Ski and Snowboard Boot Fitting – Keys to Understanding the Process

The original ugg boots comes with a leather materials, until now it’s popularity never fades. Before purchasing a new ski or snowboard boot it is worth exploring the fitting process and how it should feel so that you know what you are looking for and can intelligently think about what you feel as you are trying on a boot.

“The best boot fitter in the world it you.” States Greg Klein, second-generation owner of Willi’s Ski and Board Shop in Pittsburgh. “The reason why,” he goes on to explain, “is because you are the only one who can tell what the boot feels like”.

A boot fitter in a shop is trained to ask the right questions so that you can explain to them how the boot feels. Once you understand how the boot should feel the salesperson can help direct you to a boot that not only fits your skiing or snowboarding style but your foot as well. When you shop on line you will have to search for product reviews to do this for yourself.

The boot selection process starts with answering a few simple questions to narrow the wide selection of boots down to a manageable number. The questions should include, How long have you been skiing or snowboarding? Do you ski or snowboard locally, travel or both? What type of skier or snowboarder would you classify yourself as? Do you have and pain or abnormalities in your foot, ankle or shin that should be accommodated? To fit boots properly one should have both feet measured in the ski or snowboard socks they plan to wear on the slopes. Measuring both feet is very important. Besides size differences that are common in most peoples feet there are often bone spurs, swollen ankles and other considerations that one must be aware of before choosing any boots to consider. If you are buying your ski or snowboard boots in a retail shop you will have the advantage of trying on several boot styles and sizes. This is just not logistically possible when purchasing over the internet so you must narrow your choices down very carefully.

The fitting process will confirm that you are trying the proper size and help to determine the style of boot that fits your foot shape best. Start by removing the liner of the boot, if possible, so that you can place your foot into the ski or snowboard boot shell. Simply skip this step if the liner cannot be removed. With your foot in the shell slide your foot forward so that your toes are touching the front if the shell but not curled. There should be about two fingers worth of space between your heel and the back of the shell for a generous fit, one finger for a tighter, performance fit. Shell fitting will confirm that the shell size is within the range that will fit your foot the best.

With the liner out of the boot you slip your foot into it. This will allow you to insure that the liner size is appropriate as well as note potential problem areas and to identify ways to customize the fit by seeing how your foot sits within the liner.

When the liner is back in the boot you will be able to feel how the boot and shell fit as a unit. When you get your foot into the boot, your toes will go into the front and your toes may feel a little crushed. This is typical; so don’t let it worry you. With only the top two buckles and the power strap fastened flex forward as if you were skiing or riding. Your toes should then back away from the front of the boot. When you return to a standing position your toes should lightly touch or be just off the front of the boot, but they should pull back slightly when you are flex forward again. You should be able to wiggle your toes at all time but the boot should feel snug without pinching. When the boots are brand-new they are the tightest they will ever be. As you ski or ride, the liner will break in providing up to 15% more room so keep this in mind when you are assessing the fit.

It is critical to check how your heel fits in the heel pocket. When flexing forward your heel should stay seated snuggly in the pocket. If they try hard enough, anyone can lift their heel out of the pocket, it’s only a problem if it happens while the boot is being flexed forward. If the rest of the boot fits well fit aids can help to address a slipping heel.

It is typical for customers to want to walk around in boots for minute to get the feel of them. While this will help your foot to settle into the boot it will not give you any useful information about how the boot actually fits. Ski and snowboard boots are meant to be worn stationary, while locked into a single place on the skis or board -they are not designed for walking. Walking in them will cause your toes to smash into the front and your calves to hurt. The best thing to do is to stand idly and do a lot of flexing into the boot. This will give you a more accurate read for how they will feel on the slopes.

Boot fitting can be a complex process but if you know what you are looking for and understand what to expect you will be far more effective at choosing the proper boot for your feet. Before you hit the slopes make sure to have a full binding safety check to have your ski bindings adjusted to accommodate your new boot and check ratchet straps for wear and tighten all screws as your new snowboard boots will fit into your snowboard bindings differently.

Kjerstin Klein: Passionate skier and technical writer for http://www.skiwarehouse.com

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