Skiing is one of the best outdoor activities for when the weather turns cold and snowy. Having the right equipment is vital to staying safe and having the most fun. It also allows you to enjoy a variety of different skiing conditions and activities. Ski boots are among the most important items for all those great downhill runs and backcountry treks.
You should consider three things when buying new ski boots: what boot features are you looking for, what boot stiffness you’ll need, and how to get the best fit. There are a number of things to look for when buying your very first pair of ski boots, or replacing your old ones. For beginners, it's best to choose an all-mountain ski boot. These are very versatile and balance comfort and performance.
More specialized boots get into things like cushioned absorption for doing jumps, boots with a tighter fit for supporting your ankles during twists and turns, and features found in alpine boots that allow you to walk or hike more easily.
SKI BOOT FEATURES
these are the removable portion of your inner boot that protects you from the outer shell. You'll find there are different levels of insulation in different boots. If you are not a particularly aggressive skier, you would opt for extra cushioning. Thermoformable inner boots are on the upper end of the pricing scale. Heat is used to mold the liners to your feet. If you are a new skier and aren't used to wearing ski boots all day long, this feature will help get you used to wearing them more quickly.
these materials are either rubber with grip or a hard plastic. You can also have soles customized to your boots. There are boots where you can get soles to swap out during your day. These work for both alpine touring and downhill skiing. Note that both your boot soles and bindings need to be compatible with the ski boot you are buying. Walk and ride mode – this feature makes it more comfortable to walk around in your boots in-between skiing sessions. If you are looking to ski tour, skin up or bootpack, then a multipurpose model will suit you best.
These help give your boot a stiffer feel. Boots come with different buckles, so it's important to try them on to see what works best for you. Buckles adjust the snugness of your boot. You want a boot that allows your foot to sit snugly in the heel posture without relying on too many buckles.
This strap, situated at the top of the cuff, acts as another buckle. When you tighten it, it makes your boot snug against your leg for maximum control.
This is a removable wedge that reduces pain along your shins. It minimises the gap you see between your calf and the shell of your boot.
When thinking about boot stiffness, look for the flex number on the boot. The higher the flex number, the stiffer the boot. A stiffer the boot will give you greater control because it transfers your movement directly to your skis. They may not be very comfortable, however, for those days when you're skiing for hours at a time.
Flex index numbers run from 50 which is soft to 130 which is very stiff. The materials from which your boot is constructed will all contribute to the stiffness of the ski boot. If you are a new or inexperienced skier, you will want a softer boot, while experienced skiers opt for stiffer ones. Keep in mind that your height and weight will make a difference to the amount of flex that is right.
Getting the right fit is the most important thing you'll do for skiing success. Wear your ski socks, and spend as much time walking around in your boots as possible. Especially if you're new to the sport, it’s a great way to understand how your boot will feel when you have skis attached.
Do a Shell Fit First
Wear a thin ski sock, then place your foot inside the boot but don't buckle or lace anything up. Move your toes to where they are just touching the front of the boot then measure the room you have at your heel in the back.
For a more comfortable fit, 1-1/2 to 2 fingers behind your heel is good. For more of a performance fit, one finger will suffice. For skiing on resort slopes, the best ski boot is one with a tighter fit and a slightly stiffer boot. This will help to reduce foot fatigue.
Choosing the right ski boot is one of the first steps you take towards skiing pleasure. It's not as hard as you think. Use this guide and you’ll be able to get boots that are comfortable and perform just the way you need.