If you just bought snowboard boots, you might be wondering how to break them in or even if you need to.
Each brand and model of snowboard boot is different from the rest. It also depends on whether or not your boot has a liner that can be shaped with heat. So, how long it takes to break in a boot until it feels like an extension of your foot depends on the boot.
Liners that can be shaped by heat
These days, most boots have liners that can be shaped with heat, which is great. Even if they don’t, all of the boots I see do. But some less expensive brands and models won’t have liners that can be shaped with heat.
The most important thing to talk about here is the liner. The shell of the boot will wear out and stretch out over time, but this happens more slowly than the liner, so the liner is the most important part.
Mold created by machine or by natural heat?
If the insides of your boots can be shaped with heat, there are two ways to do it. You don’t have to do anything but snowboard, but you might as well.
You can also:
Just keep riding until your boots fit your feet.
Have the boots heated and shaped in a store.
Many boots will be fine and will break in after a couple of days of riding. Some even quicker. Some boots feel good as soon as you put them on. Some take more time.
Most of the time, stiffer boots and boots with better liners take longer to wear in. You can still ride in them to break them in, but it will take a little longer than with boots that bend more easily and liners that aren’t as good.
Even if the liners in your boots can’t be shaped with heat, they will still mold to your foot a little bit when you ride. You can’t choose the next one.
Not sure if “machine” is the right word, but let’s call it that for lack of a better one.
You can speed up the heat-molding process by doing it in a store if you feel like your boots are taking a long time to do it on their own or if you want to give them a head start before you go out on the mountain.
This process basically involves heating up the liner (with the footbed removed), putting your feet in your boots (with the footbeds replaced), and lacing them up as usual. Then you stand in them for 10 to 15 minutes, preferably in a snowboard stance.
If you feel like there is a lot of pressure on the top, front, or sides of your toes, you could also wear a toe cap over your foot while heat molding to help that area pack out more.
Household Heat Molding
Most stores, in my experience, will do this for free, but if the store you’re looking at charges (and you don’t want to pay), or if you can’t or don’t want to go to a store, you can do this at home. I usually just go to a store, but the video below shows how you can do it at home.
If your boots still feel tight even after you’ve heated them and worn them for a while, getting the thinnest socks you can can help a lot.
I don’t think this will make a difference in how warm your feet are. This is because circulation slows down if your feet are too tight in the boot. With the thinner sock, there may not be as much insulation, but it should increase circulation, which should warm things up and at least partially make up for the less insulation.
Then, as your boots stretch out, you can choose to wear thicker socks if you want to.
Still, I think it’s best to get socks made for snowboarding. These socks tend to have padding and support where you need them in a snowboard boot. Find the one that is the thinnest.
You can do other things besides heat molding
You can do other things besides heat molding to help break them in before you hit the mountain.
One of those things is just walking around the house in your boots.
Walking in Your Boots
Just put your snowboard socks on and tighten your boots the same way you would if you were going snowboarding. Then you can just walk around in them. If you have time, you can do this for a couple of hours, and if you’re not going to be wearing them on the mountain in the next few days, you could do this every day for a few days.
You can also put your feet in the bindings of your board and pretend to turn.
Outside or on a surface that won’t be damaged by your snowboard’s edges, strap into your bindings as if you were about to ride, and lace up your boots just like you would when riding.
Then push up onto your toe edge and stay there for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Then push back onto the edge of your heel and hold for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Repeat as many times as you want.
Once you’re on the mountain, these two things can help speed up the process and make things go faster, but there’s no substitute for riding in the boots.