Finding a comfortable fitting ski boot that also performs well can be a challenge. With a properly fitted boot, your toe should come away from the front of the boot when flexing, but when standing it should just touch the front of the boot.
When it comes to comfort and fit, it is a good idea to wear your new ski boots at home first. New boots straight out of the box will be snug. Actually stand in them and flex them to help your feet grow accustomed to the stationary, rigid fit which is much different than wearing regular shoes.
This will help you figure out any adjustments needed, and whether or not you might need custom work done to the boots before you ski in them.
Oversized Boots Promote Fatigue
Ski boot fit needs to be snug, because ski boot liners compress as you ski which will make your boots roomier the more you wear them.
Because ski boots fit tight right out of the box and feel that way for the first few days of skiing, many people make the mistake of buying boots that are too big. In the long run, this can turn into a painful mistake.
In extreme cases, it can even lead to sprains and bone breaks, but the more common problem is that it can hinder skiing and promote fatigue because your body tries to compensate for poor fit by clawing your toes and tightening your thigh muscles and hamstrings to maintain stability and control.
Snug Secure Fit Important
Finding the right fit with ski boots is much different than with most footwear. Shoe size is only one of the variables boot fitters use to help you find the right boot. Right fit will also take your foot shape, including arch length and width, into consideration.
Ski boots need to be snug and secure in order to be comfortable when skiing. They also need to ensure that the interaction of the lower legs, boots, skis and bindings all work together effectively.
When buying ski boots, they should be tried on without the liner, first to see how much room you have in the boot. There should be about 2 centimeters between the heel and shell. This is also the time to ensure that the ankle bone has enough space.
Customize Boot Fit
The ski boot liner itself can adjust to different lengths and widths of feet. The shell of the boot is the hard restrictive part. While there are ways to help customize the fit of your ski boot yourself, it’s often best to seek out a professional boot fitter.
Specialty ski shops often have trained bootfitters on staff who can perform modifications to your boots. They have the knowledge, tools, and experience to help you achieve the best fit. For instance, custom footbeds can stabilize and balance the foot because they are designed to fit your foot. They can also modify the shell of your boot with heat or grinding to eliminate pressure points commonly known as hot spots.
The right fit can make you a better skier. It can maximize your comfort and control because it fits and flexes properly. It pays to take the time to choose the right boot, to wear them at home, and to work out fit issues before your riding the chairlift on a perfect day.
Photo credits: Bergs SkiShop