Snowboarding boots are actually a highly complex piece of equipment. Your boots will have a significant impact on how easy it is to turn, do tricks and even how hard or easy it is to learn to ride in the first place. Here are 4 things to consider when choosing a pair of snowboarding boots.

1. Bindings

Boots are actually part of a system that is designed specifically to work together. This system includes your boots, bindings and board. Some boots will be interchangeable with different types of bindings, while other boots will be designed to work with a specific binding system. If you already have a board and bindings, make sure your boots are compatible. If you have a board but need new bindings anyway or don’t yet have a board or bindings, you can choose bindings that work with the boots that you choose. If you are a beginner, you will most likely want to choose boots, bindings and a board that are all designed together for beginner. As you get more experience, you’ll be able to mix and match separate pieces with more success.

2. Boot Flex

The softer your boots are (the more flex they have) the more comfortable they will be for long days on the mountain. The stiffer they are, the more control you will have. Softer boots are recommended for beginners because they are more forgiving. If you’ve been riding for a while and want to up your game, aim for a stiffer boot.

3. Riding Style

If you spend a lot of time in terrain parks, you’re going to want a different type of boot than if you enjoy gliding through groomed terrain with your skier friends or navigating fresh, untouched powder. All mountain boots will give you the most versatility, while freestyle boots work best in a terrain park. For maximum control, you’ll want freeride boots.

4. Lacing systems

Last, but not least, how your boots are fastened will also go a long way towards determining how much control you have. The three types of lacing systems are traditional, quick pull and boa systems. Traditional laces give you the least amount of control, but they are also great for beginners because they are the least rigid. Quick pull systems give you a great deal of flexibility to loosen and tighten them where you need extra or less support. A boa system is actually a wire system is probably the fastest and most convenient system and is easy to modify mid-ride, even with your gloves still on.