When choosing a snowboard, the width is just as important as the length. The length of the snowboard is generally sized based on your height and weight, while the width of the board is based on the size of your feet. Certain riders prefer a board with a slightly wider waist for increased stability in dense deposits of snow.
As opposed to measuring the length of your boot, simply place it perpendicularly on the top of the snowboard. If more than 1 inch of your heel hangs off, you may need to upgrade the size of the waist. The Shred-O-Pedia size guide recommends a 24-cm-wide snowboard for riders who have a boot size of 6 to 7.5. Select a 24.5-cm-wide snowboard if you have a boot size between 7.5 and 9.
Many top snowboarding companies offer specialized wide boards for riders with an above-average boot size. The wide waist helps to prevent overhang during sharp carves and hairpin turns. Snowboarders who have a boot size of 10.5 or more are recommended to ride a wide-model board. If you have a boot size that falls between 10.5 and 12, choose a snowboard that features a 26-cm waist width. Upgrade to a 26.5-cm snowboard if your boot size is between a 12 and 13.
Freestyle or slopestyle snowboards often have a narrower waist than recreational models. The slender design of the freestyle snowboard helps to decrease the overall weight while increasing maneuverability. According to the 2011 Transworld Snowboarding Gear Guide, men's freestyle snowboards often have a waist width of around 25 cm. Youth model freestyle boards generally have a waist width of around 22 cm. The downsized waist of the freestyle snowboard functions well on the groomed surface of the terrain park.
Women's snowboards are designed to accommodate the unique physical dimensions of the female body. When compared to the dimensions of the men's model snowboard, women's snowboards usually have a more petite design. The width of the women's snowboard generally ranges between 23 and 25 cm. Female riders who prefer to ride on an off-piste terrain use a snowboard with a wider waist. The waist of the women's powder board has a width that ranges between 25 and 26.5 cm.