What are ski boots for? Why do we have to wear such gallumping things, heavy, big and faintly ridiculous to walk in? And does a visit to a ski boot shop fill you with horror?.The ski boot is designed to hold us as firmly as possible to the ski via the release binding. (These are the two metal and plastic contraptions on each ski designed to hold us on and let us go at the right moment).
It must hold us firmly so that every body movement we make will instantly transmit itself through to the ski. It must also make one or two compromises for the recreational skier; it may have to be worn all day, will be walked in, and for some may even be used as a fashion accessory.The main pieces of a ski boot are the outer shell and inner lining. The important bits of the outer shell are the cuff, which hinges on to the main part, and allows the shin to flex forwards at the ankle, and the buckles. There are usually four of these - two across the instep to hold your foot firm, and two on the outside of the cuff to regulate the tightness round your shin.
The inner lining usually has a detachable insole that is very like the one in an everyday shoe.The boot fitter in a ski boot shop should hopefully be able to size your feet up - be accurate about your standard of skiing and be prepared to pay as much as you can if you are going to buy rather than rent. Talk to a professional skier beforehand about the best make of ski boot too. Remember to take a pair of your favourite ski socks to get the perfect fit.Once the boot fitter has done the first two clips up across the insole, make sure that your foot is held firmly.
Your toes should just be feeling the end of the boot but not be pinched. Your heel should have no movement at all. The buckles have several settings and they can be adjusted. When the cuff buckles have been done up (these don't have to be as tight), make sure that the cuff pressure around your shin is spread evenly and comfortably.Take your time at this stage. This is very important.
Don't be hurried! Sit there with the ski boots done up. Stand up and bend your knees to check that the forward flexing does not cause too much pain! Your heels should not budge off the bottom of the boot but your toes are allowed to have a little movement. Ski boots may feel cumbersome and odd, but if they hurt or are uncomfortable, say so!.You can try walking around a little in them but, I repeat, don't be dismayed if they feel strange. You can always loosen the buckles for walking.
If your feet are a really odd shape and the sizes vary too much, you may have to consider foam injected ski boot liners that will form to your feet, but as a novice recreational skier there is really no need to go for them otherwise.Finally, if you are skiing for the first time, I strongly advise rental ski boots. They will sometimes not be top quality, but they will save you a lot of money if skiing is not your cup of tea. Apply the same advice that I offer above, but don't be put off if they are scuffed and well used.
If you really like your pair of rental ski boots and they are exceptionally comfortable, and they do a good job, you can always make the ski shop an offer when you return them!..Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years. His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.
ski-jungle.com If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst