Ski boots are the most important piece of equipment because they provide the direct connection between your body and your ski. The movement of the ski boot controls the ski movement. A sloppy boot fit will allow the foot to move around in the boot rather than moving the ski. This will make it very difficult to start and complete turns. It will make controlling the ski very difficult and tiring since it will require more muscular control from the foot and leg to force the ski to go where you need it to go. Some people compensate for a sloppy fit by cranking down the buckles as tight as they will go. This may cut off circulation to the foot allowing your foot to get very cold while skiing. A properly fitted boot will allow you to control your skis, keep your feet warm and will not rub your feet anywhere.
So let’s get down to what you really want to know: How can I get the correct boot for me?
Your goal for new ski boots should be to get boots which are comfortable, which support your foot properly, and allow you to have an even pressure distribution across your foot. For the majority of people there is a boot out there that will work for your foot shape and your skiing ability without having to get a custom boot. However don’t expect to walk into a ski shop and walk out 20 minutes later with a new pair of boots that feel as good as your favorite sneakers. The liner of ski boots compresses once you have worn it for a while so you won’t get a good feel for the boot until you have worn it around for several minutes. Take the boot off and put it on again and see how it feels after another few minutes wearing the boot. Don’t rush this purchase: a poor fitting ski boot will affect your ability to advance in skiing and may be extremely painful to wear.
You probably have several questions about the best way to go about getting the right boots. Let’s do this in steps:
Step one: Find the Correct Size
are a few key things to look for in a ski boot. The first and most important is getting the right size boot. Ski boots are sold in Mondo sizes which is a universal sizing system based on the actual length of your foot. Click here for a chart to find your Mondo size based on your normal shoe size (or go to http://www.simpleskiingsystem.com/mondo-conversion/)
When trying on boots you will find that while standing your toes will most likely touch the front of the boot. Once you flex forward in an athletic skiing posture your heel will move back in the boot and your toes will move back away from the front of the boot. You should be able to wiggle your toes in this position.
Step two: Find the correct width boot
Determine your width: narrow, average or wide. This is probably the easiest thing to do. Almost everyone knows what width their foot is. If you don’t know, you are most likely a medium or average width. Different boot manufacturers may run more narrow or wider and a good fitter or a little bit of internet research will let you know which brands to start looking at. To start with know that narrow boots typically run from 98mm to 102mm wide, normal from 100-104mm and wide is anything over 104mm.
Your boots should feel snug but there should not be any pressure points or hot spots. A boot fitter may be able to adjust the boot to eliminate a single pressure point but if you have several pressure points try a different boot.
Determine what type of skier you are.
Beginner or recreational skier – You are either new to skiing, ski casually or just ski a few times of year and you stick to mostly green runs. Alternatively you may just want the most comfortable boot you can find and performance is not important to you.
Intermediate – You ski mostly blue runs with the occasional black run or mogul run. You are comfortable with some speed or you ski several times of year. A lot of people will be in this category.
Advanced – You ski anywhere on almost anything. You ski fast and aggressively.
Once you determine your level you will know which type of boot to look for: beginner, intermediate or advanced. The main difference between a beginner/comfort boot and intermediate boots is how stiff the boot is or the flex of the boot. The less aggressive skier you are the softer the boot should be. There will be other considerations like your height, weight and athletic ability. If you are very tall or heavier than average you will want to get the next level boot.
When you try ski boots on you should stand in them and flex your knees forward pressing your shins against the front of the boots. See how much you can flex the boots and remember when you are on a ski slope it will be harder than when you are standing in the store. So if it is difficult to push forward at the store you most likely won’t be able to do it on skis. Don’t try to buy a more advanced boot than your current level. A boot that is too stiff will cause you to develop bad skiing habits like skiing with your weight back.
Should you buy online or in a retail location?:
There are advantages to both of these options. If you go to a store with a good reputation you will get the sales person’s expertise and experience in fitting boots. You will be able to try on the boots and talk to the sales person about the fit. On the other hand if you are on a budget online is hard to beat. The prices are sometimes half the prices you would find in the retail stores.