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So you’re still skiing on an old pair of boots and your wondering when is it a good time to upgrade, and how to know if your current pair have to come to the end of their life. In this guide, I’ll help you decide when to get a new pair of ski boots.
TLDR; It depends, but typically ski boots will last between 50-200 full skiing days -- depending on the quality of the boot and how its used (that’s 2.5 -- 10 years if you ski 20 days a year). Time and use will degrade the materials, so there comes a point when they don’t detach easily from the bindings (safety issue), they provide no performance boost and the liners pack out -- at that point, it’s time to repair or upgrade to a new pair.
How long do ski boots last?
There is no set time before boots expire, but here is a rough overview to guide you based on my research.
Cheaper, low-end boots typically last between 50-100 full skiing days. More expensive, higher end boots last longer -- between 150-200 skiing days. The difference is due to the materials used. Higher-end boosts use denser longer lasting foams for the liners and more durable harder plastics (stiffer flex).
Boot liners have a shorter lifespan because the materials are softer and they experience more wear and tear from your foot. Expect 40-100 days for boot liners (2-5 years if you ski 20 days a year).
Over time the boot liner will become overly compacted out, so sometimes it’s worth replacing just the boot liner if you want a better fit but still have a solid boot shell with a season or two left in it.
When to replace your ski boots?
Here are the most common reasons people trade in their old boots for new ones. I have put possible solutions in brackets.
- Current boots don’t fit as they once did (replace liner first?)
- Cracks in the shell or snapped buckles (buckles sometimes repairable)
- Rounded off toe or heel, won’t connect securely to bindings (on some boot the heel and toe parts can be ground down & replaced).
- Your old boots have a softer flex and you now want a stiffer flex for your improved skiing ability.
Over time the plastic shell loses its elasticity and gets more brittle. This reduced the flexibility and pop that helps you transfer energy through to your skis. While a worn sole can move within the bindings (even if it is securely attached) which lowers the control you have over your skis.
Movement in the boot, especially the heel, is a key sign that the liner is getting packed out (becoming compressed).
If you feel that your ski boots are limiting your skiing because you’ve outgrown them or they’re not as responsive as they once were, then that is a good reason to consider a new purchase.
Although a new boot is not going to magically make you an expert skier, if you’ve been limited by your boots for a while, you’ll probably be surprised of how much more enjoyable skiing you can get from a new pair of well-fitted boots.
Main factors that affect ski boot performance
Here are the main ways in which ski boots age:
- Age of the boots (even if they’re not used).
- The number of skiing days.
- Distance walked on foot without cat tracks.
- Quality of the boot construction.
- Skiers weight (heavier = more wear).
- Style of skiing (more aggressive = more wear).
- UV exposure.
- How and when they’re stored.
Wear Cat tracks
Cat tracks are small rubber grips that attach to your boots and make it easier to walk and prevent wear and tear. They’re small, foldable and fit inside your pocket and will extend the life your expensive ski boots.
- Seirus Innovation 4150 Cat Tracks -- Check Price on Amazon
- Skiskooty Ski Boot Ice Claws -- Check Price on Amazon.
Read my full ski boot traction grip reviews here.
How to take good care of your ski boots?
- War cat tracks when walking around town (stop bottoms being worn down by the pavement) -- check price on Amazon.
- Take the boot liner out at the end of each ski day to dry out or use a ski boot dryer -- check price on Amazon
- Clean off dirt and store inside at room temperature, in a shaded ventilated space -- (under your bed, closet, etc)
- More tips.
When to replace ski boot liners?
Ski boot liners tend to get more worn than the boot shell, and it might be worth replacing the liner before you go ahead a buy a brand new boot.
Here are three great options for liners that I would recommend exploring:
#1 Intuition Liners
Intuition liners are a Canadian brand that are incredibly lightweight, warm and have a high level of memory after their heat molded to your feet. You can put them in an oven and then put them on your feet so that they contour more precisely around your foot shape.
The foam is quite thick so they don’t fit all boots but there are a few different models that are worth exploring.
#2 Zipfit Liners
These liners are an alternative to foam injected liners. They are heat mouldable like the Intuition liners but you also have the option of injecting foam into them for an even more precise fit.
They’re renowned as very comfortable liners with an excellent fit for a range of foot volumes. They use a unique cork composite filler which promises 600 days of skiing without packing out.
Learn more: https://www.zipfit.com/meetsven/
#3 Foam Injected Liners
These unique liners have internal bladers that sit within the material and expand as the foam is pumped into them and around the contours of your foot to get a very accurate fit.
The foam injection eliminates negative space so more energy is transferred from your foot through to the ski. This is a perfect liner for skiers with feet that fall outside the ‘average proportions.
There are a few different brands using foam injection, here’s how the process look if you’re curious.
Learn more: https://www.sidas.co.uk
If you ski more than four weeks a year then it’s well worth considering a custom-fit liner, which will last longer due to its high density and the fact it’s snug.
What to do with your old ski boot?
Some shops will take in old boots to be recycled, so ask around. Otherwise, if you’re into garden decorations check out this new take on a garden gnome:
How long do skis last?
Skis performance diminishes after 100-125 full days of use -- (five years if you ski 20 days a year) and most people replace their skis every 8 years. You can ski on older skis but you’re not going to get the best from your skiing.
If you want to know when to replace your skis and what to look out for, I wrote a whole guide over at: How Long Will My Skis Last?
What should I look for when buying new ski boots?
Measure your mondopoint (foot length in CM) and determine your foot width (narrow, medium or wide).
Try on a few different boots in the same size to find a fit that works with your foot volume -- every boot is slightly different.
Just like skis, boot for different levels of skiers come in different stiffness or flex. Beginners should have a soft flex while experts benefit from a stiffer flex. Go up in flex if you’re heavier or stronger for your ability. And go down in flex if you’re lighter.
If cover exactly how to size your ski boot and what to look for in my full 4,500-word ski boot guide.
Ski boots last many years but after each use, they naturally degrade. If you’re skiing on old ski boots your skiing progression may be limited, especially if you have outgrown your flex level.
Consider replacing your boot liners for a better fit, if your shell still has more life left in it.