Finding snowboard boots…the dogfunk way

20 Nov, 2008


One of the biggest hassles that snowboarders face is finding that perfect fitting snowboard boot. Narrowing it down from such a wide range of boot companies to finding that perfect fit in the perfect size

When Dogfunk came out with their Snowboard Boot Guide, I was really impressed with how thorough it was. Obviously took a lot of time and effort to complete the guide and I am very happy that a shop went to such lengths to help educate on finding the perfect snowboard boot.
I was able to talk with James Ritchey, Dogfunk.com’s Knowledge Base, First Responder & Gear Guru Supervisor who is one of the testers in the boot guide to find out more about buying boots the dogfunk way.

Shay: What were the reasons behind creating the snowboard boot buyers guide for online shoppers?

James: One of the challenges we face every day is how to describe the fit of a snowboard boot to a customer over the phone, chat or in an email. It’s not like being in a local shop and being able to just slip the boot on and see.
I would say that our top questions about boots are:
How does it fit?
How stiff/soft is it?
So we really needed to come up with a way to accurately answer these questions for our customers, so they could find their perfect boot on Dogfunk.com. Believe it or not, I came up with this in a dream, and it was one of the few times I have ever remembered a good idea after waking up. The initial thought was to provide our Gearheads with this tool to answer our customers’ questions directly, but it turned into to so much more when word spread around the office. Everybody worked together to turn this into a guide for our Dogfunk.com customers.
Shay: You were one of the testers who tried on boots to review. Did you try on the same size for every boot or adjust the size by brand?
James: Yes, I was one of the testers. I wear the most common snowboard boot for me, size 10. I tried on a size 10 in every single boot that we used for the test. The goal of doing it this way was to show if the boot did or didn’t have a “True to size fit.” Every company uses a different last and you rarely find that a 10 from company X will fit like a 10 from company Y. Every tester had a list of questions that they were required to answer for each boot they tried on.
Some of those questions were:
Where are your toes in relationship to the end of the boot?
How does the boot fit (length, width, heel hold, instep, calve area, toe box)?
What do you like about this boot?
What don’t you like about this boot?
Are there any features that stand out, good or bad?
Would you want to own this boot, why or why not?
By doing the test this way, we gathered a uniform set of answers to help our customers. We wanted them to identify with one of the testers, and say something like: “Hey, James seems like he rides the parts of the mountains that I do and I wear a size 10 too. He thought the Sabbath was a little big and would prefer a 9.5 if he rode the boot everyday, so I’m going to get a 9.5 in it too.” We knew this would help them make a confident boot purchase. We didn’t want them to have to buy something and just hope that the boot would fit when it got to their door.
Shay: Do you think by offering up this guide, people will have better odds of finding boots online that fit?
James: I really do feel that if a customer takes the time to read through the guide, they will learn:

How a Snowboard is supposed to fit
How to pick out a boot that fits different foot shapes (high arch, flat, narrow, wide, narrow ankles, etc.)
How to find the right boot for them, not just the one their buddy is stoked on
What the top manufacturers are bringing to the market to provide better fits and performance
To understand all the lacing systems that are out there and how they all work
To identify with one of our testers and narrow down their choice in boots by reading the reviews provided.
When they understand the various categories that we have provided, they will be able to make a choice on a snowboard boot that will fit their riding style and their foot.
One area that I really wanted to focus on and help with finding a better fit was:
Women who prefer men’s boots.
Over the last eight years I have helped more and more women looking for more responsive boots that will fit their feet properly. We see women like our testers Mayra and Caitlin all the time, who have been in the top-of-the-line women’s boot from Brand X and who agree that it isn’t cutting it. They want something that is more responsive and won’t break down as fast.
I really feel that by having Caitlin and Mayra try on the same ten men’s boots as the guys, we are providing for the women out there that tear up the mountain something that hasn’t been offered before.
Shay: What are some common mistakes that people make when selecting boots?
James: I would say that the one of the most common errors is picking out boots based on style over fit. Everyone wants that kit that looks good from head to toe, and they occasionally pick out the boot that looks good with the rest of their gear, compromising the fit and performance by doing so. Another mistake people make is not wearing the proper socks while riding the boots. I really wanted to make sure that all of our testers wore appropriate socks while trying on boots. Equal sock thickness gave us an even playing field. Plus, then customers could see how much better a boot fits and feels when you’re wearing the right socks.

Shay: Are there any boot brands to stay away from?

James: Yes, the brands that don’t fit your foot. All too often people will only try on one brand of boots because they think or have heard that brand X is the best boot on the market. Don’t sacrifice a good day on the mountain for something that fits your foot marginally. Do some research and find the brands that fit your shape of foot; every brand has a different fit and caters to a different person. If every boot fit everyone well, there wouldn’t have been a need to create this guide in the first place.
When you find that boot that fits perfectly, your days on the mountain get so much better. Invest your money here and spend as much time as you need to find the right boot, because there is nothing worse then having to cut a powder day short because your feet hurt.

About the author

Shay

From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 20, 2008

    Yes, I am so agree with this!
    Boots are like clothing… you have to tried a lot to find the perfect one (Fit)! And this is the most important part of the Gear… Everything start from you Feet when you snowboard…
    I did so many mistake in the pass… Now I learn 😉
    Thanks

  2. Nos Canos
    November 20, 2008

    there is some time to come trying to ski in the holes … much more adrenaline! good luck !!!!!!

  3. .sarah.
    November 21, 2008

    I wrote a long response to this posting…it can be found on my blog.

  4. Martin
    November 21, 2008

    “Yes, the brands that don’t fit your foot”

    haha thats great. Gotta say I am still kinda skeptical of buying boots without actually putting my feet in the,

  5. Shayboarder
    November 21, 2008

    Most of us are lucky to be able to try on snowboard boots, but not everyone is.

    While this guide isn’t perfection to finding the perfect fit…it’s a good starting off point for people to get more educated and when you might not have the opportunity to try on boots.

    Great to read your response Sarah. I’ll put a link here to it.
    http://shralpyourface.blogspot.com/2008/11/response-to-dogfunks-snowboard-boot.html

  6. Shayboarder
    November 21, 2008