Snowboarding gear for the small-footed.
December 9, 2008 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I love snowboarding and want to get my own gear! Yay! I have tiny feet! Boo!

I started snowboarding last season, and am looking for a beginner-level snowboard. I'm not really short (5'4") but am otherwise little (100lbs, size 5 feet).

I was told that my rental snowboards are too wide for my feet -- my toes and heel don't reach the edges of the board. This means that I have to shift my weight really far forward to get onto my toe side.

From what I understand, I want a half inch of overhang on each side, which means a 23cm waist.

Am I getting the right advice? Any recommendations for a brand/model that would fit me? I am not above using a kids' snowboard.

Binding suggestions will also be gratefully accepted (I have Salomon Fusion boots).

In addition, does anyone have any experience with Siren snowboards? I think they're pretty but can't find any specs on them online.
posted by snickerdoodle to Shopping (14 answers total)
Burton girls (kids) boots aren't bad.
I'd suggest that you 'demo' (rent as a trial) from ski and board shops before buying. This is very common.
posted by k8t at 10:11 AM on December 9, 2008

You're probably looking at a women's or kid's board. Maybe kid's boots, too. I snowboard and I'm a Burton guy; you generally won't go wrong with them. But there are lots of good board and boot companies these days, though. Having said that, while I don't much keep up with the scene these days (got my equipment and am happy with it), I've never, ever heard of Siren. The fact that you aren't finding specs isn't a good sign.

Buy a good board and you might keep it five or ten years, depending on how your riding progresses and what direction you want to go. Buy a junk board and you'll be wanting to toss it by the end of the season (if not the first day).

Until you know more about what you want and need this isn't really an online purchase. You should go to a good shop with good help; they should be able to get you a board that fits you and your budget. It helps to know what you're interested in in terms of riding as well. Some people are all about tricks and the terrain park. I like the occasional jump but I'm all about going fast fast and carving nice S-turns down a steep run. And don't be afraid to go to another shop if you aren't getting the help you need.

If you happen to be going to Colorado I'll specifically recommend shopping at Colorado Ski and Golf.
posted by 6550 at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2008

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a local shop with the ones I want to try.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:03 PM on December 9, 2008

Your profile states that you are in NYC. Here are directions from the location in your profile to the Burton Flagship Store. Go there (or call them) and they will most definitely help you out. :)

Looks to be about 10 minutes from where you're at, by subway.
posted by xotis at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2008

I'm not looking for anything fancy -- definitely not tricks or the terrain park. I'm linking turns fairly well, but I'm pretty slow and trying to work my way up to being able to handle steeper slopes.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:26 PM on December 9, 2008

Nike boots are hands down the best boots out in years. They are essentially shoes made for snowboarding. They are light weight and functional. They have tonnes of support and innovations that make them a very piratical and yet very stylish. I could not find a size chart, however, I would be surprised to find they didn't carry a woman's 5.
posted by birdlips at 12:29 PM on December 9, 2008

Here is a direct link to the woman's boot line
posted by birdlips at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2008

I disagree strongly with the idea that you want toe overhang. Small feet are ideal for snowboarding. I would advise you not to overthink the toe overhang issue. As long as there aren't inches of space between your toes and the edge of the board, you'll not only be fine, but you'll be better than people with big feet.

I have spent numerous beautiful powder days thanking heaven for my little size 9s and a good, wide board.
posted by The World Famous at 12:38 PM on December 9, 2008

You want a small amount of spacing between the edge of the boot and the edge of the board, the reason being is that once you're angled on the edge, you're not dragging your boot toes and heels at the same time. Especially a consideration if the slopes are icy, you don't want boot overhang to dislodge your edge when you need it the most.

Now, considering that, your preferred binding angles also somewhat come into play. With bindings at 90 degrees, you have different clearance than set at angles.

It really sounds like you need to find a better store, and with no offense, more experience to know what you want out of your gear, and you can invest more at that point (sell the cheap stuff).

Considering typical rental rates, assuming you want to get out at least a few times per year, and as a beginner, I'd suggest to go cheap. Get a board that is suited to your height, strap bindings, pay a little more attention to boot fit. You'll have difficulty getting on your edges if your feet are sliding around in the boots, or if they're too tight you will not be happy at the end of the day. Boots also depend on the type of riding you want to do, more flexible for terrain parks, stiffer for carving.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 1:26 PM on December 9, 2008

Thanks for all the advice! No offense taken; this is my first foray into buying gear, and there seems to be all sorts of conflicting info out there. No one seems to want to let me demo a board that small, and there's such a huge price range (which the stores seem to want to push me into the upper ranges of).

I'm ok with buying a new board in 2 years if/when I get better, but I'm getting tired of paying so much for rental equipment that doesn't fit me well.

I'm fairly certain my boots fit well, but I find myself having to get almost onto my toes in order to get on my toe side, which my boyfriend tells me is not at all normal.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2008

hey - I am five feet tall, and light as well. Although my feet are average at a size 7, I do ride a kid's K2 (135ish cm) board. It had weight range recommendations on it, so that's what I went by when making my decision. There is almost no toe overhang and I do not have issues with it. My bindings are women's specific (Ride) and they are perfect. I'd love a longer board because I'm getting very into riding at high speeds on expert terrain, but it's not really an option because I don't know if I'd find one flexy enough. I have the same issue with skis.

I don't know what length boards they are sticking you on, or if you're on the horrid step-in rental bindings, but having your own board is going to make a world of difference. It did for me. I think the "getting to your toe side" issue will be fixed by good equipment and some more experience.
posted by smalls at 4:40 PM on December 9, 2008

Generally, if the boots fit fine, and you're having trouble getting on one of the edges, you may be able to correct it by adjusting the binding angle. For example, setting your rear angle more perpendicular can give you move leverage, but it can take some experimentation to find what works for you.

You may find this info on stance angles useful BTW:

You might also want to look into SuperFeet insoles. You should be able to find them at outdoors stores. They provide more arch support, which may help with the 'almost onto my toes' aspect. I have a suspicion though that: a) you might want stiffer boots, and b) as you gain strength in the associated muscles it will get easier. Almost everyone has a problem on either their heelside or toeside edge until everything gets dialed-in.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 5:45 PM on December 9, 2008

you are not so small that you should be having problems finding a board setup. as xotis recommended, go to the burton store and get them to recommend a board (or board size for you). i'm 5'2, 115lbs and a size 6 shoee and i have three boards: a 140 and two 144s—both women's boards. the 140 s definitely easier to control and my two bigger boards are good for speed. i have a friend who's also 5', about 100lbs, and a size 6 shoe. she rides a 144 and she bombs it so this is not about an inherent inability to find a board for your size.

i would definitely recommend getting your own board and set-up. it will make your riding experience ten thousand times more enjoyable. if that isn't economically feasible for you right now and you can't find any women's rental boards in the low 140s then rent a kid's board, in the high 130s or low 140s.
posted by violetk at 9:00 PM on January 4, 2009


From what I understand, I want a half inch of overhang on each side, which means a 23cm waist.

overhang? like your toes overhanging your board? if that's what you mean, who told you that? because, no, you don't. you don't want anything overhanging your board because that will create drag.


In addition, does anyone have any experience with Siren snowboards? I think they're pretty but can't find any specs on them online.

don't buy gear because you think it's "pretty." uh, buy gear because it will help you ride better. buy the best board you can afford, regardless of the graphics on it. sheesh. and i can't emphasize enough, if you don't know anything about gear, go to a good shop and get advice.
posted by violetk at 9:06 PM on January 4, 2009

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