How to Choose the Right Snowboard Boots (5 Steps)

Boots are the most important part of your snowboard setup.  They keep your feet warm, are the main point of power transfer to your snowboard, and protect your feet, ankles, and shins.  In a nutshell, comfort on the slopes is synonymous with the right pair of boots with the right fit.   Here’s what we recommend for getting the right fitting snowboard boots.

Slick for more Nike SB Boots

Slick for more Nike SB Boots

Step 1: Choose the correct amount of flex for your demands.  All snowboard boots have flex rating usually based on a one-to-ten scale with ten being the stiffest.  Generally, stiffer boots meet the demands for aggressive riders that are  larger in stature.  These types of riders are typically powerful enough to flex these boots without the boot fighting back.  Freeriders and Big Mountain riders typically prefer boots with a stiffer flex.  Park and novice riders tend to prefer softer flexing boots that are generally more comfortable and forgiving.  Here at, we like to match rider’s boot flex pattern with their board’s flex pattern.  This is a good rule of thumb to always consider when shopping for snowboard boots (some might say that it is the most important rule of thumb).  If you have not yet selected a board or are new to the concept of flex patterns, here’s are chart that will guide you in the right direction.

Click to expand


Step 2: Evaluate the boot’s length compared to your foot.  From heel to toe, length matters!  Snowboard boots should fit tighter than your sneakers.  Believe it or not, in a correct fitting snowboard boot, it’s not uncommon for your longest toe to be grazing the edge.  Keep in mind that your toes should never be crammed or uncomfortable, just have a snug fit around your toes keeps your foot from sliding forward and aft when edging. This is your front line in preventing nasty heel blisters that sometimes arise when renting equipment that’s not sized correctly.  If it’s happened to you, then you can attest to how annoying and painful it is.

Step 3: Lace your boots to minimize heel lift.  Keeping heel lift to a minimum is another way to prevent blisters and maximize response.  The fact is, ALL boots have some heel lift.  The important thing is keeping it to a minimum.  Seek out boots that have heel anchors that keep the liner to the shell.  This ensures that your liner and heel stay in place inside the shell of the boot.  It is also imperative to be seated when lacing your boot. This keeps your heel back in the boot so that when you lace your boots you eliminate all unnecessary space.

Snowboard Boot Lacing 101


Step 4: Assessing your fit for pressure points.  Make sure when your boot is laced up correctly that there are no parts of the boot harshly pressing against your foot.  Pressure points not only grow painful after a while, but they can also prevent blood from circulating, thus making your feet cold.  Pressure points can kill a good day of riding.  When you get your new boots, wear them around the house while watching TV or eating dinner.  This is a great way to forecast how your feet will feel after hours of riding on the mountain. If there is no cramping or pain, then you’re set.  If your boots give you problems while you’re wearing them around the house, you should evaluate a size change or try another boot altogether.

Step 5: Custom fit if necessary.  Some boots offer the ability to be custom fitted by way of heat molding.  Usually one can find out if a boot is heat-moldable in its product listing.  Or…you can talk to an expert who can fill you in.  Heat-molding takes approximately 15 minutes and, in almost all cases will make the boots slightly bigger.  Think of heat molding as a way to break in your boots quickly – not a solution to a bad fit or pressure points.  For heat molding specifics and instructions, consult the instructions provided by the brand.

Heat Molding Snowboard Boots


Liner – the inner removable boot that makes direct contact with your foot and ankle. The liner’s purpose is to keep your feet and lower legs supported while simultaneously keeping them warm and comfortable. Liners are made from various foams, the most common being EVA. They can include plastic supports for added stiffness, ergonomic heel kidneys, thermal fabric, laces, and the ability to be heat molded.

Outer Shell – the outer and most visible portion of the boot. The outer shell functions as the boots main support structure, source of protection, and main cosmetic design. The cuff, or portion of the shell where the lower and upper parts parts combine, is a huge contributor to flex and support. An articulating cuff (pictured) allows the upper and lower parts off the shell to overlap when flexing together. This makes the boot softer flexing and adds life to the shell. A straight cuffed boot will often be stiffer since it lacks a flex zone, but this is preferred by riders who desire a great deal of support.

Outsole – The outsole is a durable piece of flat, treaded rubber or foam attached to the bottom of the boot. It is the main contact point between your foot and the ground when walking or your foot and the binding when riding. In the past, these were often made of rubber but due to recent advances in technology, they are now predominately made of injected foam allowing for a lighter end-product.

Tongue – The tongue is the elongated front of the boot that rests under the laces. Tongues sometimes feature webbing under them that keep snow out of your boot.

Toe Box – The toe box is the frontal part of the boot that guards your toes. This part of the boot takes a lot of abuse from walking and regular wear. Good boots feature double or triple stitched seams and dimensions that are true to size.

Snowboard Boot Features


Contact us at [email protected] or call 866.268.7669 with any lingering questions you have about snowboard boot fit.  Happy feet = happy snowboarding!



The Crew



I am a snowboarder and action sports pundit from Atlanta, GA. The opinions I express are entirely my own.

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