So you’re heading off to the slopes for a spot of boarding and beginning to worry about the fit of your boots – something that really can make or break your holiday. Perhaps it’s time to think about buying your own? While it might seem an extravagance for a week or two a year, having previously bought my own ski boots and discovering quite how much of a game changer that was, I was curious to discover if the same could be said for snowboarding boots.
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If you're about to hit the slopes it's great to do so with your own boots
While they look more like moonboots, and are certainly more forgiving than ski boots, it turns out the fit is no less important. I only ski, so I tagged a long with a friend and discovered that just like with running shoes, the fit of a boot can really influence the way you board.
There's a lot to think about when you buy your own boots. If you over- or under-pronate, you should correct this in a ski or snowboarding boot too. And having a snug fit that reacts every time you put your weight forward or backwards in the boot makes a huge difference to how much you can (or can’t) control your board.
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The fitting process is less time-consuming than that of a ski boot – because the shells are more flexible, so once you’ve determined you are wearing the correct size (your toes should be free but touch the front of the boot when you lean backwards, and keep snug to your heels when you flex forward) it’s mainly about personal comfort choice.
It will take you about an hour for the whole process
Adjustments can be made if you feel pressure points – but unlike with ski boots, shells can’t be stretched. When my friend reported the positioning of the pinch points on their feet, our fitter, Artemi, was able to recognise that this was the pattern of an over-pronating boarder and could likely be fixed with an insole. Snow and Rock have a whole floor dedicated to ski and snowboard boot purchase and the gadgets available are amazing. My pal stood on what was essentially a clear plastic surface with a mirror below and the pronation of her foot was instantly evident. Unlike with ski boots, there are less adjustments that can be made which makes the process speedier but there are still plenty of choices to be made.
Laces or Boa is one important choice - the Boa being a clever system that allows boot tightening with the twist of a plastic disc? It’s interesting to learn that this clever gadget has a life-time guarantee so don't be put off by fear or it snapping. In the end it comes down to the feel of your feet in the boot. And although snowboard boot fitting is not an overly laborious process you should give yourself an hour to ensure you’re quite happy with ever aspect.
My friend is due to hit he slopes next month so will be checking back in with a verdict. But apparently walking around the living room with her boots on is perfectly comfortable so all is looking good. One thing's for sure - removing the boot hire process from your boarding holiday not only saves time and money (you realistically pay for your own boots in a few trips) but it also removes that element of doubt which you always feel in brand new boots you've only just hired. And we all know a good workman or woman never blames his or her tools - so if your snowboarding isn't quite as great as you remembered it, and you're in your own boots, you've got no excuse!