The vast majority of snowboarders prefer soft boots for the same reason I prefer tele boots over alpine boots — comfort. Unfortunately when you need mountaineering versatility soft boots don’t perform the way hard plastic boots do. True, hard plastic boots don’t perform in soft snow the way soft boots can, and soft snow is typically the prize splitboarders are chasing, but not always.
I spoke recently with a Seth Lightcap, marketing director of Jones Snowboards and an avid splitboarder and he confirmed the preference for soft boots and strap bindings, “except at altitude.” That’s where crampons are practically required and hard boots get the nod.
If you’re ready for that side of splitboarding, you’ll need to figure out what boot works best for you, but it’s a pretty solid bet it’ll be a plastic boot of sorts. That also means you’ll want a binding for hard boots.