Choosing ski boots that match your ability level is as important as choosing skis in order to feel at ease on the slopes. The more comfortable you feel, the more enjoyment you’ll get.
Ski boots not only protect you from the cold – they hold your foot and ankle in place and transfer your balance to the skis. Set aside time to find the model that matches your anatomy, ability level and frequency of use. The shape of your foot is unique, so choosing boots that are too wide or too narrow may lead to skiing injuries.
Regardless of whether you decide to purchase or hire ski boots, it’s a good idea to take the following factors into account. Ski equipment specialists are there to find the right equipment for you and can also refurbish your gear if necessary.
What’s the composition of a ski boot?
Before choosing your ski boots, you should be familiar with their composition, which varies from model to model.
The liner is a removable inner boot that holds the foot in place, protecting and insulating it from the cold and humidity. Some liners are “thermoformable” and offer more comfort by moulding to the shape of your foot.
Myskirent tip:Be aware that liners compress very quickly. It’s estimated that they shrink 10 to 30% after one week of skiing. Never buy oversized liners! With your buckles done up, your heel should be a snug fit and shouldn’t slip when you do forward squats, feet on the floor.
Since everyone’s feet are unique and vary in strength, shells come in different sizes.
– 100 mm for narrow feet
– 102 mmfor medium feet
– 104 mm for wide feet
Boots have between one to four buckles – more buckles give you a tight, precise fit. They can also be micro-adjustable (fine tuning the length of the buckle for a precise fit). Four buckle boots are mostly found on performance alpine ski boots due to their tight, precise fit.
The strap ensures that the boots are properly closed, reinforces the shell and allows for a snug fit. It allows for effective adjustment and a close fit, thus improving your bearing on the skis.
The tongue is an important part of the boot. Its role is to minimise rubbing and ensure maximum comfort for your shin when pressing against the boot. When the tongue is in the right position, it transfers the desired power to your skis.
What’s the “flex” in ski boots?
Flex is the boot’s capacity to flex forward against the shin. A soft flex means a flexible boot. A stiff flex translates to a stiffer boot and more precision and control through turns. It depends on what you want and the discipline you practice.
There’s no industry standard for measuring flex (manufacturers set their own values), these figures indicate the overall boot stiffness with values ranging from 70-150. The 150 flex models are rarely distributed and are usually reserved for alpine ski competition experts.
Flex according to your ability level:
Beginner to intermediate – a soft flex under 60 will help you correct body position errors.
Advanced: a medium flex between 70-90 for the right balance between resistance and precision.
Advanced to Expert: a stiff flex over 100 for a high resistance to bending and responsive and
accurate control and grip.
What size boots should I choose?
Ski boot size is measured in Mondopoint, which is based on the length of your foot in centimetres or millimetres. You can determine your Mondopoint size by placing your heel against a wall and measuring from the wall to the end of your longest toe.
How do I try on ski boots?
Put on your usual ski socks.They should reach above your shin. Your socks don’t need to be too thick, otherwise they’ll constrict your foot. The new generation of socks are thinner than in the past and provide more insulation.
Put on your boots standing up.Release all the buckles, then attach them to the first set of notches. Next, tighten the top buckles, close the strap and finish by closing the bottom buckles.
Stand up straight and brush the end of the shell with your toes.Your toes shouldn’t completely touch the end of the shell, but if they don’t touch at all your boots are too big.
Keep your feet on the floor and bend your knees. When doing squats and applying strong pressure against your shins, your toes shouldn’t touch the shell. They should move freely, and you should feel the liner in the front of the boot. If your heel doesn’t move, it means the size is perfect. If your toes hit the front of the boot, try the next size up. Any discomfort you feel during fitting will only worsen on the slopes. Keep this in mind and don’t ignore sore pressure points, especially on your ankle bone.
Myskirent tip: be aware that the plastic shell reacts to heat, meaning the boots will always be more flexible in the store than on the snow.
What type of boots are suited to my ability level?
Depending on your ski level, you’ll need boots with a certain amount of stiffness.
Beginner: you need comfortable, easy fit bootswith a moderate flex adapted to your weight (an 80 flex rating for a person weighing 60 kilos is not the same flex for a person weighing 80 kilos).
Model: all mountain
Intermediate: it depends what you’re looking for – you can try out different models with features such asadjustablecuffs or shock absorbersandchoosing a model with a wide comfort fit for maximum warmth and easy entry.
Range: all mountain, freeride, free ski-touring
Advanced: a flex rating of 110 to 120, a thin shell and a dense, thin liner. Consult a boot fitter if necessary.
Expert: cutting-edge precision boots with thermoformed soles.
Model: all (except all mountain)
How do I maintain my boots?
For hired or purchased boots, here are a few essential tips.
Remove the liners from your boot shell at the end of every day on the slopes to dry and prevent mould growth.
When storing your boots, don’t forget to close the buckles so the plastic doesn’t become misshapen.
If you choose to buy boots, keep in mind that you can replace the wearing parts at the front and back of the soles if they’ve been worn down from walking. Equally, if your boot shell has a sharp point or is causing discomfort, consult a professional boot fitter to sand back the boot or properly adjust the boot shell in question.
Ski equipment specialists can also help you refurbish your own equipment.