Can You Snowboard With Long Nails?


Before venturing out onto the slopes to snowboard, there are plenty of things you must do. Of course, you need to gather your gear and set out a route. Surprisingly, you may also need to clip your nails before putting on your gear! Can you snowboard with long nails?

You can snowboard with long fingernails, but they may get in the way when you’re putting on or taking off your gear. Meanwhile, long toenails can impact the fit of your boot and cause uncomfortable friction. Many snowboarders prefer to clip their nails before wearing their equipment. 

This article delves into the details of why you should clip your nails before going snowboarding. It also considers other ways you can make sure your attire fits comfortably, creating a safer snowboarding experience! 

Can You Snowboard With Long Fingernails?

While not a significant safety concern, having long fingernails can cause you some discomfort when snowboarding. This is for two reasons: 

  • They can make it challenging to manage gear. Depending on the length of your fingernails, they may cause obstructions when you try to put on the equipment you need when snowboarding, such as backpack straps and snowboard straps. If they get caught in any of this gear, they may break. 
  • They may get caught in your gloves. When you snowboard, you typically wear protective and warming gloves. Long fingernails may become snagged in the glove, which will be painful. 

Your fingernails should be trimmed and rounded to ensure you can put on and take off gloves smoothly and quickly.

Can You Snowboard With Long Toenails?

Many snowboarders on snowboarding forums have a common complaint. They state that when they go snowboarding, they often come away with blackened or ingrown toenails. 

Keeping your toenails short can prevent this from happening. 

When snowboarders’ toenails are too long, their nails can rub against the inside of their boots. Snowboarding boots are typically made with heavy, non-yielding material. The friction can wear down and damage your toenails.

The rubbing can also force the toenail to rise, which causes the blood vessels in your toes to rupture. Not only will this lead to blackened or ingrown nails, but it may also cause more severe pain that will keep you off the slopes for a significant amount of time. 

The big toes on each of your feet are especially vulnerable, as the angle at which you snowboard puts the most pressure on them. 

To stop your toenails from getting damaged, many ski resorts offer ‘ski-pedicures’ where they file down your toenails in a way that’ll best protect them before you wear skiing or snowboarding boots. 

How Else Can You Protect Your Nails When Snowboarding?

If you want to make sure your nails are protected when snowboarding, keeping them short is the first thing you should do. There are several other ways you can protect your nails: 

  • Keep your nails dry. As much as possible, try to keep your nails dry as you snowboard. Doing this may include wearing waterproof socks, shoes, and gloves. By keeping your nails dry, you’re ensuring they don’t become brittle. 
  • Use moisturizer. Another way to ensure your nails don’t get weak is to use plenty of moisturizers. You’ll be snowboarding at extremely low temperatures, which will dry out your skin and your nails. Keep your nails moisturized, and they’ll stay healthier. 
  • Use a nail protectant. Nail protectants have a formula designed to strengthen nails and prevent them from breaking or splitting. Use a nail protectant to give your nails some added fortification. 

How To Make Snowboarding More Comfortable

Keeping your nails short and protected will help you ensure your snowboarding experience will go more smoothly. However, there’s a variety of other ways you can make sure you stay comfortable and safe while snowboarding. 

Choose the Right Boots

As well as keeping your toenails safe, the proper boots can go a long way in enhancing your snowboarding experience. If you’re selecting new snow boots, there are several things to keep in mind: 

  • Heel hold. Your boots must have a good heel hold. If you’re leaning forward, your heel should stay securely at the back of the boot. This will ensure that your foot doesn’t shift when you’re turning on your snowboard. 
  • Make sure your snowboard is compatible. If you already have a snowboard, make sure your boots fit your board. If you have a large shoe size, a wider boot will provide a better fit, and if you have a small shoe size, a narrower board will work better. 
  • Wear socks. Ensure you’re wearing thick socks when trialing boots to give you a better idea of the right fit. 
  • Choose the right boot flex. Many snowboard boots have a feature called boot flex. If you’re a beginner, you may be more comfortable with a more flexible boot flex, while more experienced snowboarders prefer a stiffer one. 
  • Boot liners. Ensure that the lining of your boots is water-resistant and mouldable so that they’ll adapt to fit the shape of your feet. It’s also helpful if the lining is removable so it can dry overnight. 

Buying high-quality boots may seem expensive, but it’s worth it.

However, if you don’t want to buy new boots, you can consider adding footbeds to your current pair of boots. Footbeds adopt the natural shape of your feet, making your boots sit better. 

More tips on keeping your feet comfortable

Wear Protective Gear and Clothing

Before you head out on a snowboarding expedition, it’s essential to ensure you are correctly dressed. Typically, you would snowboard in sub-zero temperatures, so you should be wearing: 

  • Thermals made of wool, silk, or synthetic materials which sit close to your skin, trapping warmth.
  • A fleece top over your thermals. 
  • A skiing or snowboarding jacket and pants. These are typically weather-resistant and have been specially designed to prevent snow from getting into them. If you’re buying new pants, check if they have thigh vents, which will allow your body to release heat when it builds up too much. It’s also helpful if your pants have reinforced inner ankles as they will protect your ankles from sharp edges. 
  • Gloves or mittens. These will prevent your hands from getting numb. While mittens are considered warmer than gloves, they may hinder finger movement, so see which you feel most comfortable wearing. 
  • A balaclava. If you plan to snowboard in frigid temperatures, it’s helpful to carry along a balaclava that’ll protect your nose, chin, and other areas on your face. 

As well as being selective about the clothes and accessories you choose to keep you warm, you should also wear add-ons to keep you safe from injuries. These include: 

  • A helmet. A helmet will keep you warm but also protect your head if you fall from a height. Some helmets have built-in torches, which will help you navigate if you’re out after dark. 
  • Snow or wind goggles. Most skiers and snowboarders wear specialized goggles designed to protect the eyes from the cold and fast winds. Snowboarders prefer spherical lenses as they offer better peripheral vision and less distortion. 
  • Wrist guards. If you fall when snowboarding, your first instinct may be to try to break your fall with your hands. Wrist guards will make sure you don’t put your wrists under undue pressure when you do this. Even if you’re wearing a wrist guard, try to snowboard with your hands in fists to reduce the temptation of breaking your fall with your hands. 
  • Shin guards. Shin guards are another valuable piece of equipment that will protect you if you fall. 

Carry a Backpack or Hydration Pack

In addition to wearing the right gear, carrying a backpack can help make your snowboarding experience more comfortable. More and more snowboarders are choosing to carry along a backpack when they go snowboarding. Backpacks can carry: 

  • Small first aid kits that you can use if you have an accident. 
  • Extra layers of clothing that you can put on or take off as needed. 
  • High energy snacks that will sustain you in an emergency or, at the very least, prevent you from having to look for lodges and restaurants. 
  • Water or energy drinks to keep you hydrated on the slopes. 
  • A mobile phone and an emergency whistle will help you attract attention in case of an emergency. 
  • Maps and small guidebooks that’ll help you navigate the slopes better. 

Even if you don’t want to carry a big backpack, you can carry a light hydration pack that’ll fit a hydration bag and a few small first aid items. 

Conclusion 

While snowboarding with long nails is possible, it’s not the best idea. If your fingernails are too long, they may get caught in your gloves, causing pain and discomfort. Long toenails can be an even more significant hazard, as they rub against your boots which may lead to ruptured blood vessels and ingrown or blackened toenails. 

As well as keeping your toenails trim and neat, make sure you’re wearing the proper clothing and equipment and carrying along with supplies you may need. Doing this will ensure you have a safe, exciting snowboarding expedition. 

Sources

American Family Physician: Tips for Snowboarders

LeSalon: Ski Pedicure

Nuvail: How to protect your nails during your next ski trip 

Snowboarding Forum: Toenails 

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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