Your snowboard boot buying guide: size, fit, and flex
YOUR SNOWBOARD BOOT BUYING GUIDE: SIZE, FIT AND FLEX
As one of your most important pieces of kits it’s worth investing a bit of time and money to get the right ones for you; comfy, well-fitting boots will keep you going and going all day on the mountain.
We’ll take you through the following steps, giving you all the information you need to make the right choices for you:
- Boot flex
- Lacing systems
- Footbeds and socks
Your snowboard boots should be tightly fitted, snug around your foot without causing pain; because of their foam construction most boots will soften to form their true size after a couple of days riding.
When standing your toes should feel the end but not hit it, allowing you the gently wiggle your toes inside the boot. When you bend your knees your heel should remain in place.
Don’t forget, when trying on snowboard boots make sure you’re wearing the same socks you’ll wear on the mountain to ensure the best fit.
Unlike ski boots, snowboard boots use traditional shoe sizing covering UK, US, and EU sizing. Although actual boot sizing can vary slightly between brands going for your usual shoe size is a good place to start. See below for our conversion chart to help you find the right size.
Always remember to take into account whether a boot is compatible with your snowboard.
Snowboard boots have different flex ratings, ranging from soft to stiff. Many brands will give a number rating ranging from 1-10, 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest but ratings may vary from boot to boot.
The ideal boot flex depends on how you prefer your boots to feel but generally park riders and beginners go for a softer flex while advanced all mountain or backcountry riders prefer a stiffer boot.
To find the perfect flex, try on a few different pairs of boots for feel.
Lacing systems can vary from brand to brand and model boot, with options ranging from traditional laces to ‘Boa’ fastening wheels and other speed-lace systems.
Easy to use, traditional laces offer the best personalised fit, allowing you to tightened the right areas by hand. The downside to traditional laces is that they can often loosen during the day, especially as they get older.
Quick-pull lacings are, as the name suggests, faster than traditional laces and feature zonal lacing allowing you to tighten the forefoot and ankle independently. It’s easy to use when wearing gloves but many boarders prefer the full control traditional lacing gives you.
Boa lacing systems offer a fast, easy, micro-adjustable fit to your boot using a ratcheting dial and cable. It’s easy to use with gloves on, can be done with one hand, and also features zonal lacing in a double or sometimes triple system
Snowboard boots are usually lined with a lightweight, foam-like material called EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate). Mouldable to give you a custom fit, the liner provides cushioning, stability, and insulation where you need it most to ensure a comfortable day on the mountain.
Some liners are removable allowing you to take them out to dry overnight (beware of putting them too close to a heat source like a radiator), while others are attached to the boot.
FOOTBEDS AND SOCKS
Don’t let uncomfortable boots or cold feet get in the way of enjoying your boarding, instead, to complete the boot fitting process think about a custom footbed for the very best in comfort and performance.
Although not included in the cost of your snowboard boots, your boot fitter can help advise you on the correct footbeds for you. Whether it’s the Superfeet range of pre-moulded footbeds which offer improved alignment and support or the Conform’able range of custom moulded footbeds for the ultimate fit.
Socks are also an important factor when fitting (and snowboarding in) your snowboard boots, gone are the days of chunky woollen socks, instead we recommend using a thin, technical snowboard sock for total comfort and control. Modern socks will support your foot with strategic padding and mesh, and draw moisture away from the skin to help keep you warm.
For more help and advice specific to your snowboarding needs, visit your nearest Snow and Rock store for expert advice.