While the term "hardbooting" is often used to describe the setup, Phantoms are designed to use lightweight alpine touring (AT) ski boots, not traditional hardboots designed for snowboard carving or racing. Hopefully the day is coming when there will be a true splitboard-specific plastic shell boot, but fortunately there has been a big push in the ski touring industry to make lightweight, 2-buckle boots in recent years. With a few simple boot modifications, your Phantom setup will flex, ride and feel like a traditional snowboard binding setup.
The advantages of using plastic shell boots in the backcountry are many.
Boot & Boot Mod Recommendations
Any boot that is tech compatible will work, however, pairing Phantoms with the right boot is crucial to getting the ride feeling we are used to. It is also critical to spend time dialing in your boot fit. Spending a little bit of time at your local ski/snowboard shop will go a long way and should result in happy feet for many seasons to come. If you do nothing else, you should at least replace the insole with one that fits your foot's shape and have your liners heat molded.
Dynafit TLT6 Mountain
By far, the boot of choice is the Dynafit TLT6 Mountain. When Phantoms were developed, they were developed around this boot which is why you will see it referred to with great frequency. In general, the modifications are very minimal: Remove the power strap, leave the removable tongue at home, and slot the forward lean plate. But the choice is yours. We've seen a wide variety of mods from only slotting the forward lean plate to making serious alterations to the cuff so they are softer and more flexible than some snowboard boots. With the older TLT5 three piece lower shell, expanding or "punching out" the shell was tricky. However, the TLT6 has a one piece lower shell and can be expanded with ease by any professional boot fitter. This has opened the door for more people to get the fit they want as these boots can run a bit narrow. This boot is also available in a women's version for the lady shredders.
For some helpful modification tips, check out this TLT6 mod thread on Splitboard.com.
La Sportiva Sideral
The La Sportiva Sideral is quickly becoming a hot contender to the Dynafit TLT6. It is another example of a lightweight 2-buckle boot with an unlocking upper cuff. It offers more foot volume out of the box over the TLT6 and for taller, larger riders is often ridden in without any modification due to its fairly soft, flexible nature. This boot is also available in a women's version for the lady shredders.