If you like to ski, you know the importance of ski boots. As the link between your body and mountain, having the right kind of boots that correspond to the size as well as the shape of your feet are a prerequisite. They don’t just protect your feet and keep them comfortable throughout your day but they play a part in controlling your ski.
If you are planning on buying new ski boots this winter, here are some key considerations that you must not ignore:
Rigidity Or Flex
The most important factor to consider while buying ski boots is the rigidity of the boot, which is known as the flex. It is determined by the flex index, which is measured on a scale of 60 to 150. While a lower flex index is apt for beginners, more experienced skiers should opt for more rigid boots with a higher flex index.
The rigidity of your ski boots should correspond to your expertise and experience level, as well as your body shape.
If you are a beginner, select boots with a flex index between 60 and 90 (for men) and 60 and 70 (for women). If you are on an intermediate level, opt for boots with a flex index between 90 and 110 (for men) and 70 and 90 (for women). If you are on the advanced level, select boots with a flex index of more than 110 (for men) and over 90 (for women).
The high-level competitors require the stiffest ski boots with a flex level between 140 and 150 as they facilitate the better transmission of power from your legs to the skis.
Go boots shopping, and you will realize that the shops are full of different kinds of boots. Given the popularity of skiing, the boots manufacturers offer an assorted range of boots to suit the tailored needs of the skiers and requirements of different terrains (as well as aesthetics).
Here’s how you should select the ski boots according to your skiing style:
- If you always ski on groomed slopes or ski occasionally for leisure, look for comfortable and lightweight boots that are easy on your feet. Don’t buy boots with a flex index of more than 90.
- If you ski on groomed slopes at a high level, look for boots with a flex index between 90 and 130 (for men) and 70 and 110 (for women). By the virtue of their high cuff and narrow fit, they offer better control, which is what you need for performance skiing or racing.
- If you are into ski touring, look for touring boots that are light in weight. These boots are very flexible and allow you to walk comfortably.
- For freeriding, look for free ride boots with around 100 mm width and a straight cuff. The flex index should be between 100 and 120. You will further find different options, such as boots with walk-mode or rubber soles.
- For freetouring, buy lightweight boots that work well for climbing, as well as descending. Buy boots with inserts for hybrid bindings or touring pin bindings.
- If freestyling is your style, flexible boots with plush cushioning on the heel area are apt for you. Make sure that the width of the boot at the ball of your feet is 100 mm to ensure comfort while skiing.
Selecting a boot that fits your size is essential to have a comfortable skiing experience. The boots should fit your foot exactly. Buy a boot that allows your toes to move freely and doesn’t compress your foot.
The length of the ski boot is determined by the Mondo Point or MSS- Metric Sizing System, whereby the size of the boot corresponds to the longest part of your foot, which is measured in centimeters.
Coming to the width of the ski boot, it is measured across the ball of the foot. Select the width as per the precision you desire. If you are looking for ski boots for competition or need precision, go for narrow boots. Otherwise, buy boots with an average width.
Having a ski boot with the right length and width ensures comfort and control over the ski. So, do not compromise on the fit. If your measurement is between two sizes, get half a size smaller.
Ski Boot Liners
When it comes to ski boot liners, you will never fall short of options. The majority of boots feature heat-moldable material. The non-moldable liners also offer stability and a good amount of padding. Custom moldable liners adapt to a customized fit with the help of an artificial heat source, whereas thermoformable foam liners get custom fit with the help of the heat of your foot.
Apart from these basic considerations, several other factors need to be taken while buying ski boots.
- If you hike up in the search of untracked powder, invest in boots that allow you to remove the upper shell from the lower boot to facilitate walking in the snow. You can lock the shells while skiing.
- If you ski on different terrains, look for boots that allow you to adjust their stiffness as per the kind of skiing.
- Do not base your decision on the number of buckles, instead prioritize the fit. Of course, a four-buckle design will allow you to loosen or tighten your boot, but if a three buckle design offers a snug fit, go for it.
- If you wish to get a very precise fit, get boots with micro-adjustable buckles that allow you to lengthen or shorten the buckle and adjust the tension between the two settings.
- Lastly, to eliminate the chances of calf, shin, or toe-bang, buy boots with added padded features, such as padded tongues, padded heels, padded toes, and padded spoilers.
Your ski boots can make or break your skiing experience, and hence, make sure you choose the boot wisely. Whether you are a snow bunny or a professional skier, these tips are surely going to help you find the best ski boots. Happy buying.