The snow is flying on your street, your local resort is setting its open dates, the stoke is high, but your snowboard boots are thrashed. You save your pennies, head to your local snowboard shop, and scope the showroom floor for that exact pair of snowboard boots you need this winter. Lace-up, BOA,Speed Zone, the choices sometimes seem endless, with an abundance of options it can be overwhelming. Then you find the pair you’ve been looking for: perfect fit, ideal flex, they even match your snowpants (the most important), work as snowshoes, and they fit your budget. Now, here comes the part that every snowboarder has encountered multiple times in their years on snow, breaking in your boots. Getting your boots to “pack in” can sometimes be an unpleasant handful of days on the hill, and trust me we ALL go through it. We’re here to provide some helpful tips that, hopefully, can help put your mind at ease, while these new snowboard boots cramp and make your feet scream. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we promise, it just takes a little work and effort to get there.
Recognizing the kind of snowboard boot you need is crucial. Whether you’re a park rat, powder hound, or corduroy warrior, there is a boot type for every kind of rider. Experience level plays an important part as well: beginners tend to benefit from a forgiving flex, and more advanced riders often appreciate a stiff, responsive feel. Generally, most park/freestyle oriented riders enjoy a boot that is softer flexing and more playful, while your big mountain shredders typically enjoy something with a little more support. That is the general rule of thumb, BUT everyone has a preference. Don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown and try something you new, it may change what you think about how your snowboard boots should perform on snow.
Step 2: Find Your Correct Size
There is a lot of noise circulating among snowboard newbies and uneducated riders alike: “Should I go up a size?” “Do I need room inside my boots?” “What if I just wear a thicker sock, will that help?”. The answer to all of these is a resounding no. Granted there is some slight variance between brands, but generally, you always want your snowboard boot size to resemble a snug fitting shoe size. To get the best fit when purchasing your boots, it always helps to go to your local snowboard retailer get sized and try things on in store. You will get expert knowledge and will know exactly how they fit before you purchase them.
Step 3: Feeling Things Out
After you have found the boot you love, it’s time to throw them on, and evaluate the fit. The boot should not feel like it’s constricting, but it isn’t going to feel comfortable like a shoe either. “Comfortably snug” is the best way to describe how this boot should fit around your foot. The snug fit should exist around your heel and the sides of your feet, while your toes should be able to touch the end of the boot, without curling or being smushed. If the boot feels too snug in some areas and just right in others, make sure to ask if your shop heat molds boot liners. This technique heats up the liner, to break it in faster, with your own unique footprint. Your feet naturally complete this process over time, with the heat you produce while riding, but this speeds up the process a bit.
Step 4: Things to Keep in Mind
The main reason you want to make sure you get the correct boot size is that after the break-in period, the liners of your boots are only going to get bigger and break down more. Generally, a boot liner breaks down from anywhere to a quarter or a half size depending, on the level of liner and manufacturer. If you purchase a boot that feels perfect right out of the box, it will more than likely break down too much, and fit too large after it is broken in.
Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a greenhorn to snowboarding, you know the process of new boots is sometimes one of the few downsides of snowboarding. With the steps provided above, hopefully, we can help you eliminate as much hassle as possible, and save you a lot of time. After all, it’s all for the fun of snowboarding at the end of the day.