Manufacturers have made significant efforts to improve how ski boots are made to fit with comfort. However, it’s still of great importance to choose the correct fit for the specific skier to allow them to perform at their best. Ski boots are a crucial part of your ski gear, so you must know how to size ski boots, which should fit you well.
Judge the sizing incorrectly, and you’ll find yourself overworking and exerting specific muscles on your legs while sliding down the slopes. It’s critical to know how to choose the perfect ski boots to avoid cramps and unnecessary fatigue from lagging around with oversized boots.
Stick around to learn how to gauge the perfect sized ski boot for the best skiing performance at the slopes.
How Should Ski Boots Fit?
Finding a precise ski boot fit is a sure way to guarantee that you have excellent performance and maintain control as you ski. Because they’re made from hard plastic, it’s challenging to find a snug fit that won’t pinch your toes or hobble about. The ideal ski boot allows its wearer to step out without compromising their comfort and performance with their unique foot shape and size.
Like our fingerprints that distinguish us from everyone else and make us unique, everyone has a differently shaped foot. Despite what boot fitters may say, there’s no one-size-fits-all to finding the perfect boot.
The ideal shape, size, features, and flex that make the perfect boot depends on the skier’s skill level, size (weight and height), frequency, and level of use. Ultimately, a ski boot should be a Cinderella fit without cutting off blood circulation to your leg.
Sizing: Mondo Point Scale
The scale used to measure ski boot sizes is the MondoPoint sizing that takes into account your foot length in centimeters. Within the liner is a stock footbed or insole that comes in thin and thick versions, which may slightly alter the fit when still new. Though the insole doesn’t provide much support, there are customized insoles one can purchase for more arch support.
Using a vertical surface like a wall, place your heel against the surface and measure the distance from the wall to your biggest toe. Suppose it measures 28.5 cm, your Mondo size is 28.5. Most manufacturers design liners and shells that range from whole and fraction sizes (28.0 – 28.5). Refer to the ski boot size chart to determine your ideal size.
What’s Your Size
Wearing a size “10” in sneakers and scandals doesn’t mean you’ll wear that exact same size in ski boots. This will, however, serve as a helpful ski boot size guide in determining what your perfect size will be.
The insole gives in with use, so keep in mind that sometimes even after calculating, the size will feel a bit tight. Trace your foot on the paper, then measure both the length and width of your foot.
Skier Skill Level
Consider where you fall within the skier type chart to get an idea of what fit and features you’ll require in ski boots. The three general types are beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Based on this, certain “characteristics” about the skier can be determined, with things like cautious or aggressive styles being identified. The type and level of the skier reveal the speed they’ll likely be going at.
- Beginners and Intermediaries
This is for the ones that are more likely to cruise on the groomed terrains while learning how to navigate the mechanics of skiing. So what size ski boots do I need? The best fit for this group is one with a soft-medium flexing pair that gives room for comfort. Add a centimeter or two to your Mondopoint when choosing your boots to give yourself some room to breathe.
- Intermediate to Advanced Level
Here, the skier is more comfortable with faster speeds and more challenging conditions like steeper terrains. At best, the rider will be able to maintain control and even experiment with the more demanding ground. Go for a medium flexing boot in a size that’s comfortable enough to allow you to perform confidently.
- Advanced to Expert Level
For those who can ski the entire mountain in any weather with no hesitation – their most comfortable flexing pair is very stiff. Making the transitions between various trails and snow depths means you’ll need something sturdy. You’re advised to go for an exact fit with as stiff flex as you can manage, maybe even opting for a length shorter than your Mondo scale. You can then have the boots customized to make them fit more roomy and comfortable.
Features of a Standard Ski Boot
Skiing boots are designed with several features aimed at enhancing their comfort, performance, and style. These features work towards customizing both fit and function in the boots, with variations from different models also playing a part.
These are removable, cushiony articles found inside the boot that cushion the foot from the hard outer shell. Every liner gives in and assumes the skier’s foot shape after a while, making the boot somewhat more comfortable. Certain brands offer thermal liners that can be heated and molded to the owner’s foot as part of the “fitting” process. These alter the overall ski boot liner size.
2. Thermally Moldable Shells
Custom shells and memory fit shells provide shells that can be customized to fit your precise foot size via heating. For a boot that was too tight, for example, this allows it a little more room for a better fit. Ideally, if you remove the liner, there should be about half an inch of space between your heel and the back of the boot.
3. Power Straps
Power straps come as Velcro straps or mechanical buckles above the cuff that, when fastened, increase control and energy transmission. Ultimately, it acts as a reinforcing buckle, minimizing the space between your leg and the boot.
4. Buckle Pairs
The standard number of buckles used to be four, reigning in popularity than the three and two buckle designs. However, if a boot is comfortable, it’s not necessary to have all four buckles, as fewer buckles afford a smoother, lighter profile. An important feature is to have the buckles be micro-adjustable so that you can make them as tight and secure as possible.
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5. Cuff Alignment
Most boots are customizable to align the upper cuff angle to the leg’s angle, especially if there’s a disproportionate balance. To achieve this, adjust the rivets with an allen wench until they’re at your desired position.
6. Rear Spoiler
There’s a detachable wedge between the shell and liner that acts to push you forward, increasing how forward you’re leaning. Secondly, it serves the purpose of filling out the upper cuff gap to minimize the space between the leg and the shell. This is a helpful feature for people with slimmer legs or skiers who prefer a forward-leaning stance.
Can I purchase ski boots on the internet?
Once you know how to size ski boots and measure your foot for the perfect fit, you can buy them from anywhere. Generally, it’s easier to buy from a traditional store where you can try the boots on – but the internet is a great place to shop as well.
Is there a difference between Men’s vs. Women’s Ski Boots?
Women with larger feet tend to go for men’s ski boots. Ski boot sizing for women is different than that for men – so, unless there’s no size available, stick with boots for women. Ski boot sizing for men is different because women are generally shorter than men, so leg length affects sizing. Learn more about some of the best ski boots in the market from Forbes.
What is Ski Boot Flex & Stiffness?
Flexing in ski boots is a reference to how hard it is to flex the boot in a forward motion. On average, boot flexing ranges from very soft for beginners to very stiff for expert skiers. This “flex” is measured on a “flex index” with increasing stiffness. You can often find this figure inscribed outside the boot, and you can learn more about flexing at businessinsider.com.
Due to their construction and intended use, ski boots aren’t destined to fit like a stylish pair of sneakers. As such, they shouldn’t be tried on or fitted the way one would with ordinary shoes. While settling for a shoe size or two above or below your ideal fit is acceptable in everyday shoes, skiing requires exacting precision. Skiing is a demanding sport, so entertaining skiing boots that aren’t the right size could cause problems for the skier.