It does not matter if you’re a beginner or experienced rider, it’s always exciting to get a new pair of snowboarding boots.
If you love snowboarding, anytime you get a new piece of equipment is a reason to celebrate. It gets you pumped to go out in the snow and try them out.
Boots are a key aspect of your overall experience, so it’s important to get a pair that fits.
While many people may not know how to properly fit snowboarding boots, this guide will break down all of the basics.
The Importance of A Proper Fit
Snowboard boots are important because they allow you to control your board.
Without good boots, and boots that fit properly, you’ll never be able to ride as well as you could with high-quality, properly fitting boots.
Boots transfer power from your legs into your board, which allows them to serve as a steering wheel of sorts that unlocks their true potential.
There are some general rules when it comes to fitting a snowboard boot, but it’s also important to match the fit up with your snowboarding ability.
We will look at the general rules below, but know that if you’re getting boots for the first time, you need to keep your ability level in mind.
Beginner snowboarders will want a boot that’s both comfortable and flexible. That will allow some play and ease of use that’s ideal for anyone just learning basics.
If your boot is too tight, it can cause discomfort that might discourage you from continuing to learn. Tighter boots also take more power to control, which can make it more difficult for beginners to learn.
Intermediate and advanced riders, on the other hand, need tighter-fitting boots because they allow for better performance.
A tighter-fitting boot will increase the power transfer from your legs to your snowboards and increase their potential performance.
How to Fit Snowboard Boots
When shopping for new boots, it’s always best to do it in person versus ordering them online.
As boots sizes and flex ratings vary by manufacturer, it’s difficult to know the exact fit of a boot on your foot without actually trying it on – even if you know your size.
Also, by going to a snowboard shop or other outdoor retailer that sells boots, you can have an expert boot fitter help you find the best possible fit.
Loosen the Boot
The first step to fitting a snowboard boot is to loosen it up so you can get your foot inside.
You’ll want to wear the socks that you generally ride with when doing this. Loosen all of the laces, straps, buckles, and other adjustments that are a part of the boot.
Try on the Boot
Once you have loosened the boot, you can then try it on by placing your foot (with your socks on!) inside of it. Step into the boot completely so your heel is completely flat and your foot sits on the footbed.
You might need to grab the tongue of the boot and pull it out and away to create more space for your foot to slip into.
After your foot is inside of the boot, make sure that the tongue is back in place and correctly positioned to not get in the way of the liner when you start to tighten things back up.
At this point, take a few heavy steps or stomp your heels to get your feet in the proper place to get a good feel for the fit.
Once your feet are in the boots, begin to lace them back up. Some boots have multiple sets of laces and other things like straps or buckles as well.
Secure any of these things just as you would when you are about to go riding.
After your boots are fully laced up and secure, mimic some snowboarding movements to get a feel for how the boots fit on your feet.
Lean from front to back and from side to side. Jump lightly to see how they feel upon impact.
How to Tell if Your Boots Fit
The steps above are the basics of fitting a boot and once you have your feet inside of your new boots and fully laced up, you can get a feel for if they fit properly.
Keep in mind that new boots should be a little tight at first as they will break-in over the course of using them a few days on the mountain.
You want your foot to feel comfortable but not cramped. Your toes should be just barely touching the front of the boots when you are standing flat.
You don’t want your toes to be curled up, that’s a definite sign that they are too small. If you notice any areas that are really roomy or loose, your boots are too big.
Once you have the correct size boot on your foot, wear it around for 10-15 minutes to see if any hotspots or pain occurs on your foot.
If you notice any serious discomfort, it might be best to try a different size or a different pair of boots. Some discomfort will disappear as you break your boots in, however.
The above tips will get you into a properly fitting snowboard boot. You can also customize your boot if you want a really precise fit.
Many boot liners are heat-moldable, which means you can heat them up and then put them on your feet so they match your exact shape. You can also get custom footbed liners.
Just know that both of those fitting techniques are best left to a professional boot fitter.
Also, remember that there’s a break-in period with any new boot. Even if you get a custom fit with moldable liners and footbeds, your boots might not be that comfortable until you ride for a few days with them on.
If this break-in period doesn’t go away after about 5 full days of snowboarding, you should go back to your boot fitter and get them adjusted again.