Get Fit - Proper Boot Fit Will Add Comfort / Performance

Get Fit - Proper Boot Fit Will Add Comfort / Performance

In the ski and snowboard retail business, you can’t blame a potential consumer for coming into a shop and heading straight for the skis or boards. That’s where the excitement is. Technological innovation in skis and boards is at an all-time high, as is the marketing of those products.


But buying skis or a snowboard without first being fit for a boot relative to your performance level is similar to buying a car without considering the engine or transmission. Particularly in skiing, the boot is the middleman, handling all the responsibility of relaying your athletic movements down to the ski. Buy a boot that’s too big, too small (albeit rare), or above or below your ability level and your comfort and performance will suffer. The same goes for snowboarding, although the binding in snowboarding shares more of the performance load than in skiing.

Here are a few tips when considering your boot purchase.

Tip #1 – Get Specialized Help:

Work with a retailer who specializes and is certified in bootfitting. Let them examine your feet, and give them some history of ailments you’ve had in the past: broken bones, your previous boots, aches, pains, etc.

Tip #2 – Ignore the Hype:

Do not buy a boot just because it got rave reviews in a magazine or sports journal, and certainly not because your buddy thinks it’s the best boot ever. The testers in those magazines certainly have a level of expertise in bootfitting beyond yours, but the boot that fits and performs well for them could be the worst boot on the wall for you.

Tip #3 – Shop the “Down Time”:

Getting fit for the right boot is not an in-and-out deal. Finding the right boot and assessing your needs can take an hour or more, and sometimes span several days if custom insoles and/or shell modification is part of the process. Plan on shopping for a boot during a shop’s down time, such as August through the middle of November, or midweek in the late morning or early afternoon during the peak season. Your boot is the most important piece of skiing or snowboarding equipment that you’ll purchase, and your bootfitter knows this. Whenever it’s possible, phone ahead and let the shop know you’re coming. They’ll set aside time for you.

Tip #4 – Getting Branded:

Although there has been a trend by ski and snowboard boot companies towards building boots for the “average” foot, boot fit does differ by company and certainly by model. Your bootfitter will have a pretty good idea what boot may be best for you simply by analyzing your feet, but don’t hesitate to try on different companies and eliminate them (or accept them) one by one.

Tip #5 – Super Size is Bad:

Boots, especially ski boots, fit snug at first. And let’s face it, they spend 99% of their time in comfortable footwear: sneakers, sandals, loafers, and so on, so when they stick their foot into footwear where the primary support is hard plastic, it’s going to feel uncomfortable. Trust your bootfitter. If you measure a 26.5, then you should be in a 26.5 unless there are extenuating circumstances. The boot will feel tight at first, then as the liner breaks in, or “packs out”, the boot will begin to feel more comfortable. A boot that’s too big allows the foot to slide up and down the footbed, which causes the toe to repeatedly slam against the front of the boot. Customers often misdiagnose this as a boot that’s too small, automatically assuming that pain to the toe equals small boots. Other injuries that can result from oversized boots are sprained ankles, bruising, and in extreme cases broken leg, ankle, and foot bones.

These are just a few tips that will assist you in making the right boot purchase. But remember, there is no substitute for knowledge and experience, so when shopping for your boots make sure the shop has a certified bootfitter that can assist you. In the High Country, Ski Country Sports in Banner Elk is an America’s Best Bootfitters authorized outlet that employs certified Master bootfitters.

Contact ahead for an appointment:

First Tracks
1380 Highway 105 South
Boone, NC
Phone: (800) 262-9036

Alpine Ski Center

Sugar Mountain, NC
Phone: 828-898-4521

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