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Why are Snowboard Boots So Uncomfortable? (Explained)

Snowboard boots are not the same as regular boots. They can be quite uncomfortable to use especially for beginner-level riders.

Comfort is the most important thing when it comes to snowboard boots as it can affect your riding experience. Let’s find out more about why they are so uncomfortable and how to fix it! 

Why are snowboard boots so uncomfortable?

Snowboard boots are not supposed to be uncomfortable. If they are, it means you do not have the correct size. It is either too big or small for you. They might feel uncomfortable for the first few days as it takes time to pack out. Sometimes the brand or socks can be causing discomfort. 

Moreover, snowboard boots are heavier and more complex than regular boots. They are only suited for snowboarding and should not be used to walk.

They can be very hard to walk long distances and will tire you out. They should not be used for hiking or driving to prevent accidents.

Are snowboard boots supposed to hurt?

They are not supposed to hurt. If your feet hurt after snowboarding, it can be because of a number of issues that need to be addressed. Most of the time it hurts because of the wrong size and fit. It has to be a perfect fit for your foot.

“One size fits all” does not apply to boots. Sometimes it’s not the size that is causing the problem. The shape of your foot, lacing systems, and socks can be the root of it too. 

Sometimes all you need is to give it some time. Snowboard boots can hurt when you are using it for the first time. It takes some time for the boot to fit into your foot completely.

If you usually don’t have a lot of leg movement then it will hurt initially. For example, when we exercise after a long time, our body hurts. To prevent that, we exercise regularly. 

Why do snowboard boots hurt?

Snowboard boots can hurt because of many reasons. Here are 6 reasons why your snowboard boots might be hurting you. 

They are too big:

People tend to buy snowboard boots that are bigger than their shoe size. This is a misconception. You should always try on the boot before purchasing it.

You should be able to reach the end of the boot with your toes and there should be ½ inch gap at the end of the boot. Loose snowboard boots can lead you to lose control of your board.

They are too small:

It might indeed feel tight when you first buy them. But it should not be so tight that it restricts movement.

This will numb your feet in the cold and can cut off circulation to your feet as well. You should be able to move your feet inside the boot.

Socks and Leggings:

Choosing the right socks is important. This can potentially alter the size. If you wear thick socks, they can feel tight and if you wear thin socks, they can feel loose.

This is why you should always wear your snowboarding socks before trying on a new pair of snowboard boots. Your leggings shouldn’t go inside the boot. This will cause the same problems as a short sock.

Riding experience:

Snowboarding involves a lot of leg movement that we don’t always do in daily life. Until you snowboard regularly, it can feel uncomfortable the first few times. After some time, you should be used to it.

Moreover, new snowboarding boots will be tight at first. It should pack out half a size bigger after the first 10 days or so. 


Different brands sell different sizes of snowboard boots. Your shoe size might not be the same as your snowboard boot size. Try on different brands and sizes before fixating on one.

Lacing system:

Snowboard boots use a different lacing system than regular boots. This is why make sure you lace up properly. It should be tight enough but not too tight.

How to make your snowboard boots more comfortable?

If your snowboard boots are too tight, follow these steps:

  • Mold the boot to the shape of your feet: This is a natural process. Make sure your snowboard boots are a bit warm and bend them or flex them the way you want. Heat molding breaks in your liners and you can mold them to the shape you want. 
  • Wear a thin pair of socks: This will make it less tight. Synthetic and wool socks tend to be more flexible.
  • Replacing the stock insoles of the boot: Remove your current insoles and get custom ones. The thickness of your insoles can change a lot. Many custom insoles can be molded to the shape you want similar to a heat mold.  
  • Shave off a bit of the liner: Many people shave off some liner from the area near the toe. This should be absolutely the last resort as you can’t reverse it. 

If your snowboard boots are too big, follow these steps:

  • Buy a heel lift(also known as fit aid): This is a foam device that you can put in between your inner lines and outer shell. It helps keep your foot in position. Many riders use this when their boots become too packed out. 
  • Wear a thick pair of socks: Socks can affect how your boot feels. A thick pair of socks can help reduce the size.
  • Get an aftermarket insole: This helps a lot if you don’t have one in your snowboard boot. The quality of your insole matters. It should provide proper arch support and it should keep the heel stable. A good quality aftermarket insole increases your comfort and makes it fit you well. 
  • Buy an add-on tongue: An add-on tongue is placed between the existing tongue and shin. It reduces the cuff volume as well as instep. 

How tight should snowboard boots feel?

When you first buy a snowboard boot, it will feel reasonably tight. It will take some time to go to its accurate size. After using it for around 10 days, it should be well suited for your feet.

If it feels like a perfect fit right away, then you have the wrong size. It shouldn’t be too tight though. 

It should be tight enough to hold your foot securely and you should be able to feel all the pressure points around your foot.

You should not be feeling restricted. Otherwise, it can cut off blood circulation to your feet. Your feet might also get numb while riding. Your toes should not curl up or bend.

Make sure you tighten it properly so that it doesn’t slip out and it should be a snug fit around your entire foot.

Are stiffer snowboard boots better?

This depends on you and your riding style. Stiffer snowboard boots are preferred by free riders and mountain riders. Beginner and park riders go for a softer flex instead. There is a flex rating (from 1 to 10) for the stiffness with 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest.

Professionals and racers tend to go for 9 to 10 flex. Advanced or intermediate riders choose stiffer boots. This is because stiffer boots are more stable, faster, and more secure for fast runs.

This makes them more expensive than soft ones as they have heavier manufacturing material. It is easier to move around using soft boots as they are not as heavy as stiff ones.

It is more of a personal preference and it does not mean you have to choose your flex rating according to your riding style. 

Which snowboarding boots are best?

Here is a list of some top-rated snowboarding boots of the year:

  • Burton Moto BOA
  • Adidas Samba ADV Snowboard Boot
  • Burton Ion Boa
  • Rome Libertine Snowboard Boot
  • Salomon Kiana Dual Boa Snowboard Boot
  • Vans Infuse Mountain Snowboard Boot
  • Thirtytwo Lashed 
  • Thirtytwo STW Double BOA
  • Adidas Tactical Lexicon
  • Nidecker Falcon Snowboard Boot

Should my toes touch the end of my snowboard boots?

That is a must. You should be at least able to brush up against the end of the snowboard boot using your toes when you are standing up. Your toes shouldn’t be curled up or banged into the edge. If it doesn’t reach the end then it is not your size. 

Before you try on snowboard boots for the first time, make sure to clip your toenails and wear snowboarding socks. If you constantly keep hitting the edge of the boot while snowboarding, you might get a black nail.

Moreover, socks can change the way your boot feels completely. You might be able to reach the end of the boot if you wear thick socks. If your toes still do not reach the end, change the size. 

Why are snowboard boots so expensive?

Snowboard boots are expensive for several reasons. First comes the manufacturing costs. It is a very tough and time-consuming job that requires skill.

The technology required to cut out the core is expensive too. There are other expensive construction costs too such as equipment and tool costs. 

Retail costs should be considered. Many snowboard brands spend large sums of money on advertising and sponsoring athletes. These costs have to be covered somehow and hence the high price tag. 

Another reason why they are so expensive is because of the material. Most snowboards are made with solid wood which is pricey. Bamboo and flexible material are costly. The material has to be of good quality and has to be both flexible and light at the same time.

However, you should keep in mind that you can find cheap snowboards as well. Most beginner-level snowboards are cheap and there are second-hand ones available too. You can also rent out snowboards instead of buying if you are not a regular user.

Buy your snowboard boots according to your size. Prioritize your comfort first over style or brand.

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