Alpine Ski Boots
To put it quite literally, ski boots are a neccessity if you plan on being out on those trails. Without them, skis become virtually useless. On any given day, you might be spending 7 or 8 hours in your boots, so comfort is always at a premium. Other factors include, durability, support, and weight. Below is a guide that will enhance your ability to determine what the right boot for you is.
The boots discussed here are for downhill (alpine) skiing, not necessarily focused on telemark ,alpine touring , or cross country.
Deciphering Boot Types
Choosing The Right Boot
Size for ski boots is usually measured in mondopoint size (cm), which comes in full and half sizes. At right is a rough guide to how street shoes correspond to mondo sizing. Keep in mind that this is a ROUGH guide. Consider the factors mentioned above, and remember that nothing proves what size is best like trying the boots on yourself.
Trying on Boots
When going to try on boots there are a few things to know. First of all, bring the socks you plan to wear while skiing with you -- preferably ski socks, not everyday socks. Go to try boots on later in the day after your feet have swelled a bit. It will give you a better idea of how the boots will fit after skiing an hour or two.
- Toes should be near the front of the boot but not touching.
- Heels should not slip off the boot sole when you flex your knees while in the boots.
- The tightening straps should feel firm but not like they are cutting off your circulation.
- When bending your knees in the boots, take note of the following:
- Too hard to flex. Translation: they are too strong for your weight or ability. You will not have enough control over your skis and you will be unable to turn properly. Go for an easier to flex pair.
- Too easy to flex. Translation: they will not offer enough support for your weight and/or ability level. Avoid this at all costs, as they will cause premature fatigue and may even put you at risk for injury.
- Spending some time in the boots you want to buy will work to your advantage. This allows you to feel any tender or sore spots that boot pressure creates.
Factors Affecting Boot Size
- Women and children need boots specifically made for them. Obviously, children's boots will be smaller. However, since women's bodies are built differently than men's, they need boots that can accommodate the way their weight is balanced.
- Feet swell during aerobic activity. That is why trying boots on at the end of the day is a more realistic way of determining how the boots will fit while you are skiing.
- Socks need to be the right thickness. They cushion your bones and other tender parts of the foot.
- Different foot widths need to be taken into account. That goes both for the toes and heels. Since all manufacturers build their boots differently it's important to try on several types before making a choice. What may work well for one person, is not necessarily what will work best for you.
- High arches or shallow insteps will all play a role in how a boot will feel on your foot. For some, inserts may make an improvement on the fit and feel of a boot.
About Ski Socks
- When going to a ski shop to try on different boots, be sure to bring along the proper socks that you plan to use while skiing.
- For ski socks , thickest is not necessarily the best.
- Depending on whether or not your feet tend to sweat or freeze, you may need different materials and/or thicknesses.
- If your feet sweat look for a very breathable sock made of synthetic fibers.
- Sweaty, perspiring feet can end up freezing after an hour on the slopes.
- Anything made of cotton will simply trap the moisture and work against keeping your feet warm.
- Socks with silk or cashmere are a very comfortable, lightweight, option, but they are also very pricey and tend to wear very quickly.
- Wool socks are nice and sturdy while providing a good level of warmth.
- Look for combination of materials in socks to get the best pair for your needs.
Popular Boot Brands