Until recently, women have been using whatever suitably sized boots, bindings, and boards they can find to participate in the largely male-dominated sport of snowboarding. The selection of ladies’ equipment used to be relatively sub-par, but things are looking up, and women can now select better-fitting boots, bindings, and boards to stay comfortable and safe while enjoying this exhilarating sport.
Women can fit men’s snowboard boots, but they may not work correctly or fit comfortably. Women usually have narrower feet and lower calf muscles, so they require narrower, lower-cut boots. Men’s boots may also not fit securely into women’s bindings which can be dangerous.
Snowboarding is about effectively transferring the rider’s energy onto the surface of the snow. If you are a lady snowboarder that has been tempted to use men’s boots, there are three major differences that you should be aware of before hitting the slopes.
Can Women Fit Men’s Snowboard Boots?
No matter your level of snowboarding, everyone agrees that the one item of equipment that should never be hired are boots. It is imperative that while navigating the scenic yet challenging snowy terrain, your feet remain comfortable and securely anchored inside a snuggly fitted boot.
For this reason, most snowboard boots are designed to conform to the specific feet of the owner. They need to fit closely, so the slightest shift in weight from the feet is carried through the boot and immediately translates onto the snowboard. There is a fine balance between the boots being snug but not too tight.
While women can wear men’s snowboard boots, and many women have certainly done so, especially when women’s snowboarding equipment was limited, getting the correct snug fit can be an issue. Men’s boots are usually made to accommodate wider feet and heels, so even if the size of the boot is correct for a lady snowboarder, they frequently have uncomfortable gaps around the wearer’s feet.
The selection of women’s snowboard boots has been limited in the past. Women were often tempted to purchase men’s boots because the choice is simply a lot bigger in terms of everything from design to function.
So why shouldn’t women snowboarders simply go ahead and choose men’s snowboard boots of the correct size? While all humans have similarly shaped feet regardless of gender, there are usually slight anatomical differences in the dimensions and shape of feet and legs between the sexes. Imagine a large man’s foot in a dainty pair of strappy summer sandals, and you will know what I mean!
Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Boots
There are three main differences between men’s and women’s snowboard boots. These are:
- The width and height over the bridge of the foot
- The width of the heel
- The height of the back of the boot
Although these might seem like slight variations, getting it right is essential when your safety depends on the fit of a piece of gear. As a woman, you may still want to choose a men’s boot because of another feature or design that might not be available in a women’s style.
If you know and understand what the differences are while fitting snowboard boots, you can make the best decision that will ensure proper fit and ultimately give the best control.
In general, it would probably be more comfortable for a lightly built man with narrow feet to choose women’s snowboarding boots than for women to fit men’s boots. Besides the actual fit of the foot section, the added height of a men’s design boot can become uncomfortable for women who tend to have calf muscles lower down on their legs.
Whether a woman is wearing a man’s snowboard boot or vice versa, something that needs to remain top of mind is that the snowboard boot must be the correct type to fit safely into the bindings. Wearing a man’s boot and using women’s bindings and snowboard can be problematic, and mixing equipment must be avoided.
Snowboard boots and bindings are usually made to fit together precisely, so mixing and matching men’s, and women’s equipment is not ideal. Men’s boots are often larger, broader, and heavier, so placing them on top of women’s bindings and smaller snowboard may hamper performance and even have safety implications.
Let’s go through the three main differences between men’s and women’s snowboard boots in more detail.
Women’s Snowboard Boots Have A Narrower Sole
Men’s feet tend to be broader across bridge and sole than most women’s feet. Their snowboarding boots, therefore, tend to accommodate this. Although the length of correctly sized boots may fit either gender, the chances are good that the narrower feet of a woman will not fit snuggly, and there may be a gap around the sides and on top of the feet when they are inside the snowboard boots.
Ladies, do not be tempted to think you can fill up the spaces with thick socks. Although socks help create a snug fit, they cannot change the actual shape of your feet to make them broader and flatter. Socks will fill up the circumference and make your entire foot rounder so that gaps may fill slightly, but tight areas will just get tighter if you add socks.
Women’s snowboard boots are designed to be narrower across the base and height of the foot. So each slight shift of weight while snowboarding is transferred directly to the boots, and a woman’s smaller feet won’t roll slightly inside the boots during maneuvers like they may if inside men’s wide boots. This will not only translate to greater comfort but also better performance.
Women’s Snowboard Boots Have A Narrower Heel
When fitting snowboard boots, it is vital that the foot and heel are held snuggly and securely inside the boot, and there is no up-down movement around the heel.
Men’s snowboard boots are made to accommodate men’s wider heels, and women who use men’s boots may experience significant heel lift while riding. This can become highly uncomfortable or even painful.
Women’s Snowboard Boots Have Lower Backs
An interesting anatomical difference between men and women is that women have lower calf muscles than men. For this reason, women’s snowboard boots are always cut lower at the back.
Snowboarding boots must fit and close snuggly around the wearer’s leg and ankles. The height of a boot might not be bothersome if you are slipping into a pair of regular fashion boots, but women who wear men’s snowboard boots might find that after a couple of hours on the slopes, the high backs will feel uncomfortably tight around the top, or even start chaffing the back of their legs.
Women can fit men’s snowboard boots, but it is not recommended. Women’s feet are usually narrower, and they have slightly different calf muscle placement than men, which can make wearing men’s snowboard boots uncomfortable. Understanding the difference between men’s and women’s snowboarding boots will help you to make the best decision when choosing snowboard boots.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.