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.