ski boots

You can have the best skis or boards in the world, but unless you have comfortable and responsive boots, you're not going anywhere!

Whether you like to cruise, hit the off-piste or the park, you need the boots to help you do the job, and there are probably going to be your first equipment purchase ahead of skis or a board.

What is a boot for?
It's not just for keeping your feet dry! Your boot is your link to your skis and the movements you want it to make against the snow. It has to be able to translate your choices effectively and, as you could be wearing them for up to 8 hours in a day, comfortably.

What sort of boot?
Recreational skiers should generally look at a flexible boot, but if you're really looking for performance from your boots, you should be looking at stiffer, more supportive models.

Rear-entry boots provided a few amusing puns for skiers in the late-80s and 90s, but although comfortable and easy to do up, these are really only suitable for beginners or low-intermediates. Afront- or mid-entry boot offers a much higher level of control, and modern technology (see 'fitting') allows a much more comfortable fit.

Footbeds - the foundation of the ski
There are very few boots that will fit you 'like a glove' (like a sock?) first time round. However, footbeds are essentially the foundation of the ski and custom footbeds will greatly enhance your stability, support, comfort and alignment.

Ask the Boot Doctor...
Profeet, based in London, are specialists who can arrange footbeds for you, and Hamish the Boot Doctor, can answer all your boot related questions.

Other pressure points, caused by odd-shaped bones toes can also be tackled with some 'surgery' on your boot. This can include heating the shell to change the shape, adding or cutting out padding.

Foam Boots
Most boots are made in a similar way, with a tough outer shell and a soft removable inner. It is possible to create a bespoke foam inner by injecting a polyurethane foam which then forms around your feet when it solidifies. Some boots on the market, like the Atomic race boot shown on the right, include a foam system as standard.

Boot Fitting
Whether renting or buying, we recommend taking the advice of a qualified boot fitter. They will make sure you get the right foot measurement - known as MONDO point sizing in the world of skiing. Then it's the simple matter of finding the right boots. Make sure you have a pair of ski socks with you.

Points to watch for:
- Make sure your foot cannot move about inside the boot, but is not too tight.
- stand up in the boot, leaning back - your toes should not touch the front
- can you lift your heel up, it shouldn't have much give
- can you move your foot from side to side, without moving the boot

One final tip - if all of the above applies and your boots are still giving you pain - change them!

Choosing a ski boot
Most skiers, even occasional recreational skiers, recognize the benefits of owning your own equipment over renting at the slopes. Ski boots are a highly specialized type of footwear designed to specific parameters to suit various types of skiers and skiing. The type of ski boot you need will depend on a number of factors including: your level of experience and technical skill as a skier, the type of skiing you do, where you ski and your budget. More information on choosing a ski boot >>

Snowboard Boots
Compared to ski boots, snowboard boots are like slippers. You can still make them more comfortable, with heat mouldable liners, but the exteriors tend to be soft, with leather/man-made outers, rather than hard plastic like ski boots. As detailed in our snowboard page, step-in bindings require special boots, while carving boards can require specialist boots or even ski boots.

Boot Tips
- Don't leave them in the car/outside overnight
- Dry your boots each day
- Do up the buckles on your boots at the end of each day
- Consider two pairs of thin socks if one thick pair isn't working

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