An Expert Guide to Buying Women's Snowboard Boots

Buying snowboard boots can be an overwhelming task with all the options on the market. Check out these tips to make sure you get the perfect pair of boots for you!

A woman puts her foot in a snowboard boot.

Photo by Joshua Reddekop

Published on

Having trouble finding the best women's snowboard boots for your feet? Do you feel like your boots only make your feet hurt? If so, this guide I have compiled is just what you need! Just remember, this is an outline of expert advice and not absolute to your exact foot dimensions. We all have varying foot shapes and sizes, so buying the best boots for you is vital.

One thing to keep in mind right away is that you don't want your foot to be lifting out of your boot when you're on your toeside; this is referred to as “heel lift.” It's a common issue for women due to a variety of reasons, but this guide should help you reduce heel lift and control your turns!

Get Fitted by a Specialist

This is the most crucial step of all when buying boots. Getting your true size is going to get you started off on the right foot (pun intended). If you don't have a snowboard or ski shop nearby, you can always go to a regular shoe store and ask them to fit you. When they do, make sure you ask about your foot width as well. Foot width is measured by what is commonly referred to as "last.” By knowing your last, you'll be able to filter out boots that simply won't fit.

Also, ask about your instep—they might have some insight into your feet that you wouldn't otherwise have known. You'll also want to get some info on your arches, whether they are low, high, or flat. All of this info is going to help you make the most educated decision on your personal foot shape.

Understanding Brands and their Fit

Now that you're measured and have your foot info on hand, go ahead and start looking at various brands. If you are overwhelmed already, don’t worry, from brands to sizes, there's a lot to choose from, but a Curated Snowboard Expert can help if you’re really stumped!

Let's get into the different brands. This is going to help you start to filter out what you're really looking for.

Narrow Width

If your feet are considered A or A/B last (that's the width we were talking about earlier), this means that you have a narrow foot and will benefit from a narrower leaning brand.

Brands that are known for their narrow boot fits include Vans, Salomon, and Burton. We will get more into the nuances of each later on, but just know to keep these options in mind when you're looking at boots.

Standard Width

If your feet are B/C last, this means that you have standard width feet. Hypothetically your feet can be coaxed into a narrow boot, but it is recommended you go true to your width. The brands that are known to tend toward a standard B/C last are Ride and ThirtyTwo. Both of these brands have lots of options, so you've lucked out! Keep these options in mind in the next step.

Wide Width

Your feet are C/D or D last; this means you have wide feet. Luckily, there are brands with more generous toe boxes! DC and K2 make boots that have wider toe boxes so you're not feeling squished. They both have options for all skill levels, so finding that perfect fit is possible.

Match Your Boots to Your Goals

Buying boots that are made for the type of riding you want to do will help your progression. If you are a beginner, softer flexing boots are more forgiving and comfortable. Soft or medium flex works well for park, depending on how advanced you are. If you are just out to enjoy groomers and progress, medium-flex boots are common and often provide ample response. Stiffer boots increase the response of your feet to your board, so a medium-stiff or stiff-flexing boot will increase the sensitivity of your riding. Splitboard-specific boots are typically stiff for response and reduced fatigue; they also often have an articulating cuff and sometimes feature a "walk-mode" for the uphill travel.

Try Them On

Top down view of a woman wearing snowboard boots.

Photo by Jordan Sell

Trying on boots in person is always recommended, but many people don't have access to a local shop. When you're in a local shop, make sure to advocate for yourself by keeping these tips in mind! Ask for other brands if the width feels off. Ask about the different options available. If your heel is lifting right away, the boot may not be the best fit.

This guide should help you find a starting point for your feet. You can order boots online, like here on Curated, then return the ones that don't fit.

A step-by-step graphic guide to buying women's snowboard boots.

While the width of different brands may vary, some people's feet simply don't work with certain brands. That's okay, luckily there are other options. Putting on boots is going to get uncomfortable, but resist the urge to size up.

Go Your Size or Smaller

When buying boots, you want to buy your correct width. It is recommended you go to the size you were measured to—I cannot stress this enough! The feeling of some brands running larger or smaller refers to the width, so if you're buying boots within your correct width range, then the size should be true. There are, of course, exceptions, but one of the most common mistakes in snowboard boot buying is sizing up.

When you size up the liner, it will soften up and become punched out more easily since the repeated pressure of your foot sliding around is pushing on it. When you put on a new pair of boots, they should feel uncomfortable. Unlike street shoes, snowboard boots are for performance; think of snowboard boots as climbing shoes, they are made to give as much control as possible.

When going to your true size and putting on boots for the first time, they should be snug. Your toes should touch the end of the boot but not curl over. If your toes are curling, they are too small. Snowboard boots have a soft liner inside that will soften up from the heat of your feet and the pressure of your weight when riding. Heat molding will bypass the break-in period, but we will get to that. The normal break-in period for a boot is between 5-10 days of riding, so judging a boot while trying it on in your house isn't going to give you a true gauge on the performance of the boot.

“Heat Mold” Them

Most boots these days have a heat-moldable boot liner in them. When heat molding, you are skipping the boot's break-in period. Not every heat mold is going to turn out the same, so let's cover what to look for. Getting heat molded in a proper ski shop that has a special little oven is going to be the best possible heat mold you can get. A proper ski shop can also help you out with any inserts you may need. The liner molding oven gets to the perfect temperature for molding without burning or underheating the liner. Many shops will heat the liner in various ways, which also works; make sure when molding you're in full flexion, usually done by putting your toes up and having your knees bend, like on a toe side turn. This means your boots are at their maximum flex, and the liner is going to heat to its full potential. Heat molding can also be done at home, and there are lots of YouTube videos that will help you get it done from the comfort of your own home.

Customize Your Fit

A pair of K2 Contour Snowboard boots sit on top of the box.

Photo by Jordan Sell

This step is one of the most frustrating parts of boot fitting. Getting your boot to be the perfect fit isn't always easy, especially for women. Maybe you have a wide toe box but a narrow ankle; getting your boot customized by a boot fitter is going to help you dial in that fit. Certified boot fitters have access to inserts that can fill up space and get you fitfully snug. After-market insoles can also help out with arch support, ask your Curated Expert about Superfeet or other insoles that might be right for you.

Enjoy the Slopes!

A snowboarder turns down the mountain.

Photo by Benjamin Hayward

Having the right fit is going to increase progression and response. As you ride more, your boots will soften up more, and you will start that secure comfort feel. Boots are manufactured to last about 30 days on the mountain, but by following this guide and buying the right snowboard boots, you may be able to get closer to 100 days on a pair of boots. Pro-snowboarders and those that ride more than 50 days each season often buy a new pair of boots each year. Finding the right boots is a journey, and a journey that gets easier after talking to your Snowboard Expert on Curated about the different needs you have and finding the right fit for you!

Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Steeps and deep is the name of my game! I started snowboarding late in life as an adult, but I made up for it with over 100 days in my first ever season. I've traveled to many different resorts and ridden some amazing and terrible conditions. Mt Baker, that mountain with all the rain, is where I am...

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy