How To Reduce Heel Lift In Snowboard Boots

Many people suffer from heel lift without even realizing that it’s a problem that can and should be fixed. Here’s how you stop heel lift in snowboard boots.

What is heel lift?

It’s exactly like it sounds. It’s when your toes and forefoot are held in place but your ankle and heel are able to lift upwards in your boot.

Why is heel lift bad?

Heel lift means less control of your snowboard and it means you’ll have to work harder to control your toe side turns. This can also add a lot of pressure to your forefoot when you turn which results in foot pain.

What causes heel lift?

This occurs when your boots aren’t quite the perfect fit around your ankle or the padding in your boots have compacted over time. For some people (myself included), you may just have skinny ankles that make it difficult to find boots without heel lift.

It’s not uncommon for a boot to fit perfect at first, but to then get some heel lift after breaking them in.

Snowboard Boot J-Bars


How do I stop heel lift?

Heel lift is an easy fix. You just need to add what’s know as a ‘J-bar’ to your boot. Some boots come with them in the box, but you can also get them custom made at any good bootfitting shop.

J-Bars get stuck inside your boot shell, outside your liner. They are positioned so that they are hugging your ankles from both sides. This helps to lock in your ankles and stop your heel from lifting.

I usually start off without J-Bars in my boots, but towards the end of the season as my boots are dying, I’ll add J-Bars to tighten them up again. It’s great for extending the life of your boot a little.

How much does this cost?

It’s a cheap fix. If your boots came with J-Bars, you can try them out, but if you need some custom J-Bars made, it shouldn’t cost more than $25-ish.

Good luck and let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!

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  1. I found a Heel Hold Kit from 32 which has different levels of padding. The big piece seems to follow the shape of the heel and the achilles tendon nicely. You can stick it to the outside of the inner liner.
    For now I don’t need it, but I bought it in case my boots pack out over time so I can go a little longer with them.

  2. steve thomas says:

    Where can I buy J-bars from, I’ve looked everywhere for them. Everybody I speak to knows of them but doesn’t sell them!!!!

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