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The right snowboard boot size for you is not merely your shoe or boot size number. A lot more goes into snowboarding boots sizing if you have to get it right.
Aspects of snowboard boots sizing
Different boots are designed with different profiles and based on the shape of your feet, you will need a matching pair of boots. Because people have different foot shapes, customization of snowboard boots gives them the added advantage for a better fit in addition to matching boots to foot shape.
The shape of your toes too determines the boots you will select for a comfortable fit. Fortunately, most manufacturers will factor in this aspect when designing snowboard boots. While some feet will need pointed toe-box shaped boots others will be more comfortable in squared toe-box boots. The difference is that the pointed toe-box shape is designed with a longer second toe room while the squared toe-box will have a generally even length for all toes yielding a square shaped toe box.
Length is a fundamental determinant of the right boot size and the first measurement that is likely to be taken the moment you walk into a shoe store. Two types of lengths are important in this regard; foot length and toe length. Most commonly, the individual length of toes also varies from one person to another. Some people have a longer first or second toe compared to the other toes. Others will have all toes measuring almost the same length.
The width of your foot is as important as its length. Generally, the width of a boot is taken as its last size and is usually displayed on the package. The measurement of the last size varies from company to company, for instance, some will have it in millimeters in which case 98mm and below represents narrow feet and anything above 102mm represents wide feet. Yet as we mentioned, there may be a slight variation in measurement depending on the manufacturer.
This happens to be a crucial concern and a determining factor of the right snowboarding boots fit. After lacing your boots snugly and perhaps strapping on your bindings (if you are in a position to), the heel should be firm in your boots without being too tight to cause blisters. This aspect is referred to as heel retention or heel hold.
Again, if your heel feels too loose such that they keep lifting within the boots, you will need to get a lower size as this is an indication that the boots a larger size than your feet. Ideally, your feet should lift to 1 cm at most. Anything beyond this can be dangerous for you.
Sometimes, the challenge with heel lift is not with the boots but with the shape and size of your feet. In this case, you have the following options:
- Use an ankle harness. Ankle harnesses usually cushion the ankles from the inside of the boots. If you check around, you will not miss snowboard boot brands with ankle harnesses.
- Look for boots with J Bar inserts. J Bar inserts on the other hand help to hold your heel firmly to the boots. They are usually placed on the boot liner.
- Get boots with moldable footbeds. These liners are molded to custom fit your feet and keep them comfortable.
Some of the most common pressure points as far as boot sizing is concerned are the arch, toes, ankles, and shins. There should not be any pressure points with well fitting boots. Sometimes it depends on the shape of your foot. What you may find fitting may yield a pressure point to another foot of a different shape. In principle, keep trying different boots until you are sure you have landed the right fit.
Snowboard Boots Sizing Systems
For most snowboard boots, traditional shoe sizing is the most widely used sizing approach. This includes UK, EU and US men and women sizing systems with a little variation depending on the different brands and even models in the market. Apart from this, they also come in Mondo-print size. Mondo print measures your foot in either centimeters or millimeters also usually indicated on the snowboard boot and represent the actual size of feet that the pair of boots was designed to fit.
You can then convert the Mondo-print size to the different sizing systems to get to know the boot size you should be going for in each case. A good thing is that all boot manufacturers the world over recognize the Mondo Point Scale and in fact use it in sizing their boots and other footwear.
US Boot sizing system normally varies between men and women. Men’s sizes are usually lower compared to that of women by a size for instance if you are a size 6 in women’s you will need a size 5 for men. In essence, the structure of men’s feet differ from that of women hence manufacturers are always keen to design gender-specific footwear.
In general, women’s have wider forefeet, and shorter arches and toe bones. Again, men are typically more aggressive and will mostly go for stiff or medium rather than soft snowboard boots in terms of flexibility.
Based on the Mondo print, here is a snowboard boots size chart that will guide your snowboard boot size. Remember, it is common to have variations depending on the brand or even model you will select.
|Foot length (cm)||Foot length (inches)||Men's Boot Size (US)||Women's Boot Size (US)||Euro Boot Size||UK Boot Size|
General Snowboard Boot Sizing Steps
- To start with, you will need to know your normal shoe size to have an idea of the snowboard boot size range you will be working with.
- Once you know the size to work with, there is no alternative to trying different sizes, shapes, and brands within your range. As you do this, you need to have snowboard socks on to give you a feel of the ideal or real situation. NB: Snowboard boots are best tried in the afternoon because this is when your feet will be their largest size.
- Tighten the laces to a point where your boots fit snug. At this point, you will either be comfortable or feel a little pinch at certain pressure points like the toes or the ankles which should be an indication that you need to try on a higher size.
- Give yourself about 20 minutes of standing up, walking or running around, and rocking your toes back and forth. Your heels need a snug heel hold and your toes and ankles a little flex inside the boots otherwise you will need to tighten your laces or get a smaller boot size.
- Before you make your purchase, ensure that you have tried the boots along with your snowboard bindings to be sure that they are compatible.
And here is a great video on snowboard boot fitting:
Handy Snowboard Boot Sizing Tips
- It is not enough to get the right snowboard boots sizing, well fitting boots need to be compatible with your snowboard for the best experience.
- It is always a good idea to measure your feet to get the right size of boots. If the size of your feet falls between two sizes, opt for the smaller size to avoid having loose snowboard boots because the boot liners will pack out with time.
- Always wear snowboard socks, if possible the specific ones you will use during snowboarding.
- To know whether pressure points are coming from wrong boot size or the fact that boots are new and will pack out with time, measure your foot against your boot liner. If the length of your foot is same as that of the liner, then there is no cause for worry because, with a few hours of use, the liners will pack out and conform to the shape of your foot. If on the other hand, the length of your foot is longer than the liner, you will need to size up.
- For the right fit, your toes will lightly touch the edge of the boot and not fold. Toes folding inside the boots is a sign the boots are small.
- If you have a high arch, consider going for a moldable footbed.
We believe this snowboard boot sizing guide will help you choose a well-fitting pair of boots and you will enjoy every minute of boarding!