Can Snowboard Boots Be Used For Walking?

At first glance, there is not much difference between a snowboard boot and a snow boot. Snowboard boots are just larger and it can easily tempt you to ask the question about what’s it like to walk in snowboard boots. The question makes sense. After all, snowboard boots look much more forgiving than ski boots. Everybody hates ski boots, even the people who love skiing. You feel like a caveman trying to walk with stones tied to his feet. But even cavemen didn’t do that so skiers probably feel worse.

But does that change with snowboard boots? Can you walk in them like they are normal snow boots? It’s not a simple yes and no answer. I mean, you can walk in them, obviously but can you go hiking? No!

Some people would tell you that you can walk in snowboard boots for long periods. But I would recommend that you don’t listen to them. You should only walk in your snowboard boots as much as required. Beyond that, you would be only making things difficult for yourself.

A quick look at the different features of a snowboard boot would, perhaps, allow you to understand better.

About Snowboard Boots

Below I have described some of the features that would allow you to understand better, what I am trying to say.


Snowboard boots have a stiff construction. They are softer than ski boots but stiffer than snow boots. They are larger, heavier, and have more padding for comfort, warmth, and absorbing impact during jumps and tricks.


Snowboard boots have a certain stiffness to them. They are classified as soft or hard boots. The softer still being harder than the hardest snow or hiking boot you can find. But they are still not as hard as ski boots.

The reason for stiffness is to provide support during snowboarding. Stiffer boots lock the ankle and heel in their place and don’t allow any movement. This restriction in movement is essential for efficient power transfer from your legs to your board.

All snowboard boots come with a stiffness rating mentioned in their description.

Lacing System

Although snowboard boots also have a traditional lacing system, it’s still different from a conventional lacing system found in snow boots. Snowboard boots are tied by passing the laces through specific slots around the boot.

The purpose is the same as the rest of the construction; to stop the foot from moving. There are other lacing systems like quick lacing systems and BOA lacing systems that are more complex and do a better job. These systems allow zonal tightening where you can tight the upper and lower regions of the boot independently from each other. That is something you won’t find in regular walking boots.

What does it Feel Like to Walk in Snowboard Boots?

As mentioned above, the purpose of snowboard boots is to stop the feet from moving. Walking requires the feet to move. It should be obvious by now that walking in snowboard boots isn’t comfortable at all.

You can walk longer in soft snowboard boots. But you still won’t be able to walk much further. By restricting the movement of the heel and ankles, snowboard boots put you in an unnatural position. Trying to walk in this position puts strain on all the joints and muscles of your lower body, from the lumbar down to your feet.

To make matter worse, snowboard boots are heavy. Trying to lift heavy boots with limited movement will increase the strain. You will get tired quickly while walking in them. The limited movement also means limited control. You are much more likely to fall in these boots increasing the risk of injuries.

Does Walking Damage your Boots?

Snowboard boots are strong and they are a lot durable. They are made that way to protect your feet. Walking in snowboard boots for long distances wouldn’t cause any immediate damage but it might in the long run.

The inner padding along with the stiffness restricts the movement of the foot. When you walk in the boot, your foot tries to flex and make space for itself. In doing so, it can open up the inner padding. More than required space inside the boot can affect your performance during riding.

The stiff outer shell of the boot is also made to handle force at a certain angle during snowboarding. It is not meant for walking. By forcing it to walk, you are putting forces on the shell in a way it is not meant to handle. Doing so won’t cause immediate damage, but it may cause the boot to wear faster.