After finding your perfect set of skis, it’s now time to turn our attention to ski boots. At this point you should look beyond style, because ski boots are a central piece of kit that can effect how your skis perform. You want them to be as comfortable as possible, so flex and fit should be major determining factor when choosing your boots.
Like skis, boots also contain flex. The higher the value, the stiffer the boot. As with skis, flex will play a considerable role in the type of boots you want consider, alongside factors such as body weight, style and level. A stiffer flex brings stability and control, which for freeriders would be considered very important. In contrast, freestyler skiers are more likely to go for softer park boots that have a dampening effect, something that their feet will be very grateful for when hitting the massive park booters and hammering rails. It’s got to be said though that there are always exceptions to the rule, so boot selection still remains relatively subjective.
No other body part is more individual than the human foot, and unless you’ve got mega bucks, a ski boot will never come straight from the factory made perfectly for your feet. Therefore the closest you’re going to get is a boot made for specific feet type, rather than being individually tailored to your feet. This is where the inner boot plays a key part, which is the protective element which shields the foot from the rather unpleasant hard outer shell.
Like we said, you can never get a boot exact to your foot, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Supportive custom-moulded and pre-moulded insoles, custom foam injected liners, custom fit liners and boot heaters are all key options here to make your boots as comfortable as possible. Ideally these options should be done by a professional boot fitter, so it’s definitely worth swinging by a store. Heat moulded liners are designed so that they will naturally shape to the contours of your feet, which obviously increases comfort, while an individual footbed will help prevent uncomfortable pressure points as well as providing support and better alignment. These are two options that are definitely worth considering.
It’s good to be aware that different brands will manufacture boots that will vary in shape and size, for example Salomon cater for a narrower foot. Buying a pair of ski boots is not something that you can do slap dash in a matter of 30 minutes. Take your time and try on as many different boots from different brands as you can, until you get an idea of what feels right for you. Once you’ve found a boot that you think might be the one, keep them on for a while. Remember that when you’re on the mountain you could be buckled into those bad boys for a good six or seven hours!