Sometimes ski boots need a little bit of attention before they fit correctly. Stretching boots can help fix this issue, and this is a pretty straightforward process involving heating the boots and molding specific areas of them.
I’ve been skiing for most of my life, and I’ve worn many different boots. I understand how important it is to get a good fitting boot, and I’ve learned how to stretch my ski boots at home to fix issues and get an ideal fit.
This post will instruct you on how to stretch ski boots at home. It’s a good thing for any DIY enthusiasts out there to know, but I wouldn’t always recommend this for beginners or anyone who doesn’t know what they are doing.
Let’s get started.
There are two different ways to go about boot stretching. You can make the shell a little more roomy, and stretch out the entire boot. Or you can try to spot-stretch specific areas that might be giving you issues.
Doing this task at home is possible, but a ski shop or boot fitter will be able to do a much better job than you can unless you have professional tools and experience. This is especially true for spot stretching any pain points.
I highly suggest that you take your boots into the shop if you don’t know what you are doing or have the necessary skills and tools. You can ruin your boots pretty easily if you stretch them out in the wrong ways.
What You’ll Need
Here are all of the things you’ll need to stretch ski boots at home.
- Your ski boots
- An oven or air gun
- Bootfitter tool (or foam/rubber/tape)
How to Stretch Ski Boots at Home
Here are the steps to stretching ski boots at home. If you have the tools and skills, this can help you get a better fit.
Step 1: Identify Where the Boots Need to Be Stretched
Before you start to stretch the boots, you’ll want to know where they should be stretched.
To do this, put your boots on and notice any cramped spots or pain points. These are the areas that need to be stretched. You can take a photo of your boots and mark these regions or draw a basic diagram.
Step 2: Heat Boots
The first step to stretching ski boots is to heat them up. This allows the plastic and other hard materials to become more pliable. When the materials become softer, you can shape, mold, and stretch them into different positions.
You can either place your boots into an oven preheated to 200F for about 10 minutes, or you can use a hot air gun to heat them up. You might have luck using a blowdryer, but they usually don’t get hot enough for effective stretching.
Step 3: Stretch Your Boots
Once the boots are heated up, you can begin to stretch them. If you have a bootfitter tool, this is where you’ll want to use it. This tool sits inside the boot and allows you to use cranks and pressure to push out the material.
With the bootfitter placed inside the boot, you can get it adjusted to push out or widen the areas that need to be changed. Take your time to apply pressure to the correct areas.
If you don’t have a bootfitter, you’ll need to take a different course of action. Rather than letting the bootfitter stretch out the boots, you’ll need to use your actual foot and some foam.
You’ll need to attach foam or other fairly stiff material to your foot in the areas where the boot needs to be stretched. Put your socks on after you have the foam attached to keep it in place.
Step into the preheated boots. The pressure from the foam will push out the plastic and stretch it out. It isn’t as effective as using a bootfitter. But you’ll have to grin and bear it if you want to try and stretch your boots at home.
Step 4: Try on Boots
After attempting to stretch out the boots, you’ll want to try them on to ensure that the process was effective.
Take out the bootfitter or the foam on our feet. But your ski socks back on and step into your ski boots. Buckle them down like you would when you get ready for skiing.
Pay attention to the spots where you tried to stretch them out to see if the process worked. If it did, great. If not, you’ll need to repeat the process for a second attempt.
Some old-timers might tell you that you can stretch your boots out by simply wearing a couple of pairs of socks and walking around the house all day. In my experience, this really doesn’t stretch them out. It just breaks them in or helps your feet get used to wearing them.
The best way to stretch out your boots is to go to a boot fitter and let them do it for you. Even if you have a bootfitter tool, the techs at the shop have the skills to get you the best fit possible. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Stretching your boots is a good way to achieve a better fit without getting new boots or liners. If you follow the steps above, you can attempt to stretch ski boots at home. If you don’t have luck with this, take them into the ski shop and have them do it for you.