The Best Snowboarding Gear Designed for Women
Snowboarding Expert Tyese Messerman lists her favorite snowboards, boots, bindings, jackets, and pants designed specifically for women!
Since the first snowboards came out, the sport has been dominated by men. But over the last ten years, women have risen to approximately a third of the snowboarders on the mountain. What helps women get more into the sport? You guessed it. Gear that is designed with women in mind!
Sure, a woman can ride a guy’s snowboard, use bindings designed for a man, or wear an oversized jacket. But with the perfect-fitting pants, a stylish snowboard jacket, and boots designed for our feet, the season gets a lot more exciting!
We’ll explore some of the top female-focused gear on the market, and learn a few things to consider when purchasing gear for your best season ever.
What Gear Do I Need for Snowboarding?
There are the top five items you need for snowboarding:
- Snowboard Jacket
- Snowboard Pants
There are a lot of accessories out there, but you’ll probably want to add a helmet, goggles, gloves, socks, and some Merino wool baselayers to this list.
What Makes a Snowboard Women’s Specific?
Sometimes a men’s snowboard gets printed with cute graphics and shrunken to a smaller size to be labeled a women’s board. Today, most brands are thinking about how to tweak gear to make it women's specific in size and shape. A few things that define a woman’s snowboard are:
- Waist Width
- Torsional Flex
- Nose-to-Tail Flex
- Core Profiles
- Overall Size
Waist width is often overlooked, but for women with smaller feet, a thinner waist width makes the board easier to turn and control. The amount of flex across the width of the board also helps make a board women-specific. Known as torsional flex, it’s less rigid on a woman’s board to accommodate a lighter-weight rider yet still provides high-quality edge hold and sharper turns. Nose-to-tail flex is softer overall as well, and the core materials are lighter weight to help a woman control the board. Often, the riding stance range is narrower for smaller female riders.
My Three Favorite Women’s Snowboards
Top Advanced Board: Pallas Epiphany
All the boards made by Pallas are designed, tested, and refined by women based on how hardcore sisters shred. The Epiphany, created for an advanced female rider, is extremely stable at high speeds, super responsive when turning, and great in powder. What really stands out are the beautiful graphics and high-quality top sheet. You can't chip if you try!
Top Intermediate Board: Jones Dream Catcher
Jones puts a lot of time and effort into constructing high-quality boards for men, women, and children. The Dream Catcher is a perfect example. This directional, all-mountain board comes in five sizes to fit any female shredder. It also has the classic 3D Contour Base and Traction Tech 2.0 edges for amazing hold and control.
Top Beginner Board: Yes Emoticon
This cruisy board from Yes comes in four different sizes with a waist width range of 237 to 243mm. The soft flex and CamRock design make it a perfect first board for women and one to progress on well into intermediate riding.
What Makes Snowboard Boots Women’s Specific?
A woman’s foot is not just a smaller version of a man’s. Women have lower calf muscles and a narrower foot that is wider at the forefoot and slimmer at the heel. A man’s foot is more uniform from the toes to the heel. The arch and ball of the foot vary between men and women, too. To avoid foot pain and fatigue, many brands make women-specific boots to suit the differences.
The flex of the boot is something to consider at the time of purchase. Do you want a stiffer or a softer flex? Notice the liner. Do you want a moldable liner that conforms to your foot over time through body heat, or a heat-moldable liner that a professional customizes for you? If you have high or low arches, tune into the footbed design of the boot to choose what is best for you for long-lasting comfort.
My Three Favorite Women's Snowboarding Boots
Top Advanced Boots: Vans Viaje
Vans created the highly adjustable Viaje boots to accommodate a woman’s foot no matter what shape or size. They come with removable tongue stiffeners for total customized flex.
Top Intermediate Boots: Ride Sage
Ride designed the Sage boots with Jade Last, a performance fit for women, and C.A.T. (Calf Adjustment Technology). Both innovations are proprietary to Ride and designed to give ladies added comfort. They are truly a boot for any occasion.
Top Beginner Boots: Burton Mint
Burton uses a woman’s specific true fit in their Mint boots for lower volume feet. This provides for a more accurate fit for women and aims to offer a better board feel and more control on the slopes. These boots are perfect for long days on slopes.
What Makes Snowboard Bindings Women’s Specific?
Since men’s and women’s feet differ, the bindings should as well. Many brands create bindings with a woman’s foot and boot in mind. What’s the difference between them? For one, the highback is often shorter to accommodate a woman’s lower calves. And the binding frame is also more slender to fit a narrower boot.
A female binding is also often lighter and comes in smaller sizes. Why is this important? The bindings are how you control the board. The more efficiently you transfer energy to the board, the more responsive your ride is and the more control you have when carving and cruising.
My Three Favorite Women’s Bindings
Top Advanced Bindings: Now Conda
Now makes Conda bindings with an extra fat foam footbed for comfort. And they use Skate-Tech in all their bindings to reduce foot pain and fatigue. They come with Asym SIEVA straps, switchable from your right to left foot, depending on how aggressive you ride and the amount of support desired. The best part is they hang open to get your foot in easily. You don't even have to sit down.
Top Intermediate Bindings: Burton Scribe
Burton created the women’s Scribe bindings with extra comfort in the footbed and a minimalistic design to reduce weight and stamp out foot pain for all-day riding. The toe cap fits well over boots to optimize support as well.
Top Beginner Bindings: Union Rosa
The Rosa bindings by Union are an excellent choice for their price point. Its baseplate is made to fit a woman’s boot and provides a locked-in feel for quick and efficient edge-to-edge transitions.
What Does a Women’s Specific Snowboard Jacket Look Like?
Men and women are built differently in the torso. Thankfully, many brands now cater to the needs of the female shredder. The days of bulky and poorly fitting gear are over. You can find technical yet stylish women’s specific designs to wear on resort days or for backcountry tours.
How a jacket is tailored is the biggest difference between men’s and women’s snowboard or ski jackets. A woman’s jacket is slimmer, with more fabric in the chest. Men have broader shoulders, so their jackets have more width in the shoulders. Women have broader hips as well, so jackets for us are built to accommodate that. Fabric color and overall sizing tend differ for them too.
Women should define what type of riding they prefer, and in what conditions before purchasing a jacket. Are you going on backcountry ski tours? Then you probably want a highly breathable shell with pit zips for when you overheat. Will you be at a resort most of the time? Then your jacket should have a pocket for your ski pass.
How much insulation do you want? Do you spring ski in warmer weather or like chasing powder, often in inclement weather with high winds and lots of snow? Questions like these determine if you need a warmer jacket or a non-insulated one.
Every answer helps narrow down the perfect jacket for you. Some have fixed, removable, or helmet-compatible hoods. Gore-Tex protects you from the elements for some models, while others use more polyester and nylon blend fabrics. Details make the difference.
So what are some of the best snowboard jackets out there? Let's take a look!
The Five Best Women's Snowboard Jackets
Top Backcountry Jacket: Arc’teryx Alpha
For the hardcore ladies out there, this lightweight shell jacket is specifically cut to fit your body. It has high waterproof and breathability ratings, fully taped seams, and is made from extremely durable Gore-Tex that won’t snag or tear; even when using ice axes and crampons. From skiing & snowboarding to hiking & climbing tours alike, this jacket provides a perfect fit and has underarm vents to keep you cool.
Top Resort Jacket: Patagonia PowSlayer
The PowSlayer stands out for its functionality on the mountain. It has many zippers and plenty of pockets for a woman to keep her personal items secure while shredding. It’s not only made of high-quality Gore-Tex but is also one of the highest-rated jackets for breathability; so you won't sweat too much!
Top Eco-Friendly Jacket: Picture Organic Aeron
Eco-friendly ladies, the Aeron jacket should steal your heart. It’s made from sugar cane waste. Picture Organic is a certified B Corp Company that is fighting climate change. This jacket features an adjustable hem and cuffs, has a removable snow skirt, and uses a PFC-Free Durable Water Repellent Treatment. Available in many amazing cuts and colors for women.
Top Budget Gore-Tex Jacket: Volcom Aris Gore-Tex
Often offering some of the lowest prices on Gore-Tex, Volcom brings us the insulated Aris Gore-Tex jacket. Beautifully cut for women and highly waterproof, it provides great warmth with its synthetic insulation, has an adjustable hood, and easily accessible hand pockets. It also features Volcom’s Zip Tech technology which allows you to zip the jacket and pants together if you wear all Volcom!
Top Jacket Design: Burton AK Gore-Tex 3L Kimmy Stretch
Burton uses Gore-Tex 3L in the AK Gore-Tex 3L Kimmy Stretch jacket to provide a bomber waterproof and breathable snowboard jacket. It comes with zip pits, a powder skirt, and fully sealed seams. What stands out is its articulated fit for improved mobility made from a pattern that mimics the natural flex of a woman’s body while snowboarding and hiking.
Do Snowboard Pants Designed for Women Really Matter?
Snow pants are a key piece of outerwear to stay dry and comfortable against the elements. If your pants don’t fit well, they get in your way and restrict movement. Or worse yet, they let snow and moisture in. Buying snow pants designed for women ensures they fit better at the waist, through the hips, and are the correct length. Many brands make them in short, regular, and tall versions for various body shapes.
Deciding between pants and bibs is another crucial decision. Bibs keep you warmer and provide extra protection from snow in powder. This is key if you’re just starting out and fall a lot. However, they can feel more restrictive and be more time-consuming when nature calls. If you go bibs, get ones that adjust easily, and have a butt zip or flap for easy pit stops.
Similar to purchasing a jacket, a woman should consider their riding style when buying pants. If ski touring or split-boarding is involved, a non-insulated pair of Gore-Tex pants may be in order or even a soft-shell pair. If riding long days at resorts in a blizzard, go for highly insulated pants to stay warm.
Let's check out some great pant options for the adventure seekers out there.
The Five Best Women's Snowboard Pants
Top Technical Pants: Arc’teryx Sentinel
Designed for the adventurous woman, the Sentinel Pants by Arc’teryx boast the toughest face fabric made from extremely durable, high-quality Gore-Tex. They come in short, regular, and tall lengths, and in lightweight (LT), all-around (AR), and severe weather (SV) versions as well.
Top Resort Pants: Patagonia Powder Bowl
Patagonia offers these top-of-the-line pants in insulated or non-insulated versions. They have high waterproof and breathability ratings to keep you warm and dry all day. The angled zipper vents allow for quick airflow when things get hot.
Best Budget Gore-Tex Pants: Dakine Remington Pure 2L Gore-Tex
A pair of Gore-Tex pants that won’t break the bank is ideal for many ladies. These pants are built with a Gore-Tex waterproof, breathable membrane, and offer 40 grams of insulation on the knees and butt for protection when in contact with the snow. They come in cool colors and have a handy, quick-access pocket on the leg as well.
Best Cut Pants: Burton Gore-Tex Gloria Pants
The Burton Gore-Tex Gloria Pants stand out for the options they offer. They come in many levels of waterproofing, including a Gore-Tex version, and are available in short, regular, and long to fit any sized rider. Tapered through the knee, they offer a slim, flattering and stylish look on the slopes.
Best Bibs: Volcom Elm Gore-Tex Bibs
These bibs are not only stylish thanks to their slightly slim fit and tapered legs, but the Volcom Elm Gore-Tex bibs make the perfect outer shell with their high-quality Gore-Tex stretch fabric that moves with you all day. The best part of these bibs? They have a zipper across the top of your bum for easy and quick access when you run into the lodge to pee.
Buying new gear is fun! And women’s specific gear is no longer lacking. Decide what type of riding you do and in what conditions and pull the trigger. If you need some help narrowing down your choices or knowing what would be the best fit for you, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated and they can get you all fitted out! Thanks, ladies. Now go shred!