How To Properly Wear Ski & Snow Pants With Boots? (Over or Under)

by Laura Penrose | Updated: February 1st, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

When it comes to skiing you want to make sure that you've got the right gear and that you're wearing it correctly. Then, when you are shredding down the slopes, you will keep warm and dry and have a much more enjoyable time on the mountain.  

Most ski pants are designed with wider bottoms so they easily go over your big ski boots, Your ski pants are there to help you to keep you warm and dry and prevent snow & moisture from getting into your boots.

yellow ski pants

We are reader supported. We may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

The way that ski pants are worn will depend on what type you have. Most pants are desinged to go over and some can fit comfortable insdie your boots.

What Are Ski Pants?

Ski pants (also known as ski trousers in British English) may be different from snow pants - depending on how the manufacturer names the product. Snow pants can be characterized as any pair of pants that can be used to keep your legs dry and warm while out in the snow.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear snow pants skiing. Snow pants can be used for snowboarding and skiing or just for playing in the snow.

Ski pants are typically more tailored cut, more fitted, and fit tighter than snow pants, and sometimes have suspenders (also called braces) fitted. Suspenders are straps that go over your shoulders and help to keep your pants in place - ski pants with these are called ski bibs.

Snowboarding pants have a baggier fit and are worn more loosely. You can wear them interchangeably depending on what is more comfortable for you.

Although there are various types of ski pants, whether you are wearing ski or snow pants, the question is should they be worn over or under boots?

Ski Pants That Go Over Your Boots

skier blue pants

The first option of ski pants (and the more common option) are pants that go over your ski boots. These can either be the more traditional ski pants or snow pants.

Typically with this style of pants, you will typically see an inner layer at the bottom of the pants that has a rubber elastic and clip (also called stretch gaiters) at the base.

The way these pants are designed is to be worn over your ski boots. The elastic is used to create a good fit with the boot and to make sure that nothing gets into the interior of the boot.

The benefit of this style of ski pants is that they are great at keeping snow out. You can trek through snow and still won’t get any snow in your ski boots. This will help you feel more comfortable and dry.

The downside to this style of pants is that they can feel bulky and restrict mobility a little bit more.

Ski Pants That Go Under Your Boots

under boots

There is another style of ski pants that go under your boots. This type of ski pants is generally a tight, stretchy material that fits close to your skin.

The upside of these styles of pants is they are more flexible and easier to wear. They are also more commonly worn in ski racing either as pants or suits to minimize the amount of material and increase wind resistance.

The downside of these pants is that they provide slightly less protection against snow and moisture getting into your ski boots. Although most designs of this style of ski pants are waterproof, once the snow gets into your boots it will begin to melt.


Are Ski and Snowboard Pants Different?

Yes, there is a difference. Snowboard pants offer a looser fit to allow for more twisting and squatting while they are snowboarding. Ski pants are designed to be a little bit more form-fitting and a little bit snugger than snowboard pants. However, for beginners, you can often find “snow pants” that would do the job just fine.

There Are Two Layers At The Bottom Of My Ski Pants, Should I Tuck The Under-layer Into My Boots?

No. This style of pants is designed to go over the top of your ski boots. The inner layer will likely have a clip and rubber elastic at the bottom that is used to create a tight seal and help keep snow out of your boots.

What Is The Clip Used For On Your Ski Pants?

You might see a small clip on the inner layer of your ski pants. This clip should be attached to the outside of your ski boot to help your pants stay in place.

Should You Wear Another Layer Underneath Your Ski Pants?

It depends. This is more of a question of personal preference and what type of ski pants you are wearing. In most conditions, a single base layer under your ski pants should work well.

In very cold conditions, you might opt for a second base layer and in warm conditions, you might decide that no base layers are required.

This will also depend on the thickness of your ski pants. I would recommend starting with a single-base layer and seeing how you go.