Your ski boots are probably the most important piece of equipment when skiing. You should take your time when picking out boots, as this is where you will feel the hurt the most if you choose wrong. Picking the wrong length skis is something you can live with, picking uncomfortable boots is not. They are your only way of translating your body’s intentions to your skis, so a precise fit is important for performance and control.
Here are some things you will want to consider when choosing a ski boot: SIZE * LAST * FLEX * FEATURES
Types of ski boots
There are many types of ski boots out there. Different riding styles require different skis, but also specific boots (not that you can’t go freeriding in racing boots, buts that like going running in high heels). Generally they can be categorized into Racing Boots (very stiff and angled forward), Freestyle/Freeride Boots (Softer and more upright), Dynafit (special system for touring) and normal consumer boots (what you will likely want to get if your a beginner).
This is the first thing you should care about. Ski boots use a scale called Mondo Size, which refers to the boot’s inner sole length in centimeters.
Keep in mind that there can be differences in size between each manufacture, so always try boots on before you make your purchase. Each boot also has a shell size that is measured in mm. One shell size can fit different shoes sizes, so if you remember your shell size from a previous test, it will be easier to find a right boot next time you’re looking. For example I have a big foot and my shell size 335mm. For one manufacturer 29.5 mondo size fits me perfect, for another I need to take 30.5. But the shell size remains the same.
When choosing a boot to rent always pick the one that has the tightest fit without being uncomfortable. You’ll be in it all day, so pick wisely. If your buying ski boots, go for an even tighter fit. They will loosen up after the first few rides and will be perfect.
Just like your feet, every ski boot interior has a unique shape. Many manufacturers of alpine boots now make two or three distinct models (or “Lasts”) to fit different shapes of feet. Generally, these lasts can be divided into narrow, medium and wide, and are based on the width of the forefoot.
Narrow Last: Forefoot width of 97 mm to 98 mm
Normal Last: Forefoot width of 99 mm to 101 mm
Wide Last: Forefoot width over 102mm
Here its down to personal choice, not foot shape. The flex indicates how much force is needed to make the boot flex forward. A smaller flex index means the boot will be softer, more comfortable, but less stable at higher speeds.
Normally, flex is determined by your skill level:
Woman should generally knock those numbers down a little. Your height and weight also play a role. A taller skier will lever the boot into flexing much easier than a short person. Same goes for heavier skiers.
Different manufacturers measure the flex of their boots a little differently, so 80 flex Elan boots might feel a little different that 80 flex Nordica boots. Some ski boots are measured from 1 to 10.
Many ski boot companies offer different features on their boots. Probably the best one for rental boots is the “free walk” feature. This is often a lever which allows the boot to flex freely for easy walking.
Other boots allow you to adjust your flex by a small margin. This is a good feature to look out for if your renting, as you will be able to loosen or stiffen them up, without needing to go to the shop.
Some boots also allow you to change the angel you are leaning forward.
You should never choose your boot on features or colors, especially if renting. Boot fit should always take priority.
Some rental shop can dry your boots as pictured below. If you can you should look for Rental shops that offer this extra. Blisters caused by wet boots and legs may prevent you from skiing till the end of your stay already on the second day of your rental period.
Ski & Board Traventuria rental shop in Bansko has a big selection of ski boots that you can choose from.
Did you find this article helpful? Leave a comment below.
Find out how to pick the right skis for you HERE.