How to Buy Ski Boots and How They Should Fit
Your ski boots directly connect you to the skis, so they have a major effect your maneuverability and comfort on the slopes. Your boot’s movement is what moves your ski, so you cannot underestimate the importance of finding a pair of boots that fit correctly. The wrong boots can quickly ruin your day, so this guide will help you select boots that will guarantee a positive skiing experience.
Ski Boot Flex and Your Ski Level
The first step you must take when buying boots is pinpointing your ability level. Since skiers vary in skill, ski boots are customized to ensure that everyone can have a good time. Boots are given a flex rating that ranges from 45-160 (160 is the stiffest). The average rating for a male is around 100, so keep that in mind as you select your boots based upon these skill levels:
Beginner - If you are a casual skier who only gets out a few times of year, a wider, more flexible boot will be the best choice. These boots generally have a softer flex, enabling an easier transfer of movement from the boot to the ski.
Advanced - These boots are designed for the intermediate to advanced skier, one who makes aggressive turns and moves down the hill quickly. The thin lining and stiffer flex add a sense of feel to your movements. These boots are for skiers who can confidently carve blue and black trails.
Expert - These are the stiffest boots you can buy. Stiff boots increase your responsiveness level, which means you will maintain precise control when making sharp turns at high speeds. These boots are designed for the best skiers.
As you can see, buying boots is dependent on your ability. If you do not go out often, it will be a waste of money to buy a stiff boot that will limit your enjoyment.
Ski Boot Types
Boots are also customized based upon the different kinds of skiing you can partake in. The different types can make a significant difference on your performance, so make sure you are buying the right kind of boot.
All Mountain Boots - These are the all-purpose skis. They are designed to excel on all areas of the mountain, and the majority of the boots you will see at The Ski Bum will fit into this category.
Freestyle Boots - Freestyle boots are made for tricks and jumps, but these also can vary in flex. Freestyle boots for half pipes and jibbing generally carry a mild stiffness so there is some flexibility for landings; whereas stiffer models are better for high speed long jumps.
Racing Boots - As you can imagine, these boots are built for speed. Usually the stiffest boots you can buy, racing boots provide maximum response and control. Your toes are as snug as humanly possible, so you often sacrifice comfort for performance with racing boots.
Alpine Boots - Sometimes referred to as Touring Boots, these boots perform best in cross country terrains. Alpine boots are usually lightweight and stiff so you can navigate through deep powder in the open trails.
Ski Boot Shell and Liner
The outer shell is the main component of the boot and it controls the movement of your skis. Ski boots are built with a stiff plastic outer shell that helps limit feet and ankle movement, which protects you from injury. The outer shell varies in stiffness levels.
Softer shells are the most comfortable. These work well for recreational skiers because they are more forgiving and easier to move.
Moderately stiff shells are for the more advanced skier. These are a little more rigid, thus increasing your response.
Very stiff shells are for experts and racers. These allow you to maintain high speeds while making aggressive turns.
Liners are the removable soft component that is inside the shell. While skiing, your feet warm up, softening the foam in the liner allowing your feet to mold into the liner. Your feet will mold if you ski a few times, increasing your comfort while on the mountain. Think of it like breaking in a new pair as sneakers!
Modern ski boots sometimes have a heat moldable liner. That is, when you receive your boots from The Ski Bum, you first heat the liners, then place your feet in the boots. This molds the liners matching them to your feet perfectly, making the boots as comfortable as possible.
Ski Boot Fit
Ski boots are measure on a scale called Mondopoint, a universal measurement for the entire worldwide ski community. Your Mondo size is easy to figure out; it is your foot length (from heel to your longest toe) measure in centimeters. For example, if your foot measures 29.5 cm, then your Mondo size is a 29.5. It’s that simple!
With all of this information, you should be ready to purchase your new ski boots from The Ski Bum. This should be exciting, as the right pair of boots will increase your performance, comfort, and overall fun when you are on the slopes. When buying your boots, weigh every aspect equally, and in no time you will own a fresh, stylish, and effective new pair of ski boots from The Ski Bum!