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A lot of skiers decide to buy their own ski boots after enjoying a few trips. They’re not cheap admittedly but correctly fitted they are an investment. Having your own ski boots will remove the anxiety of leaving the ski shop with that battered rental pair from two seasons ago. Your own ski boots will last a long time and will only need minimal maintenance. They should also improve your skiing, as they fit snugly, and you will be more confident always wearing the same pair.
To be confident you are buying properly fitting ski boots it’s necessary to spend time with a ski boot technician, who can fully qualify your needs as a skier and make accurate measurements of your feet. Buying ski boots is a financial investment and you will use them for several years, so it’s also worthwhile investing time to make sure you get exactly the right fit.
Earlier ski boot designs were instruments of torture but now thanks to advances in technology, design, and materials you can wear them all day without pain. However, it is still necessary to get them correctly fitted by an expert, who knows the correct foot measurements to take, the level of stiffness required in the boot, and the overall shape of your foot to create overall comfort.
A good boot technician should also ask about your height, your weight, the type of skiing you do, how frequently you go, and whether you have any mobility or other problems with your legs, ankles, and feet. No two feet are the same – even your own! So, bear in mind during fitting that you are dealing with two unique feet.
Do’s and Don’ts of Boot Fitting
- Put aside at least an hour to spend with your boot technician
- Check the boot technician is happy to measure in Mondosize
- Wear loose-fitting trousers you can roll up
- Wear just one pair of proper ski socks
- Buckle up both boots fully and secure the power strap firmly, which will move your feet into the correct position
- Walk around in the boots for several minutes to check the fit – is anywhere uncomfortable? Your big toes may just be touching the inside front of the boots.
- Push your knees forward into the skiing stance. Your big toes should slide backward slightly, so there is then no contact with the front inside of the boots.
- Wear thick socks or several pairs of socks -you will lose the feel of the boot
- Wear socks that are too short. They should be above the lip of the boot.
- Choose the boots if your toes are firmly touching the inside front of the boot
- Over tighten your bottom buckles – it achieves nothing
- Assume your shoe size is a good recommendation for your ski boot size
- Forget that the interior sections of ski boots will gradually ‘pack down’, making a little more room for your legs and feet. So slightly over tight at the beginning isn’t a bad thing.
- Forget your boots will gradually become more flexible over time.
Ski Boot Sizing
Length of foot
Conversion Chart for the US sizes to Mondopoint
The width of the foot is measured at a slight diagonal from the ball of the foot across to the little toe. The width measurement is also called the ‘last’ and ski boot manufacturers usually create three different lasts for each model, which are divided into narrow, medium, and wide (or comfort). A boot with a tighter width offers better performance but less comfort.
Volume and In-Step Height:
Ski boot volume is the space on either side of the foot when inside the boot. Generally, the volume increases with the size of the foot. There is no measuring system for assessing volume, so it’s purely down to checking the feel of the boot when you try them on.
The height of the instep is measured from the front of the instep upwards. The top surface of the instep is sensitive to pressure, which can cause discomfort in badly fitted boots. So, when trying new boots keep them on for 20-30 mins to see if the instep area becomes painful.
Ski Boot Flexing
Flex in ski boots refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Or put another way, the flex of a boot indicates the level of resistance you experience as you bend your ankle forward. A boot needs to be stiff enough to support the skier’s neutral stance. The stiffer the flex is in a boot the harder the skier will be able to work his edges. If a boot is too stiff the skier won’t be able to stretch forward leaving too much weight at the rear, where it will be difficult to execute corners. Ski boot manufacturers use design techniques to create different levels of stiffness in the boots.
The level of stiffness is calibrated on a Flex Index, ranging from 50, the softest, up to 130, the stiffest. Often the flexing index is incorporated into the outer boot cuff. Flex indexes are not internationally standardized, so it is always best to try out the boots thoroughly to assess their flex. As a rough comparison, the flex you need in your boots relates directly to your competence. So, a beginner is better suited to soft flex boots, while an advanced skier can benefit from a more inflexible boot.
Soft-Flex Boots are typically rated 85 for men and 75 for women. This level of flexibility is ideal for beginner skiers or those that prefer easy recreational skiing on blue runs. The flexibility of the boot does limit ski control though.
Medium-Flex Boots – are typically rated 90-110 for men and 80- 95 for women. Medium-flex boots are aimed at intermediate skiers, who enjoy their responsiveness, easy cornering, and stability at high speeds. Intermediate skiers who enjoy reds, blacks, and steeper un-groomed runs.
Stiff-Flex Boots – are quickly rated above 115 for men and above 100 for women. Stiff-flex boots are designed for advanced, confident skiers, who enjoy the challenge of steep and difficult terrain. The stiffness of the boot helps to maintain better ski control. Some boots are adapted with extra features, such as shock-absorbing insoles to offer better comfort landing from a jump or on moguls.
Finally, you and your ski boot technician should be confident you have found the right boots. It’s worth additionally trying out any recommended insoles, which can improve comfort at very little extra cost. Sometimes ready-made insoles are adequate, or you can have custom insoles to exactly fit the contours of your feet. After a final tweaking by the technician, your boots should be ready for years of reliable service
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