Ski Boot Sizing Buyer's Guide
Properly fitting ski boots are essential for any skier, regardless of your experience level. You must know how to choose the best ski boots possible — that's why Buckman's has compiled this ski boot buying and fitting guide for you to consult throughout the process.
Determine Your Ski Boot Needs Based on Ability and Style
Here is what to know before buying ski boots:
- - What kind of skiing you do
- - Your experience level
- - What you want in a ski boot
- - Your ski boot fit
What Kind of Skier Are You?
The first question to ask yourself is what kind of skiing you plan to do.
- - Alpine: Also known as downhill skiing, this is the most common type of skiing. Most people who alpine ski do so at resorts.
- - Backcountry: Backcountry skiing refers to any skiing done outside a controlled skiing environment.
- - Cross-country: Cross-country skiing does not use slopes or inclines. Instead, it is skiing that you do to move across flat terrain. There are different types of cross-country skiing, including classic cross-country and skate skiing.
- - Telemark: Telemark skiing refers to the position of your heel and knee during skiing. Tele-skiers have a free, unfixed heel and bend one knee to propel. Telemark skiers need ski boots explicitly made for this type of skiing.
- - Freestyle: Freestyle skiers take advantage of their surroundings, no matter where they are. In this kind of skiing, the skier incorporates jumps and aerial twists for a more playful take on the sport.
Now, determine your experience level. If you are a first-time skier, you are a beginner. Those with some moderate slope experience are usually intermediate-level skiers. Advanced or expert skiers are those who have been skiing for a while and can handle more challenging trails.
- - Beginner: Ski boot fit for beginners should have a soft to medium-level flex and a comfortable liner. The more comfortable your ski boots are, the more time you can spend learning on the slopes.
- - Intermediate: As you take on more challenging slopes, you need a ski boot that provides plenty of control. Intermediate skiers should look for boots with a medium-level flex.
- - Advanced: The best ski boot fit for advanced skiers is a stiff-flex, high-quality boot that can withstand any terrain.
Optional Ski Boot Features
Once you understand what kind of skier you are, think about what additional features you would like your ski boots to have. A few examples of ski boot features you might consider are:
- - Self-heating boots
- - Boots with an adjustable flex
- - Boots or liners with added insulation
- - Ski boots with both ski mode and walk mode
- - Ski boots with adjustable cuffs
- - A Velcro enclosure strap
- - Boots that use a buckle system to close
Finally, you need to know your ski boot size. A lot of factors go into determining the proper fit — keep reading our guide to buying ski boots to learn more about correct sizing.
How Should Ski Boots Fit?
If you are trying to figure out how to choose the right ski boot, the most critical consideration should be how the boot fits. Stylish ski boots with useful features are great, but should never come at the expense of comfort and support. But how exactly should ski boots fit? Here is our brief ski boot fitting guide, so you know what to consider when sizing ski boots.
If you want to learn how to fit ski boots to your feet, the first ski boot fitting factor you need to consider is your mondo point, or your foot's length in centimeters. Many ski boot manufacturers use two different mondo points: your comfort mondo point and your performance mondo point. Your comfort mondo point refers to the length of ski boot you need to be comfortable while you are skiing. Your performance mondo point is a slightly tighter fit aimed to provide more support during intermediate to expert-level slopes and excursions.
One of the most critical factors of ski boot fitting is the "last" size, which refers to its width at the widest point: the area near the ball of your foot. Ski boots can be narrow, medium or wide. If you have a particularly narrow or wide foot, you should pay close attention to ski boot last to ensure a comfortable fit.
The best way to find your ideal last is trial and error. Start your search with a medium last boot and adjust from there. Please note that the last size measurement tends to differ between manufacturers.
The flex index refers to the stiffness of your ski boot. Manufacturers measure it on a numeric scale — the higher the number, the less flex in the boot. To find your ideal flex index, consider your body weight, height and skiing experience. First-time skiers may have more success with a soft flex boot, while experienced skiers usually prefer a medium- or stiff-flex boot that offers more stability and control.
How to Measure Your Feet for Ski Boots
To determine your ski boot size, you first need to measure your feet and find your mondo point. Then, consider the thickness of your ski boot liner
and your ski socks. If you need further ski boot sizing help, consult a ski expert at your local ski shop.
Measure Your Feet
To find your mondo point, you need to measure your foot in centimeters. To do this, measure each foot from your heel to your big toe. Not sure how to get an accurate measurement? Put a blank piece of paper on the floor and press your foot down with all your weight. Draw lines indicating where your heel and toe are. Then, when you step away, measure the distance between the lines.
Do this with both feet. If your feet are different sizes, try to size to the smaller foot, as your ski boot will stretch to accommodate the larger foot if necessary. Then, consult a mondo point ski boot sizing guide chart to convert those centimeters into a mondo point size. Keep in mind that mondo point size charts may vary slightly from brand to brand. If you fall between sizes, you might want to consider a custom-fit ski boot instead.
Now that you have your mondo point size, there are a few other things you need to consider when sizing ski boots: your ski boot liner and your sock thickness.
The liner of your ski boot keeps your feet dry, insulated and comfortable while you ski. There are a few different types of ski boot liners.
- - Non-moldable: Non-moldable ski boots feature standard padding that holds its shape and protects your feet from the elements.
- - Custom-moldable: Ski shop professionals use artificial heat to conform custom-moldable liners to the shape and size of your foot.
- - Thermoformable: Thermoformable ski boot liners use your body's natural heat to shape the liner to your foot's contour over time.
Your instincts might lead you to believe thicker socks result in a warmer skiing experience. However, thick socks can easily bunch up and make you sweat more. Thin, moisture-wicking socks are better for skiing. For the best experience, choose socks designed specifically for skiing.
Make sure you wear your ski socks while sizing yourself for ski boots — the thicker the sock, the more space it will take up inside your liner.
Benefits of Ski Boots That Fit Correctly
Wearing ski boots that fit properly can mean the difference between an enjoyable time on the slopes or dealing with sore feet all day.
When you take the time to choose a pair of ski boots that fit your lifestyle, abilities and foot shape, you gain:
- - Long-lasting comfort
- - More control over your skis
- - Reduced fatigue
- - Better balance
- - Relief for sensitive pressure points
- - Warmth on the slopes
Remember, your ski boots will take some time to break in entirely. During this process, you may feel slight discomfort or pressure until the boot has contoured to the shape of your foot, shin and calf. Remember, there is a difference between breaking in new ski boots and selecting the wrong size — if your new boots are uncomfortable or cause you pain, visit your local ski shop for a custom fit.
Different Types of Ski Boots
Once you know what you need out of your ski boots and how they should fit, you need to choose which type you want. There are various kinds of ski boots, but most fit into one of two categories: downhill or touring. To know which type of ski boot you should choose, ask yourself what kind of skiing you plan to do. Do you ski for recreation and sport, or exploration and winter hiking?
Downhill Ski Boots
Downhill skiing boots are for those who enjoy skiing the slopes for recreation and exercise. They have fixed spines and heels that automatically position your foot for skiing.
Touring Ski Boots
Touring ski boots have a walk mode and provide an extensive range of motion. These features, coupled with their grip, make them the ideal boot for backcountry skiers or exploring the wintry mountain terrain. Touring ski boots are also lightweight.
Different Types of Ski Boot Entryways
Ski boot entry refers to the way you slide your foot in and out of your boot.
- - Front-entry: Front-entry boots are the standard type of ski boot available on the market. Like the name suggests, these boots open through a front overlap and use a buckle system across the shin to secure the boot tightly to your leg, offering optimal performance.
- - Mid-entry: Mid-entry ski boots have a wide cuff that can open to both the front and the back, offering the control of front-entry boots with the ease of access rear-entry boots provide.
- - Rear-entry: Rear-entry boots have a buckle or strap enclosure on the back of the boot for easy access. Today, you'll usually only find rear-entry boots in children's fit and not adults.
Top Ski Boots for Men and Women
Men's and women's ski boots have different designs, accounting for the difference in foot and calf shape, as well as weight.
The top choices for men's ski boots at Buckman's are as follows.
- - Salomon S/Pro 100 Boots: The Salomon S/Pro 100 Boots have a great out-of-the-box fit, but with a custom mold shell. The S/Max and S/Pro liners are pre-shaped and seamless for a comfortable experience. The Salomon S/Pro 100 Boots have a medium flex that is ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers with normal to slightly wide feet.
- - Tecnica Mach1 HV 120 Boots: The Technica Mach1 HV 120 Boots are perfect for the all-mountain skier with a wide foot and calf volume. The Custom Adaptive Shape Shell and Celliant Liner are high-performance-oriented and offer customization in both the heel and ankle pocket.
- - Atomic Hawx Ultra 100 S Ski Boots: Atomic Hawx Ultra 100 S Ski Boots are ultra-thin and lightweight, perfect for intermediate to expert-level skiers with narrow feet and calf volume. Custom Atomic Memory Fit Shell offers true flex, complete with Memory Fit 3D Silver Liner and Thinsulate insulation to keep you warm and comfortable all day long.
The following women's ski boots are some of Buckman's most popular selections.
- - Salomon S/Pro 90 CHC Heated Ski Boots: Salomon S/Pro 90 CHC Heated Ski Boots are one of our most popular boots for women, thanks to the integrated Custom Heat Connect system, controllable from your cellphone. The Salomon S/Pro 90 CHC Heated Ski Boots have a stiff flex and customizable calf adjusters. They are best for intermediate-level downhill skiers.
- - Nordica Speedmachine 75 Boots: Skiers praise the Nordica Speedmachine 75 Boots for the superior comfort and quality that comes with the precision fit Primaloft liner and customizable Infrared Tri-Force shell.
- - Atomic Savor 75 Boots: The Atomic Savor 75 Boots feature EZ Step-In and EZ Ratchet technology, making them ideal for all-mountain skiers who want an easy entry boot for recreational skiing.
Ensure the Perfect Fit With a Custom Boot Fitting
If you are looking for an exceptional ski boot fit experience, a custom fitting is the way to go. A custom ski boot fitting process is when a ski boot expert takes measurements and asks you questions about your skiing experience to alter a ski boot to fit your exact needs.
Custom ski boot fittings at Buckman's include:
- - Stretching and grinding your boot shell using our in-house tools
- - Inserting padding or lining to eliminate discomfort
- - Custom boot stance alignment
- - Boot sole planing
- - Custom footbeds
- - Performance guarantee on boots purchased at our retail stores
Buckman's is a family-owned ski shop with more than 45 years of collective experience skiing and snowboarding. We are passionate about providing you with the tools you need to have a memorable and fun outdoor experience. This passion fuels us every day to help buyers like you make informed decisions about the gear you invest in.
If you need help fitting ski boots or want a more personalized experience, visit us at one of our retail stores, and our knowledgable staff will be happy to help. Are you looking for the perfect gift for the skier in your life? Give them the gift of choice and custom-fit boots with a Buckman's gift card.
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