What are Wide Snowboards for? (Explained for Beginners)

A correctly sized snowboard is necessary for your comfort and safety. It will reduce the risks of losing balance and catching an edge. Beginners prefer snowboards that are responsive, easy to turn, but stable at the same time.

You might notice that some riders have wide snowboards and that many brands do not offer wide snowboards. So what are they for and do you need them? Let’s find out! 

What are wide snowboards for?

Wide snowboards are for riders who have large feet. They usually have a boot size of more than 11.5 (US). They need it to prevent their heel or toe from overhanging the edge of the board. This causes toe and heel drag. Riders might lose balance easily if they have a shortboard but large feet. 

What does a wide snowboard do?

Wide snowboards eliminate toe and heel drag when you are going for a turn. It prevents your toes from dragging in the snow while freeriding. It makes taking larger turns easier if you have larger boots. You will fall less in steeper terrains or when laying down a hard carve.

Narrow vs wide snowboard, What’s the difference? 

Designed for:

Narrow snowboards are designed for people who have a boot size that is less than 7 whereas wide snowboards are made for people who have a boot size of more than 11.5.

Narrow snowboards are made for beginners and freeride snowboarders where the width is not a large factor. Wide snowboards are more required by freestyle riders. 

Size Range:

The most obvious difference is the size. Wide snowboards are usually over 260 mm and they can be hard to find. But narrow snowboards have a size range between 235 to 245 mm. 

Issues faced:

It is harder to turn while riding a wide snowboard because it is heavy but narrow snowboards are less stable and can cause toe or heel drag.


Wide snowboards are more stable than narrow snowboards. However, narrow snowboards are more responsive and offer easier turns than wide ones. 


Narrow snowboards are more available when compared to wide snowboards. This is because most beginner snowboards are narrow and compact. Many brands don’t even offer wide snowboards and have a lower size called “Mid-wide”. 

How to tell if I need a wide snowboard?

If your boots are longer than your board then you might need a wide snowboard. You don’t want your toe or heel to be overhanging the edge of the board unless you want heel or toe drag.

This will result in you hitting the deck. This is a sign that you need a wide snowboard but not necessarily. 

The most important thing is your shoe size. For men, If you have a boot size of more than 11.5 (US) then you need a wide snowboard. For women, if you have a boot size of more than 13 (US), you need a wide snowboard. Your board waist should be more than 260 mm. 

Your riding style should be considered as well. A wide snowboard can be good for you if you have a boot size of 12 and prefer shorter park boards. But if you are into freeriding, then you should stick to the normal ones. Many backcountry riders prefer wider snowboards too. 

What width is a wide snowboard?

Wide snowboards typically have a waist width of over 260 mm. It can go over 270 mm. This is wider than a regular snowboard. There are 4 different types: narrow, regular, mid-wide, and wide.

Narrow ones have a waist width of 240 mm to 245 mm whereas regular ones have a waist width of 245 mm to 255 mm. Mid-wide ones have a waist width between 255 mm and 265 mm. 

You should choose your width according to your boot size. Here’s a chart to help you:

Snowboard WidthBoot Size (US)Board Waist Width (mm)
Narrow7 or less than 7235 to 245 mm
Regular8 to 9.5246 to 254 mm
Mid-Wide10 to 11.5255 to 259 mm
WideOver 11.5Over 260 mm

Are wide snowboards easier or harder to ride? 

If you’re a beginner, you should stick to normal snowboards until you are more advanced. A narrower board will help avoid serious injuries. You need to have more advanced balance and board control to ride with a wide snowboard. 

Compact narrow models are easier to ride when compared to wide snowboards, especially for beginners. It won’t cause toe or heel drag until you progress. It is harder to ride when turning when initiating an edge change.

Whether it is harder or easier to ride for you depends on your boot size. If you have a boot size that is less than 10.5 (US) then you should not purchase a wide snowboard. 

Is a wide snowboard more stable? 

Wide snowboards are more stable at breakneck speeds and for landing jumps. They are often bought by riders for their increased stability. They also offer increased float in deep slow.

But for this stability, they add more surface area. This extra surface area makes them heavier and lowers their turning performance. But in return, it prevents a lot of falling and frustration from the toe and heel drag.

Riders who are tall and have a heavy build get a more stable feel while riding wide snowboards. If you want your board to be more in balance and more in control, pick a snowboard according to the size of your boots. 

Are wide snowboards harder to turn? 

Unfortunately, they are harder to turn. It is mostly hard to turn if it is not the correct size for you. You need to have the proper weight and build to be in control of a wide snowboard.

As wide snowboards are heavier, it makes them harder to turn. (slower too). You need to put in more effort for it to turn the way you want. 

Are wide snowboards slower? 

Wide snowboards can be slower if your feet are too small for the board. As a result, it will be difficult for you to apply pressures on the edges which will make turn initiation slow.

The board will feel heavy and the responsiveness will decrease. You need more energy as the board is heavier.

It might slow you down on groomed slopes of ski mountains too. You don’t want a board that lacks responsiveness. Figure out your preferred boot size before committing to a wide snowboard. 

Is a wide snowboard better? 

This depends on your shoe size, your riding style, and your personal preference. It is said that wider snowboards offer more stability. It often fixes boot overhanging from the snowboard. Narrow snowboards might cause toe drag and heel drag when turning. This can damage your snowboard boots and ruin the flow of your turns. Toe drag can be both annoying and dangerous. 

But a wide snowboard is not always the best option. You need to put more effort into controlling a wide snowboard and it will be tough for you to move from one edge to another. This can reduce the speed of your movements.

Wider boards are heavy because they have more material in them. Moreover, you want your boards to be light as possible so that they are easy to move and carry. If it’s too heavy, it can make it challenging for you to perform jumps and tricks. 

Can I ride a wide snowboard? 

This depends on your waist width and boot size. Matching your shoe size to the width of the board is important.

A wide snowboard makes it tough to tip the board on an edge. This makes it harder to turn. If you have a boot size of 12 (US) or bigger then you can ride a wide snowboard.

If you have a boot size of 10 to 12 (US) then you should go for a Mid-Wide snowboard instead of a wide one or else your feet won’t hang over enough. Responsiveness decreases when you have a wide snowboard. It will be difficult and awkward to turn.

If you have a boot size of 9 then it will make no difference whether you ride a wide snowboard or a non-wide one. 

How do I know if my snowboard is the right size? 

The correct snowboard size for you depends on your riding style, weight, ability level, and height. Traditionally, people think that the snowboard length should be the same as the length from the ground to your chin. But this is no longer the only factor and not the right size. 

Weight is the most important factor of them all because your board should be able to carry your weight. Each board has a certain flex level and weight that it is designed to carry.

You will need a longer snowboard if you are above average weight. You should consider your height too. Most of the time a taller rider will weigh more than a rider who is short with a similar build. This is because taller riders often have a wider stance. 

Next comes your ability level. It is recommended for beginners to purchase a shorter board in their size range, around 3 to 5 cm shorter. A longer board can be tough to control. Next comes your ability level.

It is recommended for beginners to purchase a shorter board in their size range, around 3 to 5 cm shorter. A longer board can be tough to control. Your riding style also plays a role. If you ride mostly in the park or freestyle then you should pick a shorter snowboard. Freeriders and all-mountain riders prefer snowboards on the longer end of the size range.

The width of your board has to be according to the size of your feet. A minor difference in size can make riding tougher because only a couple of centimeters separate a narrow and a wide board.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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