Consideration #2: Your toes should gently touch the end of the boot. (*)
This is the part of the bootfitting process that most people are not used
to. Your toes should touch, but not curl(*). If your toes do not touch the
end of the boot, my concern is that your feet will slide around inside the
boot. If your toenails get banged into the end of the boot all day long you
will get the black nail. Black toenails are painful, keep you from walking
and sleeping and take the better part of a year to fully grow back. Take my
word on this… it’s no fun. Oh yes, you should also be able to wiggle around
inside the boot’s toebox for your foot’s circulation.
Snowboard boots have forward lean built into them (*) and are not made for
standing upright. Many times a boot will feel small when you first put your
foot inside it. Tying the boot’s laces down will help to implement the
boot’s design and pull your heel back into the heelcup of the boot. This
will pull your toes away from the end of the boot as well. When you walk
around the shop, do so with your ankles meeting the boot’s forward lean.
Consideration #3: The boot should hold your heel down inside the boot. (*)
Your heel should be held by the boot when you drive your knee forward. Just
like you move when you are making a toeside turn. A snowboard boot is not
designed to hold your foot when you stand on your toes(*). If you are
standing on your toes when you ride this is a sign that your boots are not
doing their job. This makes your riding and toeside turns much more
difficult they should be.
If you feel your heels slide or rub against the inside of the boot(*), this
is a signal the boot is not holding you down. This abrasion will give you
blisters. If this isn’t bad enough, you can also get bone spurs from a boot
like this. Remember the boot will pack out after you have been riding it for
a while. It is not going to get any smaller as it gets older. The boots will
only get bigger. If this is an issue a good bootfitter can help you hold
your heel down better than the boots would right out of the box.
Certain areas of your boots may feel tighter than they normally would
compare to a comfortable street shoe. An area that manufacturers will focus
on is the fit of the boot around the ankle and Achilles tendon. The boot
liners are meant to hold the heel down inside the boot. Pinching in these
areas are by design and often become less noticeable after walking around
with them in the shop and are rarely an issue after the boots have packed
Potential problem areas that should be of concern are at the top of the foot
especially where a bump can project from the top of your foot (Navicular
bone)(*). This little bump can make you very unhappy. It happens to reside
just under your ankle strap. If you have a foot like this I would recommend
a boot with a heat moldable liner. Your fitter can “push” out this area
without compromising the performance of your fit.
If you have a wide foot, you will need to get a wider boot. If your foot
feels like it is curling along its width, you definitely need a wider boot.
An orthodic support underneath your foot will also help to keep your foot
from spreading out any wider when it supports your weight(*).There are many
types of orthodics available to you. Your bootfitter should be able to help
you out with your decision on this. There are off the shelf orthodics,
custom molded cork footbeds and acrylic supports. If you get an acrylic
orthodic, make sure that you get a ¾ footbed, not a full length orthodic(*).
The full length acrylics will crack underneath the ball of your foot. Each
type of orthodic differs in shape, stiffness and support. Talk to the pros
and find out what is best for you.
If you are concerned with your toes going numb there are a few things
that you need to pay attention to. There are two major arteries that serve
the foot. The first runs along the top of the boot by the tendons that are
connected to the toes (*). Pressure at this point or over the instep of the
foot will constrict blood flow to the top of the foot and the toes. The
second artery runs behind the ankle bone on the outside of the foot. This
pathway serves the outside and the bottom of the foot (*). When the blood
flow is restricted here, the foot may cramp up underfoot and may make any
weight placed upon it a painful event. Talk to your bootfitter about working
with you about this issue. If this becomes a problem, a heat moldable boot
liner is often the best way to deal with issues like these.
One of the
oldest problems found when fitting boots has to do with people who fit their
snowboard boots too big. When their boots fail to hold their feet down, they
do the obvious thing to solve the problem. They crank down their ankle
strap. The trouble with this is that their blood supply is now being cut off
by the excessive pressure placed upon its pathways. The rider once again
makes the obvious assumption: “My boots are too small, they are cutting off
the circulation to my feet!” Consequently they make another obvious and
expensive choice. They buy a larger pair of boots! With this in mind, take
your time with your boot choice and understand that your boots will get a
little bigger with use. If you have specific health problems with your feet
that need specialized services, talk to your bootfitter and podiatrist and
see what information and services they can offer you.
When shopping for boots, your sales person should be able to show you many
different boots from different manufactures. Different brands have different
volumes inside of them. Your sales person should be able to give you a
choice of at least 2 different boots to try and feel in the shop. If your
toes feel cramped, that can be taken care of easily with either a half size
larger boot or a heel lift (*) inside the boot between the last and the
liner. What you are more concerned with is a boot that feels like it holds
you well. Choose the boot that fits your foot and lower leg the best.
shops have a rental fleet or even better, a demo program that uses the boots
you are interested in. This program lets you take the price of the demo and
put it towards your eventual purchase with the shop. Check with your local
shop to see who can offer you the best service for your business.
Socks are much more important than most people would think. There are a few
simple guidelines that can make a big difference in how warm or cold your
feet will be. The first thing you want to do is make sure that you do not
wear cotton. Your hands and feet sweat more than any other part of your
body. Cotton will soak up perspiration and hold it next to your body. This
will definitely make you cold. Socks made of nylon, acrylic, neoprene will
do a much better job of pulling moisture away from your body. Wool is
another good material, but man made socks from man made materials keep your
feet drier. Keeping your feet dry is one of the best things you can do to
keep your feet warm.
Socks should be thin, not thick. Most people believe that thinks socks
will help to keep you warm. This is true. However, thick socks will also add
space between your great fitting boot and your foot(*). This will give your
foot more of a “floating” fit within your boot as well as press harder
against your foot with your tight fitting boots than it needs to. If you
have to wear three pairs of thick wool socks to keep warm, you need new
boots or at least a bootfitter to work with you. It can be expensive, it is
worth every penny. Trust me on this one. Your boots will keep you warm by
fitting you well.
If you suffer from bad circulation or other medical
conditions that keep you from having warm feet no matter what you have
tried… consider boot warmers. There are a number of solutions out there. If
you ride less than 20 days a season, consider the packets that are designed
to be placed underneath the ball of your foot inside the boot. Heating
packets like this cost between 2-5 dollars per. set. These seem to work best
when placed between the footbed and the liner of the boot. There are
rechargeable electronic solutions as well. These cost at least $100.- and
work very well. You have to have them installed inside the boot for them to
work properly and once they are there they are a permanent addition to your
Drying out your boots is a simple matter. Remove your liners from your boots
and leave the boots and the outer last of the boots near a heater. Not over
the heater. Near the heater. Direct intense heat can wreck your boots
quickly. Don’t do it. If you happen to have heat moldable liners, keep them
at least a foot away so you will not happen to “un-mold” your custom fitted
boots. If you do this at the end of the day they should be warm and dry by
Caring for your boots depends on a few things. If your boots
are leather you will need to use a leather treatment or a mink oil to keep
your boots waterproof. Most manufacturers today use synthetic materials on
their boots for better performance and lower production costs. Different
materials require different treatments. For the most part as long as you
keep your boots dry and out of direct sunlight, you should be able to get
between 100 – 150 days of solid riding out of your boots.
toe of the trailing boot from the heelside edge when traveling up the
chairlift is a something that I do when I first get a pair of new boots. I
get a piece of hard plastic and attach it through the laces of the trailing
boot (* show shape and cuts) to keep the sharp metal edges from tearing up
my boots. Many boot companies now will put a plastic/ pleather guard on the
boot, but I personally like to add something extra to make sure that my
boots work the way they should.
When your boot starts to fall apart you have a few options. If it is within
the product’s warranty period you can try to send it back to the
manufacturer. I would recommend that you do this through the shop you bought
the boot at. Note: This does not cover wear and tear or your dog’s chewing
habits. This covers manufacturer defects. Usually this happens in the form
of boot materials separating from each other within the warranty from time
of purchase. Make sure you keep your receipts. If you have to find another
shop, make sure that they have an account with your manufacturer. Companies
have a much greater interest in taking care of accounts that purchase many
boots as compared to single users. You increase your chances of getting a
positive response through a shop.
If the boot is out of warranty you can
try to use a product like ShoeGoo ™ on the outside to seal cracks in the
boots or bind your sole to the rest of the boot. This is a patchwork
solution though and it only delays the inevitable. If you need just a few
more days to get through the end of the season, it may be just what does the
If the liner is coming apart you can try to replace it with a
moldable liner or another boot liner. The trouble with this is that many
liners cost nearly as much as new boots. New technology coming out every
year makes buying new boots even more attractive as well. If you love your
boots and want to keep them around as long as possible, talk to your local
bootfitter and see what can be done.
Downsizing your boots is not usually an option for most people. The riders
that I have seen doing it are performance oriented and are used to a tight
fit. People who participate in other sports that require a tight fitting
shoe/ boot are also more likely to consider this kind of fit as well. I
personally like to down size between 1 - 1 ½ sizes when I buy new boots.
This is a choice between comfort and performance. I am not in pain, but I am
not completely at ease until I start making turns. Then when I push down on
my toes in the slightest, my board reacts instantly. When you downsize your
boots take into account that your packing out period will be less
comfortable and will probably take a few more days to complete.
hard boots as compared to soft boots is almost the same as fitting soft
snowboard boots. The fitting criteria are the same as above with the
difference being that the foot has to reside in a plastic shell that
stiffens up as the temperature drops. Your boots will also pack out more, ½
to ¾ of a size, easily. In a lot of ways fitting and adjusting a boot like
this is easier because of the harder nature of the plastic shell against the
liner and your foot. It is more definite. A softer shell pushes and pulls
around quite a bit and will often require more material and playing around.
Kids and snowboard boots need to be taken care of with care. Kids should
be fit more of a comfort than a performance. If junior is not comfortable
and happy in his boots, the whole family is not going to be on the snow for
the day. Kids have a different mindset than adults do and this needs to be
kept in mind. Snowboarding has to be fun for them or they will lose all
interest in the sport. Maybe more adults could use an infusion of this
attitude as well. Imagine that, snowboarding because it is fun.
through the wonder years (11-15) can be difficult enough without having to
buy boots every few months. I usually do not recommend buying boots that are
purposely too large, but this is an exception. Find out how big the men/
women are in your family in relation to how much the young man/ woman will
probably grow. This will help to figure out how much growing might take
place. Granted this is an estimation as there is no way to predict how and
when someone is going to grow. But it’s the best clue what is probably going
to happen to this young person. Other than that we are rolling the dice.
What can help is to go to a shop that has a youth / trade in program and see
if they can help you out. This does not always work as the person who is
growing is probably going to grow into an adult sized boot. If you get into
a boot that is between ½ to a full size too big, this should be able to help
you with some growing room. Combined with a heel lift which should give you
another ¼ to ½ size to grow into when the toes start to press into the end
of the boot.
Well that’s it for now. I hope that this information has helped. Thank
you for your time.
When in doubt, go faster.