Ski Boot Heaven
Here’s an article to start your ski season off early about ski boots and how to get them fitted properly.
Of all the equipment skiing requires ski boots may be the most important. Once you own the right pair of ski boots even an old pair of skis will act totally different (better behaved). The other important issue here is that if your boots don’t fit correctly you can reach a whole new level of being miserable and quickly. One last thing, if you travel, it’s a lot easier to put your boots in a boot bag and haul them along than adding a pair of skis to the luggage. If you are an advanced skier (and you probably are if you’re taking your boots with you :} ) it’s an easy thing to rent demo skis at any area. Demo skis are advanced models and cost a little more but are worth a few extra bucks.
Back to boots… here are a few tips that might help. Ski boot shells… the actual hard shell or outer boot… only come in whole sizes. So a 91/2 is actually a 9 shell. The difference is made up in the liner and the insole. As a result you should be sure you are up as far as you can in the fit as is possible. In my boots for example, I am nearly touching the front of the boot when I stand on a flat surface. When my skis are on I am forward enough to bring my foot back off the front of the boot. Now you may not want to push your fit that far and go for the extra ½ size, just understand that the more the boot isolates lateral movement in your foot, the more it is doing it’s job.
Boots made the transition from leather to plastic in the late 60″s, with Lange leading the way. As hard as it was you could break in leather but unless you are a very hard skier, you won’t really break in plastic shells. What you will break in is the flow in the liner of the boot. Flow is a high density foam that usually molds to your foot pretty well. If your boot shop doesn’t do it for you, take your new boots and heat them with a hairdryer… don’t burn them you should be able to put your hand inside to check without burning it. When the liner is good and warm strap, ’em on and simply walk around for 15 minutes with them on. Keep moving so the flow allows for the movement of your feet. You will end up with an immediate fit that otherwise would have taken a day or so of possibly uncomfortable skiing while the warmth of your foot broke down the foam.
As a last thought, all of us walk a little bowed out or in with our stance. This is known as pronation or supination. The effect on your skiing is that the ski does not lay flat but rather rides up on it’s edge which in turn can cause you all sorts of issues you don’t want. Talk to your ski shop about ways to correct your stance with inserts and your skiing will improve dramatically.
Have a great season!