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Do I need New Snowboard Boots?

We asked Claire to give us some tips on what to look for when buying new boots.  I was dismayed to find out that you need to have boots that fit! Also boots that look cool aren't always the best for your feet... bugger! So before I get carried away I will hand you over to Claire...

Well, we only have about 5 weeks or so before the mountains start to open – its that time to start thinking about your ski/snowboard gear and if it’s going to hold up for just one more winter…….

As a snowboard instructor, I probably go through one pair of boots a year (that’s 2 winters back to back) That’s not really necessary if you only have 2 or 3 weeks a year of riding. However, what is important is that your boots fit you well and are comfy. There’s absolutely nothing worse than sore feet when you are riding, and I should know! Or having boots that are really big and baggy and don’t hold your feet in place. I have to apologise to the skiers amongst us – this is just about snowboard boots for the moment. Simon is the guy to ask about the ski boots! (unfortunately I always go for style over substance, so that's gonna be a short blog! - Si)

For me, it’s almost the most important part of your equipment. Sure, having a snowboard that’s the right length and flexibility is great, but if you ain’t got those boots right, then nothing will be right. There’s not one particular pair of boots that I could recommend as everyone’s tastes and feet shape are different (unless of course you wanna give us some Mr Burton, then we'll recommend away!), but here are a few pointers that might help if you’re thinking about buying boots this winter.

Size

The length of your boot is really important. Your big toe should be touching the end. You don’t want to have lots of room in there, as when you ride you bend your knees, and this pulls your foot away from the tip of the boot. So a really snug fit is ideal. You should be able to feel the entire boot all around your whole foot, nice and tight. Obviously you don’t want to cut off your circulation, so make sure your foot is nice and snug, nothing more.

Style

Now, I’m not known for my steezy style as a snowboarder (nor in my normal clothes either, come to think of it). Looking good while you snowboard is great. It might even make you a better snowboarder!!! Hmmmm…..anyway, for me, style is not really that important. You might see the most fluoro, out there boots, and think yes! I want those! But unless they fit really well and snug, don’t do it!!! Comfort is everything, and if they look great but don’t feel quite right, then I would recommend trying some different boots. I have Salomon Kiana’s at the moment. Super comfy and they have a lace up system which allows you to tighten around your foot first, then around your ankle and lower leg. Normal laces are great, you can get exactly the right amount of tightness everywhere you need it. The only down side for me about laces is that they are a bit of a pain and take longer to do up than some other alternative systems. Again, it’s up to you what you prefer.

Price

I have a motto – you get what you pay for. (I also have one - if it's free then it's too expensive....but then again I am a scouser! - Si) If you can, try and get a really decent pair of boots, and that means that they’re not going to be cheap. A good pair will last you longer, and you will be able to tell the difference straight away. Lots of people borrow their friends stuff, as it obviously is cheaper than buying or hiring. If you’re going to do this, just make sure that the boots at least fit well with just one pair of socks on.

Heel Lift

When you snowboard, and especially when you are making toe turns (going from your heel edge to your toe edge) you want your feet to stay in contact with your boots. When you bend your knees and put pressure on your toe edge to turn, you want your heels to stay in the heel cup of your boot. If they lift up, the boots aren’t right! If they are only lifting up a fraction, then you should be able to cope with this. If your heels end up halfway up the boot, its time to go shopping. Tight boots equals more response from your snowboard – as you move your feet, you want the snowboard to follow.

Shopping

Most snowboard stores have staff that know how a boot should fit. They have all sorts of equipment and devices to help if you need to tweak your boots, or to help new ones fit perfectly. You can have the inner boots heat moulded to your feet so they match your foot shape exactly. Its all pretty good stuff.

So...

If you want to improve your snowboarding this season, go and get yourself a lovely comfortable pair of boots. If they look good too, bonus! And most of them do look good as well as being supportive and comfortable. It will improve your snowboarding, I promise!!!!!

Bye for now,

Claire

Coming soon Simon's guide to ski boots.  Do they look cool? Yep then buy em.... (told you it was gonna be short!)

Congrats to the English Cricket 20/20 team....


Posted By: Claire Williams, @ Wed, 19th May 2010

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