Snowmobile boots: How To Make The Right Choice

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Video best boots for snowmobiling

Winter is coming soon, snowmobile enthusiasts! The degrees are already starting to drop in the thermometer and some regions of northern Quebec have already seen their first snowflakes!

As for me, I’m currently reviewing the clothes and accessories I’ll be refreshing for the upcoming season. You might also be wondering if you’re going to treat yourself to a new pair of boots this winter?

If so, here, without pretending to be a 3M Thinsulate or Gore-tex “pro”, are some tips and suggestions from a friend to help you with your shopping.

4 Things to consider before you buy

First of all, what do you intend to do with your snowmobile? Trail, off-trail, hybrid, etc. Make your choice based on your most common use. Also, evaluate the frequency of your outings, their duration, their location, whether you are usually a driver or a passenger, etc.

If you practice off-trail or hybrid snowmobiling, you should ask yourself if you have several kilometers to cover on the trail before going to your off-trail “spot”.

If so, you’ll need a boot that keeps you warm for the road, while keeping you dry during the effort. Otherwise, as some of you may have experienced, you will be heading home with wet feet… and quickly freezing!

All these elements will necessarily impact the model of boots you choose.

You should also ask yourself if you are a person who is always hot or always cold, in life, as well as on your snowmobile. It may seem trivial when you say it like that, but do the exercise! This will have to be considered in your choice.

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Also, what type of riding do you do (more or less aggressive)? If you are a more aggressive rider, you may want to choose a boot that is a little cooler, breathable, stiffer (to protect your ankles) and with a durable sole (to avoid damage to the running boards of your snowmobile).

Do you usually ride sitting or standing? Some boots are designed more for standing and will be less comfortable when sitting.

Are you more or less active on your snowmobile? Normally, the more you move around, the warmer you will be and you will need a cooler boot that breathes more.

Everyone is different. Keep in mind that you may choose a pair of boots that don’t necessarily make sense for you based on who you are.

Obviously, your budget will impact your choice. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to get a pair of competition boots for $100. Most quality boots range from $300 to $500. Of course, you can find pairs of boots that are below this price range.

However, you have to be prepared to accept a little less quality and less frequent and sustained use. If you only do a few outings during the winter without doing long rides, a less expensive pair of boots could do the trick.

A little budget tip by the way. Most companies now make boots with the “Boa” lace system. If you like a particular boot, check if it is also available with regular laces.

If so, it will definitely be cheaper in this version (sometimes you can see a saving of almost $100). Without a doubt, the “Boa” system makes your life easier while keeping your boots tight and adjusted throughout your outings.

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On the other hand, the regular laces option allows you to have access to the same quality of boots, while paying less.

4. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good pair of socks

Too often, people neglect the choice of socks. They may think their boots are cheap, too warm or not warm enough, when in fact their socks are not suitable.

If your feet get wet easily in your boots, it may be because you chose socks that are too warm, not breathable and don’t allow moisture to escape properly. And wet feet mean frozen feet for the rest of the day around here!

Don’t hesitate to test with thin, good quality sport socks, rather than thick snowmobile socks. I also invite you to carry several pairs of socks with you. This way, you can change them as needed if they get wet or go from a warmer pair to a cooler one and vice versa.

On the other hand, if you tend to have cold feet, you might want to start by buying a good pair of warm socks adapted for snowmobiling before changing your boots.

Sometimes this can make all the difference and your wallet will thank you. A multitude of companies such as Ski-Doo, Klim

, FXR, 509, and many others, offer a range of socks adapted to your needs.

The must-haves for your shopping; according to your needs and uses

1. Trail riding or hybrid; looking for ultimate warmth!

If your budget allows it, I recommend the Backshift boot by FXR. With 1,200 grams of insulation, this is the warmest boot FXR has ever made.

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It has a durable sole that absorbs shocks. It is comfortable, waterproof and breathable (FXR’s HydrX Pro membrane), while providing excellent support for your ankles, unlike the traditional trail boot we all have in mind! Its booties are removable and replaceable; handy to put them in front of the camp’s wood stove!

Good news for those who may have found it bulkier than other boots, it was redesigned in 2021 with fewer panels to slim it down at the toe. While I recommend it more for trail riding (because it offers unparalleled warmth), you should know that many “cold-footed” riders still enjoy using it for hybrid riding.

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Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas. Read more >>