DC Judge Snowboard Boot Review [2024]

by Ben
Updated:
dc judge snowboard boot review

About this review: Welcome to my DC Judge snowboard boot review – updated for 2024. These boots were bought with my own hard-earned dollar in order to write an honest and in-depth review. 

My Take: The DC Judge has been around for centuries (maybe a slight exaggeration). Over the years, DC have updated and tweaked the design. I’m pleased to say that this has been mostly for the better. The current Judge is an intermediate-advanced all-mountain hero. I found them to be both responsive and comfortable. I’ve summarized my findings below.

Best Boa Boots!
DC Judge Snowboard Boot Review - Summary

DC Judge Snowboard Boot Review - Summary

  • Closure System: Dual Boa
  • Flex Rating: 7/10
  • Sole: Vibram Outsole
  • Liner: Response Liner III
Detailed Summary

Why I Liked Them:

The DC Judge snowboard boot is a high-performance, all-mountain boot. They've definitely been fine-tuned over the years. I found the 2023 model to be comfortable right out of the box, whilst still providing a responsive ride. 

The liners were upgraded a few seasons back and they remain one of the most comfortable I've tried. They're not directly heat-moldable but certainly conform to your feet after riding them for a while. 

The dual Boa system surprised me - it really worked! Yes, I did have to tighten them a few times during the day, but this of course happens with traditional laces too. 

These are now also available in a step-on version. You can check these out here

Best For: 

Intermediate to advanced riders looking for a smooth, responsive ride that can be taken across the whole mountain. 

Sizing:

I found them to be half a size smaller than my regular shoes. I wear a size 9 (US) in regular shoes but needed a 9.5 in the Judge.

Alternatives:

For a stiffer boot, try the Transcend. For a softer option, the Control.

Pros
  • Incredibly comfortable 
  • Great traction 
  • Warm yet breathable
  • Very responsive 
  • Fast on & off 
  • Great aesthetics 
  • Minimal packing out
Cons
  • Fairly bulky outer shell 
  • Boa can loosen slightly through the day (needing a few extra twists). 
  • Less stiff than previous years

DC Judge - The Full Review

Those were the highlights! To read the rest of the review, keep on scrolling…

The Review Process

About The Boots:

  • Model: DC Judge Boa
  • Size: US Men’s 9.5
  • Closure System: H4 Double BOA system

About Me:

  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170 lbs
  • Regular shoe size: US Men’s 9
  • Experience: 16+ years of snowboarding, including freestyle and backcountry. 

Testing Conditions:

  • Purchased: December 2022 (and prior models September 2021 and 2020)
  • Days Ridden: 60+
  • Snowboards used: Capita DOA, Burton 3D Fish, Rossignol Sashimi, Salomon Assassin
  • Bindings: Rome Katana, Burton Malavita EST
  • Testing Location: Worldwide (well not quite – but at least Japan, Italy, France and Switzerland). 
  • Terrain: You name it, these boots have seen it. Including boot packing in the french alps and sending the XL jump line.

The Features

FEATURES OF THE DC JUDGE

The Vibram Outsoles

These work extremely well. The toes have excellent grip and held their own, even on icy ascents in the French Alps. I did find that the central area underfoot can be more slippery – for example when climbing stairs. This is something to watch out for. 

dc judge review - vibram outsoles

The Dual BOA system with H4 Coiler

Those of you who are sceptical about BOA systems can rest easy… the H4 Coiler dial works perfectly. I did see another reviewer mention that the BOA popped open whilst riding. This never happened to me, even with some pretty energetic freestyle bails. I found that the BOA also exerted nice even pressure across my foot, with no pressure points. Once in a while I did stop to tighten them a touch, but I do this with traditional lacing too.

dc judge review - vibram outsoles

Response Liner III with Aerotech ventilation system

These liners are so darned comfy, they honestly feel like my skate shoes. Somehow they manage to be both warm and well ventilated. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still going to have sweaty feet… but they do a great job of combating anything excessive.

the dc judge liner review

Overall Scoring of The DC Judge

9.5out of 10

Comfort9.6
Heel Hold9.3
Footprint8.2
Response9.3
Grip9.9
Shock Absorption9.6
Durability9.7
Warmth10

What I Liked About The Judge

Honestly, there was a lot to like. I was aiming for a pair of boots that would be comfortable enough to wear for long 10-hour days. These were just the ticket. They replaced my 32 Lashed and so far, I haven’t looked back.

Some of the best parts of the boot were as follows: 

  • Comfort: Comfortable right out of the box (obviously this is subjective, but they worked for me). 
  • Heel Hold: Gripped my heel like a cosy vice. The internal heel harness does the trick and helps with response on your topside edge. 
  • Footprint: The sole does have reduced footprint, but the outer shell remains quite bulky. They also feel quite heavy as boots go. 
  • Responsiveness: Good – I’m not sure they’re quite as stiff as the 7/10 rating would suggest. After a week or so I’d say these settle in at a 5-6/10 at most. 
  • Grip: As discussed, the Vibram outsole does the trick. 
  • Shock absorption: Excellent
  • Durability: Outlasted by other boots by several weeks. Yes they show signs of wear, but the structure remained intact after 50+ days of hard riding. 
  • Warmth: Excellent

What I Didn't Like About The Judge

As we’ve already touched on, there were a couple of minor points I was less keen on. (Admittedly, I’m nitpicking slightly). 

  • Weight: They are bulkier than competitors such as Ride and Burton. 
  • Flex: They’re certainly less stiff than previous years. This means they’re even more comfortable but I wouldn’t mind a touch more stiffness to see me through the season.
  • Loosening: As is commonly complained about with BOA, they did loosen off slightly through the day. I tended to add a few extra ratchets when hitting a particularly gnarly jump or incline. This might be slightly psychological… but thought I’d better mention it.

My Best Session On The DC Judge.

As the Judge has unexpectedly taken over as my go-to boot, we’ve been through a lot together! My most memorable moment was at the peak of a Japanese mountain in Rusutsu

Having been peer-pressured into dropping a particularly gnarly cliff, I recall nervously tightening my BOA an extra notch. As you can see, I lived to tell the tale… and the DC Judge looked after my ankles perfectly!

Final Verdict

This marks the end of my review of the DC Judge snowboard boots. As you can see, I’m a big fan!

They were unexpectedly responsive despite how flipping comfy they were right out of the box. This is like the holy grail! If you manage to try a pair and they’re just as comfy for you… never let them go!  

Decided against? Check out some of our other gear reviews for more inspiration!

DC Judge BOA Snowboard Boots
21 Reviews
DC Judge BOA Snowboard Boots
  • The verdict is in! Ride tough all season long in the team-tested and rider approved DC Judge Dual BOA Snowboard Boots.
  • DC snowboard boots feature durable synthetic uppers for all-mountain riding.
  • Dual BOA closure system with H3 Coiler Reel for an easily adjustable, dialed-in fit.
  • Black liner: Pro-performance Aerotech Ventilation regulates moisture and temperature in the multi-layer construction Combines EVA memory foam and a high-rebound, high-moldable EVA for an unrivaled fit Lateral support beams and a 360 power strap for
  • Impact-S insole for cushioned comfort.

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