Boot Fitting Tips
Boots are our most important piece of equipment. Proper sheel size, flex, cuff alignment and overall fit are vital for skill development which in turn leads to performance gains. A four buckle front overlap boot is the best design.
Try on the boot shells without the liners and stands up. There should be 1 to 1½ fingers width at the heel when your toes are just touching the front of the shell. To allow room for your ankle, your hand should be able to fit between the foot and the inside of the shell on the medial side of the foot (instep area).
The boots should easily flex boot forward at room temperature, but still provides some resistance. The entire boot should not squish out to the side when flexed.
Alignment Part 1 – Upper Cuff Adjusting
Try on boot shells only with foot beds in them, buckle them up and stand on a hard surface shoulder width apart, angle your shins forward so they match the natural angle of the boot there should be the same distance to the boot shell from either side of your shin.
Alignment Part 2 – Plumb Bob Test
Try on complete boots and buckle up including power strap. Standing the same way as part 1, hold a plumb line from the front of your patella tendon. The line should fall between the toe box centre seam and 3mm to the inside of the centre seam. If the line is outside this area, try to bring in the upper cuff closer to the leg by readjusting the outside cuff screw/bolt.
Overall Fit – the ankle needs room
Now it’s time to consider the overall fit of the boots. They should be very snug around the calve, lock your heel in place and also hold the forefoot in place. There should not be any side to side movement in the forefoot or ball of the foot. The top 2 buckles should be stretched to meet the first notch. Note that most buckles or latches can be taken off and re-attached further back to make for a tighter clasp. Despite all of these snug fitting features, the entire ankle area needs plenty of room to allow the foot to function inside a fully buckled boot.
Insoles are very important too. Any after market insole is a considerably better than the stock piece of cardboard that come with new boots. Choose a soft, compliant insole that offers support but still aids in energy transfer.
If your toes are cramped, you can cut the seam stitching on the liner in the problem area. It will not destroy the liner or make your feet colder – in fact you will have warmer toes now by providing extra room for toe wiggling! For other areas on the foot such as the side of the forefoot, ski shops can blow out or punch out the shell to relieve pressure points.
The proper shell size, flex, alignment, and fit will make life easier and more fun… and you will be faster on the race course!