How to Size Youth Snowboard Boots

How to Size Youth Snowboard Boots
Sizing snowboarding boots for a still-growing young person is little different from sizing boots for an adult. The boot still has to be snug and well-fitted to the foot to get a responsive ride; buying large boots in hopes that the child will "grow into them" is not an option. Removable insoles or footbeds may be your best option for accommodating foot growth; you can peel them away as your child grows, extending the life of the boot without sacrificing performance.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Decide which fastening system you prefer and shop with that in mind--this will greatly reduce the number of boots your child will need to try on. See Tips for information on the various binding systems.
Step 2
Opt for removable boot liners if your young snowboarder has a hectic competition or practice schedule that will require him to air the boots out and dry them quickly. You can always remove linings so they dry more quickly or substitute one pair of removable boot liners while the others are drying.
Step 3
Wear snowboarding socks to the store to try on boots. The youth should try the boots on and tighten the fasteners down until the boot is snug, but not tight, on her foot. Have her wiggle her toes. There should be room to move them at least a bit; it's all right for her toes to brush the front of the toebox, but there should not be any pressure on them.
Step 4
Ask the youth to stand up and rock forward on his toes, then back on his heels. If his toes or heels lift up inside the boot without the boot moving, the boot is either too large or too loose on his foot.
Step 5
Have your child walk around in the boots and repeat the forward-and-back rocking motion. The amount of flex in snowboard boots is a highly subjective quality, as is each rider's preference. If she's a beginner, start with a mid-flex boot; racers will generally tend toward stiffer boots as they develop, and trick riders will typically want a soft or mid-flex boot to allow great maneuverability.
Step 6
Consider the footbeds. Some youth snowboarding boots feature peel-away footbeds to make more room for your child's foot as he grows, or you might be able to purchase additional insoles to help fill out a boot. Make sure he tries the boots on with the insoles, as described above, to be sure they don't compromise the boot fit.

Tips & Warnings

Fastening options include regular lacing, which is inexpensive, takes longer to tighten than other systems, can be fine-tuned by hand but may loosen over time, and is hard to tie with gloves on. Quick-pull or speed laces are fast and easy to tie with gloves on; however, they are more difficult to keep snug, for some riders, than standard laces, the attachment points may cause discomfort when the speed laces are tightened, and depending on the brand they may or may not offer multiple quick-pulls on each boot to help customize the lacing fit. The final twist-dial or "Boa" fastening system is quick and easy to do with one hand--you just twist the dial to tighten cables across the boots. The downsides of this tightening system are that the cables will sometimes wear through their attachment points on the boots, may cause discomfort when pulled tight, and cannot be customized to increase or release pressure on any part of the foot or ankle.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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