Ski boot flex is essentially their stiffness. It describes how much give or bend a particular boot model will have and comes into play when getting a good ski boot to match your skiing style of ability levels.
I’m Christine, the founder of this blog and a lifelong skier. I have decades of experience dealing with all types of gear and equipment, and I know what ski boot flex is and why it’s important to understand.
This post will explain what ski boot flex is and what flex you should look for as a skier. My goal is to get you set up with the best pair of boots so you can enjoy each and every minute you have on the mountain.
Get your boots out, and let’s go.
What is Ski Boot Flex
Ski boot flex describes the stiffness of any specific ski boot. Flex ratings will fall anywhere between 60 to 140, but the average range is 80 to 130. I’ll explain more about those numbers in the sections below.
Flex is an important aspect of boot performance and fit. The higher the flex rating, the stiffer the ski boot. The lower the flex rating, the less rigid it will be. Stiffness is an integral aspect of what a ski boot can do on the mountain.
This rating can be thought of in simple terms of how much effort it takes you to flex the boot material when you lean forward in a natural skiing stance. Stiffer boots will take a lot of effort to move forward, and less stiff options will be easier.
Every skier needs to know their ideal flex when they get a new pair of boots. You don’t want to just guess at this number because of how much this is related to how the boots will perform.
What Flex is Good for You
|How it Feels||Softer||Medium||Pretty Stiff||Very Stiff|
Figuring out what flex your boots should be is relatively easy. Still, it can take some trial and error over the course of your skiing career. You should choose a flex based on your ability level and the style of skiing you like to do the most.
Beginners will want a softer boot, which means more flex. Look for a flex rating of 60-80 to give you an easy experience that will allow for a lot of give and play. This is ideal when you are just learning because it gives you more comfort.
Also Read: Best Beginner Ski Boots of 2022
When you move up to intermediate abilities on the slopes, you also want to move up in flex rating. A flex of 80 to 100 is suitable for skiers who want extra performance and are learning to take on more challenging runs and conditions.
Also Read: Best Intermediate Ski Boots of 2022
Once you start to become a really good skier, you will want to get a stiffer boot. Advanced skiers should look for boots with a flex rating of 100 to 120. This will increase power transfer and performance all over the mountain.
If you consider yourself an expert, you will want high-performance boots. And that means you’ll want really stiff boots. Look for boots with a flex rating of 120 or more for the best performance you can find.
Ski Flex Based on Style
While ability level is probably the most significant factor in determining your ski boot flex, you can also figure it out based on the style of skiing you like to do.
Freestyle skiers or anyone who likes to spend a lot of time in the terrain park will generally want a softer boot. Take about 10-15 off of your ability level rating, and you’ll get a good number for freestyle boots.
If you want to go fast or ski race, you’ll want a really stiff boot. Ski racers get the most rigid boots out there because this helps you make quick turns when you are at top speeds. Most racing boots will have a flex rating of 130 or more.
All-mountain skiers should choose a flex based on their ability level. Since this skiing style is so variable, you’ll want to be ready for anything, which means a little stiffer is better. But just go with whatever stiffness you are comfortable with.
Read More: Best All Mountain Ski Boots 2022
Big mountain and freeride skiers will want a flex that is a little more than all-mountain but less than racing. You can go anywhere from 100 to 130 for effective freeride performance. Again, match it to your ability level, and you’ll be fine.
Also Read: Best Freeride Ski Boots 2022
Performance vs Comfort
The stiffer your ski boots get, the less comfortable they become. But the other side of this is that the stiffer your boots are, the better they will perform in the snow. It’s a trade-off that most experienced skiers happily make.
If you are a beginner, you might want to have a comfortable fit so you can stay out longer without having your feet get tired. That’s totally fine, but just know that performance will suffer as you improve your ability levels.
If you are an intermediate or advanced skier, you’re going to want to start increasing stiffness to help you ski better in challenging conditions. That means your boots might not be as comfortable, but I promise you the performance increase is worth it.
Ski boot flex is an important consideration for every skier. Beginners will want a lower flex rating, and advanced skiers will want a stiffer flex. This rating affects comfort and performance and will help you become a better skier.