December 3rd, 2009
Boot Fitting – What You Need to Know
Getting the right size boot: Generally a ski boot will be a size or even two sizes smaller than what your shoe size is. This is because in a ski boot you want to have your toe right up in the front of the boot. When wearing shoes most people don’t like to feel their toes right against the front of the shoe. An easy way of seeing if a boot is a good size for you is to take the liner out of the boot and slide your foot into the empty shell. Bring your toes up to the front of the boot so that they are just touching as you stand up. After doing this, over lap your pointer and middle fingers and slide the overlapped fingers behind your heal. If they just fit then the boot should be a good size. A one finger fit (just one finger fits) is typically for people looking for a snugger feel and better performance. This is not 100% accurate but should give you a good idea.
Flex: Flex is a term that refers to the amount of force needed to flex the boot forward. The lower the number the easier or softer the boot is. The higher the number the stiffer the boot. The Flex range generally runs from 60 to 150. It is important to get the right flex. If a boot is too stiff it can lead to shin bang while a boot that is to soft will not have the response and performance of a stiffer boot.
Footbeds: The idea behind a foot bed is quit simple. To hold your foot in a proper position, in the boot, by supporting it in what is known as the “neutral position”. Often the pain people get from their ski boots is from the foot moving within the boot. The friction or banging of the foot against the boot can be drastically reduced by having a custom orthotic made. A proper orthotic or foot bed can solve a whole host of problems. In addition to this, a foot bed will make you a better skier. That’s right, will make you a better skier! By supporting your arch you will feel your skis a lot more under your feet which will allow you to push down hard on your inside edges without the arch of your foot collapsing.
Socks: Socks are one of your most important peaces of gear and certainly one of the most over looked. A thin wool sock works the best. This will pull the moisture away from your foot and give you a nice thin interface between your foot and the boot liner. If your boot is a little big a thicker sock will take up some of the room and give you a snugger feel but is not an ideal fix.
Why have a Boot fitter? A proper bootfitter can keep your feet happy all day, most days. True ski boots are still ski boots and until new boot technologies come out, we are left to ski in hard plastic boots with metal buckles. Lucky for us there are trained bootfitters who know how to get you into the right boot and keep your feet happy. Bootfitters know what boots will be good for what people based on what type of foot they have and what kind of skier they are. In addition, they possess the tools and know-how to modify your boots when problems arise.
Tip: It is never a bad idea to keep your bootfitter happy. Tips at Christmas will often keep you and your family’s feet happy the rest of the year.
Why No ‘Top 5’ for Boots? The best ski boot you can buy is the boot that is right for you. Everyone has different feet and everyone skis differently. Because of this, there is no way to recommend boots since different boots are good for different people.
For the best bootfitter in Squaw Valley ask for Jeff Pratt at Surefoot (530) 581-2421
See also: Bootfitting 101