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.
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. This article will take a look at how to fit your ski boots and explain how to get the most from your shoes.
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 Fit
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 sock 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 get 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 comfort 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.
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 above to get the best fit for your abilities.
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 us know in the comments below.