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How to Choose Ski Boots
Published: Nov 21, 2020
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Ski boots are one of the most important parts of your skiing equipment because they are designed to be able to transfer your movements into the skis while they support and protect your feet, ankles and lower legs. You shouldn't try to fit ski boots the same way as street shoes because their construction and function are not as comfortable.
When choosing ski boots, you have to be able to find the right size and shape that you will be comfortable in and consider other factors like your ability level, height and weight. Decide on the flex factor, cuff, as well as other features that will give you sufficient support and optimum comfort.
To give you further information, we've listed down some of the things that will help you find the right model of boots.
Choosing the Right Size
Mondo sizing is used for measurement of ski boots. It uses centimeters and exactly corresponds to the longest part of your foot. Ski boots are usually available in half sizes and if your measurement falls in between two sizes, figure out the compression of the boot liner and choose a half size smaller. See our sizing chart below for your reference.
Kids Size Chart:
|Mondo (Boot Size)||Kid's US||EURO||UK|
Adult Size Chart:
|Mondo (Boot Size)||Men's US||Women's US||EURO||UK|
Men's and Women's Boots
Ski boots are ergonomically shaped to adapt to the differences in body shape, such as the calf. A woman's calf is generally lower down the leg than a man's calf. Therefore, the cuff or the high part of the boot, on women's ski boots is lower and flares out on the top with a specific shape at the boots' back to suit calf shape.
The flex is also an important factor to consider when choosing ski boots. It is the rigidity of your boot and is measured on a scale of 60 to 150. Choose the ski boot's flex based on your ability and body shape. The higher your ability level, the more rigid the boot should be so that it will allow for more efficient power transfer from your legs to the skis. Skiers with a bigger body build will also need a stiffer flex. Although, rigidity differs between different brands because flex index is not an official standard.
Beginners' flex index is between 60 and 90 for men and between 60 and 70 for women.
Intermediate's flex is between 90 and 110 for men and between 70 and 90 for women.
Advanced skiers' flex index is 110 and above for men and 90 and above for women.
Expert skiers/Racers choose the stiffest ski boots with a flex index between 140 and 150.
This is what's called the ‘LAST' of a ski boot, which is measured across the ball or the widest part of your foot. Take note of the level of precision that you need to be able to choose your ski boot's last. Choose a boot's width that is appropriate for you, comfortable to you and that will give you control over your skis. If precision is what you prefer most, then choose narrower ski boots. Ski boots with too much width will not support your foot and will not enable you to control the skis with ease.
92mm: Narrow and for racers
96-98mm: Narrow footed and for those who prefer precision over comfort.
100mm: Average width suited to most skiers.
102mm: Typically for wider feet.
104mm: Generally for those with very wide feet.
Tips for Choosing Ski Boots
- Know your feet. Consider your ski boot history and any problems that you have had with ski boots or your feet.
- You can also choose to get measured by a professional to confirm the size, shape and volume of your selected ski boot model, to match your feet perfectly.
- Wear appropriate socks. Most ski boots have warm padded liners to be able to support your feet and insulate them. It is best to wear thin socks because thicker socks will make your boot tighter and will restrict blood flow and can result in cold feet. Thinner socks, on the other hand, will improve precision, comfort and control.
- Make sure that you select a boot that will ensure that your feet are stable when inside. It is important that you choose a comfortable footbed to really make your boots perform.
- After purchasing, wear your boots around the house so that the liner will soften and will mould to your feet.
- There are millions of different feet and only a small number of brands and styles of boots, that is why ski boots are designed for modification to accommodate lumps and bumps. You can also bring your boots to a local ski shop for customization.
Other Features to Consider
Type of skiing
On groomed slopes or for on-piste skiing, choose a flexible ski boot with a flex rating that is less than 90; choose boots that are comfortable and easy to use, lightweight and that may come with a walk mode. These ski boots suit beginners best and also those who ski occasionally.
For on-piste skiing, racing and performance skiing, choose a more rigid ski boot with a flex rating between 90 and 130 for men and between 70 and 110 for ladies. These boots allow for optimum control due to their narrower fit and high cuff.
For freeride and freetouring, choose freeride boots with a flex rating around 100 to 120, an average width of 100mm and a straight cuff. These boots also have options to make walking easier. Look for a lightweight ski boot for climbing that will perform well in the descents. Also, choose boots with inserts that can be compatible with touring pin binding or hybrid bindings.
Choose a ski boot that can protect you against an impact. A ski boots' cushioning is typically made of foam and some with integrated gel pads.
Opt for ski boots that can grip into icy conditions. Outsoles are usually made of a mix of foam and rubber; some integrate spikes and more advanced materials.
Look for a ski boot that allows some sections to flex independently to give a more fluid motion.
For added support and response, a ski boot should have these on the top of the boot.
Generally built into the ski boots' liner, combined with a strategic padding or lacing to minimize lift.
Remember that your boots form an essential connection with your skis, so they must be comfortable and will give you adequate support.