Buying Guide for Ski Boots

 

Men’s Recreational Ski Boots

Boots are a critical part of the ski setup because they are the link between the skier and the ski. Without a boot that is properly fitted, the skiing experience will never be as enjoyable as it could be. There are many different types of men’s recreational ski boots but most boots that aren’t for racing will provide a quality all-mountain experience.

To accurately select a recreational ski boot, it’s important to consider the stiffness rating—there are a few factors that determine which flex rating would be perfect for you:

·        Experience level—the more comfortable you are skiing on difficult, diverse terrain, the stiffer the boot you can handle. Beginners should be between 60 and 80 flex, intermediates between 70 and 95, advanced skiers between 90 and 115, and experts between 100 and 130.

·        Size—the larger and stronger you are, the easier it is going to be to flex a stiff boot.

When trying on a recreational ski boot, consider the following:

·        It should almost always feel snug. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably too big and will feel too roomy on the mountain.

·        After putting it on, slam your heel into the ground to make sure that there is no extra room in the back of the boot. Buckle the boot first. At that point start flexing the boot to allow it to adjust to your foot.

·        Your big toe should be brushing against the front of the boot. If your toes are still too cramped, then the boot may be too tight, but remember that a boot will be at its tightest when you are trying them on. As you ski the boot, it will “pack out” the liner and increase space in the boot.

·        If there are pressure points on the sides of your feet then these will most likely not go away and will require some attention from a professional boot fitter.

·        Check the flex of the boot not by walking around the living room but by actively rolling the ankles and flexing the cuff. If you can’t get any movement, then the boots are probably too stiff. If you fall over your toes then they are not stiff enough.

Getting the proper fit on a recreational boot is very difficult, but so important—we recommend that you visit your local ski shop and try on the model that you are considering before purchasing it. Remember, buying boots on line can be a very unpleasant experience. Please support your local boot fitter. They can be your best friend when foot problems arise.

Women’s Recreational Ski Boots

Women’s boot designs have made leaps and bounds in recent years. You are no longer going to be jammed into a men’s boot and told “boots are supposed to hurt.” Wrong! It is the single most important functional piece of your ski gear.

Whether you’re ripping powder in the backcountry or just getting started, there is a pair of boots that will both fit your foot and allow you to ski to your maximum potential. Women’s recreational ski boots are made slightly differently than men’s boots—they generally have a shorter cuff, a softer flex, and a narrower toe box.

Selecting the proper flex for your ability level is very important. The answer to this question—what trail rating do you feel most comfortable skiing—will determine the flex you should wear.

·        If you are still on green circles then you should look for a boot between 50 and 60.

·        If you’ve moved up to blue circles then try a 70 or 80 flex.

·        If you’ve started on diamond and double diamonds then you should probably be in an 80 to 110 flex boot.

Within these ranges, your size and strength should tell you if you should go up or down.

When trying on a recreational ski boot, consider the following:

·        It should almost always feel snug. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably too big and will feel too roomy on the mountain.

·        After putting it on, slam your heel into the ground to make sure that there is no extra room in the back of the boot. Buckle it first. At that point, start flexing the boot to allow it time to adjust to your foot.

·        Once you have flexed the boot, your big toe should brush against the front of the boot. Always remember that during the first try on, the boot will be as tight as it ever will be. As you ski the boots, they will “pack out” and allow more room for comfort.

·        If there are pressure points on the sides of your feet then these will most likely not go away and will require some attention from a professional boot fitter.

·        Check the flex of the boot not by walking around the living room but by actively rolling the ankles and flexing the cuff. If you can’t get any movement, then the boots are probably too stiff. If you fall over your toes then they are not stiff enough.

Getting the proper fit on a recreational boot is very difficult, but so important—we recommend that you visit your local ski shop and try on the model that you are considering before purchasing it. Your local boot fitter can make or break the whole experience of skiing. Always remember this when considering purchasing boots on line.

Kid’s Ski Boots

Picking the right kid’s ski boot is extremely important, as it’s the most important piece of equipment to make it an enjoyable day for the kids and you!

The flex is very important because if a child is unable to flex the boot, they won’t be able to control their skis easily. Kid’s boots also have a varying number of buckles to allow children to get in and out of boots easily and to give the lightest skiers less resistance in flexing the boot.

Consider the child’s skill set before purchasing a boot. Do they make parallel (“French Fries!”), carved turns yet? If so, then they’re probably ready for a higher flex boot with 3-4 buckles. If they are still sliding turns or skiing primarily in a wedge (a “Pizza Pie!”), then they should stick with a 1-2 buckle boot that will allow them to progress into more challenging terrain and carved turns.

Besides the buckles and the flex, a “power strap” is a good indication of the performance level of a kid’s ski boot. If the boot has a Velcro strap on the top of the cuff, it is a higher performance boot for more confident, older, and larger skiers who are beginning to move up into blue squares and diamonds.   

When trying on a kid’s ski boot, consider the following:

·        It should almost always feel snug. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably too big and will feel too roomy on the mountain.

·        After putting it on, slam your heel into the ground to make sure that there is no extra room in the back of the boot. This is the way that the boot is meant to fit and will give you the best performance.

·        If your toes are still too cramped then the boot may be too tight, but remember that boots are most snug when they are new. As long as their heel is locked, a little wiggle room for their “piggies” is fine.

·        If there are pressure points on the sides of your feet then these will most likely not go away and will require some attention from a professional boot fitter.

·        Check the flex of the boot not by walking around the living room, but by actively rolling the ankles and flexing the cuff. If you can’t get any movement, then the boots are probably too stiff. If you fall over your toes then they are not stiff enough.   

Getting the proper fit on a kids’ ski boot is very difficult, but so important—we recommend that you visit your local ski shop and have your child try on the model that you are considering before purchasing it. Buying boots online can be very difficult. Please support your local boot fitter. He or she can be one of the most important people you know.

Race Ski Boots

A race ski boot is very different than an all-mountain ski boot. If you’re in the market for a pair of race boots then you probably have a need for speed and the boot is designed to help you get there.

·        Race boots are made with a tighter fit around the foot (laterally and vertically) to allow the user to make quick, precise adjustments within the turn.

·        They’re made with more forward lean to allow the user to apply more pressure to the tip of the ski for optimum control.

·        The liners in race boots are thinner to give the foot more feel for the snow.

If you’re all right with the drawbacks of a race boot, then you’re definitely committed to going as fast as possible, something that the staff at Ski Depot can definitely connect with. 

For the top racers on the world cup, their boots are their most valuable possession. They are made exactly to suit their bodies, skiing styles, and preferences. If you’re looking to get a pair of race boots, you probably don’t have access to a European factory but you can still find a boot that will give you a positive experience!

There are many different brands of race boots and though they are all built with the same goal in mind—speed—they have different ways of getting there. Some have bigger toe boxes, some have lower cuff angles, and some are built to lean one way or the other. It’s very hard to say, even for the top racers, which boot will work best before trying them so, as always, get out on the hill with a pair of demos and rip some turns!

When trying on a race ski boot, consider the following:

·        It should almost always feel tight. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably too big and will feel too roomy on the mountain.

·        After putting it on, slam your heel into the ground to make sure that there is no extra room in the back of the boot. This is the way that the boot is meant to fit and will give you the best performance.

·        If your toes are still too cramped then the boot may be too tight, but remember that during the winter your feet shrink slightly when they are in ski boots a lot.

·        If there are pressure points on the sides of your feet then these will most likely not go away and will require some attention from a professional boot fitter.

·        Check the flex of the boot not by walking around the living room but by actively rolling the ankles and flexing the cuff. If you can’t get any movement, then the boots are probably too stiff. If you fall over your toes then they are not stiff enough.

Getting the proper fit on a race ski boot is pivotal due to their small size so Ski Depot recommends going to your local ski shop and trying on the model that you are considering before purchasing it. Your local boot fitter can be the key to success in racing. Remember that before making online boot purchases.

Park and Pipe Ski Boots

Park and Pipe ski boots are definitely some of the hottest items on the market today. Companies like Full Tilt, Dalbello and Nordica have ditched the old tradition of making a two-piece shell super soft for park and pipe skiers. They’ve begun to make a boot that is perfect for hitting rails, 100-foot tables, road gaps, urban features or in general whatever your upside down and backwards heart desires.

The newest, most progressive boots are three pieces—a cuff, a toe box, and a tongue that flexes independently allowing park and pipe skiers to huck whatever with stability and less risk of shin bang. Essentially, the soft plastic gives enough stability to maneuver the skier into the air but has enough give to prevent painful landings.

With this in mind, picking park and pipe boots becomes much easier. The toe boxes are made with more room so fit is not as hard to find. Flex is progressive, meaning that you don’t have to be exactly sure how stiff you need a boot before purchasing it.

Picking the right size park and pipe ski boot is still important so we recommend going to your local ski shop and trying on the model that you are considering before purchasing it.