How to Make Ski Boots More Comfortable
If it's your first season hitting the ski slopes or your tenth, uncomfortable ski boots are a common complaint on the mountain. There are a few quick tips for ensuring that you have the proper fit on your boots and how you can improve their overall comfort.
Buying boots that are too small or tight can cause a great deal of stress on your foot — so ensuring that you have the correct fit is key. You can purchase a quality pair of ski socks, custom insoles, and even boot heaters to improve your all-day comfort on the mountain.
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What Should Ski Boots Feel Like?
If you're relatively new to skiing, you may be unsure as to how your ski boots are supposed to feel and if they should fit tighter or looser. In this scenario, it's best to reach out to a professional when you're shopping for a new pair of boots.
Ski boots should fit snugly, as your foot should be moving a minimal amount while wearing them. Boots that are too loose can lead to hurt toes and bruising and blisters by the end of the day. While roomy boots may sound more comfortable — they'll be more painful in the end.
When the boot is snug against your foot, you have greater control of your movements while strapped into your skis. If the boot is too loose you may be moving your foot but your boot won't be following these movements.
It's a pro tip to ask for a size smaller in your ski boots than you usually wear in street shoes. Use this as a starting point to finding your correct fit.
How Do You Stop Ski Boots From Hurting?
Wearing a pair of uncomfortable ski boots can just about ruin an otherwise great day at the ski resort. How do you solve this problem quickly so you can get back to having a blast?
1. Wear Thinner or Thicker Socks
Some quick fixes include grabbing a pair of extra thick socks that will help pad your feet while you're wearing the stiff ski boots.
That said, for many, a thinner sock is actually better as paradoxically it helps keep your feet warm and gives you a better transfer of power from your feet to your boots while turning.
Merino wool is the best choice as opposed to cotton — as it will keep your feet both warm and dry while you're in the snow and won't become as damp from sweat.
If you have brand new ski boots for the season, you can wear them around the house to help break them in. This can help avoid the first day on the slopes being incredibly painful as your feet get used to the new boots.
When you're taking a break and enjoying a hot cup of coffee or having a snack, it's recommended to release the pressure on your boots to give your feet a break. This helps you stay pain-free for the rest of the day and your feet will thank you later.
Further reading: Thick or thin ski socks?
2. Wear the correct flex ski boot
There is a fine line between a ski boot being the proper stiffness that's required to ensure your stability on the skis and a boot that is actually too stiff. A loose boot can lead to an array of issues — but an overly stiff boot can be uncomfortable.
Especially for beginner skiers, stiff boots can be difficult to manage for a full day of skier. Intermediate and expert skiers often want stiffer boots — as they increase performance and their ability to make quick turns.
When shopping for ski boots, you'll want to pay special attention to the flex rating. This rating will tell you how much flexibility the boots have in the ankle area. This number is often between 60 and 140, which is a fairly significant gap.
A boot with a flex rating of 60 will be more flexible and comfortable for beginners than a boot with a flex rating of 140, which really only the most experienced and performance-driven skiers would choose.
Top Complaints About Ski Boots (and How to Fix Them)
There are some common complaints that people have when it comes to wearing ski boots and luckily, many of the complaints have easy fixes. While ski boots will never be as comfortable as your regular gym shoes — they don't necessarily need to be painful to wear.
1. The Fit Is Too Tight
While ski boots are meant to be pretty snug on your foot, they shouldn't be so tight that they're causing you undue amounts of pain during the day. If your ski boot is overly tight — you may have issues with circulation to your feet and this can cause more serious issues.
While the common recommendation is to size down in your ski boots (about one size down than your normal shoe size) — you may find that you only need to size a half size down instead. Going to a ski store to try on boots before you purchase them can be helpful when you're deciding which size best suits you.
2. The Hard Boot is Causing Blisters
This is a common complaint, especially if you haven't had the chance to break in your ski boots yet. An easy fix to avoid blisters and painful rubbing is to invest in a quality pair of socks. Specially designed ski socks are made from a moisture-wicking material made for sports that will keep your feet dry and warm all day.
There are also special blister patches for your feet and they can help provide an extra layer of protection against the boot and delicate skin. These can be used especially when you're first breaking your ski boots in.
3. There is No Arch Support
Even some of the most expensive and performance-driven ski boots don't always have the greatest arch support included. Luckily, this is a quick fix if you purchase a pair of footbeds that include the necessary support and padding for your foot.
You can purchase a pre-molded footbed or invest in a custom-fit one that is designed specifically with your foot in mind. If you find yourself spending quite a bit of time out on the slopes, these may be worth it in terms of comfortability.
If you're purchasing an especially padded insole, you may find that it makes your ski boots too tight. If this is the case, a thinner insole or a slightly larger ski boot may be in order to get the best fit.
Get Ready to Hit the Slopes This Season
There's no reason to dread your skiing holiday due to uncomfortable boots and sore feet at the end of the day. There are many quick and easy solutions to improve your experience wearing your ski boots.
If you've tried socks and insoles and your boots still hurt — it may be a good idea to get properly fitted to see if you're wearing the correct size. The professionals can lead you in the right direction and offer you the help you need to ensure a great skiing holiday for you.
While ski boots are supposed to fit tighter than a regular pair of boots, they shouldn't be so uncomfortable that you dread putting them on. Your feet shouldn't be blistered and sore by the end of the day.