by Lisa Blake
Ski boots are tough. Too stiff and your skiing suffers. Too loose and you’ve got blisters. Luckily, boot experts know their stuff and advanced customizations make it simple to find your Cinderella fit.
Here, Surefoot Copper manager Pat Rudolph shares some boot technician insight and spills on why proper fitting ski boots are your best friend on the mountain.
Top three things to look for in a ski boot?
Fit: We look at foot-to-boot shell ratio, matching up the right volume boot to the foot.
Flex: Making sure the skier is able to flex the ski boot. Flex indexes are not universal in the ski boot world, so a 100 flex in one brand could be different than a 100 flex in another.
Application: For example, if the skier needs a boot to travel uphill into the backcountry, we look at walk modes, we also look at what bindings the skier will be using.
Aspects to consider when selecting a boot brand?
Some brands fit certain ski styles better. Full tilt for park and bump skiers, Scarpa for backcountry skiers, and the big brands like Lange, Nordica and Technica make boots for all skiers.
What about the flex?
It is true that the more advanced skier wants stiffer boots and the new skier wants softer boots. Height and weight are also important when selecting flex. Bigger skiers need stiffer boots, smaller need softer.
All recreational free ride boots are now softer and have a more upright stance than boots of 10 years and older. This is to keep up with ski technology. As the skis became shorter with early rise tips and tails, skiers do not need to pressure the tips of the skis to initiate the turn. This lead to the change in forward lean and softer flexing boots. It makes the newer boots much more comfortable.
A good fitting boot will make your skiing experience better in that you will not waste energy while skiing. A snug boot will offer more responsiveness to your skis and keep your feet warmer.
Are the extras worth it?
I think a good insole inside a ski boot is a necessity. This will help to stabilize your foot inside the hard plastic.
Heaters are the best way to keep your feet warm while skiing. They do not affect the fit of the boot and now the batteries are lithium ion and Bluetooth enabled with 10 settings of heat independently controlled from your smart phone.
Wear thin socks and understand the boot will never feel tighter than it does on the first try on. Trust your boot fitter; the boot that feels best in shop is almost never the boot that will be best for skiing. Have an open mind. Brand loyalty can be a bad thing for boot fitting.
TOP 10 BOOT FITTING TIPS
- Boots must be comfortable (no pain)
- Not too loose (don’t want foot to slide around)
- Not too tight (don’t want circulation hindered)
- Toes near the front of boot
- Not stuck, curled or mashed against the front
- Buckle boot, stand up and bend knees forward
- Shins pushed against front of boot
- Heel should remain in place
- Foot must remain secure inside boot
- Take the time to get it right
Book a custom ski boot fitting online or by phone with Surefoot Copper Mountain or stop into the Center Village shop for a one-on-one session with a pro. Surefoot does not provide rental boots.