Buying Advice

Splitboard Specific Boots | Do I NEED THEM?

Author: Simon Coward

As an aspiring splitboarder, you may be wondering if splitboard specific boots are really necessary. With a relatively high upfront cost of getting a full setup, we can’t blame you.

Just like anything, splitboard specific boots have their pros and cons and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. So, let’s dive into why you might (or not) want to invest in splitboard specific boots.

Are Splitboard Specific Boots Necessary?

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. All snowboarding boots are compatible with splitboard soft boot bindings, with maybe the exception of some late 90’s step-in binding style boots.

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.

Benefits 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.


    The Drawbacks of Splitboarding Boots

    Even with the technology and design that goes into these boots, there are some ‘downsides’ to them. This is based on personal experience so please take it 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 come with a higher price tag.

  • 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.