Client : “What kind of shoes should I use?”
Yasu : “Warm,Soft, long boots that are water-proof, like Sorel’s, winter “gumboots” (winterized rubber boots).
Client : “Aren’t snowboard boots ok?”
Yasu : “Snowboard boots are ok, but I don’t recommend them. It’s better to rent other winter boots.”
Boots for PowSurfing is always topic. Some PowSurfers use snowboard boots, some PowSurfers use specialized boots…
Some important things to consider when choosing boots for PowSurfing:
1. warmth – to keep you having fun in snow for longer.
2. 360° ankle flex – for more control.
3. thinner sole – greater sensitivity. You want to feel the board.
The pros and cons of stiffness:
Softer boots : Feel good to ride. You will be able feel the difference in the snow and quality and the unique characteristics of the board. Softer boots make hiking a bit more challenging especially on steeper terrain and denser snow as you get less edging with softer soles and less all around support. Generally softer boots are lighter, less weight on your feet makes it easier to hike.
Harder boots : Easier to hike up, sturdier when boot packing. More responsive while riding, quicker turning edge to edge but a firmer boot means less sensitivity and therefore less feeling of the board, the terrain, and snow conditions. Also harder boots means you will be carrying around more weight on your feet.
Pow-Surfer and PowSurf Tours Instructor, Yasu, prefers softer boots, “Because Pow-surfing is about feeling good in the snow. Not about how fast, how big, how many, how gnarly etc. Soft boots provide sensitive control. Thinner soles are good for flex and feeling. You can use every toe, from your big toe to your small toe. While using each toe, you use small muscles that connect to each toe. As you use more muscles independently, it feels like your body is more awake, more alive, it’s a bit like yoga.”
Regular snowboard boots are never a part of Yasu’s boot quiver for PowSurfing. Snowboard boots are designed to work well with bindings and are just too stiff for PowSurfing. They work! They will keep you warm, can turn, can hike up but don’t feel nearly as good as soft boots.
If you don’t have soft winter boots to join our tour, let us know!
We can arrange some boots that are perfectly suited for PowSurfing!
Sorel 1964 PAC™ NYLON BOOT is one of the softest boots we have tried. It has a very soft sole and ankle. They fit like surf boots, inner boots are easy to remove and therefore easy to dry.
They provide a lot of warmth on long cold days and offer great sensitivity on low to mid speed riding in good snow. The only real negative point is that the rubber gets hard and starts to crack after a few years of use. Once the rubber starts to crack they are no longer water-proof. The inners seem to last a life-time though so be sure to keep them so you’ll have an extra set to swap around with your new pair.
Of course, harder boots have their advantages too.
Yasu uses slightly stiffer boots for more performance, difficult terrain, harder snow, high speed riding or long, hard day riding or longer hikes. The thicker soles on the Keen Winter Ports provide great traction while the soft uppers still allow for sensitive riding control.
Keen Winter Port 2 WERE the powsurf boots of choice. See the update below!
I updated my boot selection for the 2022/23 season! Keen now has a PowSurf-specific boot that is nearly perfect for spending the day hiking and riding central Hokkaido’s deep dry powder.
The Giesler Tall WP is insulated and tall to keep you warm and dry. The soles are soft and thin enough to feel the board, the soles are fairly grippy to help you get up the hills and stay on your board, and best of all, the boots are light and soft giving you a full range of motion. Actually, these boots are so comfortable, I wear them everywhere, every day. There’s no need to take these boots off. For daily wear I lace them up low, the sides of the boots are just stiff enough to make it easy to step in into the boot without having to use your hands to pull them on. As long as there is snow on the ground I will be wearing my Keen Giesler Tall WP boots.
The boots are now 30% off on their website. I suggest buying a half-size bigger than your normal shoe size. The fit is fairly narrow and if the boot fits too tight you will get cold feet. Also, on really cold days you may want to wear an extra pair of socks. Beware, these boots have zero support so some people may prefer to add insoles of choice, another good reason to size up a little.