Board and ski designs are fun to look at, the right combination of jacket and pants can make you feel great, and your bindings can have a huge effect on how well you ski or ride. Still, when it comes to your comfort while skiing and snowboarding the most important piece of gear is your boots.
All control of your skis or board passes through your feet, so if your feet are hurting because of your boots then every turn is going to hurt. That’s why skiers and snowboarders with enough experience to buy their own set of boots know how important it is that their boots match their needs and be fitted perfectly to their feet. If your boots are anything other than that, you’ll end up buying new boots before you know it. To help you avoid that, the ASO Mammoth team has put together a quick list of tips to help you buy your first set of boots below!
Get Your Boots Fitted
With enough research, you can figure out exactly what boot should work for you, but if you want to know what boots will work for you then you need to get your boots fitted.
Most people know what type of riding they like, what brands they trust, and what they liked and didn’t like about their previous boots, but only an experienced boot fitter knows exactly how all those factors work together to make for a comfortable ride. Not only will a good boot fitter help you find the right boot for you, but if you have something that makes your feet unique such as extra width or square toes then a boot fitter can customize your boots so that they’re perfect for you from their first ride to their last.
Let’s make it clear, you don’t want your boots to be too small or too big. If you have to lean one way or another though, err on the side of too small.
It may sound strange, but smaller is better when it comes to ski and snowboard boots. Boots that are too small will certainly hurt your feet, but the movement caused by boots that are too big will also hurt your feet while also taking away vital control. More importantly though, a good boot fitter has a better chance to fix boots that are too small than they do boots that are too big.
Know the Basics
Knowing what rental boots you’ve used before and liked isn’t enough if you want to work with a boot fitter to find the perfect boots.
You should know what type of riding you like now and would like to do in the future, how stiff you like your boots, how often you ski or snowboard, and what type of lacing system you’re interested in.
One of the simpler choices you’ll have to make is your lacing system. While automatic lacing systems and quick pull laces are convenient in snowboard boots, they may not offer as much flexibility in tightness as some riders would like. Obviously, you need to know what size foot you have, but snowboard and ski boots are like regular shoes in that their fits vary by manufacture. Your boot fitter should be aware of how brands fit differently, but you should be aware as well in order to make an informed decision. Lastly, the flex of the boot determines how much control your boots give you. While the rating systems are different, in both ski and snowboard boots the higher the number the stiffer a boot is.