snowboard boot sizing buyer's guide
Snowboard Boot Sizing Buyer's Guide
You need to gear up for snowboarding season and find comfortable boots that fit correctly for your first run. No matter your snowboarding experience, correctly sized snowboard boots are essential. That leaves you asking, "What size snowboard boots should I get?" In a boot size too big or too small, and you'll be feeling the fatigue and pain set in before you even make it down the slope.
So when buying snowboard boots, what size should you get? That'll depend on plenty of factors and preferences. Consult the snowboard boot sizing buyer's guide below, where we'll explain what to look for when buying snowboard boots.
When Do You Need to Buy New Snowboard Boots?
Before you shop for new boots, you need to figure out if you need to replace your current ones. You'll know when to buy new snowboard boots if you're dealing with any of the following:
- Your feet have changed size or shape, which may be an issue for younger boarders that are outgrowing their current boot fit.
- Your boots are breaking or wearing out on the back.
- You have misshapen liners or ruined padding.
- You have new or different bindings.
- You want to try a new boarding or boot style.
You could also need new snowboard boots if you've worn them past their life expectancy. Snowboard boots typically last for 100 days of riding. That could change with how much you walk around in your snowboard boots and how well you care for them.
Determine Your Snowboard Boot Needs
Figure out what you need from your snowboard boots by thinking about what you need for your ride. Sure, the look of your boots will factor into your decision, but let a few more snowboard boots tips guide your choice. Know what to look for when buying snowboard boots by considering the following.
Foot Size and Type
To get the right snowboard boots size, you need to think about the size and shape of your feet. Consider the comfortable shoes you wear every day or your current boots size. Are they wider, narrower, bigger or smaller than you need? Are they uncomfortable in any way? Once you think about that, see how to figure out your snowboard boot size with these factors.
- Your general shoe size: Start with your usual shoe size as a rough guideline. From there, learning how to size snowboard boots is a snap. Snowboard boot size, compared to shoe size, is the same, but it could vary between brands. You'll also find snowboard boots in mondo size, measured in centimeters, which is the length of the boot's inner sole.
- The width of your feet: You may have narrow, wide or average feet, so, again, consider your usual shoe size. You'll want to find boot styles that tend to be wider, narrower or average, based on your needs, so your boot fit isn't too big or tight. Certain brands have a reputation for narrow-fit snowboard boots, while others tend to be wider. Try on a variety to see what works.
- Your arch: If you have a high arch, flat foot or average arch, your boots need to provide the right level of support. Consider insoles and customizable inserts for your boots if you need them. Use inserts to give you more options for your boots — you can pick almost any style you want, then add an insole to customize the fit.
- Your instep: The instep is the top of your foot opposite your arch. If you have a high instep, some styles could feel tight or uncomfortable, as they constrict the top of your foot. You could need snowboard boots for a high instep that give you more room while still staying snug.
- Your ankles and calves: Because snowboard boots go up past your ankle, you'll need to consider the lower part of your leg as you buy. Wide-calf snowboard boots allow a more comfortable fit above your ankle, but still keep it snug around your feet.
You want the right amount of flex for your needs, and that'll depend on how you board and your personal preferences. Flex ranges from soft to stiff, with medium in the middle. Certain brands feature flexes that fall in between, with soft and medium or medium and stiff varieties.
You could also see flex ratings in numbers from one to 10, with one being soft and 10 being stiff. Flex varies between brands, even with the same rating. Figure out your preferences for soft versus stiff snowboard boots with these different ride styles.
- All-mountain: Most riders fall into this category, which includes pretty much any terrain suited for snowboarding. Most all-mountain riders prefer a soft to medium flex for mobility, support and comfort. Racers will want a stiff flex with rigidity and better control for high speeds.
- Freeride: Freeriding, also called big mountain riding, needs rigidity to get edge power on firm snow. Use a stiff flex for more control in tough conditions.
- Freestyle: If you board at terrain parks, you fall into the freestyle category. You may want a soft flex that's comfortable and easy on your feet.
Any snowboard boot should fit well, and your laces help keep everything snug. While laces won't save boots that are the wrong size, they're an essential consideration. Choose from these lace styles.
- Traditional: You can customize how tight these laces are, making them suitable for keeping boots snug. But they may become loose and challenging to tie if you have gloves on or cold hands.
- Quick-pull: Many quick-pull lace styles have separate laces for around your ankle and your foot. That lets you customize the fit, ideal for anyone who has a looser fit around their ankles. Some riders have trouble tightening quick-pull styles as much as they'd like.
- Boa: This lace style gives you an accurate fit that's easy to modify and adjust with one hand or while you're wearing gloves. If you only have one dial in your Boa system, you can't customize the fit on your upper and lower foot areas.
The liner sits inside the shell of your boot and makes your snowboard boots more comfortable. Your lining preference will help guide what types of snowboard boots will work for you. At Buckman's, you'll find these liner options:
If you've got particular needs for your snowboard boots, consider liners that mold to your feet with heat. Whether they use the natural heat from your body or different heat methods, these liners create a comfortable custom fit. Other liners rely on repeated wear to pack out and mold to your feet.
How Are Snowboard Boots Supposed to Fit?
Your snowboard boot fit and sizing need to be right for your comfort and safety. So how should snowboard boots fit? You want something that's snug throughout your foot. From your heel to your toes, the top of your foot and your arch, you should have a secure boot fit.
You want your snowboard boots to feel a little tight, so you don't feel like you'll walk out of them. But you should still be able to put your foot in them with minimal (if any) discomfort. The liners will begin to conform to your fit eventually, after about one to two weeks of use. If your boot feels a bit awkward at first, give it a few wears to break in. There are other ways to custom fit your snowbaord boot fit, especially if you have an intuition or heat-moldable liner.
Help your boots fit correctly with the right socks, as well. Your everyday socks won't provide the right comfort and protection. Instead, wear snowboard socks made to work with how your feet and ankles move as you snowboard. Snowboard socks won't bunch as much as regular socks, making your boots more comfortable and fit correctly.
How to Measure for Snowboard Boots
Ultimately, the best way to measure your feet for boots is to try on different snowboard boot sizes in-store. With an in-store visit, our professional boot fitters will show you how to measure for snowboard boots and make suggestions based on your individual needs. When you're trying on snowboard boots, the best tip is to take 10 minutes moving around in them and feeling out how they fit. During your try-on, you should:
- Do a few lunges.
- Rock back and forth from your heels to your toes.
- Make sure your toes barely touch the front end of your boots.
- Check for any pressure points or discomfort.
- Test the flex and see whether it's too stiff or too soft for your riding style.
Remember, your snowboard boots will break in and pack out with wear. But you don't want any extreme discomfort or pressure points right when you try them on. If you feel like you can walk out of the boots you have on, try a smaller size or a different brand or style. Feel like your toes are curling in the toe box? Try a half size or full-size up. It may take a few tries, but don't give up after a failed first try-on.
If you're trying snowboard boots within one brand and they all seem uncomfortable or to have the same pressure points, break out and try something different. As you'd expect in everyday shoes, snowboard boot sizes aren't always the same between different brands. Some boots are wider or narrower as a standard across a brand, so expand your search to get a better fit.
If your feet are two different snowboard boot sizes, which is true for most people, pick the size that fits the larger foot. You could notice a slight discomfort for one foot and not the other, meaning you'll have to prioritize a bigger fit. If your feet are more than a quarter or half-size different, you may need to go a more custom route. You wouldn't want one boot fitting perfectly, while your other foot is swimming.
As you search for options online, consult the snowboard boot size chart if there's one in the listing. Going to a store to try on boots will still get you the best fit. But measuring your feet and comparing them to a snowboard boot size chart will give you an idea of what sizes will fit you best.
Top Snowboard Boot Brands
Many riders shop types of snowboard boots by brand. If you've been riding for a while, you may even have a favorite brand. If you're looking to find a favorite brand or try something different, consider these top snowboard boot brands we carry at Buckman's:
- DC Shoes
- K2 Snowboarding
- Ride Snowboards
- Salomon Snowboards
When you're buying snowboard boots, remember brand name and style aren't the only considerations. But some riders prefer to stick with a brand because it gives them a consistent fit and level of comfort. Learn more about these top snowboard boot brands to see what will work for you.
Adidas snowboard boots come in stylish options. You'll stand out in boots that mimic the classic Samba three-striped sneakers and other bold looks. Adidas snowboard boots often come in medium flex with traditional lace styles, suitable for all-mountain and freestyle riders.
Burton snowboard boots include a variety of youth, women's and men's options. Find everything from neutral colors that suit any style to fun bits of color in kids' boots. Burton boots often feature Boa or quick-pull lacing and come in a variety of flex options, great for a variety of riders. All-mountain riders, in particular, will appreciate the selection of soft, medium and in-between flexes.
DC Shoes snowboard boots offer a selection for men and women and have a reputation for wider-fitting boots. You'll find styles with traditional and Boa lacing and a range of flex ratings, often on the medium to stiff side. This brand often makes it onto lists for best-rated snowboard boots, but it'll all come down to your preferences. DC's bold but simple boot styles suit any rider's tastes with a mix of neutral and various colors.
K2 Snowboarding boots include girls', boys', men's and women's styles. Plenty of K2 Snowboarding boot options feature Boa lacing. You'll find a range of flexes in K2's snowboard boots, from soft to stiff and everything in between. The variety of neutral colors make K2 a suitable option for any boarder's style.
Ride Snowboards boots include Boa lace options in medium flexes. Consider Ride snowboarding boots if you're an all-mountain rider looking for mobility and comfort but enough support as you're boarding. You'll typically find Intuition boot liners in Ride's boot options, along with a primarily neutral selection of color schemes.
Saloman Snowboards boots typically have Boa lace systems for an accurate fit. Saloman features a range of wide-fitting boots, but what works best for you will depend on your needs. Choose from Saloman Snowboards' mix of simple styles and unique color combos, many of which have heat boot liners.
Thirtytwo snowboard boots have a classic look. With mostly traditional lacing styles, Thirtytwo offers boots for all-mountain and freestyle riders. Whether you need soft or medium flexes, you'll find them in this brand. Many of this brand's boots feature an Intuition liner.
Get the Perfect Fit With a Custom Boot Fitting at Buckman's
At Buckman's Ski and Snowboard Shops, we've got over 45 years of collective experience skiing and snowboarding. We use that experience to help you answer a question every border has — "What is my snowboard boot size?" Whether you come in to try on and shop a variety of snowboard boots from our variety of brands and styles or need a custom fitting, you'll leave with the best boots for the snowboarding season.
With a custom snowboard boot fitting, we'll turn your snowboard boots into a comfortable, perfect fit. We use padding to address uncomfortable spots, make custom footbeds for less fatigue and align your boot stance. That's just the start of what we can do to make your snowboard boots a better fit, and we even include a performance guarantee on snowboard boots you get at our stores.
Improve your snowboard boot experience with a custom fitting at Buckman's. Visit our retail stores to try boots on and get a custom boot fitting to gear up for your time on the powder. While you're visiting us or shopping online, check out our snowboard gear and apparel to get you ready to hit the slopes this season!