Let's face it -- narrow heels and high insteps make it tricky to find a women's snowboard boot that fits. Many boot manufacturers offer technically-advanced, custom-moldable liners, though. In layman's terms, these are heated foam liners that adhere to the curves of your foot, providing a fit specific to you. Recruit the shop guy to fit you or do it yourself at home. But don't mess up -- meticulously follow directions to avoid ruining your coveted kicks. Once molded, they'll fit like a glove and lend you the support needed to shred like a ballerina.
Ask the sales professional to size you for a snowboard boot. Try on several models and sizes until you find one that is snug-fitting, with your toes slightly skimming the end.
Remove the liner. Place your foot back into the boot and move your toes to the front. Ask the boot-fitter to determine the amount of room you have behind your heel. One finger-width assures minimal pack out; two fingers of room allows for a roomy fit.
Have the boot-fitter place your liners in a convection oven -- provided by the boot manufacturer -- for 15 minutes.
Place toe caps over your bare foot and slide your sock on if you had a one-finger fit. For a two-finger fit, simply put on your sock.
Slide one foot into the corresponding heated boot. Lace the boot loosely and kick your heel onto the ground, creating a heel pocket. Repeat with the other boot.
Stand flat-footed on the ground, with your knees slightly bent, until the liner cools. Once cool, remove your feet from the boots and take off your toe caps.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
Perform a shell fit to determine the finger-width behind your heel.
Place your liners in the oven and set the timer for four minutes. After four minutes, flip your liners and heat them for an additional four minutes. Turn off your oven.
Slide a small amount of tissue paper into the toe of each sock, if you have a one-finger fit, and put your socks on your feet. For a two-finger fit, simply put on your socks.
Take one liner out of the oven and slide it into the boot. Stick your hand inside the boot to smooth out any creases.
Slide your foot into the boot and lace it up. Kick your heel on the ground. Repeat with the other boot.
Stand flat-footed, with your knees slightly bent, for about 15 minutes or until the foam feels cool to the touch.
Take off your boots and take the paper out of your socks.
- Some ovens require placing the entire boot over a pipe of hot air, while others require that liners are placed inside the oven. Your sales professional will choose the best option.
- If you ride with a footbed, make sure to insert it into the liner while it's warm, before you slide your foot in.
- Carefully watch your liners as they bake in the DIY method. If they appear to shrink, take them out immediately and perform the molding process. Failing to do so could result in ruined liners.
Christina Shepherd McGuire writes articles about adventure sports, fashion, mothering and natural living. Since 2003, her work has appeared in "Action Outdoor and Bike Magazine," "Teton Family Magazine," "The Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine" and several online publications. McGuire holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.