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Ski boots are designed for ski bindings. Sure they have some traction and you can walk around the resort on them. But over time, concrete and hard snow will wear the sole down and eventually make it less secure in your bindings. If your ski boot sole is damaged too much it no longer clicks in and out of your bindings and can become extremely dangerous when skiing. The solution is to wear cat tracks;
|Seirus Innovation||Best Cat Track||Check Price|
|Skiskooty||Best for Ice||Check Price|
Cat tracks are rubber add-ons that you can attach to your ski boot and they solve two major problems. First, they make it much easier and safer to walk around on snow -- so you can walk faster and further with less risk of falling. Secondly, they keep your boot soles clean and stop them from wearing out -- prolonging the life span of your boot.
Below I’ve reviewed the Seirus cat tracks which are lightweight and provide good protection. Below I’ve looked at a the Skiskooty ice claws which despite their name are still lightweight but are easier to walk with on ice and they promote a more comfortable walking stance with a bouncy feel.
My review of the Seirus Innovation 4150 Cat Tracks
The market leader in cat tracks and the original inventor of ski boot protectors. These cat tracks are made from lightweight rubber and are inexpensive to buy -- check price on Amazon.
How to use them (takes 10 seconds max -- excluding the soak time)
- (First time only) soak them in hot water
- Slip the toe piece over and then pull the tab back
- Side the back piece over
My favorite thing about these is their entirely made of rubber and are foldable so you can easily put them in your jacket pocket or backpack and ski with them all day and it won’t add more than a few tens of grams of weight. They’re specifically for ski boots so don’t use them with other types of boots.
Soaking them in hot water when you first use them helps the rubber stretch and get an accurate fit for your ski boot size. This only needs to be done once per season and then they will always fit your particular ski boots. If your boots are large they may require a bit more strength to stretch them, but once they’re easy to put on throughout the seasons. You’ll need to buy multiple pairs if you want to use them for different size ski boots. Expect them to last 1-3 ski seasons of heavy use -- one reviewer said they lasted him 7 years.
These cat tracks are cheap, lightweight and get the job done and I’d recommend them for your next ski adventure.
Seirus Innovation 4150 Cat Tracks -- Check Price on Amazon
What length of ski boot does the small Cat Trax fit?
The cat tracks come in three different sizes; small and large.
- Large fits adult sizes 8 (26.5) and up.
- Small fits adult sizes 8 (26) and under.
They are made of rubber that can be stretched after heating in hot water, so it is possible to stretch them quite a bit. The range will fit almost all ski boot sizes.
Walking on ice in ski boots
If you’re planning to walk on ice or up steep hills for backcountry adventures then you’ll need something a bit more serious.
The Skiskooy Ski Boot Ice Claws have steel points for added protection on ice and are still mainly made from rubber which makes them lightweight and easy to fold away into your pocket or backpack.
Think of them as a more advanced version of the Cat tracks -- they’re cat tracks that also work on ice. You can learn more about the backstory of how they were invented in this video.
The great thing about the Skiskooty is they have a comfortable rubber sole with some bounce and a curved structure which makes it easier to walk more naturally in heavy ski boots. Rather than a hard thud and a heel first walking style these cat tracks promote a more comfortable and more protective stance.
This means you can walk around the resort for longer, on concrete, gravel and even ice without experiencing pain or fatigue -- all while keeping the sole of your ski boots clean and damage free. Although they are a bit chunkier than other cat tracks -- they’re still pretty light and are worth it for the easier walking and better protection.
They’re about twice as expensive as the Seirius cat tracks but provide about twice the protection and comfort -- so if you plan to do more walking or want to invest in a more robust cat track than I’d recommend going for these.
Skiskooty Ski Boot Ice Claws -- Check Price on Amazon.
How to walk in ski boots?
Ski boots are not easy to walk in. They’re heavy and bulky and don’t always have the best traction.
When walking it ski boot there are a few techniques that you can adopt which will make it easier and safe to walk in snow uphill and downhill.
When walking uphill:
✅Dig the tow into the snow first to make a small platform that you can use to step up from.
When walking downhill:
✅Dig the heel into the snow first to make a small platform that you can use to walk downhill from.
When walking on flat ground:
- Avoid icy patches.
- Have your buckles and strap done up.
- Walk slowly and put down your heel first.
When to replace ski boots?
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).
Ski boot liners don’t last as long and you can extend the life of your boot by replacing just the liner.
Some ski boots have replaceable heels and toes parts which mean if they become too worn and no longer properly click in and out of your bindings you can replace them and not drop cash on a new pair. Boot without replaceable parts will need to be replaced in full.
Read my full post -- how long do ski boots last -- where I list the best ski boot liners and how to care for your boots.
Ski boots are heavy. Adopt a different walking technique and invest in cat tracks to make it safe and more comfortable to walk around on your ski trip.
Bonus: How to carry skis
- Hold skis vertically.
- Hold skis by your side.
- Hold skis over your shoulder.
- Use a carry strap (more below)
Full guide to each technique over on How to Carry Skis.
Why use carry straps
Carry straps wrap around your skis keeping them linked together and are easier for some people. You don’t need a carry strap but some skiers find that it makes getting to the gondola and walking through town easier. Some straps also fit your poles which means you can carry both skis and poles with one hand, leaving your other hand free to do other tasks.
I wrote a whole guide to carry straps and after researching all the different options, found the Sukoa Ski & Pole Carrier Straps to be very good. It’s lightweight, inexpensive and allows you to carry both your poles and skis.
Sukoa Ski & Pole Carrier Straps -- Check price on Amazon.com
Aside from carrying straps ski bags and boot bags are useful as they protect your gear while traveling or when storing in the offseason.
Storing skis and boots
The best place to store your skis and snowboards is inside at room temperature in a shaded, dry and ventilated room. Too much cold, sunlight exposure or dampness will degrade the materials flex and pop, decrease their lifespan and performance on the mountain.
Before storing your gear for the off-season:
- Wax and sharpen your skis.
- Clean your gear.
- Make sure all your equipment is completely dry.
- Store in a shaded environment without extreme temperatures.
Full instructions and walkthough on my guide: How To Store Skis & Snowboards
How to keep ski boots dry?
There is nothing like stepping into a damp ski boot. Not only will moisture sap away heat but it will weigh you down and degrade your ski boot. Ski boots will naturally dry if you take out the liners and keep them inside in at room temperature, but it will take time.
Use ski boot dryers
If you’re planning to ski the next day and your boots are pretty wet from snowfall, sweat or slushy spring snow -- then there is nothing better than ski boot dryer. Ski boot dryers blow warm air into the boots wicking away moisture and drying them out within a few hours.
There are few different ski boot dryers from portable ones to home ones that can dry out 2 pairs of boots at once. Using a ski boot heater is much safer than putting them next to a fire or a hot heater -- as this high-intensity heat can irreparably damage the shell and liner.
Ski boot dryers use warm air and never get too hot which means they can be in contact with all boot materials without causing damage. They also have built-in timers (generally up to 3 hours) which means they will automatically switch off so you can leave them unattended or overnight without worrying about wasted electricity or overheating.
Best ski boot dryers reviewed
I spent hours reviewing the best boot dryers and this was my final top list.
|Boot Dryer||How much?|
|PEET Dryer M07F|
|DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer|
|DryGuy Force Articulating Ports|
|DryGuy Travel Dryer|
I wrote in-depth reviews over on at Best Ski and Snowboard Boot Dryers.