Buying snowboard boots can be intimidating. Even if you pick out the perfect board and bindings, the wrong pair of boots can prevent you from getting the most out of the rest of your gear. That’s a lot of pressure on picking the right snowboard boots. Figuring out how to find snowboard boots that fit is what makes this so challenging because fit varies so much from person to person. That means the best snowboard boots for your friend, or the best boots for snowboarding according to the internet, may not be the best snowboard boots for you.
How to Buy Snowboard Boots
Buying in person is the best way to make sure you find boots that suit your needs and most importantly fit your feet. That’s why it’s well worth spending an hour or two working with a trustworthy bootfitter, trying stuff on and finding what works best for you. Before you fret on where to buy snowboard boots near me take these tips into consideration.
Do your homework. Understanding what type of riding you will be doing, what snowboard boot features interest you, and what styles you like will help you and the bootfitter more quickly identify boots that could work for you.
#1 Bring socks.
You’re going to be wearing tall, usually thick socks while snowboarding. So bring your snowboarding socks with you to try boots on with. The shop may have loaner socks available, or you could buy another pair while you’re there, but the easiest solution is to just bring your favorite pair of snowboarding socks with you.
#2 Get measured.
How snowboard boots should fit is different from how your street shoes should fit, so there’s a chance you may need a different size. The quickest and easiest way to find out is to have your bootfitter measure your foot. It’s a good way to how to determine snowboard boot size.
#3 Think about your arches.
Especially for people with particularly high or low arches, aftermarket insoles can be a worthy investment for providing a more comfortable and more supportive fit.
#4 Don’t be Shy.
Talk to your boot fitter about the research you did about what kind of boot you’re looking for, and listen to their responses and suggestions about what you should try on.
#5 Try them on!
But take your time. Rushing through lacing up boots will affect how they fit, and could give you an inaccurate idea of how they feel. So tighten your liner properly, and lace your boots up all the way.
#6 Take a quick walk.
It doesn’t have to be far, just twenty feet or so. Of course this will give you an initial idea of how comfortable the boots are, but it’ll also give the boots a chance to stretch and flex around your fit, providing a more accurate fit.
#7 Stand Shoulder Width Apart.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly like you will when snowboarding. When you do this you want the upper “leg” part of the boot to feel supportive, and the lower “foot” part of the boot comfortable without any uncomfortable pressure or pinching.
#8 Bend Your Knees.
Keep your knees bent, and carefully rock forward onto your toes. You should feel the “leg” part of the boot bend at first, but then the heel of the boot should lift off of the ground almost automatically. If your foot moves inside the boot, or if there is too much flex in the “leg” part of the boot, you haven’t found the right boot yet.
#9 Rock Back and Forth.
With knees still bent, carefully rock backward onto your heels. Your toes should pop up fairly easily after a little bit of flex from the “leg” part of the boot. What you want to look out for here is pressure on your toes. Poorly fitting boots won’t hold your heel back enough, allowing your foot to slide forward and jamming your toes into the front of your boot.
#10 Try on something else!
Even if the first pair of snowboard boots feels good, it’s often a good idea to try on a second pair. Even if they fit worse, you’ll be more confident in the first pair fitting well.
Snowboard Boot Shopping Guide
Unfortunately for some people, buying in person just isn’t practical. Whether it’s due to not living near mountains, having “unusual” needs (like feet larger than US Men’s 12), or whatever reason some people just aren’t able to shop for snowboard boots in a brick and mortar store. Luckily the internet allows you access to more snowboard boot shopping options than ever before, so even people living far away from snow can still get setup up right for their next trip to the mountains.
Do your homework. This includes the design and features research needed before buying in store, but you also need to research where you’ll be buying from. Most importantly, you need to know their return policy. Make sure you know how much time you’ll have to make a return, who will pay for return shipping, and whether refunds are issued in cash or store credit.
#1. Figure out your desired flex. Beginners and riders who prefer a more surfy, forgiving feel will favor softer boots, while physically larger snowboarders or people who want quicker response will prefer something stiffer.
#2. Pick boots with that desired flex, and whatever other features are important to you, to make your final selection from.
#3. If your budget (and store policy) allows it, consider buying a few pairs to try on and returning all but your favorite pair.
#4. When the boots arrive, carefully open the box so it can make the return trip if needed.
#5. Repeat steps six through ten of the in-store How to Buy Snowboard Boots to asses the fit of the boots you received. If they don’t fit, send them back right away and make another selection.
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