A properly fitting ski boot is necessary not only to ensure you ski to the best of your abilities, but to make sure you’re comfortable and safe. Ill-fitting boots can completely ruin the experience so you must place importance here. Ski boots may look simple enough, but they’re incredibly sophisticated pieces of gear.
They keep your feet protected from the elements, keep you comfortable, and directly connect you to your bindings and skis. Let’s go through exactly how to properly fit ski boots so you’re starting out on the best foot possible!
First off, we have to mention that everyone is different in terms of personal preferences and what is comfortable to you. What do you value more, comfort or performance? Generally speaking, you’ll tend to find that the greater your skill level, the more you’ll prefer performance over warmth and comfort. Again, this is all up to you. There’s no reason why you can’t have a good blend of both.
How to Put on Ski Boots
Before we proceed, we first need to go over how to put on ski boots properly. If you already know how to, then simply skip this part.
- Completely unbuckle the boot: This includes the power strap. Make sure no buckles are catching or stuck by gently rotating the buckles out of the way. If they’re new, ensure all stuffing is taken out.
- Keep the boot flat as you step into it and stand up: Do this by holding onto the tongue loop, sliding the foot into it and forward until it’s in the boot completely as you’re standing up. With high performance boots, you can expect these to be pretty tight and unforgiving. If this is your case, instead of the loop, grab hold of the interior cuffs and help pull the sides apart to give you added room.
- Center the tongue: Just like you would with a tennis shoe, make sure it’s centered over the top of your foot and comfortable.
- Buckle the two top buckles: After, fasten the power strap.
- Flex the boot forward forcefully: Make sure you haven’t fastened the bottom buckles yet while doing this. This will ensure your toes pull away from the front and move your heel back into the heel pocket. This will also help with tight boots to give you a more snug yet comfy fit.
- Fasten all buckles: Make sure your feet are not moving around, though it should never be painful or even uncomfortable. It helps to remember that from here on out, your boots will only get looser (with the exception being a full-bore 150 Flex World Cup Nordica GP or a 90 Flex Recreational model which will actually get stiffer in the cold).
3 Boot Measures
This process goes much smoother if you match the size and shape of your feet and calves, while taking into consideration your skill level and budget.
- The liner on its own should feel just like an extra-padded sock with a stiff tongue and back. Here, you should aim for a snug fit while still giving your toes wiggle room.
- The shell on its own should be able to fit your bare foot inside, along with maximum 2 fingers. If you’re going for a performance fit, take this down to one finger width.
- The upper cuff should also feel nice and snug from your toes to your calves.
3 Types of Fit
When you’re standing up with your legs straight, your toes should be just touching the shell. When you bend forward, your toes should come back from the shell. Never go larger than this size. If you’re a casual skier or just learning, this is the fit that comes most recommended.
If you’re serious about performance and comfort and rather not go without either one, then this is the fit for you. Standing up with your legs straight, your toes will be touching the shell. However, when you bend your knees, your shoes should hardly be touching the shell at all.
High Performance Fit
This is the tightest your boots should ever be. This fit is for those who value performance over comfort. Standing up with your legs straight, your toes should feel almost tucked into the front of the boot. When you bend your knees, every single one of your toes should be touching the front of the boot as well.
It probably isn’t going to feel very comfortable when you’re not skiing, so we recommend undoing the bottom 2 buckles when you’re just walking around or hanging out in the lodge. You can expect it to take around a month before you really feel “right” in these with the high-performance fit.
Achieving the Perfect Fit
We should mention that it’s normal to take around 6 days of skiing for your feet to finally properly settle into the shell. Before this, you can expect your feet to feel a bit inflamed due to the added tightness while they’re breaking in.
It’s not uncommon for some to keep the 2 bottom buckles undone until they’re loose enough to fasten. It’s also okay to take them off during breaks like having a meal or a cup of coffee until you achieve this.
If you’re purchasing in-person at a ski shop, we recommend taking your old ski boots with you if you have some. The person fitting your new boots will be able to tell a lot about them to help give you the best fit possible.
In addition, it’s important to make sure your ski socks are newly washed and completely dry. We recommend bringing along the thinnest pair that you have, considering your boots will only get looser as you use them. Try not to wear a base layer or ski pants that are difficult to roll up and over your calves.
Foot beds are crucial parts of any shoe, why should it be different for ski boots? If you’re serious about your ski performance, you should definitely look into custom foot beds or orthotics. If you have flat feet, bunions, or other foot conditions, you may also want to add your own orthotics.
These custom insoles are designed to perfectly fit with your individual foot’s shape, curves, and more to offer maximum stability and comfort.
- Quite a few boot models come with a removable spoiler attached to the shell, located between the liner and boot rear. If you find the boot is placing a lot of pressure in your calves or you have quite a bit of chafing, you can take this piece off. Usually, you’ll find it’s connected by Velcro or a screw, which is easy to take off.
- No matter how you’re getting up the mountain, make sure that your boots are nice and warm before you put them on. If you’re on a bus, try to keep them in a ski bag that you can keep with you. If you’re traveling by car, then we recommend keeping them in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Another option that’s always nice to have is a heated boot bag. These are great as you can rest assured knowing your boots will be nice and warm, no matter where you are and how you’re traveling.
Now that you know the ins and outs of proper ski boot fitting, are you looking forward to getting into a new pair? It’s always exciting trying out new ski gear, though what’s most important is that they work in your favor. You want boots that will actually help you perform to the best of your abilities – not hinder you.
Properly fitting boots will do just that; while also ensuring you’re comfortable and warm. We hope our guide has helped you out. Thanks for staying tuned and we’ll see you again shortly!