How to Compare Ski Boots

How to Compare Ski Boots
Though skis often seem to attract the attention of the novice skier first, experienced skiers know that boots are far more important to your overall ski ability and experience. If you can only buy one piece of gear, get a good pair of boots, and have them fitted by a boot fitter at the shop. When looking for ski boots, many shoppers have difficulty figuring out what is important and what the numbers mean, especially on boots that have the same name with different numbers after the name.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Shell

Things You’ll Need:
  • Skier ability profile
Step 1
Check the outer shell's stiffness rating. This is often part of the boot name. For instance, the Nordica Speedmachine is sold with flex indexes of 130, 120 and 110. The higher the number, the stiffer the boot. Advanced skiers prefer stiffer boots, while recreational skiers prefer a softer boot. Be aware that the numbers only relate to stiffness within a given manufacturer's line, and different manufacturer's rate stiffness differently.
Step 2
Check for adjustability, such as a cant adjustment, which makes it easier to align the foot and knee for proper skiing. Some boots also have an adjustable stiffness, so you can customize the performance on the hill for the terrain you are skiing.
Step 3
Compare the fastening system. Some boots use three buckles, some use four buckles. Most have a power strap at the top that makes getting the buckles fastened easier. Advanced boots often let you adjust the angle of the buckles so they are more in line with your foot.
Step 4
Compare the height of the boots and where the top hits your shin. Some skiers find that higher boots can cause shin pain.
Step 5
Check for a walk mode. Some shells have a buckle near the heel that lets you unlock a walk mode, making getting to the lifts across an iced-up parking lot much easier.

Liners

Step 1
Ask a salesperson, or check at the manufacturer's website, to see if the liners are heat moldable. Heat-moldable liners mold to your feet to give you better performance.
Step 2
Find out what the last of the boot is. Most manufacturers build liners for performance boots on narrower lasts and recreational boots on wider lasts. If you have a narrow foot, you will need to match it to a narrow-lasted boot for optimal performance.
Step 3
Look for pull loops on the tongue of the liner; these will make getting into and out of the boots easier.
Step 4
Look at the density of foam in the liner. Liners with denser foam are more resistant to packing out, and so will last longer, than liners with less dense foam.
Step 5
Compare the weight of the boots with liner in the shell. Some skiers prefer a lighter boot, as it is less fatiguing.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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