Why Do My Feet Hurt When Snowboarding?


I always thought I was the only one experiencing chronic foot pain while snowboarding. At first, I figured it was due to a lack of habit or poor technique. It was until I searched online that I found out it was a common problem many encounters, and it had nothing to do with me.

So, why exactly do your feet hurt when snowboarding?

Foot pain while snowboarding occur for lots of different reasons.

  • Wrong size boots, boots that don’t fit your feet
  • Bindings incorrectly adjusted
  • Cramped stance
  • A more serious foot condition

We’re going to go over the most common type of feet pain as well as how to identify and prevent them, by using the equipment that fits you the best.

Are Snowboard Boots Supposed to Hurt?

girl ollie snowboard

Snowboard boots usually hurt while they’re still fresh out of the box and not broken in. Although after a few sessions, the boots are supposed to have married the form of your feet.

If you’re still experiencing pain then, you may want to consider not having picked the right snowboard boots for you.

H3: Most Common Type of Feet Pain while Snowboarding:

  • Feet Numbness: loss of blood flow and temperature drop in the feet, due to unfitted boots.
  • Arch pain: pain between the heel and the ball of the foot resulting from overstretching the arch of the foot. It manifests when leaning toe-side.
  • Front foot pain: pain on top of your front foot, occurring mainly while curving frontside

Why Do My Feet Go Numb in Snowboard Boots?

Who hasn’t had his feet go numb at the end of a snowboarding day, during a snowy February session?

Most of the time, foot numbness comes off as the loss of sensation in your foot, affecting your sense of touch and balance. It can be quite debilitating – especially in an activity where your feet do the essential part of the work.

However, some people experience recurring numbness while wearing snowboard boots. If this is your case, we may have the answer to your ills.

Luckily for us, feet numbness can “only” come out of three things: unfitting equipment, lack of isolation, or foot condition.

Go Over your Equipment:

Most times, when people experience feet numbness, it comes from their equipment not fitting. In this sense, going over your whole set-up is a necessity.

Here are the main questions you should ask yourself while reviewing your set-up.

Are My Boots Fitting Me Well?

If you’ve experienced foot numbness while wearing snowboard boots, it could be a sign of your boots not fitting you well. They’re probably too big for you, thus, the arch of the insoles isn’t supporting your feet. Hence why you feel unwanted pressure on your foot, which might cause nerves pinching or loss of blood flow, making your feet go numb.

The untold rule when picking up snowboard boots is to pick half a size under your normal shoe size. Once they’ve broken in, your feet should be fully supported.

Should I Wear BOA or Laces Snowboard Boots?

I’ve worn snowboard BOA snowboard boots for the longest time. Mostly because I was renting my equipment and I didn’t care to ask better.

The thing is BOA tends to lose some grip after time, giving you less support. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you own them, but keep in mind they might not grip your foot as well as laces boots.

Once I switched to boots with laces, I had a lot more ease stretching my shoes so that it fully supported my feet. No more front foot pain.

Aren’t My Socks Too Thick?

Snowboard boots aren’t the only factor that can cause your feet to go numb. You also might be wearing socks too thick.

Going against popular belief, thick socks aren’t always the way to go. They may cut off circulation and make your feet go cold. I would suggest giving a try to either thin dress socks or real snowboard socks and see if your feet still go numb.

Are My Bindings Correctly Set-Up?

Depending on the way your bindings are set-up, you can feel some discomfort while riding.

I’ve experienced some feet pain when I had them too setback.

Try to play with them until you find your optimal stance. The most conventional centered stance is a good starting point.

Aside from stances, you should also check out the length of your straps. Having them too tight might lead to foot pain.

If you’ve already found the perfect set-up and still experience chronic pain while snowboarding, then it may be a condition.

How Do I Stop My Feet From Hurting When Snowboarding?

If you’ve reviewed your entire attire and your feet still hurt when snowboarding, then it may be more serious. Don’t worry, we’ve listed the whole method to find exactly what’s wrong.

Medicine has classified three types of feet, according to their arch degree:

Low Arch: commonly known as flat feet, low arch feet are defined by the absence of a proper arch. It causes the foot to roll excessively inward, or overpronate while riding.

Neutral Arch: or “normal” feet, neutral arch feet are the healthiest type of feet resulting in the least problems of the three.

High Arch: or arched feet, high arch feet are defined by the over-pronounced bridge between the toes and the heel. It leads the foot to slightly roll in, or underpronate when taking impact.

Knowing which feet type you have will help you select the most fitting boots, bindings, and snowboard for a comfortable riding set-up.

In addition to these feet type, you may also have your cuneiform bones that stick out more than normal. In understandable words, the bone that joins your ankle and your toes pop out a bit.

It is a rather common problem that appears in kids who directly learned to walk standing without crawling first.

As a result, the top of your feet constantly rubs against the boots causing irritation. If this is your case, you want to make sure you pick up boots with laces and avoid this area when strapping your foot to your board.

Find The Source of Your Troubles

As we’ve seen before, your feet problems might come from either of two things: unfitting equipment or foot condition.

If your problems seem to come from your equipment, check out online reviews of your set-up to see if other people have experienced the same type of pain riding the product.

If nothing screams out, I will start by playing with the bindings, then switching boots. Those are the most frequent sources of foot pain when snowboarding.

If you’ve tried switching everything from socks, boots, bindings, stances, and nothing has worked yet, then keep reading below, we may have the solution.

Treat Your Foot Condition

Arch Pain Solution:

Arch pain is due to excessive flattening of the arch of the foot during a turn, which mainly appears when leaning toe-side. The flat of your feet stretches too much, causing chronic discomfort while riding frontside.

The main solution would be to support the arch of your feet better.

Maybe your boots are getting old? Maybe they don’t fit you that well?

If none of those apply to you then the ultimate remedy would be orthotics. They help supporting the arch of your foot and absorb the tension – kind of like a string. You can select from the prefabricated or the custom orthotics depending on your budget. They will avoid the arch of your feet from over-stretching. If those still don’t work, I would strongly suggest consulting an orthopedist.

Front Foot Pain Solution:

You may experience pain on the top of your front foot while leaning toe-side.

This common problem is due to either the boots not matching perfectly your foot or the bindings strapping your boot too much.

Here are a few factors that can cause front foot pain with some clues of where it may come from:

  • The upper part of the boots is too tight, compressing your toes and limiting you when curving frontside.

In this situation, the only thing you can do – aside from breaking in the boots – is to buy new ones.

  • The bindings aren’t properly adjusted and you feel an ache. If you have a highback binding set-up, your ills must come from there.

You should play with the length of your straps, decreasing the length one hole at a time until you feel no pain.

  • Your cuneiform bones stick out and constantly rub against the boot.

This one is a bit tricky. I found out wearing boots with laces and some padded socks help the most. However, it will be hard to find the balance between tight enough boots and no pain.

Conclusion

I hope you have found some answers to your problems through this article. There are many cause and solutions and I hope this might give you a good direction

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Ruben Vee

I'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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