Wow ski boots, pretty complicated to understand. Let us break it down into manageable parts:
Whether you’re an occasional skier or a seasonaire, the correctly fitted boot specific to your ability and passion are essential to make the most of your ski trip. More than any other piece of equipment they can ruin the experience, if painful or enhance it when fit spot on, boots are your connection to the snow.
Luckily boot technology has never given us more choice and customisation than now. Atomic provided us with Memory fit, a quick heat-fitting tech that can mould the shell of your boot to your foot within minutes. Fischer with their Vacuum Fit boots – which again uses a shell heating process followed by their Vacuum fit process to create a unique fit tailored to your foot anatomy. Couple these with the wide selection of boot Lasts, flexes and discipline specific tech and the possibilities are almost endless.
Boot Fitting Tips
1. Start with the basics, take the socks you ski in to your boot fitting, those thick hiking socks won’t do, and make sure they are thin (don’t scrimp on socks, but thats another article) .
2. Trust your boot fitter! Any good boot fitter will start by discussing your skiing ability and experience whilst taking detailed measurements of your feet (yes both, as they may be a different size) both sitting and standing. This allows them to build a picture of your ideal boot for you. If they don’t do this before putting boots on you it’s probably time to walk away!
3. The boot fitter will recommend boots for you based on this fact finding process and carry out a shell check on any boot they bring out, this is when you will put your foot in the boot without the liner present. A boot fitter with then check the space around your foot to confirm their recommendation.
4. It’s not always about getting the right colour or the boots your mate wears, his or her foot or skiing ability will probably be totally different to you, BUT whilst fit and functionality is key, I wouldn’t buy something I did not like so why should you, it is your money after all. Ask the fitter to show you all the boots they stock that suits your fit and ability that way you won’t compromise or be disappointed.
5. The flex of the boot is important, a very stiff boot for a light skier who has not yet progressed onto Black runs is going to be detrimental to progress. Think about not only ability, but height weight and strength.
6. Footbeds are essential!!!! We have said it many times before on Ski Equipment Guide, nearly every foot will benefit from a custom footbed. It can work miracles for fit and performance.
FLEX- is a guide to the stiffness of the boot. Higher the number the stiffer it is, 100+ flex is generally for advanced to expert skiers. Remember though a 90 flex is not exactly the same across all manufacturers.
LAST – this denotes the internal width of the shell in most ski boots, boot fitters use this as an important tool when choosing a well fitted boot.
SHELL – usually made from a variety of plastics in different areas of the boot to create specific flex patterns and performance. Most ski boots have a 3 piece shell construction made of the clog, cuff & tongue.
LINER – normally made of a heat mould-able foam, that your boot fitter usually will custom fit to your foot.
POWER STRAPS – Simply a large Velcro strap to create extra retention in your ski boot and aid power transfer through the front of the boot.
SOLE – they can vary from plastic soles fitted to on piste boots ideal for using with regular bindings, too rubber soles fitted on freeride and touring boots, these were designed to interact brilliantly with touring bindings whilst also providing extra grip when hiking up in your ski boots.
BUCKLES – these are highly adjustable, essential tools to correct retention of the foot.
WALK MODE- Many boots will have a walk mode which you can switch your boots to when you are out of your skis and which can make it easier when you’re walking.
Remember never be afraid to ask the fitter about anything you don’t understand. Our advice is learn as much as you can about your boots, this will ensure you will get the most out of them. All of the team at Ski Equipment Guide have learnt the hard way how poorly fitted boots can effect your holiday.