In a culture where fashion is dictated to us as having more importance than over all function, there’s still one piece of equipment to shirk this believe and remain in the functional category. Some might take it for granted that their choice in boots should be dictated based on an image or whether or not it matches their set up. But it still remains undeniable that your boots are the most important piece of equipment you will ever own and use when snowboarding.
It’s a logical statement and one that many people reiterate. Yet there’s still people that don’t believe it’s true. No one cares that your boots match, hell no one cares that your outerwear matches except you. What people do care about is when you’re pissing and moaning about your feet hurting, because frankly no one likes a whiner on the chairlift. It’s the one thing that can ruin a day faster than getting run over by one of those little torpedo children on a leash. Here’s 10 things to consider when buying your boots.
1. Feet are as different as finger prints. No two feet are the same just like no two boot models or brands are the same. Take the preconceived notion out of your head that you won’t try on brand X because it doesn’t fit your image. Also if anyone says that company Y is the best boot on the planet they’re smoking something real good, best boot on the planet is the one that fits your needs. Try multiple brands on and figure out what’s working for you. Turn up the function turn down the fashion.
2. Yes your toes should be touching the end of the boot when you’re standing upright in the boot, bend at the knees and ankles and see if the toe comes ever so slightly off the end. Now they shouldn’t be ramming into the end or curling, just a nice light push. Now if you’re like me then go for a hard push because you live in your boots. Your shoe size is not always your boot size, generally you’ll be in a boot smaller than you think. Also like 90% of the population has one foot longer than the other, try to size to the smaller one.
3. Clip your toe nails before you try on some boots and keep them trimmed through the season. There’s nothing scary than seeing someone that has nails like bear claws lurking down there. Also do you want this to happen to your toe?
Didn’t think so. Ingrown toenails are a bitch and cause some serious pain. Keep those things clean and neat!
4. Had a serious injury in your past or have a recurring problem? Tell your boot fitter about these issues so they can address it now before you’re at the top of a hill screaming in pain. Yes they want to know about that one time you got drunk and your buddy ran your foot over with his tractor. These are all things that effect how a boot is going to fit.
5. Arch support is key. 98% of the boots on the market are highly lacking in this department. Take the stock insole out and replace it with either an after market insole. Something like this super feet below will suffice.
Or if you’re like myself then go the full blown custom orthodic route. This entails more money and having to spend some time with a boot fitter. Also expect to have multiple visits to dial it in. But the end result is orgasms on your feet.
6. When it comes to boot flex ignore all those silly ratings. Think about it is a guy that’s 130lbs wearing a size 10 in brand X going to flex the boot the same as a guy that’s 230lbs in a size 10? No, not going to happen. Just like the belief that you need a certain flex for a certain style of riding. Throw that idea out the window as well. Another thing to look at is are you a 10 day a year rider or a 100 day a year rider? If you’re the latter a boot that feels stiffer to you isn’t going to get as mushy as quick something that’s the equivalent of an Ugg.
7. Is heat molding necessary? Certain boots it’s definitely something that needs to be done, while others all you’re getting is absolutely nothing out of it other than the psychological approval. Check and see if you’re getting into an intuition liner or not.
8. Don’t buy your boots off the Internet. Pretty self explanatory on this one, if you do buy it online and have issues you get what you deserve. Also used boots suck, it’s broken in and molded to someone elses foot shape.
9. There’s three basic leg shapes. The ankle, cankle, and thankle. Do not hesitate to admit that you may have an issue if your legs are of the larger variety, nothing wrong with being upfront about the fact you’re lugging around some excess meat down there.
10. Ladies unless you are built like a man, were born a man, or are an ex Russian female weight lifter pumped up on roids you should be looking at women specific boots. There’s a reason WSD’s exist and that’s because it caters to the lower calf muscle, narrower foot profile, and higher arch. Take that into consideration if you aren’t built like a truck driving lumber jack or a transsexual.
Hopefully these tips will help you to assessing your boot fitting problems and get you a proper fit. Don’t expect to run in and out at a shop and have a boot on your foot. Something like 10% of the snowboarding population can toss a boot on and go ride. Also if you’re spending excessive amounts of time with a boot fitter tip them, after all they’re touching your skanky feet.