People often pick their snowboard length relative to their height. While the length of a board is important, if you have big feet, the width is more likely to be the deciding factor.
You can definitely snowboard with big feet. Men whose feet are size US 10.5 (UK 10) or larger require wider snowboards than men with smaller feet. Wider boards are generally 10.2-10.6” (26-27 cm) wide and have large or extra-large bindings. They will prevent heel/toe drag and keep you from “booting out.”
In this article, I’ll talk more about heel/toe drag, how to find the right size board for your feet, and the differences you’ll notice when using a wide board. If you have large feet, you may have to adjust your technique a little. I wear a size 13 shoe, and I’m out there learning new tricks every season.
Can You Snowboard With Big Feet?
The short answer is yes; men or women with large feet can still snowboard. They just need to invest in wider boards. It’s rare for women to need legitimately wide snowboards; at most, they usually have to go up to a men’s size regular. Therefore, men are usually the only ones who use wide snowboards.
Regardless of gender, however, going up a board size is possible as people age, especially if they start boarding at a young age.
This Youtube video by SnowboardProCamp gives a breakdown of the different board widths and helps you decide which size board is right for you:
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into why someone might need to move up a board size.
Feet Get Larger As People Age
The main reason people have to go up a board size is that they’re getting older, and their feet are growing. People who begin snowboarding during childhood may go through multiple board sizes before they finally settle on one in adulthood.
Feet Get Larger As People Gain Weight
Another reason someone may have to go up a size is if they gain weight. Although putting on a few pounds won’t make your feet longer, it can make them wider. In those cases, the person may have to go get bigger shoes to accommodate their wider feet.
Sometimes, that person can stick with their regular shoe size as long as they purchase the “wide width” version.
Most of the time, though, when people’s feet get wider, they have to go up a shoe size to a shoe that’s not only wider but also longer.
The fact that the foot is growing isn’t a problem in and of itself. That’s not why most people have to buy larger snowboards. The problem is that their feet hang off the board’s edges and cause heel or toe drag.
But it may affect buying correct boot size.
What Is Heel/Toe Drag?
Heel drag and toe drag occur when someone’s feet are too large for their snowboard. In other words, their toes or heels hang over the sides of the board.
So, when they tilt the snowboard to turn, jump, or spin, their heels or toes drag into the snow, and they fall. Professionals call this “booting out.”
Some snowboarders adjust their bindings so that they’re farther apart and on a broader part of the board. This way, their heels and toes don’t hang over the side too much. You can see KiteVanMan’s video about this adjustment here:
However, doing this will require you to adjust your stance on the snowboard completely, and depending on your boot size, there’s no guarantee it’ll even work. The better option is to go up to a wider board.
What Size Board Do You Need?
The following chart will outline which size boards work the best with specific foot sizes. You should always bring your boots when shopping for snowboards to test the boots against the board and bindings.
|24 – 24.5 cm (9.45 – 9.65 in)
|24.5 – 25.5 cm (9.65 – 10.04 in)
|25.6 – 26.5 cm (10.08 – 10.43 in)
|26.6 – 27+ cm (10.47 – 10.63+ in)
|US Men’s Boot Size
|7 and under
|8 – 10
|9 – 11
|Large or XL
Because the difference between boards is fractions of an inch apart, some people don’t think changing boards makes a difference. It does; it may seem crazy that a quarter inch of extra width can be the remedy to heel/toe drag, but it usually is.
Note: Most women will use narrow boards. However, women whose shoe sizes are US 8 and above may be more comfortable with a regular-sized snowboard.
How Going Up a Board Size May Affect Your Boarding
So why does it matter if someone has to go up to a wide board? Well, it probably won’t matter much for a talented snowboarder with a lot of skill because they have more control over the board and can make adjustments to avoid booting out. But what if you’re not a pro?
Wide Boards Take More Power To Control
For beginners and intermediate snowboarders, going up to a wide board may be a little difficult at first. Wider boards take more power and force to move and control. They’re also harder to turn and harder to maneuver if you’re trying to perform jumps, spins, and other tricks.
Wide Boards Are Slower on Certain Ski Slopes
Wider snowboards will also be slower than their narrower counterparts since they’re heavier and sink a little lower into the snow. It’s not a lot, and depending on your weight, you may not even notice the difference. But the heavier a board is, the further into the snow it sinks, and the slower it becomes on certain ski slopes.
Wide Boards Are Faster Going Steeply Downhill
That said, if someone’s riding a wide snowboard steeply downhill, they’ll pick up much more speed than with a narrow snowboard. This is one reason beginner snowboarders shouldn’t go for wide snowboards. A wide snowboard can become dangerously fast.
Can You Still Freestyle With a Wide Snowboard?
Some tricks, such as the halfpipe, may be a little harder to perform with a wider board. However, none of them are impossible. For most people, it’s just a matter of learning to adjust the force they put behind their moves.
Although wide boards are only a couple of centimeters wider than a regular one, the difference can require a lot more force to get the board to move the way it should.
As long as you’re willing to work at it, though, it shouldn’t take long before you’re able to do everything on a wide board the same way you would on a regular board.
What Are the Best Wide Snowboards for People With Big Feet?
There’s no single answer to this question because it isn’t all about the feet. Height, weight, stance, and boarding style also play a role in determining which snowboard is best for a specific rider. Nevertheless, there are a few tips to consider.
Best Boards for Heavy Riders
Snowboarders who have extra weight and extra-large feet should choose boards made of high-quality wooden cores and carbon or laminate reinforcements. Boards with medium-to-heavy flex are also better for larger riders.
Best Boards for Different Boarding Styles
Novice snowboarders and boarders who like to ride all-mountain usually do best with True Twin Shaped snowboards. Directional boards are better for power and freestyle snowboarders. If you like to make tree runs, snowboards with a volume-shifting shape are usually the best option.
The Good Ride has an excellent guide to the various snowboard shapes and can help pick the best-shaped snowboard for any need.
Best for Large Riders: Lib Tech Skunk Ape HP Wide Men’s Snowboard
With medium-stiff flex, an Aspen and Paulownia core, and a directional twin shape, the Lib Tech Skunk Ape board is ideal for heavier riders with large feet. The waist width is 26.8 cm (11.26 in.), and the board is light but durable.
Its control and response times are ideal for a wider board, mainly because of the Magne-Traction edge, which helps balance out the rider’s weight.
Best for Intermediate Riders: Rossignol Templar Men’s Snowboard
For riders who haven’t hit pro-status yet, Rossignol provides three wide options with the Templar board. Its directional shape is best for all-mountain riding, but it’s adaptable, which is why it’s such a good choice for mid-skill users. They can use it for freestyle, all-mountain, or tree runs.
Best for Riders Who Prefer Short Boards: Ride Warpig Men’s Snowboard
For riders who prefer shorter boards but still need a wide waist, Ride’s Warpig is an excellent choice. It ranges in length size from XS to XL, and waist widths range from 25 – 27.7 cm (9.84 – 10.91 in).
Aspen, Bamboo, and Paulownia wood make up its core, and it’s perfect for all-mountain boarding for intermediate to advanced users. The response time is a little slower for the Warpig, but its light weight makes it fly along the snow. If you’re looking for speed, the Warpig has it.
While there is no single “best snowboard” for everyone, there is a “best snowboard.” It’s just up to everyone to find their own. For those with oversized feet, nine times out of ten, the best snowboard is going to be one with a wide width.
Luckily, there are plenty of options, and having to go up a size to a wide board doesn’t mean you’re going to lose your skill. Everything you can do on a regular board can also be done on a wide board. You just need to figure out the right balance of power and force to make it happen.