FINDING THE RIGHT SKI BOOTS
Whether alpine skiing, rapid deep-snow carving or sporty slalom: the right ski boot is of course part of the respective winter sports equipment including functional ski clothing. They should not only fit perfectly, but also be technically up-to-date. If the ski boots don't really fit, no matter how perfect the conditions, the fun will fall by the wayside. Buying new boots is often a complicated undertaking. Which model? Which size? Which flex? What is flex anyway? In the following we have summarised the most important facts about ski boots and want to help you find the right ski boot in the right size.
Modern constructions and innovative materials give your feet stable support, protect them in case of a fall, are non-slip and flexible, so that using them with thick ski gloves is no problem. In our online shop you will find ski boots for women, men and children and for all common binding systems. In addition to safety on the slopes, all ski boots in our range offer comprehensive comfort, so that your skiing holiday becomes a sporting experience.
SKI BOOTS IN WINTER SPORTS: THE MOST IMPORTANT TYPES
Is my foot narrow, normal or wide? Am I a ski beginner, advanced or racer? How many do I weigh and how well-developed is my technique? Is my skiing style more "old school" with closed legs or more modern with a hip-wide ski position? Is my area of use normal downhill, deep snow, off-piste or touring?
There is no such thing as a universal ski boot. Comfortable boots are soft, but give less support. Conversely, hard, stiff ski boots allow more control and thus more skiing feel. The most important categories:
- Comfort ski boots are easy to use, soft and warm. They are suitable for leisurely skiing on the slopes, but not for sportier styles of skiing, as the power transfer from the legs to the ski is somewhat spongy.
- Racer ski boots are made for fast piste skiing. Stiff shells are ideal here. Firm, thin-walled inner shoes and high forward stiffness result in a high "flex". This enables precise and fast power transmission. These shoes are not permanently comfortable and do not have to be.
- Freerider or freestyle shoes are concerned with the mobility of the shoe, i.e. a low "flex". The shell is cushioned to absorb the shocks and impacts that occur during jumps.
- Touring shoes offer advantages especially for ascents: they have a high step mobility, i.e. a so-called "shaft rotation" and are light. At the same time, the boots must also offer sufficient guidance and support to ensure a safe descent in any type of snow.
- All-rounders realise a compromise between comfort and performance: the shell is rather hard, the inner boot rather comfortable. The stiffness becomes relatively high towards the front, allowing for a sporty skiing style.
SKI BOOT TYPES: HARD BOOTS OR SOFT BOOTS?
Among the alpine models you will find so-called hardboots and softboots. The former consist of a hard outer plastic shell and an inner boot made of soft material that insulates and cushions the foot against the cold. With the help of a buckle mechanism, the ski boot is firmly closed so that you can only bend your ankle. Soft boots have only been around for a few years. They originated in snowboarding and have since been optimised for skiers.
Soft boots do not have plastic shells, but are made entirely of soft material. They usually have a lacing mechanism. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. While the firm fit of hard boots ensures better power transmission and reduces the risk of injury, soft boots are lighter, more comfortable and more versatile. Even a snowshoe hike is possible without problems in the soft ski boots.
FIND SKI BOOTS - WHAT DO FLEX MEAN AND WHAT DO THE NUMBERS STAND FOR?
When browsing through the various ski boot models, you will come across the name "flex" and a corresponding value around 100. Flex stands for the stiffness of a ski boot. The higher the value, the higher the resistance of the ski boot when moving forward. Although a higher flex provides more support and ensures a more direct transfer of power to the skis, it also restricts the freedom of movement in the ankle joint and thus makes it more difficult to move.
In principle, one can assume that the flex value of the ski boots can increase with the skiing ability and the sportiness of the skiing. However, this only applies if you always start from people with similar attributes such as height, weight and skiing ability. A lower flex value is recommended for lighter people, i.e. especially women, because stiffer ski boot models require correspondingly more weight and more strength.
Another aspect and at first possibly unknown value is the last width of a ski boot, usually a number between 95 and 105 mm. Again, the individual requirements and the conditions of the foot are decisive. The width of the foot is decisive here. This should be measured as well as the length to select a model. Narrower lasts and shorter boots lend themselves to sportier skiing and a more direct transfer to the ski, while wider lasts are more comfortable, both on and off the slopes.
Overall, when looking for the perfect ski boot, it is important to consider both the width and length of your foot and to look for the right flex as well as size when buying.
SKI BOOTS - HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT SIZE
An important aspect of any online boot purchase is, of course, knowing or determining the right size for yourself. With ski boots, on the one hand it is a little more complicated, but on the other hand it is quite simple. A different sizing system is used for ski boots than for other shoes. In 1991, the so-called Mondopoint (abbreviated MP) system was defined with the ISO standard 9407. The Monpoint system relates shoe size to foot length and width in millimetres and is used not only for ski boots but also for military and safety footwear. But how do you determine your own foot size in the Mondopoint system? We explain it to you.
First, get a piece of paper that is larger than your foot and place it on the floor with the short side against a free wall. Now put on your ski socks that you usually wear for skiing. Then stand on the sheet of paper so that your heels touch the wall. Then bend down and draw a line at the longest point of your foot. The length from the line to the edge of the paper is your Mondopoint size.
Two more tips for finding the perfect Mondopoint size for your new ski boots. It is best to take your measurement in the evening. Your feet change shape a little during the day and are slightly larger in the evening than in the morning. The second tip is that it is best to take the measurement on both feet. Sometimes feet are different sizes. If this is also the case for you, we advise you to use the larger value for your new ski boots.
To check whether the selected ski boot fits in length, height and width, the model should first be viewed as an inner boot and shell separately. Overall, there are a few things to consider when buying ski boots compared to other sports shoes:
One should not be influenced by the initial tightness around the toes in the ski boot. Most of the time, ski boots are quickly judged to be too small and subsequently bought one size too big. In principle, however, it is better to buy the boot a little smaller, because after the first 3-5 skiing sessions the inner boot will widen a little.
PUTTING ON SKI BOOTS CORRECTLY
When putting on ski boots, more mistakes are made than you might think, both when trying them on for the first time and when putting them on every day at the beginning of a ski day. If you have new ski boots delivered to your home to try on, make sure that you try them on in a warm environment. For example, do not unpack and put them on in a cold garage or directly from a cold parcel delivery vehicle.
When getting into the ski boot, take the tongue of the inner boot in one hand, the shell in the other hand and pull it apart to create a "V" shape. This makes it easier to get into the boot. Many make the mistake of pushing only the tongue forward ("L" shape), which makes it much harder for the foot to get through the narrow corner. After putting the boot on, push the foot backwards by tapping the heel on the floor, then close the ski boot buckle by buckle, starting with the 2nd and 3rd from the bottom upwards initially with moderate pressure. This allows the tongue of the inner boot to flexibly move into position.
The lowest buckle is closed last. Don't forget the Velcro fastener at the top, as this replaces the 5th buckle and is therefore just as important for stability and support in the shoe - but it is important not to tighten it too much. With the second buckle from the bottom, make sure that it is not closed too tightly. Here the veins run through the instep for blood circulation of the foot and should not be too tight. As a guideline, it should be possible to open and close the buckle with a little resistance but without further problems with one finger. However, the buckle should also not be left too loose, otherwise stability suffers.
With an insole in the ski boot, the foot is relieved and brought into the right position. This means that the boot no longer has to be buckled so tightly and pressure points are reduced. However, the ski boot should not be worn too loosely either. In addition to stability, the tightness of the boot suffers. In deep snow contact, water and moisture penetrate. The result is wet and cold feet. With regard to the flex, it is important to know that it is about 20-30% stiffer at temperatures around 0°C on the mountain compared to indoors (approx. 20-25°C).
If you can't bend forward at all in a ski boot in the shop, or only with difficulty, and "flex" the ski boot, this is even less possible in cold conditions. Often the boots are bought too sporty and with too hard a flex.