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Old 10-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why Stiff or Soft boots

Hey guys,
I am at a point where I have to reinvest in some boots this year as my current ones hurt my feet last year...I believe they were just simply to small. I currently have Burton Rulers.
When i purchased these boots I was not looking into how good, soft, stiff the boot was as I was getting my board and bindings at the same time which carried more interest to me.
Can someone explain to me what a stiff/soft boot does for your riding..how it helps or hurts and what style of riding requires which type of boot.
Afterwards please recommend a boot for me as I currently am riding a 156 SL w/ cartel bindings...I'm an intermediate boarder that simply rides groomers and definitely look to go into some trees this year but not a park guy at all just like to jump off of lil natural features when I see em. OK...Look forward to your posts
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Well the basic rule is:

Freestyle/Park = soft
Freeriding = mid
Aggressive/racing = stiff

Or you could also say its personal preference... Myself, I ride super soft boots and tie them loose and I like that in the park as well as charging or dropping chutes (thats just me though).

For the riding you described I would recommend a mid flex boot, something like you already had. Just make sure it fits. I've made the mistake of buying tight boots hoping they will pack out, not cool. Make sure they feel good from the start.


To elaborate though. A softer boot will give you more movement in your ankles and feet, better for pressing, grabs and anything where you need mobility and flex. You will feel the board more, and the snow. I enjoy that but they come with less support and your feet can also tire quicker if riding hard.

Stiffer boots will obviously be a little harder to press, and harder to flex so its harder to grab your board and do freestyle. That doesn't mean you can't though. They will help you dig into hard carves, support your ankles in chop and shit and help transfer energy into your board.

Personally I like to have the mobility, I have strong feet/ankles and I don't like the restraining feeling of a stiff boot, I find it easier to carve in a softer boot and I like to feel everything. That being said, there have been times where I caught and edge while crashing and jarred my ankle and that didn't feel good, a stiffer boot would have helped me there.

Hopefully that helps, I'm sure more people will chime in with their opinions.

Last edited by Casual; 10-03-2013 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I like stiff boots because I like to carve as hard as possible (when there's not fresh snow it's my favorite thing to do) and for that purpose an ultra stiff, resposive boot and binding combo helps you feel everything and make split second adjustments while charging.

Think of it like a cars suspension. For racing you want super low, super stiff suspension with tires that have very stiff sidewalls. For all around driving you want something in the middle.

I'd go with casuals advice, buy something in the mid-range that fits you really well. Although I find for me boots do pack out a little bit... I have to buy them a little too snug and then wear them around the house for a day before hitting the snow with them.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I also like stiff boots for carving and riding fast. I don't jump really at all, but do ride switch as much as possible for practice.

The car suspension analogy is a good one.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poutanen View Post
I'd go with casuals advice, buy something in the mid-range that fits you really well. Although I find for me boots do pack out a little bit... I have to buy them a little too snug and then wear them around the house for a day before hitting the snow with them.
Ya it's a fine line between snug and too small. They all pack out, the question is how much.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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general rule of thumb:

Soft = freestyle
Usually softer boots are best for park. The flexibility is a must for park riders, it allows for more for a more forgiving landing off jumps, forgiving on weight distribution on jibs, and tweakability.

Stiff = freeride
Generally a rider whose style is more freeride wants stiffer boots for the response. Having more response on the mountain allows a rider to make those fine tune adjustments while carving and such. This was a fairly general response lol
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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They both have their trade-offs. I like a stiff boot for stability at speed and landing bigger jumps. I like soft boots for jibbing. If you get mid stiff boot of low quality it will turn to mush fairly quickly. There are a lot of variables to consider when buying a boot based on flex.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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All excellent responses and SO QUICK TOO! Thanks guys...did you guys have any decent suggestions for a boot with a mid stiffness? I'd prefer something with a Boa but its not necessary.

Thanks again snowboard Gods!
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'll elaborate using an example I experienced with stiff boots in the park.

Essentially, the stiff boots I was using were very responsive, giving the board input from the smallest of weight/pressure changes or body movements. This makes carving more effortless, but when taking off from jumps, it caused some issues for me. When I would take off for a straight air, the slightest pressure on my heel or toe would put pressure on that respective edge, and make the board fly all kinds of crazy directions when I would take off. A more flexible boot wouldn't have transmitted as much energy to the edge, making take-offs that much easier.

Obviously technique could have solved this issue, but I switched to a softer boot and it helped immediately.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engage_mike View Post
All excellent responses and SO QUICK TOO! Thanks guys...did you guys have any decent suggestions for a boot with a mid stiffness? I'd prefer something with a Boa but its not necessary.
Were you happy with the Rulers except for their size? I've been happy with Burton durability, can't speak for anything else in the last 5 years or so. Try a bunch on in the mid-range and go with what fits best.
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