An Expert Guide to ThirtyTwo Snowboard BootsPublished on 07/29/2023 · 10 min readExplore the peak of snowboarding performance with our expert guide to ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots. Discover ultimate comfort and control on the slopes!
Photo by Lizzaveta S.
TL;DR: Unlike many snowboard companies that produce a variety of snowboard equipment, ThirtyTwo focuses solely on boots, and this focus on their craft has made it one of the industry's most well-known snowboard boot brands. They sell boots for all skill levels, riding styles, and sizes, so it’s safe to say they offer options for everyone. When choosing your boots, it is important to consider your experience level, preferred terrain, shoe size, budget, lacing system preference, and unique features from ThirtyTwo.
You could say I’m a bit of a snowboard gearhead. I’ve been riding for 11 years and have been involved in the snowboarding industry for the past six years. During this time, I’ve had the chance to research most of the snowboard gear you can buy today, totally nerd out over the technical specs of various products, and test out a ton of gear firsthand when riding in places like Vermont, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska! All of this experience has helped me tremendously when helping customers both in-person at the snowboard shop I worked for and right here on Curated.
ThirtyTwo was established in 1995 in California, and the brand has been led by snowboarders since day one. They’ve focused their efforts on snowboard boots and outerwear apparel for both men and women. Over the years, they’ve become known for quality and introducing various technical innovations that previously never existed in snowboard boots (which we’ll explore later). All of their products are tested and approved by their team of athletes before being released to the public for sale. This team includes legendary riders like Jeremy Jones, Scott Stevens, and Zeb Powell, some of the world's best riders. If ThirtyTwo boots are good enough for them, chances are they’re also good enough for you!
What to Consider When Buying ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots
1. Do ThirtyTwo Boots Run True to Size?
ThirtyTwo states that their products run true to size, and they suggest ordering their boots in your normal shoe size. However, many people don’t know their true shoe size. Trust me on this one. While working in a shop where we measured people’s feet before fitting them with snowboard boots, about 75% of people hadn’t a different shoe size than what they initially wrote down when they filled out their paperwork. Therefore, properly measuring your foot before ordering your snowboard boots is a good idea.
2. How Much Do ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots Cost?
ThirtyTwo boots can range in price quite a bit, anywhere from about $200 to $700. However, most riders will likely be just fine with a pair in the $200-$400 range. Remember, a more expensive boot isn’t always better; in fact, it can be worse if it’s not suited for your ability level or preferred riding style. Believe it or not, snowboard boots are your most important investment and will make a bigger difference than your bindings and board. Therefore, buying your boots with your abilities and riding style in mind is crucial, not just the cost.
3. What Is Your Snowboarding Ability Level and Riding Style?
As mentioned above, knowing your ability level and riding style are crucial to choosing the right boots from ThirtyTwo. Ability level is somewhat easy to gauge as trails at a ski resort are typically rated accordingly: green circle (beginner), blue square (intermediate), black diamond (advanced), and double black/triple black diamond (expert). While these ratings aren’t standardized across all ski resorts, knowing what trail rating you can comfortably ride at your local mountain gives you a decent idea of your ability level.
Typically, beginners wear softer flexing boots as they’re more comfortable and forgiving. In contrast, advanced and expert riders wear stiffer flexing boots as they offer more response and control.
Your riding style is a little more subjective. Some people like to ride only groomed trails, seek out ungroomed off-piste riding, and spend their days in the terrain park doing tricks. Many people also like to dabble in a bit of everything, and that’s alright too! You don’t need to fall neatly into any of these categories, but consider what sort of terrain you enjoy the most. Knowing this will come in handy in the next section when we look at the different types of boots that ThirtyTwo sells.
What Are the Different Types of ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots?
What Are the Different Types of ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots?
While snowboards and snowboard bindings are typically broken into all-mountain, freestyle, and freeride/powder categories, this isn’t the best way to consider the different snowboard boots. It’s better to think of the other boots that ThirtyTwo produces in terms of their flex: soft, medium, or stiff.
Soft Flexing Boots
Soft flexing boots have the most flex or give to them and offer a few distinct benefits and drawbacks. First and foremost, they’re typically the most comfortable boots. Therefore, they’re best suited for beginners or those who prioritize comfort. This also means they work well for riders who want a larger range of movement which can be beneficial when doing specific freestyle tricks like butters or presses. However, soft flexing boots are more comfortable but also lack responsiveness. This means that you can’t ride as aggressively with these boots, and they’re not a good option when you get into steeper and gnarlier terrain requiring an instant response.
- Comfort-focused: great for beginners or those who hate sore legs
- Offer a larger range of movement than stiffer flexing boots
- Typically cheaper than stiffer flexing boots
- Not as responsive as stiffer flexing boots
- Typically break down faster than stiffer flexing boots
Examples: ThirtyTwo Shifty BOA boots, ThirtyTwo STW BOA boots, ThirtyTwo Shifty boots Medium Flexing Boots Medium flexing boots offer a compromise between soft and stiff flexing boots. They are a great boot option for most riders who are all-mountain oriented. They have a good balance of comfort and stability and are reasonably priced.
- Good balance of comfort and performance
- Suitable for almost any type of rider
- Great quality and price compromise
- Suitable for all types of riding but not the best at anything
Stiff Flexing Boots
Stiff flexing boots will offer the most responsiveness and a more powerful ride, but this comes at the expense of some comfort. Some riders will argue that everyone (true beginners excluded) should ride a stiff flexing boot as the response and precision you can get from them are unmatched and can make a huge difference in your confidence when riding. However, these are typically the most expensive type of boot and are probably unnecessary for the casual rider.
- Offer the most control, precision, and a more powerful ride
- Typically a very good build quality
- Typically the most expensive option
- Unnecessary for the casual rider
Features to Look for in ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots
Below are two lists of features to look for in your next pair of ThirtyTwo boots. The first list includes generalized boot features important for any brand, and the second one comprises key features specific to ThirtyTwo boots.
General features to consider:
- Flex: As we’ve covered extensively in the section above, the flex of your boot plays a huge role in how the boot will perform, with each flex rating having its own advantages and drawbacks.
- Fit: If a boot does not fit properly, it will not perform well and make your life miserable. You should be able to easily feel your toes at the end of the boot when you first receive them; a little bit of pressure there is fine. Snowboard boot inner liners get bigger as you use them; as they do this, they’ll become more comfortable/feel like they fit better. If the boots fit perfectly as soon as you try them on (and your toes aren’t touching the end), they will be too big for you after a few days of riding.
- Lacing Systems: Snowboard boots typically use either BOAs (single or double), laces, or a combination of the two to tighten. BOAs are simple and easy to use but are typically more expensive to repair. Some people prefer laces as they’re cheaper. In contrast, others prefer a hybrid system which is supposed to provide the best locked-in feeling possible. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Now, let's look at some ThirtyTwo-specific features and technologies! Remember, not all features will be present in all models, so choose according to your needs.
- Performance Fit Liners: One standout feature of ThirtyTwo boots is their heat-moldable liners which can be used to get a custom fit to your foot. This head-molding process can make the boots feel more comfortable and provide excellent heel hold by creating a customized, secure fit.
- 3D Molded Tongues: This technology helps eliminate pressure points and provides more support to the foot, improving the fit of the boot and providing a smoother flex.
- STI Evolution Foam: This foam offers lightweight cushioning in the outsoles of some ThirtyTwo boots. This can reduce foot fatigue and provide better impact absorption when riding, which is particularly helpful if you’re catching a lot of airtime.
- Storm Shield: This is a weatherproofing technology used in some models, making them extra waterproof, ensuring that your feet stay dry no matter the conditions
- Articulated Cuff: This design element allows the upper and lower section of the boot to flex independently, creating more fluid motions and reducing shell distortion so your boot lasts longer.
How to Choose the Right ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots for You
Below are a couple of scenarios of snowboarders we’ve helped here on Curated! We’ll look at their needs, features they should look for in a pair of boots, and what boots from ThirtyTwo might be best suited for them. Think of this as a mental exercise where you put all the above information to work!
Jamie is a beginner snowboarder who has picked up the sport because it’s something to do with her friends in the winter. She wants her own set-up so she doesn’t have to deal with rentals but isn’t looking to be anything more than a casual snowboarder. She wants convenience and comfort and doesn’t want to spend too much money.
Features to look for:
- Soft flexing boot for comfort and at a low price point
- Either lace for a good price value or a single BOA tightening system for convenience
Brandon is a big-time snowboarder who wants the best possible snowboard boots to enhance his snowboarding. He’s looking for performance and responsiveness when he tackles the steepest and deepest terrain across Colorado this winter!
Features to look for:
- Stiff flexing boots for a powerful ride
- Double BOA or hybrid lacing system for the best locked-in feeling
ThirtyTwo boots to consider: ThirtyTwo TM-2 Double BOA, ThirtyTwo JONES MTB BOA
Tommy is an intermediate snowboarder looking for his first new pair of boots after rocking a used pair for his first snowboarding season. He wants these boots to be versatile for any type of terrain and would prefer laces because he’s had bad experiences with BOAs in the past.
Features to look for:
- Medium flexing boot for a balance of versatility and comfort in different types of terrain
- Lace tightening system for simplicity and affordability
ThirtyTwo boots to consider: ThirtyTwo Lashed, ThirtyTwo TM-2 XLT Diggers
Find the Ideal Pair of ThirtyTwo Snowboard Boots
Ideally, after reading this article, you’ve gotten a feel for ThirtyTwo boots and what they’re all about! This guide is meant to serve as a starting point for your research into ThirtyTwo products; however, this doesn’t have to be the end of your research phase with Curated. That’s because, at Curated, you can chat (for free) with a Snowboarding Expert like myself to determine the best board, bindings, or boots for you based on all your specific needs and wants! It takes only a few minutes to connect with me or one of my fellow Snowboarding Experts and start chatting. There’s no obligation to purchase anything or any hidden fees. If you’re interested, you can get started here!