We have however bought for our boys....but we do at least 2 weeks skiing a year, and they get reused....so a pair of ski boots costing about 45 (Decathlon) does at least 4 weeks, possibly more....and financially it is no more expensive.
We've hired for both of ours at the age of 3 and never had a problem. I think it would be really hard to get a 3 year old on a snowboard though and think you'll struggle to get snowboard boots. DH and I are both boarders and we're going to wait till ours are 8 before we try them on the board. Most snowboard schools won't take them till 10.
My DS had just turned four the first time he tried skiing, he wasn't that interested in it and only had the strap on skis on a couple of times. He enjoyed what he did but the ski kindergarten had lots of other things that he was more interested in.
I'd hire them, you'd only get one weeks use if you bought them.
Dd has skied since 3 and they have thousands of small boots in the hire shops.
Plus if the hire boots don't fit for some reason you can swap them there and then in resort for different ones. Sometimes you can't tell if they fit properly until actually skiing. Less so with little kids I suppose but a consideration.
Hi - we are off on our first family trip to the snow with 3 and 1 yr old in feb. Really want to get the 3 yr old on skis (and possibly snowboard courtesy of Burton Riglet kit) - I have heard someone recommend that it is easier to buy/rent small ski boots here before going as the really small sizes are in short supply in resort - has anyone found this? He has quite diddy feet - a UK 7.5 (mondo 16?). And has anyone got a pair they would like to sell?!?