How to Choose the Right Ski Boots
Of all the skier’s equipment, boots are the most important item. A correct fit is essential to transfer the controlling movements from leg to ski without movement loss, and to hold the foot comfortably for the ski.
The modern plastic boot is made in two parts: a rigid outer shell moulded in plastic material, and a softer foam-filled inner boot that cushions the foot. There are many different designs and several opening systems, all fastened with adjustable clips to obtain a final snug fit onto the foot. The boot soles all conform to the international standard shape to fit correctly into the bindings.
The design of the modern boot gives a rigid support to the foot and lower leg, preventing any sideways ankle movement as when edging the ski, but allowing for some forward flexing movement without lifting the heel inside the boot. They are not designed to walk any distance in. However, for short distances, walking is made easier by releasing the grip of the upper shaft of the boot.
There are various models to suit the different skiing categories from beginner to high-performance racer. It is usual to measure the foot wearing a single pair of ski socks. Check that the fit allows for some movement of the toes, while gripping the heel firmly when the ankle is flexed forward. Walk around and flex the feet inside the boots; the shin and ankle area should be comfortably gripped. Any small pressure points can be either adjusted or customised by the technical staff of the shop. Some boots have additional facilities for canting over to suit the individual’s foot shape, making edging more positive.
Once you have a comfortable pair of boots, treat them carefully. Don’t walk excessively in them or you will wear out the soles, and take the inners out when drying.