16 Nov Improper Fitting Ski Boots are Trouble
Get the Right Fit in Your Ski Boots
With winter on the way, many Northern Virginians are heading north to take in some action on the snowy slopes of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and beyond. Skiing is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise during the colder season. But if your ski boots don’t fit properly, winter fun can turn into winter misery.
Dangers of Poorly-Fitting Ski Boots
- If your boot is too loose, your foot can slip out, leading to dangerous trips and falls.
- Wearing loose boots will eventually lead to knee, shin and back problems.
- Boots that don’t fit can lead to blisters on your toes and soles.
- Ski boots that are too small will be painful all day.
- Ski boots are even more important than skis when it comes to safety and performance.
Tight in the Toes
Many people make the mistake of buying ski boots that are too big. That’s because they expect the boots to feel comfortable the way other boots and shoes do. But ski boots are meant to hold your feet and heels firmly in place. They are not designed to give you a loose, easy feeling.
Ski boots should feel snug in the toes. They should also keep your heels locked. If your toes and heels lift out of the boot easily, they are probably the wrong size.
Putting on Ski Boots
- Open the buckles and pull the boot open on the sides.
- Slide in your foot toe first.
- Kick your heel down hard on the back of the boot.
- Lock the ankle belt first.
- Tighten the other belts one by one.
Notes for First-Time Ski Bunnies
Ski boots are designed less for comfort than they are for protection and performance. They are supposed to fit snugly. To first-time wearers, they may feel oddly bulky and difficult to walk in. Many people report feeling that they’re tipping or falling over when they try to wear them the first time.
This is normal at the beginning. That’s why most people who ski also have a pair of soft, comfortable “after-ski” boots. These will be a lifesaver until you get used to the feel of ski boots. After just a few days, your feet will adjust to the feel and hardness of them. You’ll find it easier to walk in them without that “falling” feeling.
Does That Boot Fit?
To test the fit of your ski boots, do the following after putting them on.
- Stand up straight in the boots. Your toes should touch the front of the boot.
- Lean back against your ankles. You should feel the boots push your toes away from the front.
- Push your shins against the boots. Your heels should stay in place and not lift.
- Walk around in the boots for a few minutes to see if they feel comfortable.
- An advanced skier, it’s a good idea to have your boots professionally fitted at a ski shop.
What is Shell Fitting?
Shell fitting allows you to get a feel for the boot’s size that is often more accurate than regular sizing. To do this:
- Open the boot and remove the boot’s inside lining.
- Put on the ski socks you plan to wear.
- Put your foot in the boot.
- Push your toes up to the front of the boot.
- Measure the amount of space between your heel and the shell.
For most skiers, a shell space of 1.5 to 2 centimeters is ideal. If space is bigger than that, the boot is too big. Some professional and advanced skiers require a tighter shell fit. Often times a smaller fit is better for performance but is also less comfortable.
Custom Footbeds and Custom Orthotics
Most skiers put custom footbeds in their ski boots. These special pads can make the boot fit better and feel more comfortable. Footbeds and orthotics can also be used:
- to keep feet warmer;
- to cushion toes and keep them from jamming into the hard boot;
- to provide arch support;
- to add a tighter fit for racing and other high-performance activities.
Get Ready for Winter
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we’re always happy to see our clients being more active, whatever the season. If you’re planning to hit the slopes, you can count on us to create custom orthotics that will make your ski boots fit and feel like a dream.
Our 3D imaging and personalized orthotics sizing can help you get the fit, comfort, and performance you need from your ski boots. Contact us today and get ready to have some fearless fun this winter.