Boots and Bindings

The Boots and Bindings used for splitboarding can be broken down into the following 4 categories:

Softboots and Strap Bindings

Hardboots and Plate Bindings

Mountaineering Boots with Strap or Plate Bindings

Frankenboots and Frankenbindings

Each option presents its own set of pros and cons which usually leaves new splitters with more questions than answers. Below is a basic outline of the options and some general information that should be useful. You can also search the Boots and Bindings sections of the Talk Forum for more information on specific models. Regardless of your preference, with the amount of options we have in the market its a great time to be a splitter!

Softboots and Strap Bindings

Softboots and strap bindings are the most widely used option among splitboarders today. As a snowboarder, you should already have them in your arsenal, if not, they’re readily available and affordable. Choose lightweight, low-profile boots and bindings if starting from scratch. Softboots and strap bindings are known for their natural flex and ride performance. Softboots also provide more agility on rock, uneven terrain, or dry trails. If you like a surfy feel and comfort that lasts all day these are for you. 

If you're just getting started or on a budget you can pick up the Voile Universal Interface and use your existing strap bindings. Its a quick and easy solution but will result in a slightly heavier and bulkier option compared to splitboard-specific strap bindings. With the amount of split-specific strap bindings and soft boots (that now include Vibram soles) this is the most advanced this system has ever been. The downside to this system can be moving parts on the bindings that can break or loosen and a wider sole on the boots that doesn’t climb as well as a mountaineering boot.  

Hardboots and Plate Bindings

The term “Hardboots” typically refers to AT (Alpine Touring) ski boots but can also refer to snowboard carving boots. The boots are made of various types of plastic that range in stiffness depending on the model. The common theme among the models is that the support typically provided by the highback of a traditional snowboard binding is now built into the boot itself. The bindings use a toe and heel bail that interfaces with the boot providing a solid connection to each other. The result is a very stiff and responsive system.

The plastic shell of the boots can also make kicking steps into a firm slope easier than with the unprotected toe found on softboots. Step-in crampons can also be used with hardboots as well. The downside to this system for most riders is the lack of surfy feel when riding due to the stiff sole, materials used, and built-in highback support. Another important thing to consider is the price-tag of this system...bring your credit card.

Mountaineering Boots with Strap or Plate Bindings

Mountaineering boots with strap or plate bindings is another combination available to splitboarders today. The boots have some of the same advantages that hardboots have when it comes to the ascent like the protected toe-box, stiff sole, and step-in crampon capability. Mountaineering boots also have a shorter upper-cuff than hardboots which allow for more flex and inward movement. In some cases the shorter cuff is welcomed as it brings back some of the surfy feel but in other cases it can mean calf-bite and a compromise in edge control. If you use the boots with plate bindings there is no forward lean adjustment and if you’re from the old school the ride might remind you of how low-back bindings used to feel. Using strap bindings with mountaineering boots will most likely offer better results and a more natural ride, just be sure the cuff of the boot ends above the binding highback. Some users have added a standard height snowboard boot liner into the boots for added height.

Frankenboots and Frankenbindings

If you can’t find your perfect system already available in the marketplace you can always take matters into your own hands and modify your gear to suit your specific needs. A few years ago when less splitboard products were available this was a common theme among splitboarders but nowadays its seems to happen less often. There are a lot of great ideas out there that don’t always make it make it to the shelves and this is one way to have your cake and eat it too. The downside is added cost and time for something that may or may not work very well. For some, it’s a risk they’re willing to take.