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So, you’ve decided to go ahead and purchase yourself a new pair of ski boots. How exciting! It’s always a fun time getting new ski gear. Not only does it rejuvenate your interest in the sport, but it can be fun wearing something new that looks good and makes you perform better.
However, if you don’t know how to properly break the boots in, you could be in for a rough time. We’re here to give you the secrets to breaking in new ski boots as quickly and effectively as possible to maximize performance and minimize discomfort. Let’s get started!
How Should Ski Boots Feel?
It’s going to be difficult to determine if your ski boots are properly broken in if you don’t even know what they should feel like! The boots are made to feature a snug fit that is occasionally tight.
Generally speaking, the tighter they are, the better performance you’re going to get out of them as the boots will essentially become a part of your body and allow for better control. However, if you’re a newbie skier, then you’re probably going to value comfort over performance, which means just aim for a snug fit.
What does it even mean to “break in” your ski boots?
When you first purchase a new pair of ski boots, they’re going to be pretty unforgiving. This is because they haven’t yet contoured to the unique shape and curves of your feet! There are certain models with liners which can be heat molded around your feet, but these are generally more expensive and even those require a certain amount of break-in time.
Simply put, this is just a period where your feet become comfortable in said boots. The material in the liners will begin to spread out and settle, forming perfectly around your feet. This typically takes around a week or so of skiing.
Breaking Boots in at Home
Undoubtedly, the most effective way to break in ski boots is by actually putting them on and going skiing. However, you can make it a bit easier on yourself by starting the process at home. If you don’t have the ability to go out to the runs every day, this is probably our best bet.
Start by walking around the house in the boots
Right after you get your new boots and bring them home, put them on and start wearing them around the house. Try to do this for at least an hour a day. To break them in quicker, try tightening up the buckles more than you typically would. Start out on the first day for up to just 30 minutes and increase time until you can comfortably have them on for at least 2 hours.
Instead of walking “normally” (as normal as you can in ski boots), try stomping around like your mom just grounded you from hanging out with your friends. As you do this, try flexing your feet back and forth, moving your toes around to give a bit more wiggle room. We won’t lie – it’s not going to be an exactly pleasant process, but it is better than being uncomfortable at the ski resort the next few times you go.
Just Wear the Liners
This will be much more comfortable. Get started by forming the liners to your feet by simply wearing them on their own.
Wear Them Altogether
After you’ve worn the liner on its own, place them back inside their corresponding boots and wear the entire boot altogether. However, this go around you do not want to tighten up the calf straps. Simply hook up the lower straps and buckles and tighten them as you normally would.
Wear them like this for up around 15 minutes. If you feel like they’re just too uncomfortable or even painful, immediately loosen up the straps and buckles and let your feet and lower legs rest. Then go ahead and do it again.
This process also isn’t going to be a load of fun, but it will more quickly make the boot mold to your feet so they’re much easier to use once you actually use them out skiing. You’ll feel like you’re able to wiggle your toes more, like your heel has a bit more space, etc.
Should I have a professional stretch out my boots?
There’s no black and white answer here. If you have already gone through the methods described above and still feel like they’re not forming well enough to your feet, then you may choose to head to a professional ski boot fitter.
However, it’s not a sure thing that this boot fitter will be able to stretch the particular model or brand of your boot. As beginner and intermediate-level boots are made to be more comfortable, they’re made of traditionally more pliable materials. Due to this, it makes stretching more challenging and you can more easily damage the boots.
However, the more expert-level boots are the exact opposite. They’re made of incredibly tough materials and can hold up better against damage that could come about when used by pro boot fitters. Furthermore, there are 2 kinds of boots and you need to determine which one you have:
- Seamed Ski Boots: These come with a couple different types of seams and plastics in the shell. Due to this, it’s difficult to avoid inflicting damage on the boots in this scenario. While it may not be impossible, we do suggest heading to a very experienced fitter if you are serious about stretching them.
- Mono Injected: As the name suggests, the shells on these boots are comprised of just a single type of material or mold. This makes them much easier to stretch and you generally don’t have to worry about them becoming damaged by the stretching process a boot fitter takes them through.
Reasons Why Stretching Boots Helps
As we know, not everyone has the same shape of feet. This can obviously make for some potential hurdles when boots are all made the same. Some people may encounter pressure on particular areas of their feet, which boot stretching can help solve.
Boot stretching can help with:
- Bunion pain
- Ankle pressure
- Forefoot pressure
- Heel spurs
Up to the Mountain
Once you’ve started the break-in process at home or you’ve had a pro stretch your boots, you can go up and try them out on the slopes. Make sure that they’re warm before putting them on for best results – particularly when they’re new. When they are warmer, they’re more flexible and will let your feet and legs slide in easier.
You’ll still most likely feel some discomfort and tightness, but you can generally expect this feeling to go away or mitigate when you start skiing. If they still are too uncomfortable, try loosening up your buckles or simply take a break.
We know that breaking in boots isn’t exactly the most fun process in learning how to ski or in skiing, overall. However, it’s a part of the game and you’ll be more comfortable and a better skier for it. Just make sure to follow our tips and tricks, and you’ll be ready for action. We hope our guide has helped you learn just how to break in new ski boots the right way. Thanks for tuning in with us, and we’ll see you again soon! Happy skiing!