Do Snowboard Boots Stretch? Answered

Last Updated on 31/01/2023

Why Do Snowboard Boots Stretch

In this article, we answer the question, do snowboard boots stretch? You will learn how much snowboard boots stretch out, how to prepare for it, and what to do once it happens.

Do Snowboard Boots Stretch?

Snowboard boots always stretch out over time when used regularly. The outer boot stretches a little to accommodate your foot shape but it is the internal boot liner that really stretches out.

That being said, stretching out isn’t the best way to describe what happens to snowboard boots after heavy use. What actually happens is the thick padding and insulation get compressed, which creates more space inside and around your feet.

How Much Do Snowboard Boots Stretch?

Snowboard boots will stretch anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5+ US shoe sizes after a heavy riding season. Most snowboard boots will last for many years because they aren’t used every day for four months. They typically get used for a few weeks each year, and so it will take a few years to really stretch out.

A new pair of snowboard boots should be as tight as possible without causing discomfort. Most snowboarders choose a pair of boots at least one size under what they usually get. This is for performance but also to prepare for the inevitable stretching out.

Snowboard boots tight or loose

Why Do Snowboard Boots Stretch Out?

Snowboard boots stretching out is perfectly normal. Firstly, they are heavily padded and insulated, which allows for plenty of play to begin with and makes them vulnerable to compression damage over time. Materials inside break down a little and conform to the shape of your feet the more you wear them. Old boots are the comfiest.

Secondly, the way your feet interact with your boot puts extreme pressure on the padding as you make sharp turns and carve into the snow. When you carve back on your heel, your toes compress the top of the boot. And when you carve on the toe side, the whole front of the boot gets compressed.

These two factors of thick padding and demanding maneuvers mean that over time your snowboard boot will stretch out.

What Can You Do About Stretched Snowboard Boots?

There is nothing you can really do to reinvigorate an old pair of snowboard boots that have been compressed over the years. You can patch the problem by replacing the innersole. This at least gives your underfoot more support and can be used as a way to fill empty space in your boots.

I have tried steaming my boots, but that just made them wet and smell even worse. Another way to put a patch on the problem is double or triple up on thick socks to fill the empty space. Eventually, you will probably have to replace them, but these are two ways you can extend their life just a little longer.

If you really like your snowboard boots, you could also just replace the boot liner if that’s possible with your current setup.

Snowboard Boots too Tight

How to Prepare for Snowboard Boot Stretch

The best way to combat snowboard boot stretch and to ensure you get a really tight fit is to order a size down from your regular footwear. So, if you are a US size 11, then order a US size 10 or even a 9.5 if it doesn’t feel too tight. 

Avoid wearing too many pairs of thick socks at once initially; otherwise, you may be causing more compression to the boots than necessary and speeding up their aging process.

How Long Do Snowboard Boots Last?

How long your snowboards will last before they stretch too far depends on how much you use them every year. If you ride your boots for 20 – 40 days each year, then you will probably get around three years of use out of them. If you only use them 10 – 20 days of the year, then you can expect to have them for at least five years before you even think about replacing them.

If I were forced to give an average figure of how long any random pair of snowboard boots will last, it would be around 100 days of hard riding.

Some People Purposefully Stretch Out Their Snowboard Boots, But Why?

Why would somebody purposefully stretch out a pair of snowboarding boots? You may think that this would reduce the life of a boot unnecessarily, but there is a good reason for it. New snowboard boots are designed to be very stiff with lots of padding, which can take a while to break in. Heat stretching your snowboard boots to fit the contours of your feet is a way of guaranteeing comfort with any new pair of boots.


Thanks for reading. You should now be able to answer the question, do snowboard boots stretch, and if so, how much? Please get in touch if you have any comments

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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