A great boot fitting is essential for skiing throughout the winter season. Being warm and comfortable on the slopes will allow you to enjoy your sport longer, perform better, and improve quicker. The right ski boot for you can make or break the entire experience. This complex journey to find the perfect boot fit doesn’t need to be travelled alone. Follow our five steps to a great boot fit below and let our expert boot fitters at any of our Christy Sports rental shops help, and you will be well on your way!
Choose a Specialty Boot Shop
Where you shop for ski boots does matter! Your ski boots are the most important and most complex pieces of winter sports gear you may ever purchase. Not only should boots match your skill level, but they must also match your foot and leg shape. You want this “feel” to be right the first time.
That’s why we recommend visiting a specialty shop that has an in-depth inventory of boot stock, experienced boot fitters, and a complete cross section of tools to analyze and adapt boots for that perfect fit and performance to your particular feet and needs. Buying your boots and having them fitted from a shop such as Christy Sports assures you the boot techs have received the best training and expertise available to help you make the right choice.
Communicate With Your Boot Fitter
When it comes to proper ski boot fitting, be sure you have good communication between you and your boot tech. Is the boot fitter genuinely listening to you? Pay attention to the right questions that should be asked:
- What type of skier are you? Cautious, Moderate, or Aggressive?
- Where do you typically ski and how often do you ski?
- What boot fitting issues have you had in the past? Or currently have?
- Do you have any medical issues or other problems with your feet or movement?
- What are your skiing goals? etc.
Addressing these questions and concerns and working one-on-one with a certified boot tech will help you narrow down your choices when searching for that perfect boot fit.
Create an In-Store Foot Profile
This is probably the most important step in the boot fitting process. Your boot tech should measure and analyze both of your foot sizes (surprisingly, your left and right foot may be different!) in length, width, arch length, instep height, and calf volume. Some factors a boot tech will consider when creating your foot profile include:
- Shape: Your foot shape is just as important as size. Are your feet ballet dancer’s feet or “Fred Flintstone” feet? Never fear – there is a boot for every shaped foot.
- Flexibility: How flexible are your ankles, mid-foot, and balls of your feet?
- Variations: A good boot tech will consider specific issues such as bunions, calluses, or injuries.
- CANT Analysis: Also known as “boot alignment,” your boot fitter should have the tools and knowledge to measure your personal alignment and make adjustments to your ski boots to improve your performance. Typically, a cant adjustment is either a boot grind or shim between the sole and chassis of the boot. For example, if you stand knock kneed or bow legged when in your boots, your range of motion to one side or another is limited, resulting in lack of power or difficulty linking turns or over torqueing the ski, making it difficult to glide smoothly. Or, maybe you’ve simply plateaued and your skiing is just not advancing – time to check your alignment. You will be amazed at the improvement in your skiing with canting. It can open up whole new possibilities on the hill!
Try, Compare, Choose
Buying ski boots is a process not to be rushed through. A plastic boot shell will not mold to your foot’s shape and subtle nuances, even if you wear it all day, every day, for 25 years, so take your time to make the right choice. Even with the guidance of a certified boot tech, you should still plan on trying on a variety of different brands, models, and sizes.
Ideally, the boot tech will narrow down your options to the best few styles that match the characteristics of your foot and your skiing ability and style. When you feel you have found a gem, leave the boots on your feet and walk around the shop for 10 or 15 minutes, flexing repeatedly to seat the foot and start the foam’s compressing. Be patient and don’t judge the boots until they are buckled up and you flex forward. The boot will seem tight up front – REMEMBER – the liner will compress over time. It’s better to start with a close-fitting boot than later try to make a boot smaller. Simulate skiing by working the boots forward and side-to-side. It may take 3-4 minutes to begin to get the feel of the boot. As you are “working” the boots, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the boot snug and does it provide a contained uniform grip of your foot?
- Are there any pressure points?
- Does the flex feel uniform and consistent?
- Do you feel your foot moving around?
- Does the boot feel too stiff, too soft, or just right?
(the boot fitter will also help address this as “in the shop vs on the hill” can be slightly different)
You may need to try on two different model boots at the same time, or different sizes of the same model. Keep in mind, these are NOT your comfy slippers or casual shoes.
You have chosen the best ski boots for you, and now it’s time to customize! Checkout some of these great additions to personally customize your boots and make them even better:
- Liners: Most contemporary ski boots have heat moldable inner boots or liners.
- Shell: Many boots now have a moldable shell.
- Footbeds: Footbeds are essential for both a great boot fit and to ski well. They keep your feet from moving and causing discomfort, even injury! Footbeds hold the foot in a fixed position, so if the boot tech needs to change the shell shape to match your unique foot shape, he or she is not chasing a moving target.
- Shell Alterations: If you have dramatic unique high points, the boot fitter should be able to make shell alterations to accommodate even the most unusual foot variations. Stretches, padding or grinds for bunions, or big ankles, or high insteps should all be included in a full boot fit if needed. Our Christy Sports boot fitters’ experience and expertise will have you happy and skiing better than ever.
- The “Little Extras”: It’s the little things like mini alterations, heel lifts, adjusting buckles, and cuff angles, as needed that will ensure you are dialed in and the boots truly match your feet. All ski boots offer various micro adjustments to further customize them for your “feet” happiness.
So, pop into to any of our Christy Sports rental shops and have our experienced boot techs analyze your feet and help to narrow down your choices to find that perfect boot fit!