BOA vs Lace Snowboard Boots – The Ultimate Showdown!

by Fraser

Any snowboarder worth their salt knows that boots are the most important part of your gear. Good boots will keep your feet warm and comfy, all whilst providing excellent performance. Choose yours wisely!

One of the most difficult choices to make is the lacing system. So today we’re going to talk about BOA vs Lace snowboard boots. Which is better for you?

Go with a traditional laced boot if you are looking for a more snug and customisable fit. If you are looking for a fast entry system and don’t want to tie your boots manually, then a BOA boot is probably for you. Both lace and BOA boots have their advantages and disadvantages; in the end it boils down to personal preference.

My personal opinion is that BOA boots are now much better than traditional laces. The technology has come a long way and most of the initial teething problems are resolved. If you’re not convinced, hear me out…

Traditional Lace Snowboard Boots.

Let’s start with a timeless classic, the traditional lace boots. Lace snowboard boots are exactly what they sound like — snowboard boots that you lace up instead of simply stepping into.

Lace boots have been available since the 90s, and are probably the bestselling type of snowboard boot. They’re relatively inexpensive, which is great for those new to snowboarding who don’t want to spend too much money on their first pair.

The design of lace boots helps prevent blisters and other foot issues caused by ill-fitting footwear. This is because laces are softer, more forgiving and easy to customize if needed (e.g. tighten in certain areas, loosen in others). 

lace snowboarding boots
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Lace snowboard boots have two parts.

  • The inner boot is usually composed of a liner that insulates your feet against the cold. It is designed with a contoured shape to fit around the foot and distribute pressure evenly across it.
  • The outer shell then wraps around the liner, securing it so your foot won’t slip or slide inside the boot. 

The laces are connected to the upper boot and run down the front of the foot. When done up, they will cross over the tongue. The tongue is also attached to the ankle and the upper part of the boot. 

Once laced, all the features above ensure that your feet stay snug and secure inside the boot while keeping moisture and other unpleasant things out.

The Pros and Cons of Lace Snowboard Boots:

  • Laces are cheap and easy to replace.
  • Classic snowboard boot aesthetic
  • Control how tight you want the boot in different sections.
  • Fewer pressure points because you can control how tight you want the laces.
  • Laced boots work in a wide range of temperatures.
  • Laced boot hold the ankles down and ensures the whole foot is snug.
  • Less expensive than BOA boots.
  • Tying the laces can be tricky - it's hard to master right away!
  • They're not always easy to get in and out of
  • You'll need to remove your gloves to tighten them
  • Laces tend to loosen after a while. 

My Thoughts On Lace Boots.

Lace snowboard boots are popular among riders who like to keep a classic snowboarding style. Lace-ups do a great job at ensuring your feet stay comfy while still looking stylish.

However. I find that the quality of a laced boot is only as good as the person who tied them up. What do I mean by that?

Well, if you’ve ever watched a die-hard lace fan putting on their boots, they use all sorts of crazy tricks to get the perfect fit. 

Some riders will loop their laces around the back of the boot (sometimes twice!). Others will tie the laces in a knot at the ankle… and then start again for the upper part of the boot. This just goes to show how tricky it can be to find the perfect fit with lace snowboard boots. 

But are BOA boots any better?

BOA Snowboarding Boots

The BOA system is one of the hottest technologies in snowboarding equipment. It’s a lace-free method of fastening your snowboarding boots, saving you time and much-needed energy. 

While still made with the basic principles of snowboard boots, BOA technology allows you to adjust your boot effortlessly with a dial. Turning the dial will allow you to tighten or loosen the cables across the entire boot. 

But as with all new tech… BOA was met with a lot of doubt!

Many snowboarders were initially concerned that the dial was fragile and would be prone to breaking. There were also worries that it would cause pressure points as it lacked the ability to loosen certain areas. And in fairness, the critics weren’t wrong. 

boa vs lace snowboard boots
Image courtesy of

However over the years, the systems have been refined to be hard-wearing and provide much more comfortable pressure distribution. 

With just two cranks of the dial, you can change the fit of your boots. To release the cable, all you have to do is pull the dial out. This feature makes the BOA system a massive advancement in snowboarding technology, and although it may seem like magic, it’s actually thanks to high-tech materials and clever design.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of BOA snowboard boots. 

The Pros and Cons of BOA Snowboard Boots:

  • Easily adjustable, even with gloves on!
  • Precise increments allow for a perfect custom fit
  • Tend to stay tighter for longer 
  • May offer increased heel hold 
  • Newer BOA boots look great 
  • Super quick to take on and off. 
  • Often more expensive than laced boots
  • Single BOA provide the same tightness throughout the boot. This can leave the upper or lower part of your foot less secure.
  • Some people experience more pressure points due to the above.
  • Wire coils can be trickier to replace

My Thoughts On BOA Boots.

The single BOA lacing system was a game-changer when it was introduced. Unfortunately, the issues with pressure points and the lack of zonal adjustment made them difficult to love. That was… until the Double BOA hit the scene. 

The double (or dual) BOA system features a cable for the upper portion of the foot and a separate system for the lower portion. 

In my mind, this solves nearly all of the core downsides of BOA boots. They reduce the risk of pressure points, increase the degree of customization and allow you to cinch your heel down super tight.

The only issues that double BOA doesn’t address is the increased cost and the potential difficulties with replacing the wiring. To put your mind at ease on the second point, most gear shops are now familiar with BOA lacing. They should be able to quickly swap them out for you. I’ve also replaced my BOA cables myself, and I’m terrible at DIY! 

I wrote a separate article about single BOA vs double BOA if you want to learn more.

Closing Arguments: BOA vs Lace Snowboard Boots.

You’ve heard the case for both sides, which boot do you think came out on top? 

Personally, I’d recommend going with a double BOA boot if you can afford it. They are quicker, easier to adjust and offer excellent heel hold. I’ve tried dozens of snowboard boots and the DC Judge double BOA are my all-time favorite. You can read my full review here. 

If however you’re debating on single BOA vs lace snowboard boots, I think the lace option is the smarter choice. Laced boots are an old-classic, allowing for a comfortable and customizable fit. They also avoid the concerns associated with most single-BOA options. 

What are your experiences with BOA vs lace snowboard boots? 

Let me know in the comments below!

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