How to Fix Snowboard Boot Heel Lift

Boot heel lift can be an annoying problem for any rider. If your feet don’t sit firmly in place inside of your boots, you won’t be able to get the best performance out of your equipment when you need it. 

I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has been helping riders of all ability levels over the last ten years. My students often struggle with boot heel lift, and I have experience helping them fix the problem. 

I’ll show you some easy solutions to help you fix snowboard boot heel lift in this post. The problem doesn’t always have the same answer for everyone, so you might need to try them all to get it remedied. 

Let’s get out your boots and get started. 

What is Boot Heel Lift? 

Boot heel lift is just what it sounds like – it happens when the heel of your feet lifts inside of your snowboard boots. If you have never experienced this before, it might not sound like a big deal, but it really takes away some of the performance of your boots and board. 

The main issue with boot heel lift is that you won’t get good power transfer when you want to make turns and in other technical situations on the mountain. But it can also cause problems with your feet, such as pain, blisters, and general discomfort. 

How to Fix Snowboard Boot Heel Lift

As I mentioned in the first part of this article, not every heel lift solution will work for every single person. This is because we all have different foot and ankle shapes. Different styles of boots can also lead to the problem. 

Below, I’ll give you some easy solutions to this problem. If one of them doesn’t work, you can move on to another one. 

1. Use Heat Moldable Liners

Heat moldable boot liners are a good starting point for preventing heel lift in the first place. These liners will give you a custom fit around your fit, which goes a long way to keeping your entire foot in place when you ride. 

Most snowboard shops will complete the heat molding process for you, so you can have a custom fit before you even walk out of the shop. This only takes about 10-15 minutes and is well worth the time. 

Heat moldable liners can be a little more expensive, but many of the most common boot models you will find on the market are equipped with this solid feature. Preventing heel lift is worth a little extra money upfront. 

2. Custom Inserts

Custom inserts are another way you can fix snowboard boot heel lift. Inserts will help support your entire foot and can help keep things braced when the boot liner doesn’t provide you with a completely solid fit. 

Inserts are an excellent choice to use if you have smaller feet or ankles and have dealt with heel lift in the past. If you are renting equipment, you can remove the insert from one boot to another every time you get a new pair of boots. 

Even if you don’t have problems with heel lift, custom inserts can help make your boots fit and feel better. 

3. Wedges

Wedges are a simple solution that can work really well for some riders. These are a small piece of material that fits underneath the insole of your boot. They raise your heel to eliminate the lift, and this results in a better fit. 

These won’t always provide you with a customized fit like heat molding and inserts can do, but they are a cheap and easy solution that is well worth exploring. You can even make your own wedges out of foam or other material if you are in a pinch. 

4. J Bars

J bars are one of my favorite boot heel lift helpers. These are also pretty simple solutions, but they are affordable and can be very effective. If you have ever dealt with heel lift, I recommend having a few J bars in your car or pockets when you ride. 

J bars work in a similar way to wedges, but they are even more effective. Instead of sitting underneath your insole, these will fit around your ankle to fill in extra space, and the resulting pressure can help keep your foot in place when you ride. 

The J bar concept is known by other names, and some brands offer this feature under a different name. If you see something like a ‘hold down kit’ or foot wraps mentioned in the boot description, they might already have a J-bar type of addition included. 

5. Get New Liners or Boots

Your boot liners will wear down over time. This is known as packing out, and it can be the cause of your heel lift issues. If your boots are severely packed out, you might need to get new liners or boots to fix the problem. 

There comes the point where you won’t be able to use a wedge, insert, or J-bar to fix the problem, and you’ll simply have to bite the bullet and get a new set of liners or boots. At least this means you’ve been riding a lot!

Final Thoughts

Snowboard boot heel lift isn’t a problem you want to deal with for a long time. By following the steps mentioned here, you can improve your comfort levels and abilities as a rider without much effort. 

If you are a beginner, you might not recognize when you are dealing with heel lift. Just remember that your feet should stay in place and not lift up in your boots when you lean forward or side to side.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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  • Jose

    Hi Lorraine
    nice article. Just a fast question: should I place the insoles inside the liner or outside?
    thank you

    • Lorraine

      Hey Jose,

      Most liners are designed to be placed on top of the liner inside the boot, just like you would in a shoe. That’s how I’ve always used them, and I’ve never seen an option placed underneath the liner. I hope that helps and that you’re having a great winter!