesn't carry ski/snowboard boots in Atlanta -- they don't have a snow sports department. I think they may carry goggles, but that is about it. I forgot about Backcountry though...assuming that is what you meant by BC. I'll give them a call to see if they carry Snowboarding gear this week. Rocky Mountain is kind of a funny place -- they sell patio furniture most of the year and then stock ski/snowboard equipment in the fall / winter. I didn't think I'd get a good boot fitter there, but it might be worth a shot. They are just down the street from Peter Glenn.

My feet are normal width and size 9.5. I also have a low arch. Instep is pretty normal as well. For reference, I initially tried on the 32 Lashed in a size 9 thinking they would be snug and they actually had my toes curling. The 9.5's fit much better. Snug up front with my toes just touching the front when I stood up.

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hktrdr View Post
GA not exactly prime snowboarding territory,. Peter Glenn, BC, REI, Rocky Mountain, Ambush, etc.
BC surf and sport and REI do not carry snowboarding gear here.

Peter Glenn, Ambush have decent selection. Rocky Mountain sells patio furniture till about mid October but they will have a good selection as well. Sun and Ski is a clearance store with some good deals but no experenced staff. The only one with 2014 gear in is Peter Glenn. Wait about two weeks and they will have new stuff out. The dude at Peter Glenn knows his shit and is a really cool dude.

Last edited by Mystery2many; 09-29-2013 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks Mystery2many -- I think we both hit the reply button at the same time.

Good to know that the dude at Peter Glenn actually knows his shit. They said this weekend that he was the manager and a snowboarder, so to come back during the week when he works and he'd be able to fit me properly. They had a good bit of 2014 stuff already in. Ambush only had last seasons stuff and they said give them 2 - 4 weeks for the 2014 boots. The guys at Ambush were cool, but definitely didn't know a ton about fitting snowboard boots. It sounded like they know everything based on what the boot company reps trained them on.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Haha. Yea I think we did. Oh by the way Peter Glenn is having a big sale Oct 3-10.
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