Snowboard boots can make or break a riding experience. Sure, they’re a piece of gear that keeps your feet warm and protected on the slopes. But more so, they help transfer your body’s movements to your board, directly impacting how you glide in the mountains.
From fine-tuning basic maneuvers to carving the steeps and slashing powder, snowboard boots can be the difference between advancing and stalling with your progression. And so, getting your sizing right is crucial.
If you’re wondering what size snowboard boots you need - we have you covered. This guide delves into everything you need to know regarding snowboard boot size and fit. I’ll also include some tried-and-true tips and a snowboard boot size chart to help you get it right the first time around!
How To Measure Your Snowboard Boot Size
Measuring your feet before comparing snowboard boot options helps in understanding fit. Even though snowboard boots are sized like street shoes (more on that below), comparing measurements helps triple-check the sizing. It doesn’t take very long, and it's useful, compressible knowledge to store for the long run.
So let’s talk about the “mondopoint.” Although mainly used for ski boots, snowboard boots will usually also feature a mondopoint or mondo-print; or simply the mondo, for short. It’s essentially the length of your foot, in centimeters (cm).
How to get the most accurate mondo size? You can do it by following these three simple steps:
- Grab a piece of paper and a pen (or pencil), and place it under your foot with your heel against a wall.
- Transfer all the weight onto that foot -a single stance is best, here- and draw a line with your writing tool where your big toe ends.
- Measure the length from the edge of the paper to your “toe line.” This is your mondo size.
Keep this number in the back of your mind when comparing boot options. (Or hey: if you ever need ski boots) The mondo size is typically included on snowboard boot size charts, too, often next to a foot length size in inches.
Snowboard Boot Size Chart
Snowboard boot size charts offer an excellent starting point when choosing a new pair of boots.
I suggest reviewing the chart below before diving into purchasing or renting boots. It features conversions to Euro and UK sizing, and measurements in both inches and centimeters.
Snowboard Boot Size vs. Shoe Size
Snowboard boot manufacturers keep it pretty simple with sizing. Your riding footwear should reflect your normal shoe size. If you’re a regular size 8 in running shoes, your snowboard boot size should, ideally, also be a size 8.
With that said, boot options are plenty. And Burton doesn’t necessarily make their boots the exact same way as other snowboard boot brands like K2, Salomon, or ThirtyTwo. One rider’s foot is also not made quite like another rider’s! So there will always be subtle differences in the “correct boot fit.” Particularly if you contend with wide feet, have prior foot injuries, or are prone to pressure points in your footwear.
What does that mean when comparing snowboard boot size vs everyday shoes? Use your normal shoe size as a starting point, and adjust as needed. If you’ve read reviews that overwhelmingly state that a particular snowboard boot option runs small, maybe size larger from the get-go. Use all the information at your disposal to make the best decision you can.
How Should Snowboard Boots Fit?
Through working at a ski resort, I’ve spent many hours helping riders choose snowboard boots at rental centers. Since properly-fitting boots are pretty darn important to a riding experience, I always stress the importance of getting the size right.
So how should your snowboard boots fit? I always say: far more snugly than you think! You want your snowboard boots to be tight. Tight boots protect your foot and ankle. They also ensure your heel stays in place when moving your board.
Here are some other pointers for getting a properly fitting boot:
Try your boots on at day’s end for at least 30 minutes
Feet swell through the day, this is normal. Try your boots on at day’s end so that your feet can reflect, as much as possible, what size they’d be after a full day of snowboarding. Keep them on for at least 30 minutes, too. It’s the best way to know whether there’s an immediate pain or circulation issue.
Expect to wiggle into your boots
Snowboard boots usually aren’t going to be as easy to get on -or as comfortable!- as your regular walking shoes. If someone slides their foot right into their boot too easily, I often question if it’s a size larger than ideal.
Try boots on with thin, snowboard or ski-specific socks
Snowboarding and skiing socks are thin. This is an important factor to consider- especially for new boots! That means no cotton, no microfiber fuzzies, and no chunky hiking socks when sizing your riding footwear.
Too thick a sock will make your boots feel tighter than they probably are, and you may get misled that they’re the wrong size. Plus, snowboard boots usually come with memory foam liners or heat-moldable liners. There is a break-in process, and boots will mold to your foot as you ride over the first few weeks.
Toes should touch the front toe box
Your toes should be touching the front toe box of your snowboard boot- but without any toe bend. If your foot doesn’t quite reach the front of the snowboard boots, it’s probably too large. And no, a thicker sock isn’t the answer to this problem!
Look for heel lift
Rock back and forth with your boots on. Your heel should not be lifting from the insole too easily. While minimal heel lift is okay, you want to ensure you have a secure boot fit. This will help keep your movements controlled and stable when riding.
Note any pressure points
For brand new snowboard boots, it’s normal for the fit to feel extra tight at first. There is usually a break-in process, even if it’s a short one. While an extra snug fit is normal in a new boot, excess pressure and defined pressure points are not. It may be tough to distinguish the two as a novice rider, though.
That’s why I recommend speaking to a professional boot fitter, regardless of how or where you purchased your snowboard boots. They’ll offer valuable input and, if possible, custom-mold your liners to address any painful pressure points.
5 Snowboard Boot Sizing Tips
Before you finalize your snowboard boot purchase, heed these additional tips about boot sizing so you can buy with no regrets.
1. Consider your riding style & boot flex
When purchasing new boots, acknowledge your riding level and riding style first. Since snowboard boots come in a range of flexes -rated on a scale of 1 to 10- choosing the proper flex will ensure you get a boot that aligns with your skill level. Ultimately, one that will help you progress, too.
Closer to 1, the softer the flex. That means more mobility and flexibility when riding. Closer to 10, the more stiffness in your boot. Stiffness equates to more control in higher speeds, reactive movements, and stability in various terrain.
Are you an advanced rider charging steep chutes and deep powder? Choose a stiff flex. For intermediate or conservative riders exploring various parts of the mountain, a medium flex would suit you well. If you’re a beginner starting out or a dedicated park rider, go for a more forgiving soft flex for more mobility.
2. Get boots with heat-moldable liners
Ask any seasoned rider if their ski boots or snowboard boots have thermo-lined liners, and chances are they’ll say yes. Even without the help of a professional boot fitter at a snowboard shop, heat-moldable liners are the closest you can get to a custom boot fit!
Whether they’re premium Intuition boot liners or brand-specific inserts, like Burton’s Imprint series, heat-molded boot liners conform to a rider’s foot like no other. They usually bump up the boot price a tad, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
3. Do your research & read reviews
As mentioned above, snowboard boot brands offer a universal sizing model that reflects regular street shoe sizing. Sometimes, boots will run larger or smaller than expected, though. Or, they may have more flex or stiffness than expected.
I recommend riders do their research and read as many reviews as possible about the pair of snowboard boots on their minds. This will help you make the most educated purchase or rental. Your feet will thank you!
4. If purchasing online, try the boots on in person first
No foot is built the same. One rider’s size 7 will not always be like another’s. Some snowboarders have wide feet or recurring pressure points, flat foot issues, or recurring foot pain to contend with, too.
That’s why if purchasing a pair of snowboard boots online, I highly recommend trying your boot options in person first. Even if simply to confirm that the sizing is on point before committing.
If that’s not possible, make sure the website you’re purchasing from has a good -and speedy- return policy. That way, if you need to size larger or smaller, exchanging won’t set you back too much.
5. The lacing system makes a difference
Consider the lacing system your desired model has, especially if you’re a rider that needs a lot of boot adjustments throughout the day. It’s partially personal preference, but it can also affect the way your boots fit.
Boa lacing systems utilize cables to fine-tune fit. If you need more give in one part of a boot over another, Boa systems are great. Many boots even offer double or triple Boa systems for uber-precision.
Traditional laces are classic and don’t break as easily. You customize the fit, but they tend to become looser and need redos throughout the day. Which is great if you prize flexibility!
Choosing a new pair of snowboard boots is an important decision- one that will greatly impact your riding. Quality boots that are sized correctly will not make your movements more controlled and reactive, but they’ll aid in your progression.
Whether you’re still learning or an advanced rider venturing into challenging terrain, heed the tips about snowboard boots outlined above. They’re a piece of snowboard gear that will maximize your riding experience, and get you in that flow state faster!
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.