Ski boots are uni-taskers, in that you most likely will only use them when skiing, not when walking around while away from the slopes. Nevertheless, a good fit is essential to an enjoyable skiing experience. Yet far too often consumers cut corners and are willing to endure some pain and discomfort for the sake of a good deal. Ski boots are not the luxury items you may believe them to be, and failure to have them fit properly not only makes skiing painful, but it might actually set you up for potential injuries. Read on and learn some little-known ski boot fitting tips that are sure to make your next trip to the outfitter a lot more productive and your time on the slopes quite a bit more enjoyable.
Find a Boot Fitter
Look for a professional boot fitter at the ski shop. This person will worry more about getting you a perfectly fitting ski boot than your color preference or even model of choice. Answer the questions she asks you honestly. In order to help you get set up with a great-fitting ski boot, she needs to know if you are heli skiing, hitting the slopes or going backcountry skiing. Moreover, since the time it takes to break in a ski boot directly depends on the amount of time you wear it, she also needs to know if you are a sometime hobbyist or a die-hard aficionado. All this information determines which manufacturers to consider and which models will serve you best.
Buy Your Skiing Socks First
Invest in a good pair of skiing socks. These should be socks you will wear whenever you hit the slopes. Great examples are Smart Wool PhD US ski team socks, which are manufactured especially for use with ski boots. Wear these socks when you try on the ski boots.
Look to Sizes as a Guideline
Employ caution when trying on ski boots of varying sizes. One of the most important ski boot fitting tips is that manufacturer sizes are only an approximation, rather than a hard figure, when it comes to obtaining a comfortable fit. Sizes between different manufacturers vary, but sometimes sizes within the same manufacturer can vary. The reason is the amount and material of insulation used in each ski boot. One manufacturer's racing model may fit more snugly than the same size in a freestyle boot model.
Tighten Clips and Power Straps
Narrow down your search to select models that are appropriate for your purposes and fit well. Tighten the clips, which in turn will also tighten the boots. Next, tighten the power straps, which determine the fit around the calves. Practice walking; if your heel scrapes along the back of the ski boot, you will be in for a painful day on the slopes. Choose a smaller size. Wiggle your toes; if you cannot do so comfortably, the cold will get to you quickly and you will be miserable while sitting on the lift. Opt for a wider size. Bend at your knees and ensure that the heels of your ski boots remain firmly planted on the ground. If the boot feels like it is cutting off your circulation or the heel comes up, you need to check out a different size.