Boots have the following components
– Outer shell
– Inner liner
Outer shell is the external part that maintains the shape of the boot and prevents the liner from getting wet. The outer shell is usually made of synthetic leather and rubber material that are largely unaffected by water. The rubber sole of the shell provide traction and some cushioning so that the boots don’t slip around in the bindings and any shock is absorbed. The outer shell has external hooks, tubes or hidden tubes that hold the lacing material. Different board boot brands and models have different lacing systems. The size of outer shell of the same size boot may differ between brands so if you have very large feet that may end up giving you toe drag, try to find boot brands that have relatively smaller outshell.
Inner liner is the one that comes in direct contact with your feet, ankle and calves. They need to be soft enough to give you cushioning but hard enough not to get packed only in few uses. They need to be comfortable but tight. Some brands such as Thirtytwo provide liners that are heat moldable which means you can shape the liner to the shape of your feet (really really comfy).
Traditional lacing- thick boot laces on the front of the boot that are usually factory-fixed in the outer shell on top of the foot and tightened over the boot tongue by the rider using hooks. Just like tying normal shoes. Traditional lacing type is trustworthy and durable. But unless you have very thin gloves, you need to take your gloves off to tie them properly which can be a little painful in cold weather.
Speed-lacing- thin, dense laces are fixed onto the outsole of the boot in tubes. Usually zig zagged from the top of the foot area over the tongue. Most speed lacing system has two separate parts; lower boot area (foot) and high boot area (ankle and calf). the end of these lacings protrude from either sides of the boot close to the top and are securely fixed using a little plastic lace holder with teeth. The laces have handles at the end for easier pulling and there are small pouches where you can roll up the leftover lacing on the handle and store them out of your way. Speed lacing can be done with gloves on, but when they wear out or break, they are harder to replace than traditional lacing.
Boa system- boa system uses a wire that is fixed on the inside of the outer shell. The wire is tightened using a dial by rotating the dial. Wire is loosened by pulling the dial out. This system ensured very easy tightening and can tighten harder than the other lacing systems. But the boa system is harder to fix than the speed lacing system once the wire wears out. And as in most boots with multiple boa systems for different boot sections, you cannot visually check the wire for wears and tears which mean you might have no idea how worn they are until one day, a wire breaks on the first run…
Personally I dont trust the boa system, so I recommend the traditional or speed lacing system.