How to Fit Ski Boots Properly

All skiers need ski boots. However, while some may think the large, burly items are overkill, they are incredibly important in transferring both power and control from your feet to your skis. A nice set of ski boots can last for years. Your footwear plays a crucial role in helping you to become a better skier.

Your ski boot’s fit is critical when choosing your next pair. Properly fitted boots will add a lot to your skiing experience in terms of both comfort and performance.

As such, you should pay attention to the tips listed below to get the best fit for your abilities. We will also take a closer look at how to fit your ski boots and explain how to get the most from your shoes.

Initial Considerations

While every skier wants their boot to have a comfortable and warm fit, there are different considerations for different types of skiers.

We will go into more detail later on, but as a rule, the tighter the fit of your ski boot, the higher the performance. Beginner skiers can get away with comfort over performance, but if you want an expert response, you will need a tight fit.

When fitting your boots, you need to know your size. Ski boots get measured in centimeters in a process known as Mondo sizing. Your local shop or fitter can easily figure out your size, but you can do it on your own if you so wish.

Simply place your foot on a piece of paper with your heel at the back and the inside of your foot along the inner edge. Make a mark on the paper at the top of your big toe and at your foot’s widest section.

The length in centimeters of the big toe measurement is your Mondo size, while the width in millimeters is what’s known as the last.

Once you know your ski boot size, you can begin to try on different boot styles. It’s also important to note that not all ski boot brands and models have the same size measurements.

One size might fit you a little differently than the same size in another brand. Always try shoes on before purchasing.

The Basics of Boot Fitting

When you first start to fit your boot you want to check the size of both the liner and shell.

First, put on some thin ski socks similar to what you wear while skiing. Take the liner out of the boot and put your foot inside of it. You want to check for a snug fit that feels similar to a sock but has extra padding and stiffness. You want your toes to wiggle a bit, but you don’t want your foot to slide around.

Next, leave the liner outside of the boot and insert your foot into the bare shell. You want a shell that’s just barely larger than your bare foot by roughly a half-inch (the width of two fingers on top of each other).

Now, put the boot back together with the liner inside the shell, and then place your foot (with ski socks on) into the ski boot. Buckle everything down just as you would before you go skiing.

You want the upper section of your boot around your shin and calf to feel like it’s secure all the way around. You also want your heel to remain firmly in place without much movement, especially when your knees are flexed forward with your shins against the front section of the boots.

Once you have both boots on and secure, stand up and make a few ski-like movements. You want to make sure that your foot stays securely placed on the foot of the liner and doesn’t have any roll or bounce.

Your toes will be able to wiggle a bit but your heel should always stay on the floor of the boot. You also want to make sure your toes are just barely touching the front of the boot and not crammed up against it.

Different Fits for Different Abilities

As I mentioned earlier, fit varies from skier to skier. It is always important that your boots have a tight fit without pinching too tightly.

There’s going to be an initial break-in period where you might experience some serious discomfort but after that, your boots should be comfortable enough to wear all day long.

Beginner skiers want to shoot for a comfortable fit that isn’t too tight. Comfort will allow you to ski for long periods of time without having your feet hurt or getting tired. The key to figuring out a comfortable fit is toe placement.

You want your toes to just barely touch the front of your boots when you’re in a skiing position and when you stand up straight, your toes should back off of the front just a bit. This will increase your boot’s comfort.

Intermediate skiers want a tighter fit, also known as a performance fit. This is obviously tighter than a comfortable fit and can be achieved by focusing on your toe placement.

To get a performance fit, securely buckle your boots and stand straight up. Your toes should be up against the front of the boot when standing straight.

Advanced and expert skiers want a tight, snug fit to achieve the best possible performance. You should go for a high-performance fit if you want to get the absolute most out of your ski boots.

This fit will sacrifice a little bit of comfort, but it will pay off if you ski at high levels. Again, stand up straight in your ski boots. Your toes should be just slightly scrunched up at the front.

Final Thoughts

If you ski with any regularity, you’re going to spend a lot of time in your boots. While old boots were a chore to put on and often uncomfortable to wear, modern design and technology have improved both comfort and performance. That being said, the proper fit is absolutely essential to your skiing experience.

No matter how comfortable your boots are, always remember that there’s a break-in period with ski boots that can last as long as five days.

If they still hurt your feet after that, you might want to go back to where you bought them to get some expert advice on how to fix the issues.

Do you have any boot fitting tips? What kind of fit do you like in your ski boots? Let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • Eric T

    I am going to buy a new pair of ski boots this fall, before the season starts up. Since I am totally new to this I don’t know what to expect. I just started skiing last winter at the end of the season. I rented my skis, and boots. I bought a new pair of skis, but the ski shop didn’t have any boots my size. So I continued. to rent just the boots. The ski shop fit the bindings to their rental boots, and I went on my merry way. Now I’m getting my own, I have a couple of questions for you. I don’t consider myself a newbie any more. I ski better than most beginners, but not as good as a strong intermediate, but I dont want a boot that I’m going to ski with for half a season, get better, and have to upgrade to something better. Does this happen? Or should I get something a little bit better than my current abilities, and work my way into it.I’m going to go through the whole bootfitting process when the time comes I’m totally confident with the staff at the ski shop that I deal with. The only thing I worry about is I’ll tell them I’m a beginner skier, and they’ll fit me with beginner boots when I need something a little better. Plus I’m going to be skiing more than the average skier. I bought a season pass at my home hill, and I’m going to ski every chance I get. Getting better, than I was last year. Will a boot for beginners get me through a few seasons or will I have to upgrade in a year or two, and keep spending money on boots that are barely broke in ?

    • Christine

      Hey Eric,

      Thanks for reaching out again, and it’s great you are considering getting your own set of boots. I think anyone who plans on skiing often should have their own boots, as it will give you extra comfort and convenience. As far as how you should go about looking for your first set, there are a few things to consider and know about. The first is that the ultimate decision of which boots you want is your choice. You should work with a boot fitter, as they will help match you with the best option for your feet/ability/etc. But if they push you towards a model you don’t think you want, you can always tell them you want something different. The second big thing to consider is that the main difference between beginner and more advanced boots is comfort versus performance. Beginner boots have a softer flex, so they are more comfortable. Intermediate and advanced boots have a stiffer flex which is less comfortable but better for performance because this translates into increased power transfer from your boots to your bindings and then your skis.

      I think you should go with a medium flex boot that you can use for at least a few years. Just tell the boot fitters exactly what you told me – that you are still technically a beginner but plan on skiing often and using boots more than a normal beginner would. My guess is that they will steer you toward a medium flex boot that hits your marks. Just be prepared for a breaking-in process that might not be what you were at all used to with your beginner rental boots. Good boots can be downright uncomfortable and even hurt at first until they break in, and your feet get used to them. But if you have the option of custom liners/footbeds or at least some heat moldable options, that will go a long way. Really, a good ski shop and boot fitter should be able to hook you up with whatever you need. Just be upfront with them, and if they seem unable to help, look for another one! Hope that helps!

      And also keep in mind that intermediate and advanced boots are going to be more expensive. They can easily cost as much as a set of new skis. But they should last you for years if you get a pair you can work with that is comfortable and hits all your marks. Really, the time you put on the snow is going to have more of an impact on improving your abilities than your boots will. Good gear is important, but practice and getting those turns in will help more in the long run!